Project 52 – Lucky Birthday!

September 22nd, 2016


It’s time for Project 52, Week 14!

14 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect each week on one year of my life.

As everyone in my family knows, the year your age is the same as the day of the month you were born is your “Lucky Birthday.” So my Lucky Birthday happened on June 14, 1978 — which was the last day of school for my 9th grade year.

And my wonderful friends, Ruth, Jennifer, and Susan, threw me a surprise party at lunchtime! Here’s what I saw when I came to eat with them. I’d brought my camera for the last day of school — I was still unaware of what was up when I took this picture.


They gave me presents


And had a very creative solution to lighting candles not being allowed:


So that was the way 9th grade ended. Something I remember about that summer was that at the beginning of summer, we switched churches. We’d been going to University Bible Church for years, but it was far away and gas prices were high and there were fewer and fewer kids our age. So we began going to Lakewood First Baptist Church, which had a large, active youth group.

The first event we went to at Lakewood First Baptist was a skating party. I remember I was wearing the “Jesus is Lord” t-shirt that Jennifer gave me for my birthday (at the party). I thought it was kind of funny that Matt Boone started witnessing to me — even though my t-shirt said “Jesus is Lord.” That’s the kind of group it was.

And besides sharing your faith, they did encourage everyone to have daily quiet times. Now, I already had that habit, but sometime in there I stopped using “The Bible Fellowship” — a by-mail devotional system and began just writing out daily observations. On top of spending an hour a day memorizing Scripture.

I found my old quiet time notebooks and was reading them last night. I was in Psalms then, just like I am now. I wanted a boyfriend, just like I do now. I gave that over to God, just like I do now.

Seriously, it was good to read how faithful God was to 14-year-old Sondy.

A little less seriously, I’ve been thinking about crushes. I had long-lasting hopeless crushes during high school, and felt silly for that. When I was a teen, those crushes were wrapped up in the questions “Am I lovable?” “Am I attractive?” “Does he like me?”

It’s rather lovely that now, at 52, I know that feeling attracted to the nice men I’m friends with doesn’t have much of anything to do with those questions. Because I know I’m lovable. And doggone it, I’m attractive, too! (At least to people who like somewhat nerdy and very enthusiastic cute little people.)

And a cool thing? I have many men friends these days who honestly do like me. Most of them are married or otherwise unavailable, but it feels good to know that some very fine men honestly like me.

But that’s now. Attraction now is different than it was then. Then — I didn’t know quite what to make of it — but I do remember how thrilled I was on the first day of school when I saw the guy I had a crush on walk into 2nd period Chemistry class.

That year, I was the only 10th grader in Chemistry. Chemistry and Physics were only offered every other year. Since they required Algebra 2, which I was taking a year early, and since I did NOT want to take Biology (When I was in 8th grade the Biology class had dissected a poodle and I decided never to take Biology.), I took Chemistry in 10th grade.

That year I got to know T.G.I.H.A.C.O. (The Guy I Had A Crush On) a little better. I sat in front of him in Chemistry class. My brother Rick sat on the other side of me. Or maybe Rick sat next to T.G.I.H.A.C.O. Anyway, I actually *talked* to him many times that year!

Chemistry class was fun! Mr. Elliott was the young and enthusiastic teacher. His experiments didn’t often work, but he was a great teacher.

All the years I had a crush on TGIHACO (all the years he was at Brethren High School from the first day he walked into math class), I would have been mortified if he knew. I was never under any illusions that he liked me back or would ever ask me out. So now I’m taking a risk! Anyone from high school who reads this — he is identifiable. And he is currently my Facebook friend, all these years later.

So, TGIHACO — if you read this and realize I had a crush on you all those years (You probably knew, actually.) — thank you for not humiliating me about it all those years ago! Please take it as a compliment! And you were always kind to the somewhat starstruck little 10th grader.

I don’t blame the guys of my high school for not taking an interest in me and not asking me out. I was a lot nerdy in those days — and completely enjoyed getting higher grades than the guys in my classes. That was the year I finally got my hair cut at a salon rather than just getting it cut by my Dad. I finally got “feathers.” (This was the 70s!) And I finally figured out that it wasn’t fashionable to wear polyester elastic-waist pants. Sigh.

I continued being a basketball stat girl. But my Sophomore year, I got to take stats for the Varsity team. I’m not sure why. I think when we were signing up, someone or other urged me to do varsity, and the coach was the Algebra 2 teacher, so he let me. That was fine with me, since TGIHACO was on the Varsity team. Yes, I enjoyed watching him play and riding on the bus with the team. I still really enjoyed the feeling of freedom of getting to stay after school and go to all the basketball games.

Tenth grade was the year that I forsook the band and joined the A Capella Choir. My brother Rick and sister Becky were also in the choir. We had an outstanding choir director, Miss Hutton — who had also been the choir director when my Uncle Rich had gone to Brethren High School. I sang second soprano. This meant I finally had more classes with Darlene, since she was in choir. I think Ruth was still in Band, though she joined choir before we graduated. And Jennifer was a second soprano like me.

I loved singing in the choir. We made beautiful music together. We sang in many local churches and went on tour to northern California for ACSI Festival. And being part of a group singing praises in four-part (or 6-part) harmony is a wonderful thing.

Another big thing from that year: 10th grade was the year I beat my brother Rick on the MAA Exam by 1 point. This meant that he did not have the high score in our high school for three years in a row (a silver pin) — but that I eventually did. The MAA Exam was a test sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. The person with the highest score in the school gets an award. If you win two years in a row, you get a bronze pin. Three years in a row gets a silver pin, and four years would get a gold pin.

It was a big deal to me winning that exam. Even though I knew that one point made it a matter of luck. But I was third in a big family and felt insignificant and unnoticed — and in math, in the shadow of my brother. So it felt significant to actually get a higher score than Rick did. That may have started my steps down the path that led to being a math major.

Oh, and my family… 10th grade was when the 10th kid in the family was born. And there was one Hatch in each of the three upper grades at the high school. We had:

Rick, 17, 12th grade;
Becky, 15, 11th grade;
Me, 14, 10th grade;
Wendy, 11, 6th grade;
Randy, 9, 4th grade;
Ronny, 6, 1st grade;
Jeff, 4;
Nathan 2;
Abby 1;
Peter — born March 1979, I think while we were on choir tour.


So that was 10th grade, the year I was 14 years old. It also included lots of hanging out with friends, lots of laughter, and an overall great year.

Project 52 – A Teenager! In High School!

September 13th, 2016


It’s time for Project 52, Week 13!

13 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect each week on one year of my life.

And this week I’m covering June 1977 to June 1978 — the year I was 13 years old and in the 9th grade, high school!

I noticed last week that when I was in 8th grade, there were 8 kids in the family.
When I was in 9th grade, there were 9 kids in the family.
And when I was in 10th grade, the 10th kid was born.

