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I wasn’t gonna do it. Nope! It was my “my day” and I had decided to see Krampus at the matinee since I didn’t want to see the other options.  I wasn’t going to see the new Moby-Dick movie called, In the Heart of the Sea.

In_the_Heart_of_the_Sea_poster

I have a bit of a history with Moby-Dick. You see when my oldest, Hannah, was a toddler I got the move and we watched it. I didn’t realize that she would become obsessed with it and every time I would ask her what she wanted to watch she wouldn’t ask for a cartoon or princess movie, she would ask for Moby Dick. Yes, I am talking about the one staring Patrick Stewart. It was a good movie, but not really a movie I wanted to watch over and over again. But we did, we watched it over and over again.

moby dick patrick stewart

Although I decided not to see In the Heart of the Sea but to possibly wait till it came out on DVD I would have gone to see it with Hannah if she had wanted to. However, she lost her Moby Dick obsession a long time ago and had no interest in seeing the new film.

So it was the day before I planned to go to the cinema. I was looking at the movie times and it hit me. I had to see it, I had to see the new Moby-Dick movie. Almost like I didn’t have a choice. Almost like I’m the one with the obsession. But it’s not Moby-Dick I’m obsessed with. It the same as when I had to see the movie called San Andreas. It was my past, it was my home, it was my life, and I had to see it.

So that was it, I would go see In the Heart of the Sea.

I actually got teared up almost right away. They played a most epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer and I almost cried with happiness. It was awesome!

superman v batman

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The movie (In the Heart of the Sea) was fine. It, like most Moby-Dick type moves, had it’s exciting parts and it’s slow moving parts. Other then wanting to see it because I lived on a sail boat in the Pacific I also had decided the cinema would be a good choice for the cinematography. I regret not seeing The Life of Pi in the theaters for that reason. However, In the Heart of the Sea didn’t have the amazing ocean and whale moments I was expecting and that the movie poster let on to have.

But as far as bringing back memories, that it did. Thankfully I was never a whaler. Oy, that would be an awful regret. But I do have ocean and harbor stories. Shoot, you want a scary giant whale, just sail close to a freighter in the ocean. Actually, you don’t even have to be close to feel the dread and the swell effects.

There were plenty of bad memories from the boat but it’s the good ones that take forefront and center. And really the bad ones are white washed and proud loved moments as well. That’s how adventure experience stories work.

The Atlantic ocean is so different from the Pacific. But it’s a step closer then the great lakes. Still, it’s the Pacific I really miss. And it’s adventure that really gets to me. Most my life has been an adventure one way or another. In some ways it still is. But it seems there are more moments of just existing then actually living and I miss the thrill of going new places and doing new things and watching my children learn on the road and experience real life and real people. Sure, living in a small town is real life and there are real people here, but most of them don’t seem to have a clue that there’s a bigger world out there. And some of them are actually afraid of that fact. I can’t help but go back to my idea of living in an RV and work camping and un-schooling and how awesome that would have been. It would have been an awesome adventure for us. As far as safety, shoot, going to public school is probably more dangerous.

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I found this pic on Google images. I gotta admit, there folks do look pretty scary. So glad my ex stopped us from running into to such dangerous people. 

I will do the best I can with what I have and my kids will make their own adventures in their own time. But I can’t help tearing up after a movie like that when thinking about all the adventures we could be on not just in an RV but if we could afford to go over seas and see the world. Not just as tourist but also as humanitarians.

Hannah desperately wants to go overseas to Italy or the UK as an exchange student or to do relief work. I have to believe we’ll find a way and she’ll make it sooner then later.

So, yeah, that’s what happens when I go to see a movie like In the Heart of the Sea. Horrible things are happening in the movie and I miss the adventure. Lol!

As far as the San Andreas movie, it was just fun seeing my old home shaken and torn apart, and having the ever so yummy Dwayne Johnson as the main character didn’t hurt either.

dwayne johnson

Dwayne Johnson

Back to In the Heart of the Sea, I just gotta add, don’t think that whales don’t have a sense of humor and know exactly what they are doing. Those big buggers are smart and know how to play a practical joke. Sure! I’ll tell you the story.

It was a bright and sunny day and the wind made for good sailing. We were crossing the ocean from Catalina Island to the main land. My mom was on the helm when my dad, sister and I spotted a whale off in the distance. It’s not just the water from the blow hole that gives them away, it’s also the flat water in the mist of cat claws (choppy water) that’s a dead giveaway.

To our delight the whale came near the bow of the boat so my dad, sister and I got a good look at it. Then it dove down and we saw it go off into the horizon. My mom being stuck on the helm was very disappointed in not having gotten to see the whale. What we all didn’t know was that the whale had backtracked and swam under our boat. It came up right behind the stern and blew water onto my mom who screamed and jumped a couple feet into the air. Of course we all about died laughing after that as we watched the whale flip it’s tail into the air and once again disappear under the sea.

moonshadow

My mom, dad, sister and me in front of the Moon Shadow right after moving aboard her in Oxnard, Ca. The bottom pic is of the Moon Shadow outside the harbor Avalon in Catalina Island. 

 

So you see, it’s not the sea sick moments or the boring moments I recall, it’s the beautiful ones like that that come to mind when watching a movie about a life I had a tiny piece of.

 

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I’ve written many more stories about my live aboard days and hopefully will be writing many more in the near future. Even better, I hope to have it published one day.

You can find the link to them either on my Moon Shadow Facebook fan page at  Moon Shadow – My live aboard days.

Or directly on here at  ‘Moon Shadow – My live aboard days’ .  You will just need to scroll to the bottom for Part 1.

 

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Well, I’ve put it off, writing the second part of my live aboard days, the San Diego chronicles as I’ve just named it. Thinking about it was just to over whelming for a while because there was a lot of years in San Diego and a lot of events. I decided for a while to just write memories as they came to me so that’s what I’ve been doing. I actually plan to continue along this line for a while because it seems to be a rather good idea. So, for the time being, the San Diego chronicles will be un-chronicled, or to put it in another way, out of order. Eventually I plan to rearrange them in order when I feel I have compiled enough memories. Or, if it reads well, maybe I will leave them as they are.

I’ve already written a few so I will find them and rename then with a part two and maybe three and so on. I hope you enjoy reading them. I love feed back so please feel free to comment. Hopefully one day I can turn it all into a book. So, to make things clear the Moon Shadow – My live aboard days, San Diego Chronicles, go after the Moon shadow – My live aboard days. I’ll work on rewording the titles later. I still have a lot of proof reading to do but here it is regardless.  I also will be adding photos as I find them.

Moon Shadow – My live aboard days

The San Diego Chronicles

Part 1

Moon Shadow in San Diego                                  (The deck of the Moon Shadow.)

Life In The CNA Lane

-HOW THE WHOLE CRAZY IDEA BEGAN.-

When I was 15, still lived on the Moon Shadow (a 41′ sail boat) in Gloretta Bay, San Diego I found an add in the paper advertising a ROP (Regional Occupation Program) class being held at the San Diego Community Collage. It was a CNA/HHA class. Since it was an ROP class I knew it would be free except for books and such. I’ve never had an interest in anything medical related, but my sister did. However, she had gotten her CHSPE (high school equivalent diploma) when she was sixteen and hadn’t perused anything since. At this time she would have been 18. I knew if I signed up for something she would too so I decided to help her out with out her knowing it. I didn’t even tell my parents what my true goal was. I just showed them the add and told them I wanted to sign up for it. Everything worked out like a charm. Once my sister found out my mom was taking me to the community collage to sign up for the class she said she wanted to do it too.

