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Archive for December, 2012

Part 3

 I just got religion and I can’t sit down”

 Church was a big matter to my mom. When we lived in the house were were very much like the old Norman Rockwell painting of the mom and two kids headed out the door with their Bibles on Sunday while the dad was slouched on the couch watching the football game. My dad was raised the first part of his child hood in the Foursquare Church. His dad was a minister who trained under Aimee Semple McPherson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aimee_Semple_McPherson). His dad died when he was eleven and his mom put him and his younger sister in abusive Baptist Home For Children in Burbank, Ca. My moms mom was Methodist and they attended church on occasion. Somehow my mom missed all the important Bible lessons and didn’t know about Jesus death and resurrection for our sins till after she was married and had my sister. She dove head first into Christianity and has stayed that way ever since. She made it clear to my sister and I that my dad wasn’t “saved”. I trusted my dads word on everything except when I would ask him if he was a Christian and he would say he was I kept quiet but I knew it wasn’t true. My mom had done a very successful job at programing me into believing he just wasn’t. I guess it was easy for me to think that way cause to her Church was very important and he didn’t go to church. However, he would sit down with folks from other religions and hash over the Bible with them arguing and “proving” the Biblical side. I believe now that my mom found it a way to discredit my dad so she could have her way when she felt she needed it.

aimee_semple_mcphersonA Pic of Aimee Semple McPherson I found on google search.

On the west end of Catalina there was a Catholic mass during the summer and that was it for religious services there. My folks were anti-Catholic. We had made friends with a young Christian worker named Grant. My mom talked him into joining her and my sister and I for a weekly Bible study outside that she wanted to conduct. I remember there being another young lady involved for a while but I don’t recall her name. I loved Jesus with all my heart but so many times I felt so uncomfortable with what my mom was doing. She pushed the Bible study to the point of embarrassment and scolded Grant and the other girl when they had something else to do. She seemed to always make a show of her religious acts which is why I likely felt embarrassed. She also didn’t know when to quit so the time drew on and the boredom was painful. Grant was a lot of fun though, we enjoyed his refreshing presence. Later he met a lady named Amy and they ended up getting married. We found that real fun cause we were big fans of the Christian artist Amy Grant.

My sister and I started up a Good News Club at a club house near the one of the housing areas for the local children. My mom had the material from doing Good News Clubs for the neighborhood when we had our house. She had the flannel graph figures and my dad and her created really awesome flannel back drops. We did the club once a week and had a decent turn out. Of course moms are usually quite happy to have free “baby sitting” for a few hours when ever they can get it.

There was one boy who was particular disruptive as there usually is in a setting with several kids. I think his name was Brian. He cut up and disrupted the class every time. It was very difficult to deal with him. One day his mom told us Brian had told her he was afraid to die. She asked him why and he told her he didn’t want to go to hell. My sister, mom and I were so happy to learn that Brian was actually paying attention. Now I understand that he was likely ADHD and ADHD kids usually are hearing what folks think they aren’t paying attention to. Of course now my feeling toward his reaction have drastically change. I am sorry that I ever taught and spread the concept of hell as punishment for not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. And sadly, I was involved with that way of thinking and pushing it on others for the first thirty eight years of my life. There are so many people I would love to go back and apologize to but I don’t think that is possible. All I can do is hope they forgive me and have moved on to better things. Though I was ignorant and arrogant I also had the best of intentions and was truly concerned for people.

A Foggy Adventure At Sea.

 My parents used to celebrate their anniversary with long time friends Jim and Yolanda. We loved it when they did cause that meant we got to spend time with their kids Trish and Gina. Gina was a few years older than my sister and Trish was a month or so older than me even though I used to get in bitter arguments about who was older.

My folks and the Giallo’s decided to still spend their anniversary together so we set out to make the sail from Catalina to New Port Beach were we would meet up. We rounded the west end on the Moon Shadow and anchored in the Isthmus so my dad could go ashore to get his pay check. The Isthmus is an open water bay with a white island rock in front of it called Bird Rock. We were told it was white due to the large amounts of bird poop. That made my sister and I not desire to go exploring on it.

While waiting for my dad to return my sister and I decided to occupy ourselves by fishing. My dad had fishing poles but we weren’t allowed to use them. Instead he tied and wound fishing line to a pencil with a small hook attached to the end. We also didn’t have bait but we learned to attract the small silver smelt with the shiny hook then snag them in the gills.

While “fishing” a seal started hanging out near us which we loved and found exciting. My mom came out to watch the seal with us as well. But then the seal started doing something very strange. He would round up the school of fish, bite one and let it drop to the bottom. WE had heard that seals ate their catch and didn’t waste so we were perplexed by this. He kept doing it over and over again. Finally my mom got a brilliant idea. She thought that maybe the seal was trying to teach us to fish. We got out water bucket that we kept a rope tied and lowered it into the bay. Sure enough the seal rounded up the fish and swam them right into our bucket. It was so cool! We gutted and descaled them then my mom sauteed them in garlic and butter and they tasted so good.

My dad finally returned and we were able to set off for the main land. I don’t recall if it was exactly this particular trip or not but spotting whales while crossing the ocean was common. There was this one time something not so common happened. We spotted a pilot whale off the port near the bow so my sister and dad and I ran up there to watch it. Soon it swam off into the distance and my mom who was on the helm (like a giant steering wheal) was disappointed she didn’t get to see it. What we didn’t know was that the whale actually came back but did so under water. It surfaced right at the stern (back) of the Moon Shadow and spat water out of it’s blow hole onto my mom who jumped it seemed several feet into the air. It was hilarious. My mom felt as if the whale had tricked her, or as we say now, pranked.

It was smooth sailing at first. But then the dreaded fog set in. My dad had read a thriller book called The Ship Killer about a rogue freighter that ran other boats over on purpose and he had told us about it. My dad was a very good story teller. So here were were out in the vast ocean with no land in sight and fog rolling in all around us and we are crossing the shipping lines. Suddenly we hear the ominous horn of a giant freighter and all we can think about it that darn book and what my dad told us about what happens when a boat is pulled under a freighter. It’s not good! The pull is intense and the blades of the propeller are as big as our boat and can chop a boat like ours to bits in seconds. In the fog and on the water it is very hard to tell how close something is. Sound carries and makes it sound like it’s right next to you. We didn’t have raider so we couldn’t use that to help. We did have this little silver ball thing strung up on one of the halliards that was supposed to make us visible on other peoples raider but it wasn’t a sure bet. We also had a fog horn but it was the same size as the kind people use in foot ball games. Anyway, the freighter passed right by us in a safe distance and we had fun ridding it’s wake for a moment.

The fog only got worse and soon we realized we were off course. We heard a fog horn like ours off in the distance and decided to follow it hoping it would be another vessel and we find out if they know the location. My dad warned us that sometimes kids blow fog horn’s off the beach and cause boats to run ashore which can be a terrible disaster so we proceeded with caution. My mom was back on the help again and my dad, sister and I were keeping watch into the fog. It was almost painful trying to stare into the fog cause you just couldn’t see anything. My sister spotted something in the water and for a moment she and my dad were surprised to see sea weed growing to the surface so far out in the ocean. The fog does mess with ones common sense. My dad came to when he spotted white water and hollered out to my mom, “Hard Right!” For some reason my mom thought it was a joke so she decided to show him by doing exactly what he said. As she turned the boat she saw the white water as it crescendoed off the crashing waves on to the beach. It had been kids on the beach with a fog horn after all.

We sped away fro the scene and then tried to figure out our position using the Ray Jeff. A Ray Jeff picks us a series of beeps but out by the various harbor entrances. The series of the beeps will tell you which harbor you are nearest. We were having trouble getting a clear signal so we put out a call on the CB. “Whiskey X ray Hotel on the Moon Shadow” was oue call letters. Dana Point responded that they felt we were closer to them and proceeded to try to help. I was so disappointed because I couldn’t wait to see the Giallo’s in New Port. But for some reason Dana Point didn’t work out. Sometime after the sun set New Port Harbor Patrol decided to go ahead and try to assist us. By this time Jim and Yolanda had arrived and went to the Harbor Patrol office to see how about things. They over heard us on the radio and got to witness the rest of the events from there.

New Port HP dispatched a boat to come find us. We put up a sail and shined a spot light onto the sail to help them spot us. It worked and soon they threw us a tow line and instructed us to follow them. We didn’t need a tow but the line was so we wouldn’t lose them in the fog. They couldn’t see any better then we could so they relied on their raider. Thankfully we weren’t following to close because suddenly they came to a complete halt and we veered off to the right to avoid hitting them. Later Jim and Yolanda told us what happened and why the HP suddenly stopped. Apparently the raider didn’t pick up the jetty and they ran right into it. Normally we wouldn’t have found it so amusing but the New Port HP was known for having a large chip on their shoulders. We also learned that raider didn’t spot everything.

It was wonderful to finally be able to go ashore and enjoy the night with out friends at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Thankfully the trip home was not so memorable.

I used this story as an essay assignment in home school. Later when I was being enrolled into New Port’s public Jr. High school my mom brought samples of my work including the essay. The Vice Principal who looked at my work read the story and commented, “My, what an interesting imagination your child has.” I don’t know why none of us told him it was a true story, we just sat there looking at him.

A bad attitude always ruins a good thing.

I had stated before, “my dad loved his job…but not his boss.” When enjoyed the company of the two families we shared the dorm with but it also provided an opportunity for my dad and the two other men to complain to each other about all the injustices and things they didn’t like about their jobs. The complaining didn’t stay with in the walls of the dorm but leaked it’s way back to the management.

While patrolling the other bays with the chief harbor patrol man Doug the engine burned out. It was a very bad situation and the engine was ruined. There was only one mechanic and my dad felt it was directly due to something he neglected to do. My dad told us that they didn’t want to fire their only mechanic but someone had to be the fall guy and go. That left Doug and my dad. Doug wasn’t about to fire himself so it was my dad that took the fall. On his report it also stated he had a bad attitude. My dad was very hurt and bitter about being fired for something he didn’t do but he admitted he was wrong for his attitude. They offered him a job as a bar tender there but his bitterness made him want to leave the area all together.

Avalon storm

So we headed out but before crossing the ocean we moored in Avalon so we could stock up on supplies. Our timing couldn’t have been worse. We were just in time for one of those storms my dad swore he would never be in. We thought we were secular tied up between the two city owned mooring cans so we made preparations to go ashore. Just before boarding our dinghy the back mooring line snapped and our boat swung to the side colliding into the boat moored next to us. It was crazy trying to get our boat away from theirs. The Harbor Patrol came over pretty quickly and tied onto us pulling is the other direction. We couldn’t stay there so we had to be towed to the large temporary docking area. It was taking time to get everything in order and detached from the other mooring so the Harbor Patrol asked my folks if they wanted them to take my sister and I to shore in there boat. We were a bit shocked at the question at first cause my sister and I had always been involved in helping out but there just wasn’t anything for us to do but stand there so we all agreed they they could take us ashore. I thought my sister was so silly because when she went to get into the HP boa she fell into the patrol mans arm. She was often dramatic and I figured she was just at it again. Then it was my turn. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about how the swells would affect my getting into their boat but next thing I knew I was also falling into the patrol mans arms. Boy was I embarrassed! We played on the pear for a while but found ourselves very board and were quite happy when our boat was finally secured to the dock and we could catch up with out parents. Later we found that we made the front page of the Catalina Islander. The article written about our boat stated that the Avalon Harbor Patrol rescued two children from the Moon Shadow. We just thought that was so ridiculous. Avalon also refused to take responsibility for their faulty mooring can and we had to pay the damages done to the other boat.

556972_268772423223930_1284987016_n

We left after everything was settled and our shopping was done. We headed back across the ocean to New Port Beach.

551067_268774589890380_1917437478_nOur boat is in the top picture being towed.

Back in New Port Beach, Ca.

We found a mooring can for rent and settled in. Up until now my sister and I had been home-schooled About a year into our homeschooling my folks learned about correspondence school and enrolled us in International Institute of Illinois. They did not understand that they had the right to advance us a year so we were enrolled as a year behind. The next school year took us two years to complete due to bad scheduling and lots of time off and such. Thankfully the school was designes for missionary kids so they could be put into any school system internationally and fit right in academically.