July 1977 was when we finally got a baby SISTER! I had been spending the night at my friend Jennifer’s house when I got the news that Mom had finally had ABBY! I will always remember the year Abby was born, because she was almost born on 7/7/77 — but not quite. (And Horse #7 won the 7th race at Hollywood Park on 7/7/77, by the way.)

Anyway, at the sleepover at Jennifer’s house, they threw me a surprise birthday party. I’m pretty sure Ruth and Susan were also there. It was a couple weeks after my birthday, so I was indeed surprised! It was very sweet of my friends.

At home, the family now included:
Rick, 16, and in 11th grade;
Becky, 14, 10th grade;
Me, 13, 9th grade;
Wendy, 10, 5th grade;
Randy, 8, 3rd grade;
Ronny, 5, Kindergarten;
Jeff, 3;
Nathan, 1;
Abby, newborn.

Here’s our family going on a hike in Angeles National Forest when Abby was young (probably that Fall).


And here’s my Dad holding baby Abby:


I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that we spent most of our summers in the pool!


And that reminds me that Summer 1978 was when I got the worst sunburn of my life. For that matter, it’s the worst sunburn I’ve ever heard of anyone having — though feel free to tell me about worse ones in the comments!

I think it was toward the start of the summer. I had recently gotten a brand new bathing suit. Before that, I’d been wearing my P.E. uniform — shorts and a shirt with sleeves — to go swimming. So the skin on my shoulders hadn’t seen any sun in a long, long time.

Aunt Susie was living with us then, and she took some of us kids to the beach! Yay! I wore my brand new swimsuit. We were there from 10:00 to 2:00. It was overcast. I spent a lot of time in the water, but did some lying in the sun. This was just *before* sunscreens with SPF 15 or 30 were developed. I did put on sunscreen, something like SPF 3. And I went in the water and it must have washed off. And my skin had not seen the sun….

The thing about me is that sunburns don’t show up for a few hours. If it starts to show up while I’m still at the beach, I’m in trouble. This did.

I was in bad shape. That night, I got up to use the bathroom, going down the stairs and through the house — and started to black out on the way back to my room. I had to lie down for awhile on the couch before I could make it back to my room.

The blisters developed pretty quickly — everywhere, but especially on my shoulders. They lasted a full week. I slept in my bean bag chair the first few nights because I couldn’t put my arms down — it stretched the skin too much. It was summer, but I cancelled my flute lesson because I couldn’t move and stayed in bed (or on the bean bag chair) for most of the week.

I’m rather appalled at this point that my parents didn’t take me to a doctor. But to be fair, I probably didn’t even tell my Mom about the fainting episode in the night. And it was just a sunburn, right?

Now, I later had some more second-degree sunburns in my life — but for those the first blisters only lasted a few days. This one was especially bad in that the first round of blisters did last a full week. In fact, the initial sunburn happened on a Saturday. The following Saturday, I was invited to a skating party. By that time I was moving around, but blisters on both my shoulders had merged into one giant blister. So I had big yellow bubbles the size of a 50-cent piece on each shoulder. Well, I fell down some skating and the blisters popped and left yellow fluid on my clothes. (Gross enough for you yet?)

It was the day *after* that when that first layer finally peeled. Then the second layer *also* formed blisters — but those were the little white blisters, much smaller and much much less painful. But rather significant that both layers of skin blistered.

And that is why the thought of skin cancer frightens me. (I’m getting a small mole looked at this week, in fact.)

So that was my summer! I was still taking flute lessons with Bev Matsumura, and still in Band with Mr. Engel in 9th grade.

I was still ahead a year in Math, and 9th grade was Geometry with the exuberant Miss Royer. Ruth and Penny and I sat in the back and were allowed to work at our own pace. Miss Royer let us talk among ourselves — so we could help each other with the math. I will confess — that is *not* what we usually talked about!

Oh, and come to think of it, my Freshman year was the first year I was on the Math Team, in the slot especially for a Freshman. And I won a prize, in competing with other schools! Yes, Math was pretty much my favorite subject already.

Oh, and Freshman year I began being a Stats Girl for Basketball — you got to sit at the referee’s table and record who made baskets and keep the official score. I did it for the Freshman team. We’d usually go to eat during the JV game and then watch the Varsity game. It was so much fun to stay after school and go to the games or, best of all, get to ride on the bus to away games with the team.

The most memorable game was the one against Ontario Christian. It was pouring rain. After our game, we walked to a pizza place through the rain. The streets were pretty flooded, too. Well, as we were walking along, we came to a place where the sidewalk ended. There were some construction signs up, but it looked like there was just a bit of water covering where the sidewalk had been. There was still a narrow curb, but the street was really flooded on the other side of the curb, so we weren’t just going to walk in the street.

The person leading the way hesitated when the sidewalk ended. I was a little behind and wondered what he was waiting for. Then Mr. Halberg, the coach, got impatient and pushed ahead of Karl, who was in the front. Mr. Halberg stepped in the puddle where the sidewalk ended — and disappeared!

You see, it wasn’t actually a puddle. It was actually a Very Deep Pit!

Now, Mr. Halberg popped up quickly and swam to the other side. In fact, he acted so quickly, I illogically thought he knew what he was doing and was annoyed with him for not telling me it was a Very Deep Pit — Another few moments and I would have pushed ahead and gone that way.

Mr. Halberg lost a shoe in the pit and threw his other in. So he spent the rest of the evening wet and barefoot! And I learned to never assume you know how deep standing water is!

9th grade was also memorable because the last day of school was on my birthday! And my friends threw me another Surprise Party. Since that was when I turned 14, I’ll post pictures of that party next week. But I brought my camera to school the last few days of 9th grade, and I’ll post some of those pictures here.

This one’s from P.E. class on one of the last days of school when we didn’t dress out. All high school grades were in P.E. together. This includes my friend Debbie and my sister Becky being silly:


Then Ruth and I thought it would be fun to get pictures with her arm around various guys. Mark Arnold doesn’t seem to mind! And there’s Darlene walking by:


Here’s Ruth with Merle Anderson:


And here’s Ruth in a tree:


The next day I got in on the action. Here we are with Harold Lind, who was my brother’s friend and a quick-fingered clarinetist in the band with us:


And here’s Ruth with our friend Paula Christie. Paula was in the band with us, playing the saxophone, but she only went to Brethren High School that one year. But we enjoyed her very much that year.


And this picture reminds me that 9th grade was the year we started taking Dan Deguisne to school. He lived near us in Wilmington. This continued throughout high school until our Senior year, when Dan did the driving. Here’s Dan getting in the van on the morning of the last day of school:


Here’s Jennifer You-can-run-but-you-can’t-hide Schilpp:


And here’s Susan Willems:


And my next-door locker mate, Rebecca Hardison:


Oh! And Freshman year, I was in the *high school* 5-in-a-row tournament. (And the hex tournament. And the 3D tic-tac-toe tournament.) That meant I had to beat my brother Rick in order to win. I did, which was a very big deal to me. (I didn’t win the other two games, but I was on the 2nd year of 5 years in a row of winning at 5-in-a-row.)