The collage administration didn’t want me to sign up at first because I wasn’t 18 or over but my mom read through the paper work and there was no age limit so they had to allow me to sign up. The program was a crash course. We would be attending the classes Monday through Thursday eight hours each day. The first half of the course was held in a class room and some lab rooms at the community collage and the later half of the class was held at Kearny Mesa Nursing Home.

-YOU GOTTA BE MEANER THEN THAT TO GET RID OF US.-

The first day the class was so filled students were standing in the hall way. We were introduced to our two teaches and teacher assistant. There were a lot of firm instructions and words about what they wouldn’t put up with. Each day we returned the teachers assistant got harder and harder on us. Neither my sister nor I felt threatened by her because we were taught to work hard and we knew we would be doing out best so there was no reason for anyone to rightfully get upset with us. Each day the number of students dropped, many of them just couldn’t take the teachers assistant, she was too hard on them. Though we saw all this take place there was just something about that teachers assistant that didn’t seem opposing to us, I think we just found the whole thing amusing, not to say we weren’t serious, but still amusing.

It wasn’t long before all the remaining students had seats with a few extra empty ones. Once it became clear that the remaining students were determined to stay the teachers assistant let us in on a little secret. Besides being a teachers assistant her other job was to get rid of anyone who might possibly not really want to be there or were there for the wrong reasons. California convalescent homes were tired of hiring people who didn’t care about their job and didn’t care about the people they were taking care of. The ROP program decided to try some thing new with it’s CNA training and weed out the folks who had the wrong attitude. It was a great idea, but I believe it wasn’t something that remained in practice in the years to come. However, for our class, I would say I was the only person there who didn’t really want to be there. I didn’t dare consider leaving the program because my dad told me that if I failed I would have to repeat the class and I hated it enough to push myself real hard so that wouldn’t happen. This all may sound bad but just because I didn’t really want to be a CNA didn’t mean I would work less hard or care less for the people I took care of. That was not part of my personality, I always believed in doing my best and treating people with kindness no matter how I felt about the job itself.

When the teachers assistant let us in on their secret all but one of us in the class informed her we had actually gotten to like her. She thought that was terrible but funny. One of the girls was very intimidated by her but managed to stay regardless. She was also the only one who cried through the movie about how to cope with sorrow when a patient dies. The rest of us were trying desperately to muffle our laughs at the really old movie with the hilarious lala chorus in the background. It was so awful it was funny.

The most difficult time for me was the class room work and tests. I would take my book home, do the homework, study for the test and make notes and study more on the buss. My sister wouldn’t study till we were on the buss going to school. Then she’d ask me for my notes, read them and get an A. I’d usually get a C.

-HANDS ON TRAINING & BUS ADVENTURES-

We usually took the city bus to school. At first we took it to Down Town SanDiego and walked the rest of the way to the collage. It wasn’t the safest feeling thing to do but it was ok. Then we discovered we could take the bus to the trolly station, transfer onto the trolly and get off right across the street form the school. Once the class finished the class room and lab work we had to take two buses to get to Kearny Mesa for hands on training at the nursing home.

Since it took much longer to get there we had to get up earlier. My family isn’t known for timeliness, actually they are better known for being late. We would row our dingy to a beach near the road, my mom would take the dingy back and my sister and I would walk down a short strip of road and up a small hill to where the buss stop was. We usually did this in a hurry. There was this one day we had started walking on the road and the bus passed us. There were several other folks who would get on the bus so I ran for it. I hadn’t ran in a long time but managed to sprint in record time up the hill. AS I got to the top of the hill I shouted to the last people boarding the bus to have it wait for us. I could tell they tried but the bus driver drove off regardless. My sister had to coach me back into breathing correctly because I had outdone myself and was barley able to suck air in.

We got ourselves together and came up with a plan. The class required so many hours in order to graduate and neither of us wanted to have to go back and make up time so we decided we would walk real fast to the bus stop across town just before the Coronado Bay Bridge. We knew the bus had to go around to North Island so if we were just fast enough we should make it. No matter how tired out we were we walked that mile as fast as we could. We arrived at the bus stop not really knowing if we had made it or not and sat down to breath. Then, the bus went flying by. Boy were we mad! So, we ended up waiting till the next bus came and just hoped that being late wouldn’t kill our hours too much. As it turned out we were fine in the long run. I believe we were only late maybe one or two times more. I can only remember one other time and it was because our bus got in an accident.

197476_10150126708194834_739775_n                                             (My mom in the dingy.)

The bus rides were actually quite interesting. Not so much the ride there. On the way there the bus from Coronado to Down Town San Diego was nice, clam and quiet. Then we got out and waited for the Kearny Mesa bus at dawn. It might have felt unsafe except there was always a group of Jehovah’s witnesses out witnessing to people and while they would normally seem annoying their presence just made it feel a little safer. Then the Kearny Mesa bus would pick us up. This was the long ride and I usually went to sleep. Sometimes my sister and I would try to take turns on who got to sleep but I think I usually went to sleep anyway. She said one time I fell asleep and leaned my head forward then turned it sideways as if there was an invisible pillow floating there for me to lay my head on. She told me she felt bad for me so she placed her hand there for my head to rest on. Aw, I have a sweet sister! Most the folks on the bus became aware of each others stops and we would wake who ever it was that didnt wake and make sure they got off at the right place. Though the seats were hard the ride was quiet and serene and had nice folks aboard. However, the Kearny Mesa bus home was a complete different story.

Coronado to Kearny Mesa                                                                  (Map of Coronado to Kearny Mesa)

-I STILL LOVE COFFEE.-

We would arrive while the morning air was still chilled and wait outside for the nursing home doors to unlock. They served coffee and because it was so darn early and I was working like an adult I took decided I deserved a small styrofoam cup of coffee at the start of my work day. My sister being the big sister she is had a little fit over it and insisted I not drink coffee since I was only 15 and if I didn’t listen she would tell mom and dad. My sister was good at telling on both of us. Normally I did what ever my sister told me to but in this case I drank the coffee regardless and continued to every day before work. She never actually told on me.

coffee

We all trained and worked hard at that nursing home. Though it was hard manual work I still found it easier then doing the class book work. Taking pulses and blood pressure was the hardest part. I just was never very good at it. Still when it came time for our review the teachers told me they were very impressed with my work. My sister on the other hand struggled with this part. We always got a kick out of how she could manage the class work but struggled with the manual work while I was just the opposite. Often when folks meet both of us we come off exactly alike. We never looked alike but our mannerisms and the way we talk is the same. They would comment on how alike we were and we’d either tell them or just think, “just wait!”. Sure enough with a little getting to know us they would learn just how opposite we really were. Growing up so close together on the boat and often being each others only friend naturally made us seem so much alike.