My sister had been placed in 8th grade and I was placed in 5th grade. When I had been in the “regular” Christian school I was considered behind and my reading skills were terrible. My mom said the teachers would tell her about what a sweet kid I was but that they didn’t have time to spend just with me. I recently heard from a relative that my parents informed the schools before enrolling me that I had brain damage due to drowning when I was four years old. I did drown when I was four and for those annoying people who like to correct me and tell me the correct way to say it would be “almost drowned, well, it just goes to show you don’t know everything after all. Pardon me, I just heard that too many times. Truth is I drowned and yes, I died. Though I have been told that my folks spoke about my possible brain damage right in front of me I don’t remember it. However, in my twenties I would wonder about that from time to time. My folks didn’t allow me to “grow up” and then the church I was in from the age of 19 to 38 took over and kept me oppressed. They both used Jesus and the Bible to do so. I would get frustrated and think that maybe I was retarded and no one wanted to tell me. Now that I have created my own life and study and figure things out for myself I don’t feel that way anymore. I still would love to have a brain scan done though. I read recently that drowning can affect the heart as well and I have atrial fibrillation and have had to have the ablation procedure done.

Back to the subject of homeschooling. Once I was home schooled I rapidly caught up and my reading skills went above my age level by far. I’m sure being raised on the King James version of the Bible which we read and studied daily and reading many martyr and missionary stories and such helped advance me. I had really needed the one on one help that my mom provided. My sisters school work was much more difficult for my parents due to it being advanced 8th grade material so they relied on her self teaching abilities and it worked well.

When the school year started in New Port Beach my sister and I wanted to go to “regular” school. My folks took my kids to the local public high school and learned that they would not advance her even though her SAT scores were first year collage level. They didn’t advance home school kids regardless of their scores so Kari would be put in 9th grade making her two years behind.

My mom understood that I didn’t want to be put in 6th grade with a bunch of little kids so she told me that if they wouldn’t allow me to go into 7th grade she would just home-school me again. I would have been in 8th but my birthday is in summer so my age would fit fine in either 7th or 8th. We went to the local public Jr. High School called Horace Ensign Middle School and was interview by the assistant Principal Mr. Tweet. He read the essay I had written called The Foggy Adventure At Sea and as I mentioned before he commented, “My, what an interesting imagination your child has.” I don’t know why none of us told him it was a true story, we just sat there looking at him. After the interview he mentioned that I could enter 7th grade there. Then they gave me the written test and offered to put me in 8th grade.

Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Jr. High Camp.

Before enrolling in Jr. High school my sister and I got to attend Calvary Chapel’s summer camp. My sister went with the high school group first and upon her return I went to the Jr. High camp.

I still had knee length hair. I wanted it cut but my my mom insisted I would regret it and that if I still wanted it cut by the middle of the school year then I could have it done. She used to find random female strangers who regretted getting their long hair cut come tell me their story in hoped I would change my mind.

So, I got to go to camp with my long very thick wavy tangles extremely easy hair. When I was younger I wore it in two braids then changed my style to one long braid. It kept me from having horrific tangles. I couldn’t braid it myself so either my mom or sister did it for me. It was surprisingly s bit hit my first two days at camp. The girls in my cabin were very excited to braid my hair for me but then the novelty wore off and I had to resort to embarrassing begging to get help with my ridiculously long hair.

my long hair 199751_10150142282619834_2475559_n                                                                         Me and my long hair. The bottom one was taken just before getting it cut “short” for the first time.
I remember hating the top pictures. My mom insisted on taking the pictures.

Before camp I didn’t have friends my age. My parents used to take about how much better off my sister and I were that way cause we could relate to people of all ages. However, the fact is, we had trouble communicating with people our own age instead. I got along with the kids younger than me at the camp but butted heads with the kids my own age. Although I had been a follower originally being home schooled gave me a more independent sense and I just couldn’t fit in to what ever the kids my age were up to. Part of that was good but part of it was because I just didn’t understand them.

The camp experience as a whole was wonderful and as usual I didn’t want to go home. I was a big fan of the Christian Punk band called Undercover and was elated that they performed for us. I also became the air hockey champion. It was a great week.

undercover and album

The experience at the camp helped me make the decision to go into 7th grade instead of 8th. I felt I would get long better with the kids in 7th.

When we had first come back to the main land we visited some old friends in Garden Grove, the Smiths. My sister and their granddaughter who we called Angie were best friends when we had lived in the house. Angie had “grown up” into teenage hood and wanted to be called by her first name Dane. When Kari and Angie used to play as kids it was my sister who had a pair of fashionable ditto’s and Dane who was made to wear muumuu’s. Things had completely switched. It was 1982 and being in Catalina had but us in the “dark ages” as far as style was concerned. We were still wearing bell bottoms and Dane was in the oh so trendy pegged pants and pumps. She gave us a quick lesson in how to roll and tuck out pants and turn them into pegged pants which save us style wise when we went back into public school. My dad insisted buying stylish clothes was foolish because it would just go back out of style later. Now I realize who silly that was because as kids we were gonna grow out of it anyway. My dad was just very good at finding ways to not spend money on us and talk his way into sounding like it was the wisest idea.

Kari and I were saddened to lose her old best friend. Though she taught us to fix our clothing just so we just didn’t fit in and felt rejected. This wouldn’t be the last time we would feel that way. It would become a common theme in our lives. But I have learned recently that many of those times it wasn’t real, our parents taught us how people are and behave and how they should be but aren’t so the way we say life was often very warped and cause us to misunderstand. I now have kids in the autism spectrum and though I don’t believe that either my sister or I are in the spectrum I feel were were in a way raised to be aspergers like. We did read face and body language but not correctly, we were social but our parents would take measures to breach the friendships we made. Reconnecting with friends from way back when and hearing their side of the story has opened my eyes to may things like this. As far as clothing, we made good use of second hand stores. Thankfully my dad felt a good pair of blue jeans and tennis shoes was a must so I always had a pair of Levi Strauss 501’s and shoes that didn’t hurt my feet. My dad had his feet ruined in the Marine Corps. My sister wasn’t satisfied with 501’s so it took a very long time to shop for jeans for her.

Horace Ensign Jr. High School

During the summer my mom got a job at an independent answering service called Diane’s Music Box. It was the kind that used the antique answering board where you have to plug in things. Diane introduced me to Morgan, a girl close to my age. We became fast friends and had a blast together. It was awesome to learn that we would be going to the same school and in the same grade. Even though HEJHS was a Jr. High it was still very clicky. It was important to have been from one of the areas surrounding the Jr. High in order to fit in. Of course, I didn’t fit in because I had been home-schooled. So it was great that I had already made such a good friend.

Morgan already had a circle of about five girls she hung out with. I was happy to meet them as well. While it was still the first day Morgan took me aside and very gravely and sadly explained to me that it hurt her to have to tell me that her friends didn’t want me to hang out with them. And that was the end of our friendship, I was now completely on my own.

The first day for lunch period I found an empty table to sit at. After a little while a boy sat down right near me. I was surprised that boys and girls were so friendly and ok with each other like that. Then another boy sat down, then another until the table was filled with boys and I was the only girl. I got the point. So the next day I found a different table. Soon a Hispanic non-English speaking girl sat down near me. And like the other table soon the whole table was filled with Spanish speaking girls who had no interest in speaking with me what so ever.

By the third day I had began making friends in my classes and arranged to sit at lunch with one of them, the next day two of them and then they added some new friends and before I knew it we mushroomed out to our own whole table. I was fortunate to be making friends who, like me, didn’t believe in excluding anyone. We would take turns making the new kids feel comfortable and the left out kids felt included. After a while we were much bigger than one table. Many of the kids we incorporated and helped found other groups to become a part of but they always stayed in touch with us and we were always there for each other. Because I had learned to “stand on my own two feet” I became one of the groups unofficial leader type along with a girl name Deonna. Deonna and I were both bigger than most the 7th graders so kids being bullied felt safe hiding behind us and we didn’t mind standing up to the bullies. Some time near the end of the school year I was awakened to the fact that I had friends in just about every 7th grade group on campus. The realization happened when some girls came over to me to ask me something. We chatted for a brief moment then they went back over to their circle of friends. Over where the other girls were waiting for them was Morgan with her eyes wide open and mouth dropped in utter shock.

7th grade was the first time I was ever called a bitch. Swear words were something my sister and I just didn’t do. My parents would swear when they were very angry which I felt was wrong since they taught us how bad it was. But I didn’t dare bring that up to them. The girl who called me a bitch wasn’t really mad at me, she just said it. I made the mistake of telling my parents who were extremely offended and explained that it meant a female dog in heat. It took me a while to talk them into not going to the principal about it. It wasn’t long before I learned that being called a bitch was light in comparisons to all the other words I and everyone else would be called. I didn’t know that Jr. Highers are obsessed and infatuated with swearing. As horrible as my parents felt about swearing, I also learned it would kill or even harm me. My folks made sure to teach my sister and I the “true” meaning of the swear words and just how ridicules it was to use them. They taught us that the “F” word was from the medieval days and was an acronym for Fornication Under The Consent of the King. More recently I have looked that up and can find no proof that it actually means that. I remember this one day my “when I see her in the hall’s” friend, Kelly, was sitting in the locker room staring blankly at a locker after practice an 8th grader challenged her with the, “what are you looking at,” question. Then the girl proceeded to cuss Kelly out with a very long string of swear word. I told her to leave my friend alone so the girl turned her swearing rage on me. I thought she was so strange. It turned out that girl was best friends to the most popular 8th grader. Later that year when the 6th graders toured our school Kelly found me and excitedly said she couldn’t wait till we were in 8th grade and we could bully the new 7th graders and what fun that would be. I couldn’t believe the girl I abstracted from being bullied was excited to be doing it herself.

When we first sold out house we got a storage unit that we shared with my grandma and aunt and family. I don’t know how long we had it but somewhere along the line my cousins informed us it leaked and due to water damage they had to throw a lot of stuff out including my dad’s Gibson Guitar and the Persian rugs our Iranian friends had given us. So out new storage shed became the back of our green Station Wagon. WE didn’t do it intentionally, it just happened. My friends would tease me about it and ask if all the stuff in the back included a toilet. Then they would laugh like someone was tickling them. I was partly embarrassed by it but I couldn’t help but laugh with them.

There were many oddities I carried with me that my new friends didn’t mind. Usually they just found it interesting or amusing. One time several of us were sitting around a table in the library whispering. One of the girls had a lip gloss that was being passed around cause it smelled odd and everyone was trying to place the odor. As soon as it reached my nose I knew immediately and blurted out that it smelled just like a Gray Hound buss. The girls busted out laughing and couldn’t stop for quite some time. I was clueless to the fact that none of them had every traveled by bus.

It wasn’t so nice when one of my friends discovered I didn’t shave my legs. My mom wouldn’t allow it and had given me the, “you have blond short hair on you legs so you don’t have to worry about it anyway” lecture. My friend didn’t find my hair as not obvious but rather as shocking. I hated that I couldn’t shave my legs and I wouldn’t have the freedom to do so until I was nineteen.

Valentines day was another realization for me about how different I was. My mom got me the box of little valentines to fill out for my friends and I took them to school. Lunch time was when we were going to give them out to each other. The girls started handing out their Valentines but theirs were the small cute little ones that come in the boxes, they were handing out big expensive Hallmark kind. Not only were they giving me full greeting cards but I got a whole box of really nice heart suckers and a plush foot tall Koala bear. Then it was time for me to give out mine. I sheepishly told them I was embarrassed to give out my Valentines cards, but they insisted on getting them. As I began to hand out my dinky baby cards the girls got very excited and went off about how they remembered those kind and how cool it was. It was a big hit much to my surprise and delight. I was also so happy to have such good friends. It was at that moment I realized my friend were rich, actually, the whole darn school was rich. No wonder I was such a novelty. It wasn’t just because I lived on a boat but I was one of the few poor kids.

197984_10150126697864834_8178326_n                                                                    This is the school picture of me and my sister that year. I still had long hair, it was braided down my back.

Amy

My sisters school was only a block away from mine. We both loved taking the bus. We loved the company but also we loved not being late. When my folks took us to school we always arrived well after the bell rang. When they picked us up we waited well after all the kids had left and beyond that.