So yes, that was 9th grade. Since it was the same school as we’d attended in junior high, I was already established with friends. There was new freedom, going to basketball games, and I remember it as a good year.

Project 52 – Eighth Grade!

September 7th, 2016


It’s time for Project 52, Week 12!

12 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect on one year of my life.

This week I’m looking at June 1976 to June 1977 — the year I was 12 years old and in the 8th grade.

8th grade was SO much better than 7th grade! From the bottom of the heap — youngest at a new school, not knowing many people — to the top of the heap, at least of the junior high. (The junior and senior high were all in the same school, but there was some natural separation. Lunch and P.E. and chapel were all done separately — at least for most people.)

And 8th grade was the year I had every single class with my friend Ruth Douglas. And that was the year we really became best friends.

The reason we had all our classes together was that we were the only two 8th graders in both high school band and high school math — Algebra I. Because of the way our schedules worked out, we ended up going to chapel (once a week) with the high school. Instead of feeling very small because of this — this made me feel very big and important.

Ruth is a lot more outgoing than me. And a lot more willing to look crazy. But in junior high… hanging out with Ruth meant I did a lot of wild things (to me!). And it gives me a big smile just to think about that time.

It’s also the year I, to quote John Pavlovitz, “chose my heterosexuality,” and got a crush on a 9th grader in my math class that lasted until he graduated from high school. (But I eventually got another hopeless crush on a guy at church. The crushes could coexist because they weren’t actually based in Reality. Fun though!)

High school band, I’m afraid, wasn’t as fun as the year before. We had a new band director, Mr. Engel, and he wasn’t a bad band director, but he didn’t know how far the band had progressed the previous year by working so hard on such challenging music — and he selected much simpler music, which was rather a let down.

Mr. Engel did introduce me to a new flute teacher, Bev Matsumura. Bev had all her students perform in a recital every three months — so I got lots of practice learning to get up in front of people without shaking. Well, I shook less. It’s very embarrassing when you shake holding a flute, because the whole flute shakes. But that wasn’t enough to stop me playing the flute, like having to play in the piano festival got me to quit piano. I really enjoyed the flute.

And we performed at the football and basketball games as a pep band. It was so much fun to stay after school and go to the games! (This references back to feeling big and grown up. On my own for a few hours. Wild times!)

Oh, and sometime in junior high is when I grew to LOVE roller coasters. The picture at the top is from when Ruth’s family took me to Magic Mountain. That’s Ruth and her brother Tom with me. I remember the first time I rode the Revolution at Magic Mountain, that feeling of doom when we went into the loop and I went upside down on a roller coaster for the first time — and it was so much FUN! I decided if I wasn’t afraid of that any more, well then I wasn’t afraid of any roller coaster!

I still say that getting lots of chances to ride roller coasters in junior high — when you’re a little crazy just by nature — guarantees that a kid will love roller coasters for life. With Ruth as my best friend, there was no way I was going to hang back!

And I had more friends by then. Here are some pictures I took the day our whole grade went Whale Watching, while we were waiting to leave.


That’s Christine Van Aalst and Penny Cypert.


And then Lauri Ann Stone and Jennifer Schilpp. Those pictures (and others that didn’t come out as well) remind me that 8th grade felt much less lonely than 7th grade.

My pictures of Whale Watching aren’t dated, but I’m pretty sure it was 8th grade, because that was the year we had Science class.

Ruth and I were in 5th period Science class with one other girl, Karen Baker — and about 30 boys! The teacher was a woman, Mrs. Erickson, but that set-up was a little awful. Most eighth grade girls were in junior high choir that hour. Ruth and I were in band, and Karen wasn’t in the choir. So we were in Science class with all the boys. After awhile, we made a petition to Mrs. Erickson to sit together, and dripped water on it for tears. She didn’t even argue! She said, “I see your point.” and let us sit together from then on. (We took advantage of it and passed a lot of notes.)

I don’t have many family pictures from 8th grade. I realized when I was thinking about this post that in 8th grade, there were 8 kids in the family. In 9th grade, there were 9 kids in the family. And in 10th grade the 10th kid was born. (A google search shows that, just as I remembered, 1977 was when the TV show “Eight Is Enough” became popular. My Mom was already pregnant.)

Anyway those 8 kids the year 1976-77 were:
Rick – 15 in October – 10th grade
Becky – 13 – 9th grade
Me – 12 – 8th grade
Wendy – 9 in October – 4th grade
Randy – 7 – 2nd grade
Ronny – 4 in October
Jeff – 2 in October
Nathan – 1 in January 77

And okay, playing with babies was still fun at that point. Jeff and Nathan got dressed alike and were SO CUTE! We older siblings taught the babies to walk and to read and played with them. We seriously did teach the little ones to read. Jeff basically taught himself. He’d point at words and ask what it said until he knew. But watching that process was so much fun! All of them were reading before Kindergarten, and we were all in on teaching them.

Speaking of reading, 8th grade was the year our English teacher Mrs. Ossen announced that there would be year-long contest to see who could read the most books! The requirement was that we write a summary and write out the definitions of five words in the book that we didn’t know. I read a lot of Agatha Christie books that year — we’d switched to the big Torrance Library near my Dad’s work — and I’d use British spellings, not realizing they were actually the same word. I also read Gone with the Wind that year – Mrs. Ossen let us count it as two books if it was over 500 pages.

Yes, I won the reading contest. Gail Karber was my closest competition, but I read more than 100 books, and was pretty decisively ahead.

That was also the first year I won a five-in-a-row Tic Tac Toe tournament. The high school math teacher, Miss Royer, ran three pencil games tournaments at the end of each year. That was the first year I entered (the junior high tournament), and I got hooked. I didn’t win at Hex or 3D Tic Tac Toe that year — but I started my streak of winning Five-in-a-row — and ended up winning five Five-in-a-row tournaments in a row. (You use graph paper for an unlimited board. First one to get five in a row wins.)

Another thing I remember is that the summer before 8th grade was when I started spending an hour a day memorizing Scripture. I remember because I so badly wanted to go on the 8th grade History class trip to Washington DC. I was born in Washington DC! My parents paid me to memorize Scripture — and I earned sixty dollars that summer. But it wasn’t enough to go on the trip. But I did get hooked on memorizing Scripture, and that was pretty much something that got me loving God’s word. I’ve already written about memorizing, but that ended up being a wonderful thing in my life.

And sometime in there I started doing The Bible Fellowship — a daily Bible study program put out by our church. The Bible Fellowship is big on check charts — which suits my personality perfectly! But it did help me establish a daily habit of studying Scripture.

And apparently I still got together some times with Kathy, Abby, and Darlene. Here we are at Abby’s house celebrating Abby and Kathy’s birthdays (June 4 and 5) at the end of 8th grade.