-THE BUS RIDE I CAN’T FORGET.-

The trip home on the Kearny Mesa bus was always an event. Soon after we boarded the bus the bus would pick up quite a number of mentally handicap people who were getting off work. They were always lively and something interesting was always going on. Then when we got closer to Downtown and the mentally handicap folks had already gotten off there would be a number of different odd people who would get on the bus and just about anything could happen. We liked the mentally handicap folks much better because although they did odd things most of them were pretty nice and safe to be around. But, the folks who got on after that weren’t always so safe feeling or nice.

There was this one meritorious day that I will never forget. It was on the way home. The bus picked up most of the mentally handicap folks and one of them became particularly loud. He started picking off people who were sitting together and asking very loudly, “YOU LIKE?” over and over while pointing full arm and finger at the folks he was talking at. He would eventually change sets of people and continue the inquisition. Everyone on board tried to sink into their seats and not be noticed and pointed out, me included. But I was pure out of luck that day. He spotted me and the guy I didn’t know sitting next to me and we were questioned over and over again until he had to get off. I couldn’t wait to get on the quiet serene seat cushioned Coronado bus and go home. But, like I said, I was pure out of luck. If my memory serves me right, I believe we missed the bus and had to wait for the next one. It was one of those places where a bunch of buses stop one right after another in just about any order so you try to see what numbers are there so you know wither to go forward or back ward to get your bus and like that day we just didn’t hit it right and it drove off before we could get to her. Once on board we had a sigh of relief as we sank into our somewhat comfortable seats and settled in for the short ride across the bridge. The bus home was normally almost full but everyone was always very quite and polite. This day I had to sit away from my sister on the sideways seats. I sat next to what seemed a normal looking lady until she turned to me and directly in my ear yelled at the top of her voice, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?” And that was the start of it. She yelled in my ear all the way home. The short trip felt like forever. Later that month my sister and I were waiting for the Coronado bus home in the rain when some fellow busers (I may have made that word up.) offered for us to stand under their umbrella with them. While standing there chatting they told me they were on the bus the day the lady screamed at me all the way home and that they had felt very badly for me. We all got a good laugh out of it.

-SOME TEACHERS KNOW HOW TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION.-

When we had been doing the class room work we had two teachers. One told stories a lot and was fun and easy to learn from. The other hardly ever told stories, was monotone and a little grumpy making it difficult to pay attention to her. The one with the stories was really quite exciting. She taught a lot of thing I used in situations other then work, just life situations. Her story relating on how to deal with grief was far better then the silly movie they showed us. She had involved with one of the most notorious plane crashes up to that date. She was one of the people who had to go through and identify body part from the wreckage. She told us how she felt fine, like she was ok. But her husband knew better and insisted she stay in her room and type out what she saw till she broke. And eventually she did. She let us know who important it is to face what you’ve been through instead of burring it even though our mind might try to tell us it’s not necessary. She had also been an ER nurse during the Watts Riots and had stories and examples to use to help us learn and be ready.

I remember this one gross story she told to help us understand why cleaning the patient properly was so very important. She had a patient once who had never had her toes cleaned and when she went to clean them there were worms living in-between her toes. Man, I thought that was just about the grossest thing I had heard. When I got assigned my first patient she was a total care agitated older lady. Thankfully there were no worms between her toes, but, I do believe no one had ever cleaned between her toes. They were full of gunk and wreaked a horrible foul stench that would stick in my nose. It was truly awful. I made sure to clean between her toes everyday and eventually the smell faded and went away.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE AN OLD BED RIDDEN LADY.-

That lovely lady also punched me in the face once too. She didn’t like participating in anything even being washed. So when I would wash under her arm she would tense her muscles making it very difficult to pull her arm out so I could wash her. I don’t think it had anything to do with being ticklish because she was like that with everything. This one day while holding her elbow up to wash under her arm she released her arm and that’s how I got punched in the face. I was ok. After the shock of what happened I thought it was funny. I spent a lot of my time there feeding her. She had o teeth and her food was only things that could be swallowed. Still, she insisted on chewing every single bite for a very very long time. Before she became “my” patient the nurse assistants didn’t have time to really feed her. They would stick a bite in her mouth and then go do something else and return from time to time to put another bite in their mouth. So by the time the food was removed she would only have had a few bites. Though this seems awful and in humane they really didn’t have time for her because they had many other patients they needed to care for. This was why when I did graduate I didn’t want to work in a nursing home. I couldn’t stand the idea of not really being able to care for the people I was supposed to care for.

The room mate of “my” patient was a lady who was about to turn 102. She had lovely long white hair and was one of the most aware put together people in that home. She considered her total care agitated neighbor her friend and often prayed for her. Though she wasn’t one of my patients I did help her from time to time and we chatted often. She told me that for her 103’d birthday she wanted to join her husband. From what I heard later on she got her wish.

I also often took care of a lady next door to the one I was assigned to. She was a German lady and only about 40 years old. She had a stroke and lost the use of her left side and her ability to speak English though she could still understand it. She was the most demanding patient on that floor and although she was attended to often you could almost always hear her calling out into the hall for the nurse. Though she was impossible to please I would attend to her when ever I could. Her husband visited her daily and would wheel her outside for a walk. She seemed to adore him. One day while looking for something of hers while getting her ready for her husbands visit I found some lipstick. I asked her if she wanted to wanted to wear it. She brightened up and let me know she did. For a few days I put it on her. She actually seemed nicer after that. Then one day I asked her if she wanted to put it on herself and she did. It was so curious to see that she would only put the lipstick on half her lips, the half she could feel. I would finish it for her of course. Gosh, I was 15 then, now I’, 43 and I think back on how I knew she was considered young, but I had no idea how young.

NAKED MEN AREN’T A PROBLEM.

After the nursing home training ended we had a short period of time where we did some Home Health Aid training. My sister and I were assigned to this one company and a particular lady who would take us with her on her patient visits. I do believe this was the first time I ever saw a naked man. I wasn’t concerned about it. I had been cleaning old ladies and when one works in this field they often have to clean men as well. For me it was just a part of the job. I could clean a grown persons fecal matter so really not much else phased me. My sister was almost terrified and tried to protect me by blocking the view which she failed at but I was fine.

-WE DID IT!-

Soon after the HHA training we were individually called in to speak with the two teachers. They told me that from the beginning because of my age they knew I would fail. I had no idea they felt this way because they never once showed it. Then they told me they were very surprised and happy that I actually made it, I passed! Both my sister and I got our CNA/HHA certificates and pins and didn’t have to come back! It was a good day!

-AFTER ALL THAT TROUBLE…-

The biggest insult my sister and I encountered as CNA’s was when someone asked us what a CNA was and a Navy Seal corpsman named Al answered and said in a rather condescending tone that it was the same as a candy striper. I respect what candy stripers do but after such a grueling class it was just a mean insult. We both had a crush on Al up until that point. I’m pretty sure my sister didn’t know this cause I was in the habit of not telling anyone about who I liked. I think Al was trying to impress another girl we were with at our expense. Later he turned out to be a very nice guy.

-MY SISTERS CNA JOB, UNDERPANTS INCLUDED.-

My sister was hired at the Coronado Nursing home and worked there for a year. She was kind enough one day to share her life with us and brought us all home a lovely thing called scabies. Boy was that a nightmare. It took two full applications of Lindane lotion from head to toe to finally get rid of those buggers. It’s the same stuff you use for lice. My mom was allergic to it so she had to use the stuff you use in it’s place. One of the things that made it so difficult was that we had to shower at the public pool and apply the lotion in on e of their cold cement dressing stalls. Thankfully the second application of the lotion worked.