There was another girl who’s mom was later picking her up so she and I became friends for a while. Her name was Amy. Amy told me her mom and her mom’s friend were witches and that sometimes what they did made her afraid. Or at least that’s what I thought she told me. I already knew all about witch craft cause it’s mentioned in the Bible and my parents educated me about it. I knew it was evil and they worshiped the devil and harmed people. I believe Amy may have been trying to tell me differently but I couldn’t hear her because of my own strong belief in my ignorance. I meant well, I really wanted to help her. I talked to her about Jesus Christ and how he could protect her and on and on. This went on for a long time till one day Amy told me she could no longer talk to me. I was shocked and sad, I felt she had given up and now I couldn’t help her anymore. But I also knew I couldn’t force her to listen to me and be my friend so I let her go.

We had a mutual friend named Coleen. Coleen was a delightful person. When I think back about her I see a person full of light. She wanted to help mend Amy and my relationship badly. I was willing to talk with Amy but Amy refused. I didn’t feel right about explaining what had cause the breach with Coleen. Finally one day Coleen succeed temporarily. She talked Amy into talking to me. It was after lunch or PE and Amy marched right up to me and exclaimed that she felt fine before I had talked to her but since I had talked to her she felt bad and didn’t ever want to talk to me again. Then she marched away. When Coleen heard the news she was very sad, but she let it go. I understand the harm I was doing now, though my intentions were good, I was casing pain. In reality I didn’t know the first thing about witch craft so I was not suited to help Amy, if in fact she really needed help. To me back then anyone who was not a Born Again Spirit Filled Christian needed help. My ideas of things like witch craft would become even more warped as the years went by. I became the product of religious propaganda. I would hear speakers who say or came out of it and they would tell about all this evil stuff. I was warned not to research it much cause I could end up oppressed or obsessed by demons. Now I see that as a tactic to keep people from learning the truth and possibly leaving their religion. It is based on fear because many people who learn the truth still stay with their religion. I wouldn’t learn that witch craft and witches were up for interpretation till my late thirties. Witch is a name for many different things like the town wise person, the healer, the one who prays blessing for marriage, birth and crops, the city’s spiritual leader and so on. Like human tend to be, some were good and some were not so good. It was in the dark ages that the meaning of witch and witch craft was changed. The village spiritual leader was a threat to the reigning church so people were paid to lie about them saying they were doing all kinds of evil so the church would have reason to kill them thus insuring more control over the area. Then there’s Disney, which helped make the idea of witches as evil. But, as I said before it would be a very long time before I would become educated to this subject. And sadly Amy wouldn’t be the only person I would try to “help”.

Talk about “helping” people, I did my best to get my friends to go to concerts and movies at Calvary Chapel with me. I can only recall one time a friend went and she slept through the whole movie. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa wasn’t actually our church. We did enjoy the events and my dad who still wouldn’t go to church liked a series Pastor Chuck Smith was doing on Friday nights. Our church had become Vineyard of New Port beach. My sister and I loved the youth group. On Sunday nights during evening service we would all play soccer. No one was allowed to stand around. So by the time we were settled in for our Bible lesson they had our complete attention cause we were all wore out. We enjoyed the lessons too, they were designed well and our youth leader was gifted with teens. Sadly as so commonly happens, there was a falling out and the youth pastor left. It was still a good group but not quite the same.

Nicknames

Nick names usually didn’t stick on me, actually most folks just didn’t assign me one. There was a girl in my cooking class who decided I should be nick named Stoner. I have blue eyes and throughout my youth my eyes were sensitive to sun and water and other elements so they were often red. I thought it was fun that someone finally found a nick name for me even though it wasn’t the best one but my friends insisted it was a bad idea and even almost threatened the girl.

Boys

I had always had a crush on one or two boys and Jr. High was no exception. I liked a guy named Shawn Ellis in History class. But as usual I was to shy to tell anyone. It may not sound like it but I was actually very shy and normally quiet. It used to be that when I would talk there was always someone around to say, “Lori can talk!” The summer before this school year when my sister went off to camp I remember ridding in the passenger seat of my folks station wagon talking up a storm and my parents being in utter shock. They deducted that all it took was sending my sister off to camp. It’s probably true. She had been talking for me since I was a baby. Kari, my sister, also talked a lot and so did my mom. Almost always one or the other of them was talking. So Jr. High was a wonderful place for me to make friends, talk to them, and not be constantly interrupted. I was still somewhat shy and had been used to my sister breaking the ice for me but I managed very well in with out her after all. This would end up being a life long problem between my dad and I but I’ll tell you more about that later.

Back to boys. I also ended up getting a crush on an 8th grader named John whose locker was either right next to mine. Some how I leaked the information to a friend and then all my friends knew. They decided John needed to know too. Every time they would tell them he would say he didn’t know who I was. That even happened when I would walk up and they would point directly at me. It actually become more of a comedy routine. I tried to stay out of it but being the center of the topic made my lack of participation impossible.

Later on I would develop a crush on about two more guys and never tell anyone till much later. One I didn’t originally have a thing for. He was the handsomest guy in the whole dang school but he was so “high above me” there was no point to even dreaming. He was an 8th grader and the most popular guys in the whole place. The teachers loved him and his most popular girl in the school ubber snobby and mean but really pretty girlfriend made sure to make out with him regularly in the halls. One day while finishing up a swim with my mom and sister at the YMCA and preparing to do our volunteer work there, (likely how we got to hang out there in the first place) I walked through the office and there he was sitting on the counter talking to the guy working behind the counter. He looked up at me and told me I was pretty. I found my self answering, “Shut Up!” and then walked away. I had that sudden adrenalin rush you get when it hits you something great just happened but you just did something just awful at the same time kind of feeling. I felt bad later cause I had never seem the guy do anything mean to anyone. Just because his girl friend had a bad reputation didn’t make him bad right along with her. I figured after my monumental mistake my chances with him were long gone before they even started. Of course, time would prove that I really didn’t have a chance when it came to guys anyway. My parents wouldn’t tolerate any romantic relationships from me or even long term friendships for that matter.

Drama

Deonna and Diane we tied at the hip best friends. They also had a mutual friend named Nora. I got along with Nora but actually hardly ever saw her. I wanted to be her friend because she was about spoken Christian just like me. But Nora seemed to avoid me for unknown reasons. I can only speculate as to why she avoided me. I used to think it was because I wasn’t rich. Now I will add it’s possible it was my imagination, or she was in a denomination or “non-denomination” that snobbed other Christians. The drama got annoying when Deonna and Diane stated fussing, or more like fighting. They insisted Nora be on their side and would come and tell me about it. Like Coleen with me and Amy I really just wanted those girls to get along cause it was so much funner when they did and because I loved them both.

Somewhere along the line one of my friends informed me that Diane smoked and kept cigarettes in her purse. It turned out to be true. We were all shocked. As far as we knew it was only the shady kids who smoked behind the school and Diane wasn’t shady. Though it puzzled me she was still my friend.

Bullying

There was some bullying I had to put up with there. A boy named Daniel who would now likely be diagnosed with ADHD was the blunt end of my trouble. He would make fun of me any way her could. He and another bully named Matt and I all had our semester classes together. Most the classes weren’t a problem but art was a disaster. Our teacher Mr. Cox was always late for class. This gave Matt time to try and impress Danny by bullying me. Danny would bully with words but Matt would get physical. While waiting on Mr. Cox I spent most of that semester being kicked in the shins by Matt. There was this one day I got fed up with it. Although it never actually hurt me I couldn’t move anywhere with out this kid being in my face kicking me. I reached back to pop him one in the face but stopped when I say the evil grin he had. I recalled my dad telling me about how when someone wants you to fight them and you do you are just giving them what they wanted. Seeing his nasty grim made me realize that striking him back was exactly what he wanted all along. So I dropped my arm and his grin turned into his regular sour face. Matt ended up attending the Youth Group my sister and I went to at Vineyard. He would come with a friend of his that was a member there. When I would see him he would look down and avoid eye contact. He didn’t have anything to do with me at church but would resume his usual bullying once we were at school. Once inside art class Mr. Cox had no control. Danny would go wild in there. He would run around the tables playing with his friends, kissing up to the more popular kids and making fun of mostly me.

On one such occasion I did get in a “get back” briefly. My grandma used to go to Kmart and pick up school supplies and give them to my sister, cousin and I when we saw her. I would have loved to shop at Kmart but my parents didn’t take us there. Danny saw the Kmart pice tag sticker on one of my note books and started making fun of me for shopping there. He started imitating the loud speaker so often heard at Kmarts, “Attention Kmart shoppers, there is a blue light special on isle five…” So I asked him how he knew so much about Kmart if he never shopped there. My friends loved my response. He stuttered for a moment then defensively replied that he had been there when he was little. The glorious moment didn’t last long but I still reveled in it.

At the end of the school year Danny committed the unforgivable act of throwing dirt in my hair. That was the end of my rope for him. It was the last day and I started plotting a quick revenge. It wasn’t like me to do that but I really really hated getting sand or dirt in my hair. It’s possible I was like that because getting a shower was a deliberate act for my family. Out water tanks on the boat had not been cleaned and instead of getting them cleaned we resorted to filling water jugs at the park and carrying them to our dingy and rowing them home. Sometimes we would hook up a Sun Shower outside the shower window and run the small black hose through the window and shower off that way. We would either heat it with the sun or more often by heating water on the stove and pouring it into the bag. Sometimes we just wouldn’t quite make it and need another family member to heat a little more so we could rinse off properly. We ended up using the public pool showers mostly. My sister and I baby sat an old ladies granddaughters and sometimes we would use her shower. There was a time I had scabs on my head from scratching due to not having clean hair. My sister had a tendency to announce such issues that I would have but my folks quieted her about that one cause they didn’t want it to look like I had lice. Or so they said. It may actually have been they didn’t want anyone to know we weren’t getting proper avenues for hygiene. A few times I was so desperate to clean my greasy hair in the cold of winter that I would get in the dingy and stick my head in the freezing water. It was so cold I would automatically start sucking in air rapidly. After shampooing and using conditioner and rinsing with my head upside down in the bay I would pour the fresh jug water over my head to rinse the salt out. The water was cold as well but compared to the bay water it felt wonderfully warm.

I had it out for Danny and enlisted as many friends as I could get to to help me fight him after the last class. It wasn’t because I didn’t think I could take him, but because I believed his friends would help him out so I wanted my friends there for back up. The last class was a reading class and as I leaned back in my chair I pulled a muscle in my back for the first, but not last, time in my life. I didn’t know what was happening to me, I just knew I could hardly move and was in terrible pain. I went to the teacher about it but she didn’t have much help for me so I was on my own. Just before the bell rang while I was waiting near the door Danny walked up to me. He gave me one of those friendly light punch in the stomach, the kind you do when teasing friends. As he did this he said some thing about being friends next year in a very nice way. However, his friendly light punch just happened to hit my diaphragm and knocked all my air out. I held in the double portion of pain and smiled silently.

My friends weren’t real thrilled about getting into a fight so it wasn’t a let down for them when I told them I couldn’t do it. Later I felt the turn of events happened because God was teaching me a lesson and didn’t want me to fight Danny. It would have been a very foolish act for me to do especially since I had stopped a big fight between two boys earlier that year.

The fight just happened to be between my Erica’s tall blond crush and a short boy who seemed to be in trouble often. They got into it at the back of the school in the bike rack area while getting ready to go home. It was anormal all out fight with a circle of kids surrounding them cheering on their favorite kid. I stepped in the middle of the two boys in order to stop them. Some of the cheering boys started yelling at the tall kid to punch me. I looked into his eyes and knew he wouldn’t but I wasn’t so sure about the shorter guy until he started yelling at the tall one to punch me as well. Soon everyone got board and started leaving and then the whole thing was over and they all left. My friends had been waiting for me but instead of telling me what a great job I did or how brave I was they let me know how embarrassed they were. I was shocked. When Erica heard the news she found me right away and balled me out for it.

Erica was a cute curly brown headed short gymnast from Hungry. Her folks had escaped with her and were new to the US. My friends and I were happy to make her feel comfortable right away. Erica was a very outgoing person and quickly made friends all over the school and her English improved rapidly. Other than the embarrassment of my stopping her crush from fighting we got along great until her crush sent her a note via me. The way it was delivered told me something was off. He gave it to me to give to her along with a few of his not so nice friends. I opened it and was sad to see what was written inside. It told her how ugly and stupid she was using foul language of course. It was actually very bad and degrading. I took it to the school office. A school staff member came for me during a class one day asking me to help them identify the person who wrote the note. They took me to another class and called out a boy with the same first name as Erica’s crush but a different last name. He had that, “who the hell are you and here we go again” look on his face. I could tell he had a bad reputation. The staff person had a hard time understanding that this was not the boy who wrote the note but eventually let the kid go and we parted with the staff person looking a bit confused. I’m under the impression that Erica’s crush had a good reputation so they couldn’t’ believe it was him. However, though I am sure he knew exactly was was written in the note, I never felt he actually wrote it himself but was under the influence of his negative friends.