And I just remembered one more thing about Junior High. Darlene still car pooled with us from the high school to the elementary school. I am sure of that because once we got to Junior High, we could buy candy at the Student Store. However — if anyone in the car found out we had candy, we had to share with EVERYONE. One of my favorite candies to buy was red hots and I would foolishly try to eat them secretly.

Darlene and I still talk about how Ronny would turn around in his seat and look at us and say, “I smell somepin!”

So, looking back, Eighth Grade was a very happy year — especially compared with Seventh Grade. I don’t remember as much about Ninth Grade — at least not yet. As I think about it this week, who knows what memories will pop up out of the woodwork?

Project 52 – Junior High!

August 30th, 2016

1976_04 Family

It’s time for Project 52, Week 11!

11 weeks ago, in honor of my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect on one year of my life.

This week, I’m going to cover the year I was 11 years old — June 14, 1975 to June 14, 1976.

The picture above shows our family in April 1976. Come to think of it, this would fit in well on the Awkward Family Photos website. Across the back is Rick, age 14, in 9th grade, holding Jeff, age 1; then Becky, 13, in 8th grade, holding Nathan, 3 months old (Yes, there was another birth in January 1976.); then me, 11, in 7th grade. Front row is Randy, 7 years old, in 1st grade; Wendy, 8 years old, in 3rd grade; and Ronny, 3 years old.

I got my own camera that year. Apparently we took a vacation and visited both our Grandma in Phoenix and our grandparents in Salem. I like my approach in taking this picture of Jeff and Randy in Phoenix:

1975_07 Jeff and Randy

7th grade was tough. Painful even to think about. I was lonely. My foursome from elementary school had been broken up. Kathy moved to Catalina Island — not far away but very inaccessible. Abby switched to a different junior high school. Darlene went to Brethren Junior/Senior High School with me — but we only had one class together in 7th grade, 7th period math, which was a full classroom and we couldn’t even sit together. I think we even had different lunch periods.

Besides needing to make new friends, 7th grade was when I began to get an inkling that my clothes and hair were completely out of fashion. But I had no clue what to do about it. Just felt wrong and different. I think that was about the time I was wearing a lot of clothes that were given to us from a family at church — clothes that were awfully dingy and old and completely out of fashion. To this day, I can’t handle shopping at Thrift stores. I like things that are New and Shiny. And it fills some hole to tell myself that I actually do deserve new things.

However — despite all that, some wonderful things happened in 7th grade.

For two of the great parts of 7th grade, the way was paved by my older brother and sister.

One of those was going a year ahead in math.

When Rick did it, a couple years before, it was a new thing at Brethren High School. My Mom had to push for it. But Becky had done it, too, and it wasn’t too hard to work it out my year, though I had a different teacher than they had, Mr. Kerby. But math class met in a room that had a back room. So Mr. Kerby let some of us go back there with a teacher’s aide and do ALL the problems in the book, at our own pace.

And I do mean ALL the problems. We had to miss no more than 3 problems on a homework assignment or do them over. I remember one very annoying long division assignment with about 36 problems that I had to do maybe 3 times before I got enough right. (I mean, I clearly knew how to do long division. But there were lots of places to make a mistake!)

We had fun in that back room. And that was how I got to know another lifelong friend, Ruth Douglas. I think Penny Cypert was in that back room with us, too (She definitely took Geometry with us later). And there might have been someone else? Maybe Laurel Yancey? (I’m just not sure….)

Anyway, I remember I spent my Christmas break finishing the 7th grade math textbook. So second semester, I got to take 8th grade math. And that did it! I was now a year ahead in math. (I still say 7th grade is a fantastic year to do that — 7th and 8th grade math is fluff to prepare students for Algebra.)

So yes! Even though my old friends weren’t around, I did make some wonderful new friends. These pictures are dated October 1975, taken at what I believe was my first of many sleepovers at Ruth’s house.

Here’s Ruth:

1975_10 Ruth

And here’s our other friend Jennifer Schilpp:

1975_10 Jennifer

Another thing about 7th grade, for which my older brother and sister had paved the way, was that I was the only 7th grader in high school band. My brother was in 7th grade the year they started the band, and my sister had been in high school band when she was in 7th grade, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to do the same. Especially when you consider that I was also the only flute player. This was also when I began taking flute lessons with Mrs. Chapman, having “graduated” from Mr. Currie, the band director, who wasn’t actually a flute player.

Since that school year ended in 1976, the Bicentennial year, ALL the school’s music groups were going to take part in the annual May Festival, which was usually put on just by the A Capella Choir.

So — the band played some extra-challenging music that year. I especially remember “American Civil War Fantasy” — with a gunshot! Oh, and “Stars and Stripes Forever” — with young me as the only flute player. The entire band progressed wonderfully that year as musicians — and I personally know I was a much better player by the end of the year. The feeling of rising to the challenge was awesome.

We tried to find red white and blue material for dresses! Here are the only 4 girls in band that year, my sister Becky (clarinet), Denette Anderson (oboe), Brenda Perkins (bass clarinet), and me (flute).

1976_04 Band Girls

We went to ACSI Band Festival in San Diego that year. All the other schools had *lots* more, much older flute players, which was quite intimidating, but learning the music so well was still a wonderful experience.

And here’s the band performing at a Bicentennial event in a park:

1976_05 Playing Flute

I’m going to finish with my view from my window, with my beloved jacaranda tree in the green leaf stage. I loved the view of blue sky plus green leaves — almost as good as when the tree was covered with purple flowers. There’s also a piece of crewel embroidery that I finished and actually got framed. (Many years later, I was delighted to learn to knit, because I didn’t have to get around to framing the finished product.)

1975_10 My Room

Though seventh grade wasn’t the easiest year in my life, how nice to look back and see that was the year I accomplished some challenges, and even better, that was the year I made some more lifelong friends.

Project 52 – Double Digits!

August 23rd, 2016

1974_08 Raking

It’s time for Project 52, Week 10!

10 weeks ago, in honor of my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect on one year of my life.

This week, I’m covering the year I was 10 years old — June 1974 to June 1975.

My birthday is at the start of summer, so during that time, I’ve got lots of time with my family. This picture with my baby brother Ronny makes me laugh. Baby brothers were fun to play with!

1974_08 Ron Horse

Our family now included Rick — 13 years old, 8th grade, Becky — 11 years old, 7th grade, me — 10 years old, 6th grade, Wendy — 7 years old, 2nd grade, Randy — 5 years old, Kindergarten, Ronny — 2 years old in October, which is when Jeff was born.

This year must have been when Aunt Susie was living in our house. There were a few years, I believe. (My Mom’s younger sister. My Dad’s younger brother David had lived with us for awhile in Washington.) Because I remember that when my Mom was in the hospital for Jeffy’s birth, Aunt Susie was taking care of us. And Ronny clearly came to believe that Susie was trying to replace Mommy. He wouldn’t let her touch him! So Becky and I had to change his diapers and put him in bed until Mom got back. Ronny was exactly 2 years old, so it wasn’t exactly a compliant stage to have Mommy disappear for a few days.