Another thing I remember about my sisters job was when she was pulled aside by her boss and told that the other employees were irritated that she didn’t wear underwear under her uniform. My sister was god-smacked. She always wore underwear. We had been taught that when one wore white you were to wear either white or beige underpants and she just happened to often wear beige ones. I mean, who would want colored or polka dots showing through their white uniform.

My sister didn’t stay longer then a year because of the same reason I refused to work in a nursing home. She was getting in trouble for taking to much time with each patient. She felt wrong just to leave them be when they needed her and go on to the next one. So she let the job go but still had a good reference.

-MY FIRST HHA TYPE JOB-

My mom found me a job though some folks she knew. It was an old German lady who was mostly comatose. Sometimes she would wake and her family would speak to her in German. She lived with her elderly daughter and son-in-law. Her son would often visit. Her daughter was afraid of leaving her alone but desperately needed time to grocery shop and have a few moments to herself. So, my job was to just be there with er so she wouldn’t be alone. I was encouraged to bring reading material which I did. I had just started a Christian mystery novel called The Case Of The Frozen Scream. It didn’t take me long to rethink my reading material choice after getting to the scary part and there I was sitting with a dying woman in a little room with small windows up high near the ceiling. However, my time with her was cut short.

51Vx7HuadxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

-DEALING WITH DEATH-

After only having that job a few days I called in to let them know I was on the way but would be about five minutes late. The daughters husband answered and was so glad it was me. He told me his wife had taken her mother to the hospital and had been there for a very long time and he was worried that she needed a break and encouraged me to hurry on to the hospital. She was happy to see me and was in need of a dinner break. I sat in the chair by the dying lady and read the six first chapters from the book of John to her from the Bible. Eventually her nurse came in and asked me to feed her so she could attend to other patients. I happily agreed. She showed me how to feed her using a syringe that sucked up the food and then you could gently squeeze it into her mouth. The woman breath was a slow long inhale and exhale and irregular so feeding her was a little tricky because I didn’t want her to choke. I had only been able to give her about two “bites” when her long awaited inhale just didn’t come. I’d never been real confident with my skills at taking people pulse but I gave it a few tries but couldn’t fine one. I believed she had died but as a certified CNA it was made very clear to us that we could never diagnose or we could be sued. So I went out of the room to find her nurse but couldn’t. I finally found some nurses at a near by station and tried to tell them what had happened with out actually saying it. I came out some thing like, “she isn’t breathing like she was before.” The went to check on her then called in the doctor. After the doctor left one of the very curt nurses walked briskly up to me and in a very firm matter of fact tone said, “you know she’s dead don’t ya?” I shook my head yes. Soon the daughter and son came in and went into her room. Either before they walked in or after I let the daughter know I had read the first few chapters of John to her before she passed. I had called my dad to pick me up so when I left he was waiting in the car outside. I felt fine the whole time, a bit awkward, but fine. However once I sat down in the car I began shaking all over. I told him how odd I thought that was and he assured me it wasn’t really odd at all. A few weeks later I was contacted by the lady who hired me and asked to come to her house for tea and to talk about her mom. She had an old odd home right on the bay. The back patio, yard and garden were very lovely and like walking back in time. She had some nice patio furniture and we sat out there drinking tea together. She told me she read the passages I had read to her mom and exclaimed, “that was a lot!” She expressed her gratefulness for me being with her mom so her mom didn’t die alone which was her biggest concern.

-MY SECOND HHA TYPE JOB.-

My next job was for a couple who lived in the Coronado Shores, a high rise condo building that my dad was a graveyard shift doorman for. They had two homes, one in Coronado and I don’t recall where the other one was. The man was from Turkey and was an architect. His work was in the other location but his wife was ill and needed to stay in the warmer climate so he needed someone to stay with her when he was gone. He was very frugal and me being only 15 with out a drivers license and much experience meant he didn’t have to pay me much. He was very uncomfortable to be around but it was fine because when I was there he was gone except for the few minutes when he was on the way out or in. His wife was a rather pleasant person.

the coronado shores  (A picture of the Coronado shores building my dad and I worked in taken from our boat.)

I wasn’t very experienced at cooking yet. My cooking experience on the boat was on a two burner propane stove only. Later I would become the families main cook but up till this time I was still sharing the responsibility with my mom and sister. I had either little to no experience with a microwave and I was completely fascinated with it. I was curious and happy to discover they even had recipe book for it too. The lady had a frig full of frozen microwave meals which I thought were great. Later she became a little annoyed that I rarely cooked for her. I’m not sure how I was supposed to do that thought with out a car and money to shop for groceries but such is life.

I was also happy to be able to watch TV late at night after she went to bed. We didn’t have a TV so it was quite fun. I would watch some of the old black and white comedy variety shows and Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd was on then so I got hooked on that too. I sure thought Bruce was cute.

Though I wasn’t hired on as a maid I still had to make sure things were kept nice. The lady I took care of had eagle eyes and could spot a dead moth the same color of the carpet under the shades on the floor. She wouldn’t rest till I could find it and dispose of it or what ever else she may have spotted. As tedious as that was I didn’t mind because mostly I had an easy job.

-THE TROUBLE WITH EXPLOSIONS.-

One day I dressed in my new outfit I was proud to have. It was a pink pair of baggy cotton pants and a matching pink and black striped large blouse. Sound ridiculous now but I thought I looked darn good then. I didn’t get new stuff much so I felt extra good. I wasn’t allowed to wear tight or fitted clothes so I was accustomed to baggy things. I had found a recipe book in the kitchen on how to make deserts and sweets using the microwave. I was excited to give it a try. I had been taught to bake and even make candy but microwaves are or so I thought, a whole different thing. I found a recipe for a sweet I wasn’t familiar with called divinity. It looked scrumptious in the pictures. So, there I was in the kitchen that the man who hired me had designed with a bowel of hot goo in the microwave…that I burned. It was starting to smoke up the kitchen and I knew the lady I took care of would have a big problem with this. After all she was on oxygen. So I immediately tried to stop the smoke by putting the hot bowl of burned goo under the faucet and turning the cold tap on it. Boom! It exploded all over me, all over the walls, all over the counter, there was black goo everywhere and the smoke didn’t get much better. I opened the windows, turned the fan on and heard the lady call from her bedroom and say some thing about the smoke. That’s when the virtual timer started. I had from the time she walked from her bedroom and then down the hall to clean the entire gooey mess. I wish I had a camera recording me back then cause I still can’t figure out how I was able to do it but I did. I finished cleaning the kitchen then shimmed past her with my back to her so she would see the mess on my clothes and into the bathroom to change. We got some extra fans and she never spotted the tiny gray dot I couldn’t get out of the kitchen wall and everything turned out ok. Later my folks told me what my big mistake was so I tried the divinity microwave recipe one more time and it came out ok. Not good, but ok.

-WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST BE FRIENDS.-

There was a big young guy that would come by once a week to replace the oxygen tanks. He seemed like the type that may have been bullied as a kid and looked over. We chat while he changed the tanks and then he’d go. One day he asked me out. I wasn’t real happy about this cause I didn’t like hurting peoples feelings. I let him know I wasn’t interested in going out with him as nice as I could but he took offense and pouted from then on. It made it very awkward when ever he came over. It was because of people like him that I was terrified of ever telling a guy that I liked him. I was sure that if he didn’t like me back I would lose his friendship and I didn’t want that to happen so I always kept it to myself. Some folks may think that was a good thing, but I would disagree. While being shy and quiet may keep one out of trouble at times, it also makes one miss good opportunities and experiences.

oxygen-cylinder-22002868

My job was only for a few month while the ladies husband had to be away. When he had finished his work and came home as he handed me my last check he told me he thought he paid me to much anyway. That was his goodbye. I couldn’t have had a happier bike ride to where I was meeting up with my folks. Even though the lady was pleasant I was happy to be free from their frustration with me not having a drivers license and the stress of her husband being rather rude. I think really I was quite pinned up way up high in that high rise condo for several days a week. It was just nice to get out and be able to stay out.

-IN CONCLUSION.-

I didn’t do anymore CNA/HHA or companion work after that and neither did my sister. But the training wasn’t wasted on us. We both found a lot of use and knowledge from what we learned for everyday life. It served us well when we were missionaries at an orphanage in Mexico and other jobs and situations and especially when we became moms.

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We didn’t go to movies often but I sure loved it when we did. I remember this one time in New Port Beach, CA. when my family went to see a double feature, Octopussy and Krull. It must have been 1983. My mom wasn’t to happy about seeing Octopussy but my dad was a 007 fan. I think Octopussy was my first 007 film. Later the second one would be Never Say Never staring Sean Connery. After that I was hooked.

Octopussy played first and it upset my mom who decided to spend the rest of the movie time in the ladies lounge reading her purse size Bible and praying. They had a couch in there so it was actually quite comfortable.

Octopussy was fun, I loved all the crazy gadgets and excitement. Then Krull came on. After a while my dad and sister grew board and wanted to leave but I was totally into it. Then again, I loved going to movies so I was always into what ever was on the big screen. Eventually, as it so often happens, I had to use the restroom. While there I checked on how my mom was doing. She attempted a guilt trip on me but I wasn’t buying at the time. She did successfully make me feel uncomfortable being anywhere near her so I politely excused myself and returned to the movie. Now that I look back on it I understand those feelings better. Some people know how to suck the positive energy from you replacing it with negative uncomfortable feelings. My mother didn’t do it all the time but she certainly had that ability. Some folks chronically do it and I have heard them called spiritual vampires. I think they could also be called energy vampires. My mom was not in the habit of doing it all the time thankfully, but she did have the ability when she wanted to.

After leaving the restroom I returned to the large mostly empty room the movie was playing in. There were a few folks scattered here and there because the crowd had left after the 007 movie ended. I spotted the back of my dad and my sister who was easily recognizable from the back due to her long braid. I walked down the isle and said excuse me to my dad who then moved his legs sideways for me to get through and my sister did the same and then I sat right next to my sister and continued to watch the movie for a while.

Not to long later I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder. Curiously I turned to see who it was and to my shock my sister was standing in the seating area behind me. I then looked to the right and found the lady and man I was sitting with were not actually my sister and my dad but complete strangers. Oh my! My sister recalls me doing a double take.

I excused myself past them again, this time out to the isle and my sister and I walked back up to the foyer holding our mouths shut so we didn’t burst out laughing till we exited.

The rest of my family found this to be a good excuse to actually leave the theater even though I would have loved to continue watching the rather slow movie. I didn’t mind too much though cause what had happened was far to funny. We were also glad to have found something to cheer my moms mood up and lighten the atmosphere.

Years later, about four or five years ago actually, I went to the theater in Kalamazoo, MI with my then boyfriend, Ted. I don’t recall what movie we went to see but I do recall that as we climbed the stairs next to the seats there was only one couple in the whole room. As we passed them I turned and walked straight up to the lady and asked them to please move over. The lady actually started collecting her things so she could move while the guy with her looked at me like I lost my marbles. I didn’t actually want the lady to move so I quickly told her I was joking. Ted was watching and rather curious about what the heck I was doing as well. Once they realized I wasn’t serious they had a good laugh. I think doing it on purpose is much better, but either way it’s all fun!

Octopussy_8 Krull

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Part 4

Vineyard Christian Fellowship Jr. High Camp

School was out and my mom signed my sister and I up for camp. My sister went first to the high school cam and then it was my turn. I loved it there even though my mom was a councilor. She mostly left me alone and minded the kids she was giving charge over. I did get in trouble with her once when another councilor say be and some other kids break dancing and I spun on my head. It was the first time I did that move successfully and it was thrilling. It felt amazing. It was also the last time I did that move cause the councilor had a fit and told my mom who forbid me from ever doing it again. My mom also later told my chiropractor who also lectured me about the dangers of breaking ones neck. Sigh!

I met a lot of great kids there at camp. I sadly insulted the most popular boy there as well. He was actually very nice and didn’t deserve it. My sudden “get in you face” attitude popped out when he introduced himself to me on the volley ball court in from of everyone. He reached out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Sloan”. I shook his hand and replied, “Hi Slum, I’m Lori”, Every one laughed. Oh my goodness, I feel so bad about that, I was not normally mean but that was mean. He recovered well, it probably helped that most the girls there were in love with him and most the boys wanted to hang out around him. He was cute, naturally I had a secret crush within a short time. He was tall, stalky, well dressed, carried him self confidently and walked with his arms bent at the elbows and hands flapped down. His girlfriend was the cutest thing up there, she was just baby doll adorable. Though she seemed a bit self absorbed, she didn’t come off as a snob either. This puzzled me, I wasn’t used to popular, rich, good looking kids being nice. When he broke up with her and she was constantly crying I actual felt a tinge sorry for her. It didn’t seem cool that he next choice was the girl who really was a snob.

I didn’t entertain my crush on that boy though, it wasn’t even close to realistic so I picked another cute, but shy boy and made sure to never let him know. I couldn’t believe it when his dad offered my mom a ride home and he and I had to sit together in the back of his dads pick up truck. As fun as sitting next to ones crush sounds, having your hair whip you with constant stinging pain in the face as the vehicle your in is speeding down the Las Angeles freeway isn’t my any means romantic or thrilling. It did add to the fun that the boy would speak a word to me. It was a long miserable trip. But then again, now that we kind of knew each other I’d see him again, or so I thought.

A bit of this and that about New Port peninsula.

Newport_Beach_Homes_For_SalePicture found at http://edbrophy.com/homes-for-sale-newport-beach/.

Summer my sister and I spent a lot of time roller skating near the pier and the board walk while my folks hung out at Charlies Chili. Often times we’d all walk down the peer together and watch the fishermen and interesting people. New Port Beach peninsula was never boring. There is every kind of all kinds of people there. We made friends with a real sweet old man and his wife. He was in a wheel chair and they would sit off to the side and he would play his harpsichord. People would gather around him and listen and when he was done with his song he would tell them about Jesus.