I must have been the one who told Erica about the note, I’m not sure. But she was very angry at me for not giving her the note and held it against me. It was as if she felt that if she had gotten the note and read it it wouldn’t have been that bad. Trying not to hurt her, to save her from the terrible things written inside just cause her hurt anyway.

Vineyard Christian Fellowship of New Port Beach

We fell in love with Vineyard. The pastor at that time was John Wimber. It was on the big side but they seemed to know how to make everyone feel important. My mom was getting along well there and my sister and I loved the Youth Group and our youth leader, Billy. We mostly met on Sunday nights during the Sunday night service. It was a large group of teens so we had plenty of people to make up two teams for a very active game of soccer before our lesson time. They made sure everyone was actively playing which was smart cause we were plum wore out and able to sit still and listen to what ever Billy was teaching us. He was married and had an adorable little girl who we loved to have visit once in a while.

We went to a big beach party for the youth group this one time. Dave McClusky and Bill McCulley (I may have spelled their name wrong)  from the San Diego Chargers joined us for the beach fun. One of the very large muscular foot ball players and some of the boys decided it would be more fun to toss the soda cans from one cooler to the other rather than carry the cooler. The football player was the one doing the tossing and the boys would vie for who caught it. I don’t know what my sister was thinking, she didn’t know either but she made a very big mistake. She needed to get from point A to point B and the straightest line between the two was right through the can toss area. She thought she could time it and make it but she learned differently when she felt the impact of the can on her forehead. She was very embarrassed cause she knew she shouldn’t have dome that so she intended to go hide some where for a little bit. Good thing the concerned gathering of kids and adults didn’t allow that to happen. They sat her down and kept asking her how she felt. She insisted she was fine and needed to get up until a friend told her to look at her blood soaked shirt. She had no idea that the can split her head open. After all it was a professional foot ball player who unintentionally hit her in the head with a flying soda can. That was the end of the beach party for my sister and I. My mom took her to a med center and I attempted to watch them stitch her head up. It grossed me out so I opted for sitting in the other room. My sister thought it was all very amusing. She has a high pain tolerance and has always enjoyed things like watching her self get stitches. I think she was a little bummed I couldn’t stick with it cause she couldn’t watch since it was in her hair line area.

Normally things went well at Vineyard. But as it always is, good things must come to an end. Billy started an at home exclusive group studying the book Improving Your Serve by Charles Swindoll. I call it exclusive cause it was only for select youth group kids. My sister was included. I don’t know if that led to the upcoming issue, it seemed like it did but, he ended up in a big disagreement with the church leaders and soon he was gone. The youth group kids were devastated. He meant the world to us, he knew how to communicate and get through to us, he spoke out language. His assistant John took his place. We all liked John but he wasn’t Billy. To the new kids the Sunday school and youth group was still awesome, but to those of us who had been there a while, it was never the same.

I believe there was many more political problems and the hierarchy fussed and removed more people including the pastor and replace them. It happens in a lot of churches and always has but it’s never easy and a lot of folks get hurt.

My dad

I said I would get back to why my doing well socially in school would end up a life long problem between my dad and I. So here it is.

As I said before my sister was the talkative outgoing one and I was the quiet shy one. I was often reminded by my dad that my sister was the smart one, and then he would add that I was street smart in a tone that he was trying to find something nice to say. People also would let me know my sister was pageant pretty or model pretty then they would add in a sicky sweet tone that I was pretty too, just not in the pageant or model way. My sister was not involved in these kind of conversations. To her I was her little sister and she was my mom and that was about it. My folk assumed my sister would make all kinds of friends once back in regular school and I would struggle. The opposite happened. Because I made a lot of friends and really enjoyed Jr. High school my dad decided that I was in a click and would tell people that until the day he died. I tried to tell him about how I had friends from all the groups and my friends and I would take in the new kids and unwanted kids and include them but he couldn’t hear me.

I believe the reason he was that way was because of his own school experiences. He was often an outsider due to having an eccentric mom and later due to be an orphanage kid. He was the second born living to my Grandpa Evert and Grandma Marylee. His mom had wanted another girl so he wore dresses and long curly locks till he was way past the normal age for little boys back then to wear gowns. He did end up with another sister and was allowed to wear boys clothes but then there was the matter of makeup. His mom desperately wanted to be an actress which is why she and my Grandpa had left Florida and moved to Burbank Ca. But she didn’t make it into the industry so she decided her kids would be move stars. She made them take the usual classes like tap and singing and such. My dad hated it. His vocal teacher told him he couldn’t sing but so she could still get pain she would make him recite poetry. He did tap dance shows with his little sister, my Aunt Jo. He hated walking home in full costume wearing stage makeup past the kids his age playing football. He did however, enjoy telling us the story about how one day while performing with his sister he fell due to the floor just being waxed and when he got up he started doing a different tap dance routine with out thinking. He said it ended up looking really good and everyone loved it.

Besides his early years, his dad died when he was eleven and his mom put him and his younger sister in an abusive Baptist home for children. His tap dancing training came in handy because he would tap dance during lunch period and the kids would throw coins at home which he could use for a better lunch and other items. But there was excessive bullying there which he didn’t tell me much about. I did hear about a drastic measure my aunt felt compelled to take against some excessive bullying some clickly girls were putting her through. My dad also told us more about the abuse my aunt went through in the home and only a small about of what he went through. I’ve figured a lot out on my own by piecing things together. I can see why it was just to hard for him to understand that a person could not only survive but have a really good time in school with out actually being the bad guy.

We didn’t get a lot of visitors on the boat back then. One time a co worker of my dads wanted his daughter to visit us and spend time with my sister and I but when she found out that should would have to abide by my folks rules she opted out. My sister and I were bummed. My moms best friend, Marie and her kids Timmy and Gina came to see us. It was great having them and Marie got a kick out of steering the helm as we went around the harbor. It was nice to get off the morning can for a little while. Once we established a mooring or anchorage area we hardly left the spot. My sister and I had grown up around Timmy and Gina so it was great getting to spend some time with them again. Marie had also been the one to hook us up with out cat when we had last gone to see them. He was a kitten at the time and for some reason we still saw him as small. She and Gina almost went into shock when they saw how huge he had grown. We didn’t know much about cats. Marie wasn’t only into cats but she had a green thumb as well and treated her houseful of plants like family members. We had an extremely long pothos we named Grandma that we gave to her when we moved from our house. It wouldn’t surprise me if the thing was still living to this day.

Moses

Our cats name was Moses. We named him that because we brought him home in a basket over the water. My sister and I had been begging for a cat and my mom said the only way we could have one was if it came with it’s food and litter. The folks who gave him to us also gave us cat food and litter. Moses was a tabby color, likely from his ally cat daddy. His mom was a Siamese and he had the eyes and temperament to go along with her breed. It was a rocky start and our hands looked like road maps due to being scratched up by the little critter. My folks were getting fed up with it and were threatening to get rid of Moses. My sister and I prayed to be able to keep him. When I say prayed, I mean it in the literal sense. Not just now but if and when I say it again it will be literal. We were raised to have complete and utter faith in Jesus Christ. To not have faith was a sin. Well, one day my dad was playing with Moses and made a face at him. Moses took a claw and scratched my dad clear across the face. My dad threw Moses full force against the bulk head bouncing his body across the small room. Moses then ran into the bowsprit and hid for days. Our bowsprit was a triangle small room at the very front of the boat that my parents kept promising to give me to room in but never did. Instead we used it for storage space for the sails and such. After hiding a few days Moses snuck out one evening while we were eating dinner. He slithered into the room and onto my dads lap, slightly up his chest and nestled his head just under my dads chin. That became Moses place from then on every night after dinner. The road maps on our hands disappeared in time and were able to keep Moses which we considered an answer to prayer.

Though well behaved Moses still had his Siamese genes and knew how to hold a grudge. If my sister or I did anything to him, like pull his tail, he wouldn’t do anything about it for a while. He would take his revenge when we least expected it. Usually when we were rubbing his belly. We did learn to watch for his eyes to dilate, that gave us fair warning. We often played a game my parents labeled Count Koo with him. Moses would run and hide behind something on the outside of the boat and we would try to sneak up on him. We watch him peek up to see where we were and then hide back down again real fast while we did the same. Eventually he would run at us and smack us with his paw then jet out off real fat and hide again. We’d try to sneak up on him too and if we succeeded he would jump and shake his paws as in surprise. The game would end quickly as soon as his pounce and claw smack had a nail sticking out.

Moses also sang long eerie songs. Well, actually it was a noise he made before hacking up a messy hair ball. Moses also knew exactly who I was. He knew I was a lily livered scardy cat. My mom liked to use the term “peace keeper”. But truth be told, I didn’t like confrontation and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. As the youngest and due to having a sister who ruled the nest and learned to manipulate from the best, as in my mom and dad, I really didn’t stand a chance when it came to standing my ground. I was taught that obeying ones parents was really the number one rule to belonging to Christ. And, my parents insisted I obey my sister. So standing up for myself was viewed as basically a sin. I can’t put all the blame on my folks, I think, I’m sure it also had something to do with not wanting life to feel unpleasant for myself as well.

As I said, Moses had this all figured out. He stopped turning us into road maps and was sweet to the family excluding me. He would wait above the hatch with his arms rapped around the long handle when we came home and watch everyone go down the stairs. When it was my turn he would put one nail out of his paw and smack me with that paw. Then he would jet inside the boat and wrap himself around a small column above the kitchen seat separating the kitchen area from the living room area and again wait till I passed by with his claw out. It was bad enough and I was intimidated enough that at times I would beg my dad to get Moses so I could pass by.

In time the fleas found Moses and invaded the boat. My parents theory is that we brought home sand fleas from the beach and they bread on Moses. Apparently the tastiest morsel on the boat was me. We tried all the normal tactics but nothing worked. We used the flea color for Moses, not me, and the flea bombs and powders and such but they always came back in full force. In the morning the first person out of bed got it pretty bad. All my family members would get a leg sprinkled with flees but of it was my leg wither it was first to hit the floor or last got blackened by the fleas. I learned to walk around the boat by going from furniture to furniture to avoid touching the floor. We continued to try to fight the buggers off the best we could.

The other problem with Moses was my moms, sisters and my cat allergies. My mom and I would get hay fever and sometimes itching eyes but my sister was a chronic asthmatic. Asthma runs in the family and I have a great grandma who died from it. My sister has been in the ER and critical care on many occasions due to asthma. I have asthma as well but it has never put me in the hospital. My folks finally decided we would be better off with out Moses. They found a nice family who lived on a boat not to far from us who were willing to take him. My sister and I were very sorry to see him go. He had become a family member.

One day after school my folks came to pick us up. They parked and sat with us on the school grounds to tell us the terrible news. When they had taken Moses to the other peoples boat and rowed away Moses jumped in the bay to try to get back to them. All the time Moses lived on the boat he had never fell or jumped in the water. They couldn’t get Moses to stay with the people so they took him to the vet where they injected him and my dad held him balling his eyes out as our little guy passed away. We all sat there crying not caring what those who passed by us thought. Moses absence left a big hole in my heart for a long time.

I didn’t like showing emotions and I didn’t like people to see me cry, gosh, I hated crying. But everyone had a breaking point. It was usually small things that would “break” me. It could be as small as my mom telling me harshly to put a pencil down and then the dam would break and I’d end up balling. It wasn’t about what she said, it was just time for me to release pressure. But she never understood. She would get very mad at me. It was nice when my dad was around because he was a lot like me and understood what was going on and would get my mom off my back. Then he’d end up finding a way to make me laugh. But when I was crying it was about many many things. It was like pictures of all the things that ever made me sad would flash before my eyes including Moses. Moses was always one of those pictures. I didn’t know how to release things. I wanted to be the best Christian I could be and I felt it was wrong to let things upset me, I thought that was bitterness and not having faith so I would just act like everything was ok. Plus, I had this idea that I needed to never forget any of the bad cause it wasn’t realistic. Though I may have seemed gullible to others I was trying hard not to be. Those concepts seems like an oxymoron but I was trying my best to do what seemed right and smart.

To be continued…

Note:
I am still working out the kinks so this may be edited and I do plan to add more pictures when I find them.