I was still delighted to have another adorable baby to play with.

Now, with Rick and Becky in Junior High, and me left in Elementary School, a conflict developed. My Mom believed that children should get 11 hours of sleep. We got up at 6:00 to make it to school — so we had to go to bed at 7:00 pm.

However — once we hit 7th grade, she stopped even trying to set our bedtimes. It was up to us.

So — the fact that Rick and Becky could stay up as late as they wanted, but I had to go to bed “the same time as the baby!” struck me as a horrible injustice. My defiance began by just pulling my curtain back and reading by the light of the sun outside (which was still up at 7 pm!). But after awhile, I started going into my walk-in closet, curling up on my sleeping bag, and reading in there with the door closed, so that the light wouldn’t go under the door from my main room into the hall.

I was never caught. It’s been suggested to me recently that I’m sure my Mom didn’t actually want to catch me. It was probably more about peace and quiet than about actually getting me to sleep. I felt vaguely guilty at the time (I was, after all, a rule follower) — but was so convinced of the injustice, I was unrepentant.

I do remember that was the year I read Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. I remember looking at the clock and discovering I had stayed up until 9:00! I was reading the part where Beth dies and having a good cry.

And so began a long history of staying up far later than I should to read a wonderful book. I am still unrepentant.

6th grade was Mr. Knapp’s class! He was a wonderful teacher, and another one (like Miss Halberg in 4th grade) whom I loved whole-heartedly. Though his style was very different from Miss Halberg’s.

And couple of things Mr. Knapp did were especially memorable — Sword Drills and Language Arts Baseball.

Sword Drills were what we did for Bible class. (Because the Bible is the Sword of the Spirit.) He’d call out a reference, and you’d see who could look it up the fastest. He had a nice way of determining the winner, back in the day when we all used the same version. He’d say, “4th word, preceding verse,” or “7th word succeeding verse,” or the like, and whoever called out the particular word first would get the point.

But then things got more complicated — for more points. Instead of calling out a reference, he’d start reading a verse. We’d use concordances or knowledge to find the verse. Then he started using some of the same verses he’d used before. Those would be more like 3 points, rather than 5. I still remember that Eric used to hang out on the verse, “Come now, let us reason together….”

Yes, I had the most points at Sword Drills. But I had a very close rival in Daphne Sykes, who was FAST. Her fingers would fly. My advantage was that I could find new verses more quickly, so I’d get more of the high point verses. She was faster at turning pages and blurting out the answer.

It was extremely fun, and very tense competition. And we learned the locations of many important Bible verses — and definitely know the order of the books of the Bible. (That was the year I learned “General Electric Power Company” to remember Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.)

The other big competition was Language Arts Baseball. It started with just a Language Arts worksheet that Mr. Knapp would send home at the end of every day. A set of words on top. Numbered definitions on the bottom. 20 words per page. You had to match the words with the definitions. They were hard words, even for me, an avid reader.

After awhile, he added Language Arts Baseball. The teams were the rows. One person would be up to bat. The opposing team would be in the field. Mr. Knapp would read a definition, and the person up at bat would try to say the word more quickly than the outfield.

My row, Row 4 won something like the first four weeks of the competition. Then Mr. Knapp decided to modify it to one-on-one. Only one person could be in the outfield, so the whole team had to be good. That week, we went down in defeat to Row 5, Daphne’s row. But the competition continued all year, and I believe Row 4 were the champions for the year.

Because of that competition, I remember that Kathy was in my row, Darlene was in Row 2 (which was also a rival row), and Abby was in Row 3. Besides Kathy and me, the other people in Row 4 were boys. When things really got tense, there were some recesses where Kathy and I spent some time drilling some of them on the Language Arts words.

Did I mention that I like competing? I thought Language Arts Baseball was SO MUCH FUN! I’m afraid, though, that I cried that time that we first went down to defeat against Row 5 — and Dennis laughed at us! And then I was SO ashamed of crying about it. But I was able to quietly go to the restroom with Kathy until I could pull myself together.

Some other memories of that grade are sparked by pictures. This one reminds me that I liked to bake. I had a Betty Crocker cookbook — I still have it — and one day when I was home with a flu bug, I decided to try baking bread.

1975_02 Baking Bread

This picture is from some sort of craft fair at the school. But it reminds me that I enjoyed crewel embroidery.

1975_02 Embroidery

And here’s a picture from February 1975, reading to Baby Jeffy.

1975_02 Reading to Jeffy

Hmmm. I’m clearly not reading a picture book, so perhaps I’m just reading while holding Baby Jeffy.

Oh, another thing I remember from 6th grade was Rawhide Ranch — and that Kathy, Abby, Darlene, and I TP’d the boys’ cabin!

We got permission (from Mr. Knapp!) to do it after the group hike, while everyone was in the Saloon having hot chocolate. I didn’t really do much — I was too nervous, so I was the look-out. But the boys never figured out we did it — which was surprisingly something of a let-down.

Alas! After 6th grade, Abby stopped attending Brethren schools, and Kathy moved to Catalina Island, and later to the Washington, DC, area. So this was the last day of our foursome. Here we are, my dear friends and me, at 6th grade graduation. Ha! Look at that! I was the tallest! We ended up within an inch of each other, but I was then only an inch shorter than I am now — I got my growth, such as it was, early.

1975_06 Sixth Grade Graduation

Project 52 – Nine Years Old and Loving Books

August 16th, 2016

Nine weeks ago, on my 52nd Birthday, I began Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m posting each week about one year of my life.

At my parents’ house recently, I scanned in lots of old pictures. They have sparked many memories. I was surprised to discover that for the year I was nine — June 1973 to June 1974 — I didn’t scan any pictures at all.

So I’m trying to remember that year without the benefit of pictures. I was in fifth grade at Long Beach Brethren Elementary School that year with Mrs. Becker as my teacher. My best friends were still Kathy and Darlene and Abby.

That was the year Ricky turned 12 years old, started 7th grade, and started going by “Rick.” That was very hard for me to adjust to! Becky was 10 years old and in 6th grade. I was 9 years old in 5th grade. Wendy was 6 years old and in 1st grade. Randy was 4 years old, and Ronny turned 1 year old in October.

But I believe that was the year I fell in love with the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley, so I think I’ll talk about them. And that way I can include a picture — of my Black Stallion books that I collected then — sitting on my shelf today.


I remember that my best friend Kathy did a book report on The Black Stallion toward the end of fourth grade. Mind you, I have no idea what books I did a book report on in fourth grade. But I remember Kathy’s — she did a stick-puppet puppet show of the match race at the end. I’m quite sure it was fourth grade because of the way the classroom was facing (the opposite of all the other grades I was in at that school).

