My dad was in the Marine Corps, he had enlisted the day after Japan
bombed Pearl Harbor..it was a good fit for him.....
after the Korean War he was stationed in San Diego. He was the manager
of the PX......San Diego was a small military town in the 50s...
we had a nice little two bedroom house on a (then) dead end street
with a large backyard that overlooked Mission Bay in Point Loma...
Mom stayed home with us kids...most mom's did in the 50s....
I always had a close relationship with her....she was a great mom.....
we'd go downtown to shop on the bus (we only had one car which
Dad took to work), which was a big event for a little girl...
look through the department stores, and have lunch at a diner with a
I started school kindergarden there and walked to school every day
at age 6. Can't imagine letting a 6 year old walk to school now but
remember this was a different era....I remember counting the tall
palm trees on the way to school that lined the road.....
I remember the classroom had a entire store where
if we were especially good, we were allowed to play in.....
they had shelves of pretend food goods and a cash register.
..I remember getting into trouble once for talking and having to
sit in the corner with a pointy hat, a dunce cap. Also remember
having nuclear war and earthquake drills......like hiding under
your desk would help in a nuclear attack...duh....
but it was good to know for earthquakes, I guess....
Mom would always try to make me wear very "girly" clothes...
..it was the time of the poodle skirts, petticoats, mary jane
black patent leather shoes, gloves and hats for church, etc.
I hated it....especially the stiff petticoats.....
she had to struggle to get me dressed up and
I am sure it was frustrating to wash my long hair.....I would hide
under the bed..she'd have to pull me out...by the time I started
kindergarden, she gave up and sat me in the kitchen, and cut away.
..my kindergarden photo shows me grinning in triumph with my
chopped off hair and bangs....my usual dress was shorts and a
tee shirt, running around the streets barefoot...and yes, we had t
shirts in the 50s. I am sure to my mother, I was a disappointment
, I think she dreamed of a lady like little girl, all pink and bows...
she was always giving me perms and try to make me look like
Shirley Temple....fat chance of that happening...
I did like to play with dolls and my favorite was a
Tiny Tears that sadly has fallen apart......My favorite TV shows
that we watched on a small square screen, black and white of course.
..was Captain Kangaroo, Bozo the Clown, Looney Toons cartoons,
especially Popeye, and Disney- Daniel Boone, Zorro which came
on Sunday nights.
Everything changed of course, when my brother was born........
I don't remember being told about him before he was born..
although mom and dad said they did, I guess it didn't make an
impression. I just remember staying overnight with our neighbor
and them telling me to go home. I was playing and didn't want to go
but did, remember mom and dad saying they had someone to
introduce me to...went into their bedroom and there laying in
the middle of their bed, all swaddled up was this little baby...
.I shugged and went back out to play.....when I came in later
from playing and the baby was still there, it started to sink in...
I realized the kid was there to stay and I had to start sharing
which I wasn't very excited about...6 years of attention down
the drain or so it seemed to me...I suppose my parents
thought I'd be delighted with a baby brother.....not exactly...
we are ok now of course, but I gave him a hard time as
sometimes older siblings do to younger ones.....
Other memories of San Diego
Falling down the hillside at the end of our street, climbing my way
back up and grabbing upwards to put my hand in a cactus, running,
crying home to have dad get the tweezers and pull about 1,000
stickers out of it, or so it seemed...
Dad using his binoculars to see the drive in movie that was below us
.....they were showing a James Bond film.
Our three Siamese cats catching gophers in
the yard....gophers were my dad's nemesis...he would invest in
all sorts of traps, gadgets, poisens, etc. with little positive results...
.finally resorted to the 3 cats....
...they were a natural killers and dispatched the critters in no time....
eating every part but the little tails that they proudly placed
on the patio steps for display...
Dad and his cousin Bill (we called
him Uncle Bill) having fun at Christmas time, using my brothers
new pogo stick on the patio and falling against the plate glass
living room window breaking it and laughing...no one got hurt.
My mom leading me in prayer every evening, going to the
Methodist Sunday school and church.....Brownie meetings....
.visiting my friend Leslie who came from a wealthy family,
knocking at the front door and being told I had to go to
the servants entrance in the back,...I never realized
we were poor until I visited her. I asked my mom if
we were and she said no, Lesie was the one who was
poor. Leslie parents invited me to a picnic and I went.getting
several gifts while there..my parents found out later it was for
under priviledged children and that was that...said
I couldn't go over there anymore......I've often wondered
what happened to her...
We also went to this wonderful place called Disneyland in
1956..... I have a photo somewhere of me standing next to
the cigar store Indian on main street.I got some Mickey
mouse ears and wore them after that every time Disney
was on TV, especially for the Mousekeeters.
Watching speed boat races at Mission beach, playing in the sand.
I had a little phonograph and records...remembering the
Teddy Bear Picnic song word for word and The Rubber Tree song.
.....also I remember the introduction to the Superman TV show
.."Look up in the sky, its a bird, its a plane...NO! ITS SUPERMAN!"
Life was good.
The last thing that happened at our little house in San Diego
that I recall was we were all in the front yard when a telegram came
....all it said was "Dad is gone, Mom", my paternal grandfather
had passed away. This was in 1958.
2 weeks ago