1/1/13 – added the section titled Vineyard Christian Fellowship of New Port Beach.

12/19/13 – added a few more pictures.

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Part 2

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High pitched goat cry’s weren’t the only odd noise around there. There were several nights my dad was called out to investigate a loud moaning people had called into the HP office. People were hearing a loud moaning like an old man in pain. It turned out to be an old seal who would get in peoples dinghies and lay there and moan. We found it pretty funny though others insisted it was irritating and interrupting their sleep.

Some things were not so funny like the dead whale that floated into the harbor and beached on the shore where the tide left him behind several yards from the water. Talk about stinky! It was while and decaying and totally gross. Several employees along with my dad had the task of trying to get it back into the bay and then out the mouth of the harbor. It was just nasty and then kept drifting back in for a while.

There was also wild boar. We were warned to avoid them cause they ran in packs and if they felt threatened they would charge. At night we approached the dumpsters with caution cause they were often hanging out there. We did end up having a run in with a herd, but it wasn’t at the dumpsters.

On on of the hills overlooking Cat Harbor was a hunting lodge we called the Banning House which is also a historical monument. In the winter it was often empty until hunting season. In the summer it housed the summer employees. The place was surrounded on three sides by forest and on the back side a road and homes across from the road. We often spent time at the Banning House to cook and eat dinner in the large kitchen and dinning area. It was also a nice place for meeting up with other locals and chatting. My dad enjoyed watching Hawaii Five-O in the lodge. When we went to the Banning House we used a tail that cut through the woods and around to the side where there was a brick floor court years mostly surrounded by bushes to the main entrance.

It was on one such occasion we had out boar encounter. We didn’t expect a herd of boar to be on the brick patio and the boar didn’t expect a herd of four humans to suddenly approach. Thankfully the boar did not translate the surprise into charging but rather skidding and hoofs screeching to a halt and sliding all over the place trying to turn around and run the other way. It was quite a site and quite hilarious. They were in such a tizzy!

There were horses there too. During the winter the horses and dogs could run free. It was so amazingly beautiful to watch the horses run along the hills and the beach. There were several brown colored horses and one pure white one. When they saw us walking along the dirt road that went between the Isthmus and Cat Harbor they would run up to us and try to investigate our bags and purses. We were told by the town locals not to give them anything cause then they would get even more demanding. They were just so cute and fun though. There’s nothing like watching them run and pl;ay along the shore line.

My dad made friends with a pelican once. Well, it was just overly friendly. We had never seen a friendly pelican before but this one like to join people in their dinghies. At first my dad thought is was really neat that the pelican had joined him while he was rowing home. It started off charming and funny when the pelican decided to get close and rub up against him, but all the charm was lost when my dad spotted the large lice the pelican was carrying around. I think his friendliness was due to other intentions.

Naturally the place had it’s ghost stories. My family was very charismatic pentecostal evangelical missionary type Christians and we didn’t believe in ghosts. We believed in angels and demons and figured the ghosts people saw were either their imagination or an angel or demon. But generally we just figured these folks made the stories up for fun.

We had that notion really shaken one dark moonless night when we were walking home from Isthmus to Cat Harbor. We couldn’t see very far ahead so we were already walking quite slow. There were not city lights to illuminate things. I remember the story a man told us about how he was stone drunk staggering to the Banning House when he ran smack into a hard object. It didn’t take long for him to realize it was a Buffalo. He said he sobered up real fast and took off running. He never looked back to see if he was being pursued.

So we proceeded in the dark very carefully. We all saw it and began walking even slower. It was a white shadow floating in and out of the tress just ahead of us. We all grabbed hands and took careful steps forward watching the odd white legless thing slowly move just ahead. All the ghost stories we had heard there popped into our minds. After watching with our eyes open as far as they could we started making out a shape, legs began to appear then a neck and then it was finally clear what we were seeing was the white horse appropriately named Spook. We had fun telling the locals we know who their ghost was. They still insisted they had seem ghosts other than the horse but we knew better. Now I can appreciate that maybe they did really see aspersions other than a live horse. But in those days my folks were very convincing that what they believed was right and everyone else was wrong or crazy.

524427_268774269890412_609420248_nThis is a pic of Peggy Smith. One of my moms best friends from Anaheim Ca.
Spook is the white horse behind them with his head up.

There was a very large eel that lived to the side of the dock in Cat Harbor that we tied out dinghies up to. We would watch him swim around from time to time when the water was clear. He was kind of like our local harbor pet. I don’t remember what but we all had a name for him and just liked knowing he was there like people like having critters in their fish tank. During summer some tourist kids just had to find a way to kill him. It was like losing a pet, we were all very angry and sad and there was nothing we could do about it.

Talk about naughty tourist kids… Cat Harbor was normally a very quiet place with only a few boats moored and anchored at a time. But during the summer holidays it was packed solid. The boats would tie up to each other in rows so you could walk across the harbor from one boat to another. It was fourth of July and my sister, mom and I were in the banning house cooking and doing laundry. We heard a truck drive by on the dirt toad and Bombards sons wife announcing on a bull horn that there was a fire and everyone was expected to help put it out. There was no fire dept. there so the folks with any experience were sent to the front lines with shovels and those with no experience were sent to the fire breaks to re-dig them while others ran for containers to fill with water. You see, the two near by yacht clubs had used all the water up spraying down their roofs. I remember running out of the banning house to get the fire hose ready with my mom and turning it on to only have a small trickle of water come out of it. My dad was sent to the front lines, my mom to the fire breaks and my sister took charge of getting all the dogs off the hill. She ended up getting a fast ride down cause they all took off with her holding their leashes down hill. I was tasked with finding trash cans to add to the pick up truck so they could be filled with water and taken back up to the burning hill.

The kids had gone ashore and started setting off fire works at the baso of the very dry hill that the homes ad Banning house just happened to be on. Thankfully it was a ways off so it didn’t catch the buildings on fire right off. The employees were mostly young summer staff and many had ran off to help out in shorts and no shoes. The only restaurant cafeteria was turned into the medical area to treat those who had smoke inhalation and cactus needles impeded into their legs and feet.

My sister was very upset with me because she didn’t know where I was and hadn’t gotten her permission to help out. I felt I had acted responsibly and that there wasn’t anyway to have really communicated with her.

The boys were easily identified but their parents hid them on their boat and insisted they had been there the whole time. The fire breaks did not good cause the fire leapt over them and continued to consume the hill. My mom let us all know later that she and another Christian friend prayed for Jesus to stop the fire when suddenly the wind switched direction and burned the fire out just before it reached the buildings.

Life just wouldn’t be right with out of getting to be in Cat Harbor for its hundred year extreme tear everything up over a hundred knot winds storm. It blew just right right down the funnel and racked havoc. My dad spent the day in the HP boat rescuing boats dragging anchor and staring into the needle like rain. I remember popping my head out to check things out and being surprised how painful the rain drops were. Thankfully we were moored behind the small strip of land that housed a yacht club and help break up the rough water. But the folks moored just head of us weren’t so fortunate. It was horrifying watching our friends aboard their huge power boat watch helplessly as a large sail boat was lifted into the air and set down on top of the power boats bow. Talk about major damages. Thankfully all the people aboard were safe. My dad had been far sighted for a few years and after the storm he became near sighted as well. We figured looking into the needle piercing rain likely set off the eye damage.

All the same, my dad loved his job…but not his boss. But I”l talk more about that later.

At some point we had made arrangements with two other families to share a place in the unused summer dormitory during the winter and split up the cooking and cleaning duties with them. Life in Twin Harbors was rather expensive so working together just made sense. There was one very small store there that marked up all it’s items terribly and nothing was every really fresh. It was just common to buy moldy bread and cut the mold off before eating it. Most our bulk shopping was done in Avalon. The grocery store there was also overpriced but still much better them the tiny store in the Isthmus. We either sailed around the Island to get there or one of my parents rode along in the company truck on one of their scheduled routes. We didn’t have or need a car there. There was a company pick up truck that was shared for local things when needed.

Normally sailing around the island was delightful even though I get terrible sea sick. It was on those trips that we got to watch the dolphins spin along side out boat and jet ahead to jump and flip just in front of us and then swim off just in the nick of time. They were delightful to watch and it was amazing to see them having just as much fun doing what they do all on their own accord.

One such trip didn’t end up so delightful. On this trip we had another sailor accompany us. It was Eddie Murphy. Eddie was an old hermit who lived on a small sail boat neat us in Cat harbor. The trip to Avalon was fine, it was the attempted trip home that was disaster. We often referred to that trip as out twenty four hour trip from Avalon to Avalon. It started out fine till we neared the east end of the island. Our engine died so we had to rely on the sails and it was storm conditions. Not exactly sailing weather. We fought the wind and water to try to make it home but it was only getting worse. Our dinghy tore lose from the rope pulling it and disappeared. Losing a dinghy is like losing a car. It’s an awful thing to lose. And worse yet the only shore near by was the jagged rocks on the east end.

My sea sickness was in full swing. All our books and items had fallen off their shelf and onto the floor along with the bedding. We had a kerosene stove and useless oven attached to stainless steel swivels which somehow managed to corrode and broke causing the stove and oven to come crashing down onto the already cluttered floor. I was laying on one of the beds throwing up into the blankets on the floor and my mom was the mirror image of me on the other side where there was another bed area. My dad didn’t normally get sea sick cause he could successfully keep his mind busy but Eddie insisted on taking the helm (as in steering the boat) so he and my sister passed a barf bucket back and forth.

Some where along the line we ended up back in Avalon. What a wonderful feeling it was to finally be out of the rage of the storm and tie up. Eddie make quick arrangements to get back home via land and left us to our own devices. It took a while to get the engine repaired and we had a pleasant uneventful sail back home. My sister and I didn’t mind the extra time in Avalon. After all besides a different view and more people there was a wonderful candy. There was also a church there that my mom made friends with that we would sometimes hang out at. Well, I am sure there were plenty of churches there but this one was non-denominational and her style. One time a group from the church came to the Isthmus to visit us. They brought buffalo meet and made buffalo hamburgers which I had never had. I found the meet taste very strong and though I didn’t complain I didn’t care for it. After the churches visit my mom was delighted to hear them tell her that they considered us missionaries to the west end. My mom’s whole joy about moving on a boat and sailing around the world was so she could be a missionary. More about that subject later.

Back home in Cat Harbor while my dad was doing his usual patrol a fisher man offered to sell a dinghy to my dad. Wouldn’t you know, it was our dinghy the man was offering to sell us. Our dinghy has CF number so it was illegal for that man to do that. My dad could have turned him in but instead he said he wanted it, tied it up to his patrol boat, let the man know it was actually his dinghy and took off.

That poor dinghy went was only starting to get abused. During the holidays when the harbor was overcrowded the dock didn’t have enough room for all the dinghy’s so we would all climb over each others boats with a long rope and tie off that way. On such one occasion someone carelessly crashed into our dinghy and broke the front end. We learned to not appreciate the rich yacht tourist that we called yachties. They just didn’t understand that our dinghy’s were like cars to us, we really needed them and relied on them and couldn’t afford to replace them. A similar thing happened once when we tied our dinghy up in Avalon, someone crashed into it and broke the back end off. We still had enough free board to use her but it was real beat up looking and we had to be careful not to weigh her down so she wouldn’t take water in.

Back to the subject of religion and missionaries. I remember one such person my mom regularly “shared” her faith with was a lady named Sea. Sea and her husband were employed by the science facility near by (http://dornsife.usc.edu/hyperbaric/home/index.cfm). They had two kids and were very into nature. I guess now I would call them pagen but then we thought of them as New Age. My mom loved learning about the healthy natural things she knew and would often have Sea teach my sister and I about stuff. Sea also taught us to snorkel and about the natural sea habitat along the Isthmus. My mom enjoyed sharing her faith with Sea who never seemed to mind. I was just a kid so if she did I didn’t see it. I remember thinking sometimes that my mom overdid it though and it made me very uncomfortable. I also didn’t understand how my mom would tell my sister and I about how the things Sea believed were wrong and even demonic but then she would have Sea teach us stuff. That was only the beginning of the propaganda my parents would end up filling my sister and my head with. My sister and I also learned just how allergic to rabbits we were while playing with a bunch of Sea’s baby bunnies. Ouch! We turned into rash city. Even now when I play with the bunnies at a pet store I end up either wheezing or sneezing and itchy eyes and stuff. But they are so darn cute! I wish now I had paid better attention the things Sea was teaching us. I love to know about herbs and natural remedies.

