Thursday, May 28, 2009

California and Memories

I was thinking yesterday of the time I lived in California. I thought I'd document what I remember, just in case my kids/grandkids are ever interested. And in case I wind up with severe dementia or Alzheimer's. *grin*

My Dad was stationed at Camp Pendleton when I was in the fifth grade. We were living in Rison when he was transferred and it broke my heart to leave. I was in Gloria Faye Johnston's class and also took classes from Jack White. They were like second parents to me and I cried my heart out that last day. I can still remember Mr. White hugging me close and the pens in his pocket jabbing me. I didn't care, because I loved him and I was miserable. I honestly believe that if I had been able to stay, and be taught Math by Mr. White, I wouldn't be so numerically challenged today.

We traveled out to Oceanside by car. It took several days, as we drove through Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. I remember stopping along the way occasionally to get out and take photos, and because I ALWAYS had to use the bathroom. Something my parents got very very tired of. (Little did they know, I only had one kidney.)

My first view of the ocean was in San Diego and we all jumped out of the car and ran to the sand. Sister #1 and I were dressed alike and we were just standing there in the sand looking at the water like we had never seen anything so beautiful in our lives. And we hadn't. I remember driving over a crest and it coming into view. I still get that sensation from time to time when I crest a hill and expect to see the wide blue expanse. It's always a disappointment when it doesn't happen.

We lived in the on-base apartment type housing. There was a very small kitchen and living room, one bathroom and two bedrooms I think. There were six of us at that time living in that small apartment on the second floor. The first thing that happened after we moved in was that Sister #1's bicycle was stolen. She saw another kid riding it later, but Dad never really followed up on that lead.

The children in that area were absolutely horrid. I suppose it could be that they never were able to settle and have a "home" and that somehow colored their disposition. In my opinion, I believed it was because none of them were raised in the south, where manners were ingrained. There was always a drama going on in the neighborhood and battle lines drawn. I had a best friend named Rita Gerard. She lived with her Dad and little brother. I don't know where her Mom was. Right before we were transferred out, she and I had a falling out, (I don't remember why) and we never resolved it. I regret that now. It would be interesting to know where she is today.
There was a huge Great Dane across the street that all the children were terrified of, and rightly so. The owner wasn't worried about anyone's fears as I recall.

There was a large canyon a short walk from our apartment, and my brother and I visited it with some other kids one day. For some reason, I climbed down a path along with a few others and got stuck. The same way I got stuck on the top of the metal tower in an earlier post. It was steep, and extremely dangerous. I finally crawled my way back out and it terrifies me even today to think of it. I'm sure my Mother freaked when she found out. And I don't believe I ever visited that canyon again.

There was also a little mobile unit that we could visit to shop for little things like milk and bread, candy and cokes. I would walk there countless times with Rita. I remember vividly carrying my id card and shopping in that trailer, with a very stern young Marine watching us like a hawk. Not a very friendly person, but I suppose he didn't like the duty he had to fulfill.

I remember, or think I do, that my first visit to the movies was at Pendleton. It was Snow White and I was in heaven. If I had ever been to the movies before that, I can't remember it. We were supposed to visit Disneyland on my birthday, but Dad was called to guard President Nixon, who decided to visit San Clemente at the last minute. I was grown with two almost grown children the next time I had the opportunity to visit Disneyland. It was nice, but somehow I don't think I enjoyed it like I would have as a child.

Once, when my Dad's cousin Ken visited, we all drove up to a unique place called Calico Ghost Town. It was a replica of an old west mining town and we had a wonderful time. Either on the way, or on the way home, somehow we got lost and found ourselves in the mountains. The car we were in, was not made for that kind of terrain, and the huge boulders pushed up into the floor boards. Kinda scary. But, we somehow found our way.
I was terribly uncomfortable at school, but there was a Summer Fun program and I loved that. We could do school work, or just fun crafts every day. We could play tetherball, and often did there and at home. We'd tie a tetherball to the street sign on the corner of the street and play. My thumb stayed jammed constantly.

Even though I loved the beach, I was so very glad to leave California. On the way back to Arkansas, we stopped at the Grand Canyon
and Painted Desert. THAT was worth it all. How can anyone see these wonders and not believe there is a God of Creation?! I have many more slides but thought it too many to post and a slide show would just be too long. I'm so thankful I have those slides though. And thankful to Big Maburn for putting them all on a disk for me.


LeLe said...

This was kind of a sad post! Sounds like the people in CA weren't very pleasant people. Not like Arkansans, huh?

Funny, the first movie I can remember seeing in theaters was Snow White. And how come I never knew Papa guarded Prez Nixon?

B Lines said...

I don't know for sure if he ever actually saw the prez, but he had to go and be on guard. Messed my birthday up big time.