We hung out at Charlies Chili a lot. They had a jukebox there that people would mistakenly put money in and press the button for the then popular song Heart Attack. It would get stuck on either the part that said, “you’re givin me” or the actually word “heart attack” and play it over and over again. It was partly annoying and partly funny. Of course a good kick would make it go to the next line.

charlies-chiliPhoto found at http://www.mynewportplace.com/guide_gallery.shtml.

The laundry mat was always had at least one naked person wrapped up in a sheet doing their wash there. Run always from all over the country would stay on the peninsula. There were homes rented or owned by rich kids who would house all their “friend” so often the run always would find a temporary shelter and I’m sure drug house as well. Further down the peninsula was Balboa. It was very carnival like and the tour ship docked and worked from that there. We would go there once in a while and when we did we usually spent time at the Orange Julius. I remember this one time I was reading my history book while in home-school and there was a picture of the young Abraham Lincoln. It gave me strange biting metal type feel or vibe. I didn’t like it. Later at Orange Julius there was a young man there who reminded me of the picture and I got the same odd ”vibe”. I tried to talk the family into going elsewhere but my mom insistent we go there. I saw him several times and just had to suppress the strange feeling. I don’t know what that was about but I obviously never forgot.

FerryPhoto found at http://openplac.es/trips/balboa-island-ferry-co-in-newport-beach-california.

New Port peninsula didn’t go to bed till at least 3am. People were still up walking around well into the late night. We were quite used to it. Often my dad worked late but there was really no late in New Port.

Taking a dump…no, not that kind!

We usually rowed or motored out dinghy to a long dinghy dock and tied up there when we went ashore. There was a shorter dock we used on occasion depending on out destination. One such evening we tied up there in at night in the winter while it was rather cold. Since I was used to the longer dock I didn’t think twice about stepping back until I found myself plunging down into the cold bay water. My dad was there immediately and said I was headed back up like a bullet out of the water before he could grab the back of my jacked and help me land back on the dock. The top of my head wasn’t even wet. We had a good laugh about it. He took me home to the boat to get changed while my mom and sister waited on the dock. However, we left the key with my mom. Apparently we weren’t too good about locking up cause the front hatch opened so I slipped in and changed. There were many years on the boat that my sister and I could also fit through this one big port hole but once we got in our teens we couldn’t fit through anymore.

The guys driving down the boulevard loved yelling at the girls. Unless you wanted the attention you wouldn’t even really notice it that much cause there were guys driving by yelling this way and that all day long. My sister and I being teens were often the direction of the hollering. One such time when we were following my parents my dad decided to yell back, “Thank You!” The guys in the convertible were shocked and turned to look while their car ran up on an intersection curb. It was bad, but hilarious at the same time.

Babysitting and jobs

My sister and I also spent a lot of time baby sitting on the bay beach. My mom had made a friend who’s elderly mom was taking care of her children so she could work long hours. The grandma needed help since she couldn’t get out with the kids much. Her condominium overlooked the bay so it was perfect for us to take care of them right where she could check on things if she needed to. The kids names were Christi and Julie. It was mostly fun sitting and playing on the beach with the kids. We’d spend time there then take them back to the Condo for lunch. We hated making PB&J sandwiches there cause the grandma used Weber white bread and refrigerated her peanut butter. The bread would curl up around the peanut butter. We enjoyed getting to watch part of movies there, kids never let you finish a move. Getting a shower was great too. Our water tanks on the boat had long gotten dirty and my dad never had them cleaned out. So we either would heat up water on the propane stove and fill the Sun Shower bag and hope it was enough, or we would use the sink at the beach public restrooms to clean up. So when we could use the shower at Christi and Julie’s grandmas house it was almost a real treat. Almost cause we were always rushed and felt a little odd. Since I didn’t get a shower often I would scratch my head and I ended up with scabs. My sister embarrassed me real good one day when she told Christi about it while she was helping my with my hair after a shower. My mom scolded my sister for letting other people know cause she felt it may look like we were being neglected and then she would get in trouble.

Normally my sister didn’t get in trouble for how she treated me. She was a good sister and she didn’t mind me copying stuff she did and she taught me a lot of stuff my parents didn’t teach me that I needed to know. However, she really liked being the boss. I was still shy and didn’t like attention or a scene so when ever I didn’t want to do what my sister wanted me to do she would threaten do do some thing to make a scene like screaming or what ever. It always worked, I would do what ever she wanted. I rebelled on day and she went to my parents over it. I told them what she had been doing and let them know I just couldn’t obey her any more, it wasn’t right. They scolded her for her past behavior then let me know I still had to do as she told me and that she wouldn’t manipulate me anymore. I cried and tried to reason with them but they insisted she was still in charge. She didn’t change, I just never complained again.

My sister also had what I would now call melt downs, then we called them temper tantrums. My mom would peck at her verbally till she couldn’t take it anymore and would start screaming and kicking. If my dad was around he would calm her and take her out for coffee. I think that was good, he wasn’t nervelessly rewarding her “bad behavior” but more like rescuing her form mom for a moment. He really should have taken me out now and then as well, but that didn’t dawn on him apparently. I didn’t throw fits. I know it’s hard for parents to treat kids fairly and equally. I really try to do so with mine but I’m sure they will have memories that may say otherwise. Well, maybe not, but usually it happens.

Talk about melt downs, Julie, the kid we baby sat, would have run away melt downs. One such time she ran out of the apartment and down the beach as I chased her. She ran into the water though she couldn’t yet swim and then she continued to go further out into the bay. Thankfully there was a life guard who went in after her and brought her screaming kicking body back to me. I was pretty dang strong and tough then so her scratching the skin off my arms didn’t phase me while I carried her back across the sand, up the stares and to her grandma. Her Grandma was very disturbed and sorry about my scratched up arms. I believe Julie got a dang goodwhooping from her grandma after that.

Spankins vs Whoopins

Talkin about whoopins, I hadn’t had one in a very long time when I said something “smart” to my mom and she told me to go in her room and wait for her to come spank me. We called them spankings. Elder Turner, our future church leader laughed at my mom when she said the word spanking. He’s African American and from the gangs and all and felt a spanking was like a pat on the butt since black mommas whoop or beat their kids. However, after living in the “black” world for years we learned that what my mom called a spankin was more like a whoopin. Who knew there was such politicas to punishment and abuse?

When we lived in the house my mom kept a few orange very flexible hot wheels tracks on the window seal behind the dryer in the laundry room. That was what she used to spank my sister and I with. If we weren’t home she would send us to find a switch from a tree. We would honestly try to find the best one cause if we failed she would look and then it would be much worse cause she was very good at finding the long thin strong ones that stung like crazy. If at a friends house she would often borrow their wooden spoon. There were many times she resorted to her long elegant fingered hands. Long thin fingers make for a better stinging sensation. I hated it when she used her hands. On the boat she used the brush.

So there I was at 13 waiting for a spankin and having time to think. I thought about all the reasons she had no right to spank me. For one I was too old and so on. When she finally came into the room I told her what I had been thinkin about. It took a while because I had a long list to go over. She very nicly and patiently waited for me to finish. When I was done she explained that now I wasn’t just gonna get a spankin but I was gonna get he worst spanking I have ever gotten before. Then she proceeded to whoop my butt what the brush for a rather long period of time. I learned my lesson. I didn’t like being in trouble ever anyway and I didn’t like pain so she had no trouble from me for quite some time.