The local dogs provided joy and entertainment in Twin Harbors as well. There was Nari, the red golden retriever. She would run sideways along the hills while her gorgeous red coat blew in the breeze. She was amazing to watch until she got close, and she always got close. Nari loved to be loved and would run right up to you with a large strand of gooey slobber draped from her mouth over her nose and on down a bit. I don’t know why I bothered trying to avoid that strip of slobber because Nari was so loving she always ended up smearing it on me some kind of way. Still she was a load of joyful fun. The best part of watching Nari run was that she not only ran sideways in a straight line on the hills but she ran sideways in a straight line on a flat road. It was just to funny to watch.

There was also the black pug named Buddy that had an island reputation. His family’s house on the Isthmus side and his man worked as a Harbor Patrol in that harbor. Buddy didn’t like it when his guy left him so he would brake at the guy from the beach disturbing the sound for all those on in the town, beach and in the harbor. The man tried tying him up at home but Buddy was an escape artist. One day the man got smart and tied Buddy up real good to a huge heavy log. But not even a log could keep Buddy from his beloved dude. Buddy managed to drag the log all the way down to the beach where he proceeded his obnoxious barking at the man who so rudely left him home.

Other memorable dogs were an Alaskan husky named Doughnut who belonged to the dive instructor. When my dad was taking sucaba diving Doughnut would often join the folks on their bay lap swim exercise. Though my dad was older than the other participants he usually ended up ahead of everyone because he didn’t start of trying to prove anything but paced himself. Doughnut figured when he got tired he could just hitch a ride on my dad.

There was also Cookie’s dog. I believe is was an old fat golden Lab. It didn’t do much but lay there but we adored ’em. Cookie and her friend were a lot of fun too.

A “wild” cat had laid her litter under the stairs leading to the Banning House kitchen. One of them my sister and I and some other kids named Sloopy. We would sing it the Snoopy come home song but exchange the name snoopy for Sloopy. I was very attached to Sloopy although she really wanted nothing to do with any of us.

There was a girl about a year or so younger than me who lived in a house behind the Banning House that became a friend. One day she gave me her green beaded necklace. It was just a costume piece but I didn’t get gifts often and especially not jewelery so I prized it. I wore it daily till one day she asked my why I always wore it in disgusted tone. I was embarrassed and stopped wearing it.

There was a discussion among the parents there once about the new song that came out called Billy Wants a Doll. My mom was disgusted that people were writing songs to try to get people to accept homosexuality. I believe that was the first time I ever heard of it. I didn’t think the songs was just about being gay but my folks insisted that if parents let their boys do girls stuff it could lead to the horrors of being gay. It would be many many years into my future before I would understand how awful that frame of mind is and how much harm the way my parents were programing me would cause.

Fly me to the Moon… or actually the main land would do just fine!

Catalina had two air ports. One was for sea planes in Avalon and the other was near the middle of the island on a mountain top called Air Port in the Sky. APS (or so I am calling it) had one small run way that had a cliff on each side of it so it was really quite dangerous.

My Uncle Brett was getting married in La Jolla, Ca so we went to the Air Port in the Sky to try to get a flight to the main land. It was very overcast so the flights in were getting canceled. Leaving the area would have been fine but landing there wasn’t and there were no domestic planes already present. While waiting to be sure it wasn’t going ot work out two men noticed out dilemma and offered us a ride in their six man Sesna. They said they would figure out what we owed them mid flight depending on the weight and fuel usage. We took them up on their offer. My sister and I have never flown before so it was all quite exciting. Sadly since it was overcast all we could see was clouds but it was still thrilling ot be up in the air. Midway to the main land they announced our weight didn’t add much to the flight cost so they didn’t charge us anything.

My mom ans sister and I continued on to my Grandma Dotties home in Glendale, Ca. While my dad did some business and headed back to Catalina. His flight home was quite interesting. He was able to catch the commercial twelve passenger plane to Air Port in the Sky. He shared the ride with a plane full of retired folks on a vacation trip. There was no co-pilot so the pilot offered him the seat next to her. All was wonderful until just before their landing. Since the plane was small everyone aboard could hear what was said over the radio between the pilot and the air traffic controller. No one was thrilled to learn that the pilot had never landed an airplane at Air Port in the Sky before. Just looking out the window would tell you there wasn’t any room at all for error. My dad suddenly found his amazing co-pilot seat not so amazing anymore. It was a huge to relief to all when the pilot actually did land the plane safely on the runway.

Mean while the three of us were enjoying my Grandmas company but were disappointed that no one would give us a ride to my Uncles wedding. Since we were not able to attend it my mom took my sister and I to see the newly released movie called Chariots Of Fire. There was some technical problems so stayed to watch it again. I believe it had some more problems so my mom talked the manager into letting us come see it again the next day. Basically she was in love with the movie. Although I found my moms pleas to the management embarrassing I did really enjoy the movie as well and adored the theme song.

Back on the island my dad was able to discover the beauty of the different coves and harbors since Bombard owned a large portion of the place and it was my dads job to patrol them. One time he took us to Emerald Bay. It was so beautiful there. You could see the patches of emerald colors thirty feet down. We got to go snorkeling and check out the sea life. One time while swimming off the boat a huge shadow appeared so we got out. It was a huge sting ray likely pretty far down but we couldn’t tell for sure so we waited on the boat.

The sea creatures are so amazing. I loved the soft fur feel of the sea slugs and how they arch their back when you pet them. They can also leave a black ink mess when they are frightened. There were these little slug looking things that were very purple with a hot pink Mohawk on their backs. On nights when the bio-luminescence was in full swing my dad would sometimes take us out at night on the HP boat. When he sped through the water the green flow would flow off the bow in and sparkle in the wake. We would also see all kinds of creatures from large fish to eels as they swam and the bio-luminescence illuminated them. It was really quite a magical feeling to take all that amazing beauty.

To be continued…

Note:
I had edited this and forgot to update. So as of 12/30/12 it has been updated and edited. I also plan to add more photos when I have time to go through my old pictures and post them.

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When I lived aboard the Moon Shadow people would often ask me what living on a boat was like. I was a kid then and my best response was, “What’s it like living in a house”. I wasn’t trying to be rude, it’s just that boat life was all I knew and I didn’t know how to explain what it was like.

Part 1

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My sister (left) and me (right) aboard the Moon Shadow right after we moved aboard her on Oxnard, Ca.

In the Beginning

Growing up my family consisted of my dad (Bob), mom (Joan), big sister (Kari) who is three years older than me, and myself.

We started off as a family of three, than when I was born it became four, living in a middle class neighborhood in Orange County Ca. not far from Disneyland.

My dad had owned his own barber shop before I was born. Due to hard times he sold his business and became a bar tender.
When I was still a toddler my parents separated for two and a half years. They reunited when I was four. It was also the same year I drowned and the same year my moms dad died.

My dad met some men at the bar he worked at who were involved with boating in the yacht races and he began to join their team and race with them in the Ensenada races. He would often join Dick Wallis’ team aboard his sail boat called the Trius (or was it Tryus?), named after his place of employment.

He got a crash course in sailing on the way back from the first Ensenada race he was a part of. All the other men were intoxicated leaving him to pilot the boat alone while they were passed out.

After being a part of the races for a while my dad approached my mom about the idea of purchasing a boat. Since we couldn’t really afford it she suggested we sell the house and buy one we could live on. A few years later and a few lectures on how dangerous the idea was from the grandmothers we finally sold the house, moved in with my dad’s younger sister, Aunt Jo, and family in Tulare, Ca and started boat shopping.

I was pulled out of the last semester of my 4th grade at Orange Christian School and put in the Tulare public school to finish it. When the year was over my teacher explained to my mom that she didn’t bother to teach students who came in late so she just graduated me. My mom was appalled and came to the realization that since we planed to travel that would mean being placed and pulled out of school often and she would end up with a very stupid daughter. As it was I was really struggling in school and quite behind. Thankfully my mom had collected many text books from her time as a volunteer at our schools. When ever they were getting rid of books she had the chance to go through them and take what she wanted. We didn’t know about corespondent school or home school so we didn’t join one right away, we just used the books she had in her position which was more then enough. Home school was at that time unheard of and some thought illegal so we were taught to be very discrete about it.

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Top: The four of us. I’m the smallest one. Bottom: The Moon Shadow anchored off Avalon, Catalina Island.

Oxnard, CA

My dad desired a sail boat that would be a ketch, meaning have two masts (or sails) and he wanted it to be a 41 footer and he wanted to name her Moon Shadow, he also liked the William Garden design. He spent long periods of time away from the family while out on his “shopping” trips. One day he and my mom were at a place in Oxnard, Ca inquiring about boat sales. The sales rep opened a book and the page fell to a boat that was a 41′ Garden Ketch already named Moon Shadow and owned by a man named Bob. My dad exclaimed that it was the boat he wanted even if it was on the bottom of the bay. The boat became ours though her previous owner tried a few time to renege on the sale.
We moved aboard her I believe the summer of 1980 close to my 10th birthday. My sister was almost 13.

We were spoiled at first. Not in a discipline way but in a boat way. When we moved aboard the Moon Shadow she was docked in a marina with a club house membership and we had electricity, phone connection, and everything. The club house had a pool, weight room, place to get coffee and hot chocolate and a park to go roller skating in. It was a short walk to town where we often stopped at Thrifty Drug Store and got a scoop or two of ice cream.

We had quite a few wind breakers from Dick’s boat with the Tryus logo and wind breakers from my Uncle Bud with the Michelin Man logo on them. My sister and I would wear them and lift the bottom up high on our roller skates so they would catch the wind and send us sailing down the side walk.

My dad taught us to row there by tethering us to a rope and pushing us out on the dingy. We learned pretty fast, he was a good teacher.

The spoiling came to an end after a short time when we had an impromptu family reunion and said good by’s to our grandmas, aunts and uncles, cousins and such and cast off for good from the marina in Oxnard.

Santa Barbara, CA

Our first order of agenda was to sail to Coos Bay, Oregon. We heard good things about living aboard there and the prices of being in a slip there were reasonable. However, we were apparently uneducated about the timing of a sail north and that we were headed up at the same time the fog rolls down. We got as far as Santa Barbra, Ca and anchored in the open water area just outside the harbor. There is no anchoring inside the harbor, just boat slips which are costly.

I don’t remember exactly how long we stayed out there but it was long enough to lose our land legs, that much I remember. While anchored in the open water we got used to the constant swells and holding onto our plates and cups when we had a meal. Swimming was both ominously scary in the dark water and fun since one is very buoyant in the ocean swells. There was a very old ship next to us with a large crew that got up every morning and “heaved-ho” the sails up and so on. It wasn’t there for our entertainment but it sure provided some.

My dad made regular trips to the harbor and occasionally my mom went. It was wonderful when he finally announced we were all going ashore. He took my sister and I first since he didn’t feel our dingy would make it in the swells with all of us. Then he went back for my mom leaving my sister and I in the second story office of the harbor patrol. The Harbor Patrol office had wall length windows facing the beach. We enjoyed the view sitting there board waiting for our parents. We enjoyed it even more when suddenly the ocean came up to the window then back down again, land sickness was about to set in. It was crazy and fun at first. We realized right away no one else could see what we were seeing and that due to being on the boat in the swells so long our equilibrium was off causing it to look like the sea was rising to the large windows and back down and up and down again. We my folks got there we began to walk down the street, at first it was fun that the side walk did the same rise and fall the ocean had been doing. That is until we got to the restaurant and all we wanted it to do was STOP! I remember whining at my dad asking when it would stop cause it was making me nauseous. My dad let us know that eventually soon it would just go away and like he said, it did.

We spent enough time ashore to eat a hamburger and do laundry. Someone had told my folks that the streets in Santa Barbra were not safe which made me feel a little uncomfortable. I remember a lot of hills and I remember a beach overlooking where out boat was anchored with palm trees lining it.

While in Santa Barbra my parents learned about the fog issue so they decided it was better to head south for the time being.

Dana Point, CA

We often spent time in Dana Point, Ca when we were in transition. It was a harbor my dad was familiar with. Even when we lived in the house Dana Point was the beach we would travel to when we wanted to go to the beach. Dana Point has a very long rock jetty that seemed like it went on for miles along the shore before you actually enter the harbor. I used to be terrified we would hit it even though it was big enough for many boats to go through at the same time. My dad told us that once when he was there fishing a rouge wave hit the jetty pulling everyone off. He managed to grab a rock and save him self. He said the man next to him did too but lost his boy. He told us it happened often and made sure we knew to be very alert and careful while on jetties.