But I remember that I had not read the book when Kathy did the book report. I must have started reading them that summer — and loved them so much! I had a sheet of paper in a notebook where I kept track of how much money I had and how much I needed to buy the next book. They were $2.95 each (for a nice hardcover!). And Man O’ War, based on a true story, was $3.95.

Since I’m pretty sure I started reading them the summer I was nine, it must have been my tenth birthday when I completed my collection. My parents gave me THIRTY DOLLARS for my birthday that year! We went to Pickwick Booksellers in the Carson Mall and I spent all that money on books. I bought the remaining Black Stallion books I didn’t have (except Son of the Black Stallion, which wasn’t there that day) and Man O’ War and The Phantom Tollbooth. So I must have bought seven or eight books that day. (I think my Mom paid any tax. They were generous.)

I did read them all out of order, since I bought them as I earned the money and as they happened to be at the bookstore. (Oh those days before Amazon and before ubiquitous computers!) I must have read The Black Stallion Revolts, one of my favorites, Book Nine, in the summer, because I read it during my nap and didn’t stop until I’d finished — five hours later.

[That reminds me, our Mom required us to take naps when we were home, for her own sanity (at least until we reached 7th grade) — but we were allowed to read during those naps, we just had to stay in our rooms for an hour. This is a brilliant way to encourage love of reading in kids. It also built my lifelong habit of reading in bed.]

Kathy loved the Black Stallion books, too. We got to be rather horse crazy — though later Kathy actually got a horse of her own. It was always just a fantasy for me.

I do have a funny story about Walter Farley’s books. Books 4, 7, and 11, are about The Island Stallion rather than The Black Stallion. Both horses were crazy fast — the books are about horse racing — but The Island Stallion lived in a secret island canyon hidden by cliffs, a descendant of horses the conquistadores brought to America. Only Steve Duncan and his guardian knew about the wild stallion.

I loved the first two Island Stallion books, but Book 11, The Island Stallion Races, is just weird. Aliens come and land on the island and they disguise Steve Duncan and transport him and Flame off the island so they can race and prove how fast Flame really is.

It’s a very strange book. I read and reread all of these books, but that one I only read once.

That’s the first part of the story. The next part happened in sixth grade. I was always a good speller, since, after all, I was a voracious reader with a very visual memory. But I remember one time I spelled the word “coconut” wrong. I had a hard time with it, because I was sure I’d seen it spelled as “cocoanut,” so that’s what I put down. My teacher actually laughed delightedly to catch me in a mistake! (He wasn’t the only teacher to ever do that about me missing a spelling word.)

Okay, now fast forward thirty years. I was reading all the Walter Farley books to my child. We got to The Island Stallion Races (which they liked a lot because they loved stories about aliens), and in two different places, I found the word “cocoanut”!

I interrupted the reading to shout, “I knew it! I knew I’d seen it spelled that way!” I felt so vindicated!

The moral of the story being: Editors, please don’t let misspellings get past you. Small children will be scarred for life.

Okay, back to the year I was nine….

That gets me thinking of other books I loved. The Chronicles of Narnia were tremendous favorites, other ones that I read and reread. I remember putting them aside in 7th grade, sadly deciding I was too old for Narnia. I happily picked them up again in college.

Another series of books I loved were the autobiographical books by missionary Isobel Kuhn. I especially loved Stones of Fire, which I got from our church library.

One of the books I loved to check out from the little Carson library branch on Avalon Street was Sawdust in His Shoes. I recently got that via interlibrary loan and reviewed it.

And that reminds me of another book I loved from that library, Pony for Keeps (I think it was called). I’m going to have to do the same for it! And that reminds me of other favorites, Come on Seabiscuit! and Little Britches, by Ralph Moody. (Both of those I managed to purchase as an adult.)

I also liked books with “Magic” in the title. I loved Magic in the Alley, by Mary Calhoun and Black and Blue Magic, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. And the Edward Eager books! My favorite was Seven-Day Magic. But all of them are wonderful.

The first romance I read was Pollyanna Grows Up, in a copy my mother had once owned. I loved it so much! I later read Pollyanna itself. Those books are wonderful, fundamentally Christian, and unfairly maligned.

Oh, and Bambi! It’s nothing like the movie, not at all trivial or cute. Bambi was another one — along with quite a few of these mentioned — that Kathy introduced me to. Another animal book favorite was Black Beauty, though that one I’d had my own lovely edition since second grade or so.

While I’m talking about books, I’ll mention The Hobbit. I didn’t read it until 6th grade, but that’s another book I loved so much I remember where I was when I was reading it — particularly a time I was reading it on the way to school and had to stop right when Bilbo was in the dragon’s cave looking at the treasure!

Speaking of reading, fourth grade was the year I got glasses. I also got pretty frequent headaches by fifth grade. I know that glasses helped the headaches a little bit.

And in fifth grade I began playing the flute! That might have been the year I quit piano lessons, too — though it might have been sixth grade. I really hated competing in the piano festival. I’d shake. But somehow playing the flute wasn’t as bad. (Yes, I would shake in recitals, but gradually got better.)

But I know I got headaches in the afternoon and often had them during flute lessons, because Mr. Currie commented on them.

Now it’s obvious to me — I was playing on a cement playground for an hour at lunchtime in the bright California sunshine. Without sunglasses. Of course I got headaches!

My Mom said that an eye doctor once told her that her eyes were ten times more sensitive to light than most drivers. She always wore clip-on sunglasses to drive. I don’t know why we didn’t figure out I’d inherited that.

Now I never set foot outside without sunglasses. But it took me years to figure that out. And direct sunshine is one of the very quickest ways to trigger a headache.

I used to go into a dark room with my arm over my eyes. I’d ask my Mom to take my temperature. She’d look at it and say, “You’re not sick.” — So I’d have to go to school the next day. (The rule was that if you had a temperature above normal, you could stay home the next day.) This wasn’t actually a problem with school, since my headaches always went away in the night anyway. (It wasn’t until after my first child was born that I started getting multi-day headaches.) It was sometimes a problem for Sunday evening services at church — I remember times praying to bear the pain. But since I “wasn’t sick,” I had to go to church with the family.

But that wasn’t really all that frequent. I don’t really blame my Mom for not figuring out I had a problem — after awhile I’d take my own temperature quietly in the bathroom and not tell her when it wasn’t a fever. She probably didn’t even know how often I got them. And I didn’t know there was anything I could do. (I discovered aspirin in late high school.)

All in all, fifth grade was happy. There was a fun baby at home, great friends at school, an imaginative life with great books, and swimming in the summer. That’s how I remember it now, anyway.

And yes, now I see seeds of the Librarian I was later to become. Why’d it even take me so long to figure it out? In fact, some time during those years I remember thinking that I wanted to be a writer but wasn’t sure I was good at it and was wishing there was a job about reading books. Why didn’t I know there was a job like that? We went to the library often enough, but I didn’t interact with the librarians much. So I had to wait to discover what I was born to do.