That ill feeling

I remember one day in New Port when we all had the flu. My mom had gone ahead to her job she had as a maid at a hotel while my sister and I lay miserable on the boat. It was storming that day as well. It was also the day I started my first period. My sister had already taught me a lot about it so I wasn’t surprised, just disappointed it had to be when I had a flu in a storm. I called her and she went over the basics again of wrapping the elastic belt around your waist then attaching the ends of the gigantic pad to the hood and making sue it was properly in place. Like I said, though I wrote complaints earlier she was a pretty awesome sister a lot of the time. We heard my mom call from the dock needing a ride home. Since my sister was vomiting a lot and I wasn’t it was determined by her that I should row out to get mom. I’m the type that may be just as sick as anyone but I don’t vomit. Well I do when sea sick or with food poisoning but not the flu. I used to wish I would vomit just so people would believe I was really sick. Rowing to get mom turned into a huge ordeal. Besides being weak with the flue I was fighting a strong current and wind in choppy water. I thought letting myself drift to the dock bellow the dingy dock then pulling my way back along the dock would be easier but it wasn’t. While trying to get to my mom I came up with a plan to tie the boat up and then take a nap in the car. However when I reached my mom she wouldn’t allow it, she was miserable and really wanted to go home to her bed. She insisted we head back across the water to home. I was most miserable but we did make it which apparently is what matters. It helped that I wasn’t trying to cross alone but had her help.

My sister got a job delivering flayers for Mail Boxes Etc. We had been using the mail boxes there and services and had gotten to know the owners. My folks didn’t want her putting the fliers door to door by her self, they felt it wasn’t safe si either I went with her or all of us did. My dad ended up working with the owner on a multi business flier that my dad put together and then we distributed. It became like a little mini family business for a while. My sister would pay me a few bucks for helping her.

I became the only one in the family who saved money. No matter wither my dad had a good paying job or not we were usually broke. Several occasions they asked me very nicely if they could borrow my money and promised to give it back. I was happy to help. If they had asked if they could actual have the money, not borrow, I would have likely given it to them. But I was taught to keep my word and never lie. It was a biblical principal that they drove into me so I just believed they had it in them as well. But I was wrong. Not only would I never see that money again but when it would come up in the future I would be told by my mom that I owed it to them so they didn’t have to return it. And that’s a story for a later time.

The harbor problems

New Port harbor was very long and winds this way and that so it doesn’t get the fresh water flow from the ocean. It’s not so bad to eliminate in the ocean, the sea creatures will clean it up, but it is bad to dump a holding tank full of human waste and chemicals. There are dumping stations for that. For some reason the yaughties who go out for the weekend often felt is was ok to dump their holding tanks not just in the ocean but in the harbor itself. It was so ignorant and awful. The bay was always murky and from time to time a beige froth would be across the water and you could actually see floating turds in it. It was so gross! We used to swim in that filthy bay a lot. We would get out when the froth came close.

Walking on glass

On the other side of the land strip was the ocean beach. The water was better but the sand was a dark sand color. New Port beach on the “wave” side had very good waves for surfing. I never learned or was ever given the change to try to surf on a board but I did get to body surf and boogie board a lot. I loved hanging out at the beach. The beach on the wavey side was also very crowded. You had so walk in semi circles to get from one place to another in order to get around all the people. It was a bit of a walk across the lose sand to the hard wet sand and then to the water. There was this one day my mom, sister and I settled on a spot right where the dry sand met the wet sand with our towels and such. My mom and sister were sun bathing and I had just got done playing in the water and needed to use the restroom. I let them know where I was gong then headed across the large area of dry sand and people. On my way back I stepped down and heard a crunch. I remember thinking, “oh no”. I lifted my foot to see a bottle with the top busted off and my foot drenched and dripping with blood. I had stepped down on it and it cut into my heal deep. I stated hopping toward my mom and sister. I was negatively amused at all the people around me who didn’t offer a hand. I got within yelling distance and was losing energy too fast. I yelled to my sister a few time. She lifted her head and agitatedly yelled back, “what?” I somehow got her to come to me. She ran back for mom in a panic when she saw my foot. They tried to help me hop back to the bathrooms but I was getting weaker and it was becoming very difficult. Finally two man approached us. One may have been normal size but I couldn’t say for sure cause the other was huge and rippled with muscles. The muscular one offered to carry me. I hadn’t been carried in a very long time and even though it was probably easy for him I felt funny. What really felt odd what when he handed me to the life guard at the restrooms. The life guard was much smaller than him and I was afraid I was going to break the guy. But he was actually fine and helped me wash the wound out at the outside showers then but me in his jeep. My mom didn’t want me to go the ER until my dad looked at the wound so the life guard gave us a ride across the road to the bay side where we got in our dinghy and returned home.

While waiting for my dad my mom and sister decided to go grocery shopping so they left and promised to be home soon. It was hours before they came home. I was painfully board. They felt they made up for the excessive time they were gone by buying Easter candy which was supposed to cheer me up. It was nice having the sweets but I would have rather had the company.

When my dad got home he looked at the very deep ragged slice into my heal and decided he could take care of it. He cleaned it out and bandaged it. I couldn’t walk on that foot and my folk asked around a few places but couldn’t get a hold of any crutches. They decided I could wear one roller skate and my sister could pull me around where ever we went. She would wear out and I would wear out besides being very embarrassed. It was not by any means fun or easy.

There’s just something about Burger King

At some point my dad was out of work. He had at one time told my moms nephew Ed, that he ought to apply at a fast food place, Ed felt he was above the idea and my dad had a talk with him about it. My mom brought up that conversation to my dad which he found irritating but he went through with it and got a job as a graveyard shift assistant manage at Burger King on the peninsula. AS a person who find people interesting it was hard for him not to end up liking his job. Burger King hired the locals and the local were quite colorful. Many of them had a hard time hiding their mow-hawks under their hats. My dad won the hearts of his workers in time. He had it so they would work very hard and have the place spick and span way before the morning crowd came in. Then he would let them sit around and chat and read till it was time to get things ready again. A manager walked in on them sitting around one day and proceeded to chew my dad out. My dad informed him that he could do it the managers way and make the kids work all night and then in the morning nothing would be done cause they would be doing their usual half ass job or he could continue to do it his way with the “reward: system which worked like wonders. The manager decided to let things be after all and left my dad and his crew alone. My dad, who we still considered “unsaved’ spent a lot of time going over Bible scriptures with his crew on their down time. He didn’t force them too, he just knew how to make things interesting. Many of the kids working there with him straightened their lives out and went on to “witness” to others on different shifts. The afternoon shift had a lady in charge with a big mouth. She would yell and cuss at her workers the whole time. It was awful walking in there and hearing that. Some time went by and we still saw her but didn’t hear her. We found out that one of the young men who would share his faith along side my dad had gotten her to listen to him and she “got saved” The two of them started taking other crew member to Calvary Chapel (Costa Mesa) with them on a regular basis. We considered it a revival at Burger King. The young man did go over board at times. One time my dad found him in the freezer with another guy blocking the door and witnessing to the poor intimidated very cold man. My dad let him know he couldn’t do that, it wasn’t right to do at work and it wasn’t right in general.