I don’t know exactly how many time we went to Dana Point, I lost track. One time we anchored for a few day and were very close to the now maritime museum called The Pilgrim. It was the ship Richard Henry Dana was stationed aboard when the harbor was first discovered. At the time we were anchored near it they were doing the play called Pirates of Penance aboard her. We couldn’t hear them except when they were singing loudly together, but we could see them when ever they swung off the halyards and dropped into the bay. On their swing out they would often wave at us which we just loved. It was so fun to watch. I didn’t actually ever see the play until I rented the movie many years later. It’s such a fun one!

ThePilgrimPicture of the Pilgrim found at http://www.paintingtucson.com/the-pilgrim/.

We usually spent a few days tied up to a dock and used the dock showers and laundry facility. We had a small shower on the boat but it’s not the same. We also enjoyed the board walk along the marina to the marina shops and restaurant area. My dad liked the restaurant there called The Brig.

One time just before pulling into Dana Point we actually caught five Bonita’s. Bonita’s are in the tuna family but are of a whiter and less fishy tasting meat and less bony. My family was not known for their fishing skills so when we caught fish we were extra excited. Plus this time, we were out of food. Each fish we caught while trolling in the ocean was big enough for one person. What do ya know, my dads best freind who we called Uncle Don popped in on us after we tied up in a slip. So we had a fish to feed everyone. Later we met a lady at the showers. My mom is good at talking to strangers and always finds people to talk to everywhere she goes. This ladies family had just got back from a failed attempt to sail around the world. When she heard we had sail around the world plans she offered us their dehydrated food they had stored for their trip. BTW, dehydrated food back then meant hard as a rock veggies which when soaked in water and cooked came out to be flavorless food. But at least it was food.

New Port Beach, CA

We ended up making our floating home in New Port Beach, Ca for a while.

While still new to New Port and boating in general we had our first big storm initiation. Naturally it all went down at night. We were anchored in the designated area just behind a large mooring can area. We were careful to keep a distance from the moorings because the cans (they look like small buoys) were all connected by chains running along the floor of the bay and we didn’t want out anchor getting stuck in them. The storm didn’t respect out carefulness and drug out boat right to the mooring area and it’s maze of boats. Our big nightmare was running into another boat and ruining it. While my dad tried to gain control of the boat my mom went to the bow with a large broom to push us away from other boats. My sister was also called above to help them out. I was told to stay inside the cabin and I didn’t dare disobey my dad. It was all very terrifying. My mom was screaming out things like, “Jesus help us” in very terrified tones. Our dinghy got caught and started going under our boat toward the rudder. Though my dad knew the danger of jumping in the dinghy to try to release it was extremely dangerous he did so anyway and succeeded. He had to cut her lose though and let her drift off which was a big loss for us. A boaters dingy is like their car. It’s a necessity.

The craziness went on for hours. The folks on the boats we were threatening to crash into tried to help but there wasn’t much they could do. Eventually the storm died and we were able to get secured. My sister and I whinnied about how much we hated the experience and wanted to move off. My dad told us that in three days we would change our minds and have a blast telling our wild story. Sure enough, in three days he was right. Thankfully two teen live-a-boards rescued out dinghy and returned her to us. Later one of them became a good friend.

Making school official.

I believe it was here that we finally discovered correspondence school. I’m surprised it took us so long to figure out such things existed. After all my Grandpa Barney took his collage classes though a corespondent school and that was when my mom was a child.

Though we had been studying and likely advanced a grade my mom didn’t know she had the power to advance us a grade so I officially went into 5th grade and my sister into 8th grade making us both a year behind. The corespondent school we were enrolled in was designed for missionary kids and was very tough so that they could reenter school anywhere in the world and not be behind. Before moving on the boat I was a terrible reader. After spending some time being taught one on one with my mom I became a very advanced reader. My parents didn’t have any trouble teaching me but my sisters curriculum was a difficult task. It was very advanced and my folks often couldn’t keep up with the math. Rather than telling her that they had no idea how to do it they would just ask her what she thought and even give her the teachers book to help her figure it out. My sister has a high IQ which in those days was considered very valuable and prized. She was able to challenge herself and figure out how to work her problems.

Though we loved boat life and home school we did miss interacting with people outside our family. Our parents let us know how much better than other kids we had it. After all, other kids only knew how to relate to people their age but we were around people of all ages and thus we could communicate with a spectrum of different kinds of people. Or so that is what they told us. I do believe it was partly true. I say partly because often times we had trouble relating to kids our own age.

Time to go.

New Port Harbor has an illegal rule that you can only anchor there for thirty two hours. After that you must rent a mooring can or a slip or leave the harbor. The reason it is illegal is because all ocean territory and beach front is government owned and free to the public. One time a Canadian boat was anchored there or maybe it was Australian, I can’t remember. They didn’t plan to stay long but they did plan to stay longer than thirty two hours. So the New Port Harbor Patrol boarded the vessel and tore it apart looking for drugs. The Canadian boat left like everyone else who went through the same thing. We did rent a mooring can for a while but when the owners needed it back we had to rent one from the city. The city rented us one near the middle of the harbor then had us move to one close to the entrance of the harbor. When our time on the can was up we were aware of the anchoring issues so we took off for the island of Santa Catalina.

Santa Catalina, CA

You may have heard of it in the old 50’s song, or maybe not.  I found a nice video of the song at – https://youtu.be/2ouBi1v5Lw8.   I don’t know the folks who put it together but it’s nice to see the pictures.

We had visited Catalina several times and this time we went there to live. The most famous place on Catalina is her main harbor called Avalon. It’s a small compact city built on the mountain side. It’s harbor is open water but has mooring cans and a large dock for quick tie ups and a pier with a Harbor Patrol office on the end of it. During the 40’s and the 50’s it was a popular place to take a ferry to and go dancing and party. Doris Day stared in a movie there called Glass Bottom Boat. My dad told us about the horrible storms that rip through Avalon and swore he would never be caught in one. It’s open water harbor made it very vulnerable.

When we moved to Catalina in1981, Avalon was owned by the city of Long Beach. A large portion of the rest of the island was mostly owned by a man named Bombard. There were a few areas controlled by people other than him closer to the middle and a few small harbors. My dad found employment under Bombard as a Harbor Patrol man in Two Harbors. Two Harbors is at the west end of Catalina which is the opposite end from Avalon. Two Harbors are two harbors directly across from each other. The one on the same side that Avalon is on and facing the main land is the Isthmus and the other one is called Catalina Harbor or better know as Cat Harbor. It’s name Cat isn’t just short for Catalina but for the cliff marking the hidden entrance to her harbor. If one doesn’t know to look for the cat head shaped cliff just before the entrance it is likely they will miss it and sail right on by.

My dad picked Cat Harbor as our new home because it has the safest harbor in the area. Due to being on the other side of the island and so well protected by the cliffs it rarely ever sees a storm. Actually there is usually only one every 100 years that makes it down the funnel entrance and racks havoc on it’s harbor.

My dad was put in charge of Cat Harbor and given a HP boat to use for patrol. He found out fast that the fisher men both spoiled and hated him. We often got bags of crab and lobster as well as squid and abalone and other interesting fish like sheep’s head. Sheep’s head are the meanest looking fish and after filleting them we got to enjoy being freaked out by watching their bones quiver. With the fishermen it was really a love hate relationship between them and my dad. The anchorage there was also limited and there wasn’t a lot of room. So thus the bribing and the scourge of being told they had to leave for a while and not to do other things that really were illegal.

At times it became dangerous but my dad having grown up in an abusive home for children learned how to manipulate and take care of himself. You see, the only official “law” there was Sheriff Bob and his rottweiler Bear. Rottweilers were not well know then so Sheriff Bob’s dog was a well known big scary deal to any west end frequenters. My dad made previous arrangements with the Sheriff and when there was “trouble” my dad would call in over the CB to Sheriff Bob and the Sheriff would tell him he was headed over with BEAR. They had it coded so the Sheriff knew to not really come unless otherwise indicated. It always worked, the fishermen were terrified of Bear and thus behaved themselves.

At that time Twin Harbors only had about a hundred employees in the winter time. Most didn’t even work for Bombard but worked at the science facility that housed a decompression chamber there on a hill nearby. They just lived in the Isthmus area.

I loved living on Catalina. There was so much to explore for an eleven year old. My sister didn’t care for it so much, she wanted friends her age to hang out with. There were sisters there who were my age and my sisters age. The one my sisters age hung out with the folks who were in their twenties and had no interest in being my sisters friend. The one my age played with us on occasion during summer. During winter the girls took the long bus ride to attend Avalon schools. My parents didn’t want us to take the bus because it traveled along the cliffs and because we would only be home at night since the trip took a few hours. So they kept us in home school.

Catalina Island had a lovely animal life. A long time ago California Bison, also incorrectly known as buffalo which is the more popular name they are called, were brought to Catalina. There are also wild goats and boar. They have a hunting season to keep the animal population down. My sister and I were told to behave ourselves during hunting season because it was big business for the Bombard corporation. The reason we had to “behave” ourselves was because the buffalo are normally quite docile. Their herd often took over the dirt road we used to go between harbors. We would walk around them even though they were not dangerous. After all they were wild animals and potentially dangerous if there was young with them or if stupid tourists had been teasing and throwing rock at them. We would shake our heads at the disrespectful tourist who would sit on one that was lying down and snap a picture. It just didn’t seem right. So the issue with us and the hunters was that the hunters would wear camouflage and go off into the hills to hunt with their hunting guide. We just found that hilarious! But we couldn’t show it or we’d get in trouble.

When we were still new there we were disturbed for a while by the sound of a baby wailing in the cliffs near by. We learned later that there were wild goats making that noise.

There were wild cats there too. Not wild cats like in the California hills but wild cats as in people lost their domestic cats and they mated and birthed “wild” cats in the cliffs. Those little guys had serious attitude issues we found out personally when we rescued a baby stuck under the dock slats. We went through a lot to rescue him and once he was freed he gave us a disgusted look and stormed out of there and back to the cliffs.

318818_268774216557084_880139757_n

Two Harbors aerial view published in the Catalina Islander. The further harbor is Cat harbor and the Moon Shadow is circled in pencil.

To be continued…

Note:
I had edited this and forgot to update. So as of 12/30/12 it has been updated and edited. I also plan to add more photos when I have time to go through my old pictures and post them.

A few updates on 2/26/17

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***

First off I wept when I read the news. It’s heart breaking. I have little ones and I just can’t stand the thought of something like that happening. But it did and it breaks my heart for the families who suffered this nightmare.

***

Sometimes I see posts and posters that are anti-labeling. People not wanting to get their kids or themselves diagnosed or if they have they don’t want the “label”. I can understand it gets old and can be misused. But, there are good things to labeling.

For one it helped my daughter when she learned she has aspergers. It helped her accept herself and gain self confidence instead of wondering what was wrong with her. It was also way better then being considered demon possessed. (Yes, that happened, our old church leader, the “prophet” Elder Turner, did that one.)

Another good side to “labeling” is preventative man and child slaughter. If you know something is off, odd, or different about your child but you don’t want them “labeled” so you refuse to look into it and work with them appropriately, then maybe your child is that man who killed his parents and shot twenty some elementary school kids in CT or the man that stabbed a bunch of elementary school kids in China…or maybe it will be.

It may not be a sure thing but there is help out there for kids who are psychopaths, there is training and for some there are meds. But having too much pride and fear to admit there could be a problem and you don’t want your kid labeled could end in disaster. There are plenty of unlabeled kids who thankfully didn’t kill others, but so sadly have killed themselves. Even if they are not psychopaths, and they have a strong sense of honesty, right and justice, like people with Autism, they still need to know what they are dealing with and how to deal with it. Kids left undiagnosed and un-labeled often grow into preteens, teens and adults with depression. Sure even with “labeling” it can still happen, but at least they have been given a starting tool to understand themselves and they can research and improve their lives. Even better yet, the parent can get a head start for them and prepare them for reality.

I think in the past there was more of a legitimate excuse for not understanding ones own children. There wasn’t the science behind diagnoses like there is today. There was a lot more superstition about it like I experienced with my daughter and the shame the community put on people who were considered different. So not labeling then made sense in order to protect ones kids from the judgmental fearful community.