Project 52 – Fourth Grade

August 9th, 2016

1972_09 Fourth Grade2

Eight weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m posting each week about one year of my life.

This week I’m looking at the year I was eight years old, from June 1972 to 1973.

That was the first summer we lived in Wilmington, where we have an in-ground pool, so that would have been the summer I learned to swim. We didn’t take lessons, but basically figured it out ourselves. We’d already practiced in a smaller standing pool at the Carson house. But in Wilmington, we learned to swim before we were allowed to go “in the deep end.” Years of summers spent in the pool followed!

And — Fourth grade was the first year I had the entire school year in one classroom! (In Kindergarten we moved. 1st and 2nd grade was the year I moved up a grade. Third grade we moved.) It was the year that Kathy Morris, Darlene Sasaki, Abby Crilley, and I became best friends. I’m pretty sure that would have been the year of my first slumber party — the four of us went to each others’ houses. Though maybe when we were so young, it would have just been the first time I slept over at someone’s house. I did spend the night at Kathy’s and Darlene’s houses before the slumber parties started.

I remember probably the first time I slept over at Kathy’s house. I was feeling shy at the dinner table. We were eating hamburgers, and somehow in a shy way, I was holding my hamburger kind of under the table. There was a roaring sound — and half my hamburger was gone! Their golden lab, Sally, had seized the opportunity for a treat. I was so embarrassed! (They were nice to me about it. But I sure remember that incident. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I spent the night at Kathy’s house.)

Fourth grade is also the only year where the class picture is in the photo album. So here it is!

1972_09 Class Picture2

Kathy and Abby are the first two on the left in the back row. Darlene is on the front row wearing boots, and you can find me! Another friend I still have is Lauri Ann Stone, who is in the middle row, third from the left.

Looking at the picture reminds me how much I loved Miss Halberg! She was very strict (looking back, I think rather awfully so) — but she would talk with us at recess, and I’d pour out my heart — and I loved her.

I went to elementary school back in the days of paddling, and there were some rather awful incidents that year. But I was a “good girl” and was working on being a good little Pharisee and I never did get paddled at school. Speaking of being a Pharisee, that was around the time my parents started paying us to memorize Scripture. They started with different sections my Mom had typed out that we could learn, a lot from James. Eventually, it progressed to chapters. I remember my Mom decided I could earn $10.00 for saying Hebrews 11 and $20.00 for Psalm 119. I did those in 4th grade or 5th grade, before it became a standard 10 cents a verse for any chapter, the first time. Five cents a verse for a reviewed chapter, at least a month after saying it before.

October 1972 was the year I learned that your own mother could have a baby! Ronny was born!

1972_12 Holding Baby Ronny

Let’s see, our family at that time was Ricky, 11 in October – 6th grade; Becky, 9 – 5th grade; me, 8 – 4th grade; Wendy, 5 in October – Kindergarten; Randy, 3; and now Ronny.

I have long said that if you catch a girl when she’s 8 years old and put her around babies a lot — she will be convinced all her life that she is good with babies. I loved holding Ronny, getting him to smile, helping him learn to walk, all of it.

Here’s a picture taken the following January. You can see we still enjoyed playing with the baby.

1973_01 Ronny

And here’s one more picture, taken on “Grandma’s Mountain” in Phoenix still wearing the pink sweater my other grandma knitted for me.

1972_12 Phoenix

Project 52 – Seven Years Old – Meeting my Lifetime Friends

August 3rd, 2016

1971_06 Seven Years Old

Seven weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to post each week about one year of my life.

Already it seems very strange to me that I only lived in the Seattle area for four years. It was a lifetime at the time!

It especially seems appropriate to assemble this post from California, from the same place we moved to the year I was seven years old. I’ve been visiting family this week for my niece’s wedding, and spending some time at my parents’ house — which is still the same house in Wilmington we moved to in 1972. I got to go through photo albums and scan more pictures for the upcoming years. Of course, many of the photos I won’t post here — of the house or of church or other everyday things — sparked so many memories.

The picture up above is the first one I’ll talk about. If you look closely, you might be able to notice that the eye away from the camera is a black eye!

We had the appointment to get my seven-year-old pictures taken — and a morning before it, my parents were playing tennis. We kids were running around on the tennis courts. I was running from one side of the net to the other — and tried to run in between the net and the post holding it up. It turned out that the rope holding the net up was right at my eye level — and I got a black eye.

I turned seven years old on June 14, 1971. We were still at the house in Carson that summer, and I still played with my best friend, Karen Iwata. Apparently we went over to each other’s houses in the summertime, too.

1971_07 Karen and Debbie

Here I am playing in the bushes with Karen and our next door neighbor, Debbie Wardrop.

1971_08 with Karen

And that’s another picture of Karen and me.

In Carson, our house was so small that Becky and I shared a room.

1971_07 Our room

Hmmm. I know most of the time we had these as bunk beds. Probably to make more room. Becky would hang down from her bunk and annoy me. I wonder if this was after or before that. The doll on my bed is Newborn Thumbelina.

1971_07 Five Kids

And here we are in order. In July 1971, Ricky was still 9 years old, Becky 8, me 7, Wendy 3, and Randy 2. This would have been not long after Becky and Wendy both got glasses.

Here’s a very happy family picture playing Ring-around-the-Rosie.

1971_08 Ring around the Rosie

And Becky and I were still bought matching outfits:

1972_02 Matching Outfits

Third grade in Carson, I loved my teacher (the same one Becky had before me, and I think Ricky, too), Miss Kita. My best friend Karen was still in my class.

Miss Kita had lots and lots of “centers” in her classroom — things to do, games to play, great activities for when you finished your work. That was the year we learned multiplication. Karen and I tended to be the first people done — so lots of play time.

Then — in February, our family moved to Wilmington. We moved into the house my parents still live in today.

They were told that the local school wasn’t a good one, and we started going to Long Beach Brethren Elementary School.

I did not like my new class. Miss Kita was young and fun and her classroom was full of fun things to do. Mrs. Monroe was very old — and said that when you finished your work, you should work on multiplication flash cards. Well, I already knew my multiplication tables. Eventually, we worked out that I could read after doing my work, but it was a far cry from Miss Kita’s class.

When we found out we’d move, my friend Karen started playing more with a girl named Suzanne. I didn’t feel as included. Then we moved and the new classroom was so awful in comparison.

However — little did I know that two friends I met that year would last me the rest of my life.

I don’t think we were really best friends until fourth grade, but in third grade I already did some playing with Darlene Sasaki and Kathy Morris. Years later, when my husband left me and got himself sent from Germany to Japan, unaccompanied — I moved to Herndon, Virginia, where Darlene and Kathe live now.

Project 52 – Bonus Post – More Early Years Pictures

July 31st, 2016

I’m posting Project 52 — since my 52nd birthday, each week I post a reflection on one year of my life.