Of course my dad worked with quite a few druggies. One was so high that when he was cleaning out the deep fryer the nozzle was turned and the scalding hot oil was dumping into his shoe. The man felt nothing. My dad saw it can turned it off, stuck his feet into buckets of ice and called 911.

Ignorant pre-conceived ideas

So. Cal has it’s affects on you. Some are good, like being used to people from all walks of life. Some not so good, like thinking people should look a certain way. Superficial is a good word to use for that. New Port Beach had it’s own ignorant proud effect. For one we thought all military guys were odd and not to smart. But then again we had a reason for that ignorant conclusion. They would try to look like punk rockers but they still waked in step and had big key chains hooked to their belts. Another one was the questions we would get. They always hung out in twos and they would approach us and ask us which way it was to Disneyland. So we would point the only direction off the peninsula. They would ask why they couldn’t go that direction, pointing toward the bay. We would tell them the bay was there, then it was another direction and we’d let them know the ocean was there. Then the last direction and we’d inform then the jetty was that way. The conversation would end with them saying, “oh!”.

My sister and I hung out at the park near the dock often. We also used that park to fill out water jugs. We would have several gallon milk jugs and some 5 gallon old oil jugs we cleaned out. Other than the park there was a boat community bike my sister and I would share a ride on to the library sometimes. My folks didn’t want us in any after school activities or summer stuff other than working so when we weren’t working we were just trying to entertain ourselves till they returned. My sister worked at Burger King a while as well. A co worker friend of hers would meet us at the park and teach me how to break dance.

Creature life

The animal life there for us was an interesting array and personality of birds. We became friend with a coot we called Paul. We knew a lot of the coots and mallards by the names we gave them. One time while rowing home late at night we spotted a night heron on out mooring can rope. On the can was a seagull white his back to the heron. Night herons have ling sharp beaks they use to slice extremely fast through the water and catch fish with. We stopped rowing and just sat there to watch the show. The heron was sneaking up on the seagull. When he got close enough he stuck his head back and jabbed at the back side of the seagull. The seagull screamed and flew off. It was hilarious. The heron then proceeded to perch on the mooring can, well, until we rowed up.

One of our past times while waiting on our parents was laying face down on the dock head hanging over so we could see the sea life attached to the underwater part of the side of the dock. It was always full of interesting creatures. Mussels and barnacles are like an epidemic in salt water. They attach them selves to the docks, pylons, boats and so on. They will slow a boat down as well as ruin the paint and such on the hull. My dad used to make a few extra buck by being hired to scuba dive and clean them off the bottom of the boats. Barnacles will cut your feet up if you walk or run across them. Their shell is sharp and ragged. We liked holding our head over the dock to look for fish, crabs, sea anemones and other crawly things. It felt so cool to stick your finger in the sea anemones center and have it close up around your finger. It was very velvety soft. It was fun, active and beautiful. The most fun was getting some one to lay down with us and pretend to show them the sea life. What we were really doing was setting them up. We’d get them real interested in what they were seeing then we show them the strange looking sea squirts, point the sea squirt at their face and give it a quick squeeze. Sea squirts are called that for a very good reason. It was great entertainment!

sea life

Neighbors

We had a few neighbors that we got to know a little bit. The Seacores helped us out in our first storm. Mike Seacore went to school with my sister. My parents were convinced he had a crush on her and it did seem that way. I had a crush on him but as usual would never tell. He was a really nice guy and even years later when we ran into him again he seemed like someone with very good character. I don’t remember the name of their boat.

Mike hung out with another guy and we got to know him and his dad some. They lived on a power boat and had a big dog. The front of their boat was full of dirt the dog would have a place to eliminate. Sometimes we see one of the guys with a big shovel throwing “dirt” over board. It was a strange sight. In the warm weather the dog would just swim ashore when he needed to. The man and his son were very into computers. We found that odd as well since we really knew nothing about them other then seeing War Games. Not a bad odd, just something curious and something I really couldn’t figure out. It was very foreign to me.

We had really nice neighbors for a while next to us an a small cute power boat. They didn’t live on her, just spend weekends and such on her. They were very Christian, like us pretty much, and became good friends. They also took care of my sister when she had a very bad asthma attack. Kari had chronic asthma. She spent a lot of time through out her life in the ER and critical care area of the hospital. She was use to having needles and tubes stuck into her all over her body. Asthma runs in the family. My mom had a grandma who died of it. Kari being very thin and energetic didn’t fare well with the effects of asthma and my mom would try her best to “fatten” her up. Cause once an attack hit she needed something on her body to burn. But my sister was the type who could eat everything in sight, which she often did, and still be thin as a rail. I just glance sideways at food and I gain. My sister really liked our weekend neighbors and friends son. As a matter of fact my folks and his folks were really into the idea of them hooking up permanently one day. Apparently, he wasn’t on that train.

There were the nice couple and the small family on the boats called the Seeya and the Cricket. I don’t remember which was on which. It doesn’t matter I guess cause they ended up swapping boats anyway. I remember once the family one was getting ready to go ashore when their toddler fell into the bay. We all jumped with worry until we hear him splashing around laughing. He always wore a life jacket when he was out side so he bounced to a float and thought the fall was wonderfully fun. His mom smiled but wasn’t to thrilled about having to rinse him off, dry him and put fresh cloths on him when they were trying to leave for somewhere. She was a really easy going sweet lady. We went to her boat and she to ours with her son a few times to chat and have tea. One time she asked me to read a children’s story she wrote and was about to have published. She wanted my age view point of it. It was about a tug boats adventure in a harbor. I found it very well written but slightly depressing. I tried to be honest but not hurt her feelings when I gave her my review. I thought she was disappointed in me after that but it’s a good chance I was wrong. I was a “people pleaser” so having to say anything remotely negative to anyone was very difficult for me and I usually regretted it for a very long time after. I had let her know I wanted to be an author as well so sometimes she would give me tips about writing. I wish I remembered her name. It wasn’t that unusual for live-aboards to know people more by their boat name then their actual name though.

Though my dad’s old friend Dick Wallis wasn’t a neighbor he did have his boat in a slip in New Port. He’s the guy that originally introduced my dad to sailing in Dana Point. And another of my dad’s friend from the bar (where he worked) had a slip there too. So we would visit them on occasion. My mom got a job for a while working for one of the slip companies near them as well.

Cat Stevens’ Moon Shadow

It was in New Port bay that my sister and I first heard of the song Moon Shadow by Cat Stevens. There was a boat neighbor we had met before when he’d rescued my sisters fav teddy bear from falling in the drink. He was rowing by sing “I’m being followed by a moon shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow.” We told our parents about the song and they said they had always known about it. We didn’t actually hear it till later.

Then the world crashed in.

School had ended, I came back from having a blast and making more friends from camp. While eating at Charlies Chili and talking about the fun, my dad said he needed to talk to me. He took me for a walk and explained that the owners of our mooring can needed their can back. He said he tried to find another one but couldn’t. That meant we would have to move to the public anchorage area and ever one know regardless of the law you can only stay there three days. So, in three days we would be leaving New Port Beach and sailing to San Diego.

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.

Added to Creature life and added Neighbors area as well as titles. – 1/6/12.

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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.

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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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