We are not in that day any longer. The web has ripped a hole in the excuse of ignorance. Sure I started off ignorant about my kids. But when two different professionals suggested that my kids dad may have aspergers I started googling it and reading and researching. What I found was that the articles on Autism and aspergers not only described my ex but two of my kids as well. Due to moving a few times it took a while to get them officially diagnosed, or as some say, “labeled”. But I kept at it till I got it done. Like I said earlier it helped my daughter a lot to know what she was dealing with.

I do my best to get it in their head that their diagnoses isn’t an excuse to do what they want but a responsibility, that they don’t have a disability but rather an ability, or a type of evolved super power. In other words, due to having ASD they have the ability to focus on their obsession so well that they can make themselves geniuses in that area. I also teach them to be more understanding of others because of what they’ve been through.

I don’t know much about other disabilities, or abilities, but I believe people can be taught to focus and train the good side of what ever it is. There is also a lot more help and experienced folks out there, even if one has to connect with them on the internet, they are there and willing to help. There are plenty of psychopaths in this world that do not harm others. One of the scientist in an episode of Through The Worm Whole who has studied the minds of psychopaths learned that he too has the mind, literally, of a psychopath. He can only guess why he never had the urge to harm anyone and his guess is that he was raised in a good loving family who taught him right from wrong.

Some folks are saying we need to get rid of guns, if that were actually possible in this country it might work. But taking guns from law abiding citizens doesn’t mean the criminals will waltz on up and turn theirs in too. It seems to me the more law abiding citizens that “pack” and do so in plain sight would actually discourage random gun slaughter.

What really needs to happen is for parents to give up the old secretive, don’t air the family laundry, we’re religious so our kids need to appear perfectly normal, if my kid has something it will make me look like I do too, type of attitude and be real and honest about life.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

I want to share something I read on a comment on The New Ultimate Autism Supergroup.

William Keeley Guns are inanimate objects and are neither good or bad. Banning guns will not stop the massacres. There are many places and times in recent history where guns were not used or where guns were obtained in spite of strict gun control. Examples:

May 18, 1927, Bath, Michigan School treasurer Andrew Kehoe, after killing his wife and destroying his house and farm, blew up the Bath Consolidated School by detonating dynamite in the basement of the school, killing 38 people, mostly children. He then pulled up to the school in his Ford car, then set off a truck bomb, killing himself and four others. Only one shot was fired in order to detonate dynamite in the car. This was deadliest act of mass murder at a school in the United States. This was carried out using a weapon other than a gun. While a gun was used to set off the explosives, there are also many other ways to do so without using a gun.

May 4, 1970, Kent, Ohio is where National guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four UNARMED students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. THIS WAS DONE BY ARMED AGENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AGAINST UNARMED STUDENTS.

March 17, 1996, Britain: A gunman burst into a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland, shot and killed 16 children and their teacher, then killed himself. Guns are effectively banned in Britain.

April 26, 2002, Germany: In the town of Erfurt in eastern Germany, 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser opened fire after saying he was not going to take a math test. He killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two pupils and a policeman at the Gutenberg Gymnasium, before killing himself. Gun ownership is highly restricted in Germany.

Sept. 1, 2004, Russia: Three hundred and thirty three hostages, at least 186 of them children, died at School No. 1 in Beslan, Russia. The school was seized by rebels demanding Chechen independence. The deaths occurred during the chaotic storming of the school by Russian forces. Russia has strict gun control laws.

Sept. 23, 2008, Finland: Student Matti Saari opened fire in a vocational school in Kauhajoki in northwestern Finland, killing nine other students and one male staff member before killing himself. Finland has pretty liberal gun laws.

Jan. 23, 2009, Belgium: A man with a white painted face and blackened eyes fatally stabbed two infants and a woman at childcare center in western Belgium. Guns were not used in the attack.

Jan. 23, 2009, Norway: A policeman shot to death a female teacher and then shot himself in what appeared to be a quarrel between former lovers outside a school in the northern town of Tromsoe. The policeman died of his wounds days later. A POLICE OFFICER DID THIS AGAINST AN UNARMED CIVILIAN!

July 22, 2011: 77 people were killed when Anders Behring Breivik went on his rampage. He first used fertilizer and fuel oil to kill 8 people and injure many others. He killed the rest using guns. However, Norway has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in Europe.

History also shows the disastrous effects of banning guns. I could go into great detail here if Facebook didn’t limit the comment.
***
12/23/2012 update
A friend asked me a question on FaceBook and it was related so I am copying and pasting it on here.  Here it is:
(Just to be clear; I did not write this.)A perspective on Adam Lanza from a person with Aspergers:I’m severely Asperger’s and can from an inside angle attest that this had nothing to do with his choice as such if he was in fact not mentally ill some other way.Asperger’s means that you do not have a natural affinity for grasping social intricacies. We tend to want to systematize things; thus why I love math and so forth. We can’t deal with subtleties and unpredictability on the fly, which humans exemplify to the extreme. We tend to also have a habit of assuming that others are just like us, so we use confusing language and often times are shocked when we insult someone because we assume the other person to have known our intention. And so on.It’s not willed to be so and can be adjusted for but not cured, so while we can live a normal life, I will not be a successful salesman or charmer of ladies any more than I could be a ballerina or heavyweight boxer. But that’s the end of it for someone who God in His mercy is tugging hard to keep me on his path of loving.When cliques and social atmospheres are the high point of our sin as teenagers, we are utterly rejected and laughed at – and the failure in my own treatment before Christ was not making me see that I cried so much because I wanted to be just as successful in the cool guy groups and hot girl sex conquests as the people who rejected me were. I wasn’t sad because they rejected me; I was sad because I couldn’t sin like they could.

To the point, Asperger’s is not the sort of thing you want if you’re the kind (like we all are or were) who blocks out God and would rather exalt self than renew others.

The easiest avenue for this self deification for normal people is knowing how to abuse social understanding to your benefit. We aspies don’t have social understanding, so we seek goodhood elsewhere, usually by turning our need for order into a sort of predicable source of auto glorification – especially if it bleeds over to the social arena you failed to manipulate before (X is so smart! He got a hundred on a Calculus test!).

This is also why video games are so popular, and why we get hyper angry when Mario falls down a pit or we can’t solve some second-order diff eq or another. Thats why video game blaming is pulling cart before horse; we up games often times because we are that way already. “How dare it not let me control them. I’m God!” The majority of violent gamers aren’t this way and won’t change on account of games, but the minority who enter it with a bad disposition get a free outlet for projecting the world they hate. Holmes, the Colorado shooter, boasted to his cell mate recently that the projection went the opposite way in that theatre but felt the same. He literally felt like it was just like a shooter game, mind state and all.

Eventually, the social thing will take its toll. You see many of your peers continue success in families while you can barely keep a date or two all year. Things tend to get more sour if you’re around a small group just like you or just around mama. Where are all my worshipful ones? Why are all of these adults who praised my intelligence making me out to be a loser now?

As things keep beating on you you lock yourself up, sometimes literally. With many of us there are drugs, dark obsessions with guns and suicide, not calling out all folks like this but this is where the real bad ones hide.

The following is my guess: In this case it seemed it was just him and mama. He was probably motionless for months, planning sicker and sicker things out on his computer (the destruction of it must have shown some sense of shame unless there was a “they’re not worthy to see my glorious writings” sense to destroying his laptop beforehand) until one day his mom, his last worshiper, kicks him out or commits him to the hospital or something, and so he has totally failed to assert his will on anyone.

The remarkable thing here is that what should have followed was rebuke to the apostate mom and then suicide. After he killed his mom, he literally had nothing left to do but die or beg God mercy.

This is the point where I think we pull away from everything else – all the other shootings and even 9/11 or Kennedy’s assassination – maybe even beyond Stalin and Hitler, who at least wanted a race and a nation to be an excuse.

Lanza had no excuse. His revenge was over, or else he would have spreed at a former job or high school. He had no itch to mass murder, like Holmes or Cho, to gain power and get an afterlife of worldwide notoriety or he would have targeted his own age and peers. He’d stopped caring about those things because he was no longer concerned with making himself out to be his own god. I think he realized the full error of it so I don’t think what he did next was conquest.

He picked children – the youngest children he could find close by and close together – because he knew with fullness that those were of the most valuable and good things on Earth, little men and women who had not possibly yet drenched themselves in the beginning of his own sin. And that’s why I consider this the most evil act possible, nothing could be worse in intention, only in effect. If all innocents were in front of him, he would have killed them if he had the capability, but not us, because his intent was destroying utterly what was good, because it was good, and hopefully drag us brother sinners down to Hell with him for so doing. I’m almost completely sure he was getting what he could against God while he could.

Those who saw him and survived saw hell as it is. In the real thing, save God’s mercy, he will be impotent to even scratch the good fully renewed around him, always fully hearing His call to renew and repent, eventually lying still in shame with the divine light that loves them burning them in anguish.

In those children are Christ and in him Judas, and without something to blame we are forced to see that hell, that act – the most evil act ive seen in my lifetime, not by casualty but by heart- in all of us. Lord have mercy.

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  • 2 people like this.
  • Alec Haapala Lori K. Hobbs what do you think of what this man says?
    • James Keith assuming this is truth: he was about to lose his freedom and the only one of whom he loved,felt connected to as a human being(even though he showed it oddly at times,just part of asp.) His mother(not so smart/compassionate) at times through those little kids in his face as ones she could embrace in an effort to connect to normalcy. Which in the end was the doom of her,those in the school and ultimately him. yes he had no where to go and no reason for existence, his hope of things were in fact gone….I would guess remorse had nothing to do with it(suicide), she was gone and so was he!?
  • Lori K. Hobbs Aspergers isn’t a mental illness like it seems the media is trying to put across recently. When people with aspergers/autism are bullied, which is often the case, and when they don’t have a good support system and so on they can fall into depression. But then again neurotypicals (normal) people can too. Depression can affect the brain like an illness and all kinds of things can go wrong if it isn’t dealt with. Some times religion or psychologist are able to make the difference and the people with asperges can become very strong and good influences in society. But, some times religion and psychologist can cause the opposite to happen. Not all psychologist know what they are doing and can cause more harm then good. Religion is sometimes run by ignorant people who do more harm as well. The man who wrote this found relief and hope in Christianity which is wonderful. That he obsesses over it and believes it will work for everyone like it’s worked for him is very aspergers typical. AS (Autism spectrum which includes aspergers) folks are known for obsessing. It may sound negative but it can be very good if they use it to make a living, a better world, and so on. They also usually believe everyone thinks like them which is why they don’t understand when someone gets offended at their blunt honesty and they can get impatient when others don’t know how to read computer programing systems or when folks don’t know all the names of the characters in their fav Manga or video game and so on. The same would go for religion. When someone with AS obsesses over a religion they would just figure everyone should see what they see, feel what they feel and it would work for others the way it world for them. AS people aren’t the only ones like that, it’s just a AS characteristic. I’m not in the AS but I did that most of my life, I felt that the church I was going to and what I was learning was so great for me that it would be great for everyone. Now I am working at and actively enjoying that others find hope and peace in different ways and I can be happy for them with out trying to fix them the way I see best. Some have no hope and no path so I am not against sharing ones testimony. However, it’s important for people to understand that we all have our own path, or life to live and we are different so what works for one may not work for another. There is more to a story them what we know in our own little personal world. I am happy the young man found what he needed. I wonder if he will go to seminary, he would probably memorize all the books and make the teachers look dumb, lol. A good teacher doesn’t mind. I’m sure he could do very well as a biblical scholar.
    ***
    angel-childPicture found on google search.

    Newtown Elementary School
    A poem by Lori K Revels

    Cry for the innocent ones

    the children

    the teachers

    the loved ones

    the angels close to our hearts

    their parents

    their children

    their brothers

    their sisters

    their family

    their friends

    the hope for a better future

    gone in a second

    suddenly out of our reach

    words unspoken

    things we shouldn’t have said

    regrets we can’t undo

    play games in our heads

    we can not forget them

    we can not let go

    we will hold them in our hearts

    they won’t melt away with the snow

    a piece of our hearts

    will always cry

    it belongs to them now

    they have that right

    will they watch us

    with loving eyes

    will they be dancing

    one fair blue sky’s

    will they pick a better life

    or chose to be

    a guardian of ours

    they will do that and more

    they are part of something bigger

    they will go on yet still wait

    to welcome us into their loving arms

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