Right now, I’m at my parents’ house in Wilmington, California, and I had a chance to scan in some more pictures from old photo albums.

I chose a few more from years I’ve already covered in the first six weeks of Project 52, so I thought it would be fun to do a bonus post with those pictures.

Here I am as a newborn:

1964_07 Baby Sondy

And here is two months old:

1964_08 Baby Picture

This next picture was taken at Grandma’s House in August 1965, so I was a year old.

1965_08 At Grandmas

The kids, from left to right are Ricky (3 years old), Me (1 year old), Becky (2 years old), Uncle Larry (4 years old).

I love this next picture because of Becky’s funny face, also taken in August 1965 at Grandma’s House:

1965_08 Bates Family

From left to right, we have Uncle Allen and his wife Judy, then Aunt Susie, then my Mom holding me with my Dad behind her, then (in back) Aunt Donna, and Aunt Linda. The kids in front are Ricky, Becky, and Uncle Larry.

Still toddling at Grandma’s House, this one’s from November 1965:

1965_11 Toddling

And Sister Pictures don’t get much sweeter than this. I was 1 year old, and Becky was 2 years old.

1965_11 with Becky

Still at Grandma’s House, that same November visit:

1965_11 with Ball

Here’s another picture of 3-year-old me and my neighborhood friend Patty with our new cat Zeenie.

1968_05 Zenie and Patti

And here are Patty and me playing with Play-Doh:

1968_05 Play Doh

Here’s another Sisters picture, this time with my little sister Wendy, taken September 1968:

1968_09 Baby Wendy

This picture makes me feel vindicated. It was the family birthday celebration for my fifth birthday. Didn’t I say that I had gingerbread as the cake for that birthday?

1969_05 Gingerbread

Here’s a picture from our August 1969 ferry trip to Canada. This confirms that I remember Randy at least as being a real handful on that trip.

1969_08 Ferry

And here’s a picture of my first day of Kindergarten! We’re waiting for the school bus in front of our house. You can tell I’m in half-day Kindergarten, because I don’t have a lunch box.

1969_09 Kindergarten

The cardigans all three of us are wearing were knitted by my Grandma. I wore that pink sweater for years.

This next picture is of my little sister Wendy’s second birthday in October 1969. The story is legendary that she spoke her first complete sentence that day after I had gone to school, when she told Mommy, “Don’t put my blue dog on the sofa.” You can see from the picture how much I enjoyed her delight in the big blue dog.

1969_10 Blue Dog

And here’s an unusual profile picture of me, taken in October 1969.

1969_10 Hair

Here’s a nice Sisters shot. Our Mom liked to buy us outfits that went together, but these dresses lost their bows fairly quickly. They were still nice dresses, though.

1969_12 Dresses with Bows

Randy did learn to walk early. Here’s a picture with him in December 1969, only ten months old.

1969_12 Randy Walking

And here’s a picture taken March 1971 with my sister Wendy in our backyard in Carson, California.

1971_03 backyard

And the last bonus picture was from that same month, March 1971, also taken in our backyard. I had started wearing my hair in ponytails most days. (I thought it was very wonderful to use red and white ponytail ties with my red, white, and blue outfit.)

1971_03 Red White and Blue

Okay, now I’m stocked up with photos for future posts! Stay tuned!

Project 52 – Six Years Old, in California

July 26th, 2016

1970_09 Second Grade

Six weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I started Project 52 — each week for a year, I’m going to reflect on one year of my life. So this week I’m talking about June 1970 to June 1971, the year I was six years old.

I’ve already got some of the perspective I hoped to get from doing this project. You see, I firmly believe that the years actually do go by more quickly as you age. When you’re six years old, one year is a sixth of your life, so you experience it as a huge amount of time. (What do you have to compare time to except what you’ve experienced?) When you’re 52 years old, one year is only 1/52nd of your life, so you experience it as going by much more quickly.

I’m already surprised by what a short, short time I lived in Washington State! I was only there for four years! But at the time, it seemed like forever. Because for me it was all I could remember, so it was forever.

And I was not happy about moving to California. It seemed so very hot! And dry! And brown!

Here I am with my sister Becky in front of the house we rented in Carson. (I didn’t know at the time that we were only renting it. I only knew we’d moved.)

1970_08 Naffa House

We lived on a cul-de-sac in Carson. We still played with the neighbor kids. (I’d forgotten how many neighbor kids we played with until I saw a picture in Washington. After we moved to Wilmington, we didn’t get to know our neighbors.)

I like that in this next picture, I have my dolls in the swing. One is the doll I got the Christmas before. (I wish I remembered her name!) I think the other doll is Newborn Thumbelina.

1970_08 Swinging

Like I said, California was hot! We did fill up the wading pool often.

1970_08 Swimsuits

That year Ricky turned 9 in October, Becky was 7, I was 6, Wendy turned 3 in October, and Randy was 1 (2 in February) and running all over the place. (He walked well before he was a year old.)

I love that I’m swinging my doll again. I did love dolls!

1970_08 Swinging with Randy

We walked to school in Carson, a few blocks to 232nd Place School. I started first grade with Mrs. Onaga in the fall. They had me go to the second grade classroom with Mrs. Sizelove for reading after awhile — and after a couple months, they moved me into second grade. My Mom says I already had a best friend waiting for me. I don’t remember when I met her, but I do know that in 2nd and 3rd grades I had a wonderful best friend, Karen Iwata.

This was my first friendship that was a real friendship. We both played with each other at recess. We went to each other’s houses.

Now Ricky was in fourth grade, Becky in third grade, and I was in second grade. We all got there in different ways, but we were now just one grade apart.

Living in California, we went to see our Grandma Hatch in Phoenix more often than we had before. Here I am with Ricky and Randy climbing Grandma’s “mountain” in the back of her house.

1970_09 Grandmas Mountain

And here we girls are by the fireplace.

1970_09 Fireplace

Oh! I remembered another thing to talk about. After some church-shopping, which I hated, we started attending University Bible Church in Westwood. It was a small church in a beautiful old building on Wilshire Boulevard. Quite a few UCLA students went there.

So that was when we met Garth and Celeste Johnson and Jennifer Qualey. Some other kids came to that church at various times, but those were the regulars. And us. Mrs. Johnson was the girls’ Sunday school teacher for several years.

I mentioned I was a rule follower? My Mom taught us early on to take notes during sermons. I still do that. (Hey, it’s easier to pay attention.) I still remember some of the topics Pastor Whorrall preached about, though my favorites were when he’d do a Chalk Talk — He was also an artist. We went to every service offered, Sunday School and Sunday evening service and Wednesday night. I do have a lot of good memories of that church.

And so another year went by….

This week, I’ll be in California, so I hope to stock up on more photos of upcoming years. Next week’s post will probably not happen on Tuesday, since I’ll be flying home that day.