Born: 10 Feb 1898 Tipton, Tipton County, Indiana Died: 2 Jun 1980 California PROLOGUE “Nana”, as she was affectionately known by all her family, wanted to leave something for her children and her children’s children to have as a remembrance of her life. On June 2, 1980, she was called home by God and there is no question that she is now singing in the ‘Heavenly Choir’. THIS IS HER STORY AS SHE WROTE IT CHAPTER I Agnes Anna Brunette took Catharine for confirmation and I’m now known as Agnes Catharine Malloy. I was born February 10, 1898, in a small town of five thousand people, called Tipton, Indiana. My first dim memory, when about five and a half years old, seems to have gone fishing with mama in a small sand pit in the field near our farm. The only fish were small sun fish. Then I dimly remember my mother’s death and I remember an aunt scolding me because I was anxious for the carriage to come so I could take a ride. I remember my aunt saying, “You should not be so anxious to have them take away your mama. I remember my father and the neighboring farmers getting together at threshing time to help one another. One time I was allowed to ride way up on the load of wheat when it was taken to the mill. My father was the caretaker at the farm which was the “Mother House” of the nuns who later taught me. It was on their farm where I was born. When the farmers gathered at one another's farm, the women would cook their dinner and supper. I can still see the long tables laden with all kinds of meat and vegetables, cakes and pies of all kinds and these were devoured twice a day. For the next four years, my memory is blank. My father, whom I worshipped, moved the family into town and into one of two small houses which he owned. I’m sure my father had little schooling, but I remember being told that he was very smart and could figure in his head quicker than most could on paper. I started school when I was eight and later skipped two grades. Our house had five small rooms, no indoor plumbing except a pump at the kitchen sink. My oldest brother John, my sisters Theresa and Katy, Joe and myself made a good size family and Katy, who was all of twenty years old, took charge. Our baths were a Saturday ritual; a big tub was brought in and deposited on the kitchen floor. Our outdoor toilet was reached through a long grape arbor. I helped papa plant potatoes and these were always planted on Good Friday, That was when the moon was right. The angelus rang three times daily, at 6:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Wherever I was playing, I ran home where we all said the angelus together. Poor papa was not well, so he and Joe went to Colorado in search of better health. Joe cooked for the gang who were then building the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. He was an excellent shot and many of their meals were shot by him. This town was “Conjunction”. Joe told of a interesting incident. None of the men were ever allowed to complain of the cooking but one man let slip a remark, “This is too salty”. Immediately, he corrected himself saying, “But that is the way I like it.” Joe sent us a snake skin which was over ten feet long. I don’t remember what kind it was. He had shot it. Papa became no better and longed for home so when I was about nine, he came home. I spent many hours on his bed talking with him and I remember trimming his toenails. One Easter Saturday in 1908, a friend and I were walking home from services with our bottles of Holy Water when our parish priest passed us in a great hurry. He was carrying the Blessed Sacrament to my dear papa. When I came in the house, papa was still conscious and his last words were to my sister Katy. “Don’t let my girls marry Protestants.” I thought there was no more meaning in anything. I missed papa so much, and as the deceased were always kept at home, I could hardly bear to go into our parlor after his death, as I could always see that coffin in the center of the room. The last time I visited Indiana, I passed 415 E. Armstrong, the house where we lived. As a little girl I loved to read and I have always had great respect for books. I am sure I read every book in the town library in the section for girls. Children do not read enough today. In school, spelling came easy and I took satisfaction in being head of the class. Words have always fascinated me and I loved the “spelling bees”. I was a very old 10 years and I felt I had to be a good girl because Katy had so much on her shoulders. She met a “ Charles Lavery” who lived in Indianapolis and married him. They were the most loving and devoted couple I have ever know. My aunts lived in Indianapolis and once in a while I was allowed to visit them, traveling by trolley all of 40 miles. I’m sure it was through them that Katy met Charles. We had become so rich that we had 3 electric lights put in. The small globes hung from the ceiling and no longer had to clean the smoky chimneys of the lamps each morning. From the time I started school, I sang alto in the choir and Katy told me my mother had a beautiful alto voice. I always sang for special occasions and I hope I can sing in heaven. John married Cecilia Tragessar and they had three children, one of which soon died, leaving a boy and a girl. Poor Celia lost her mind and spent the rest of her life in a sanitarium. How different things are today, she could have had help. Charles worked for the Lake Erie R.R. and his wages were $45 a month. Finally he had a chance for a better job with the same R.R. in Lima so we decided to move to Lima, Ohio, 120 miles from Tipton. CHAPTER II Katy took John’s little boy, Sylvester, later known as Syl, to raise and John’s girl, Mary, went to Celia’s parents. Poor John cried so much that like Saint Peter, he had furrows in his cheeks. I loved him so much and he always called me “Baby”. Even as a big girl when I returned to Tipton to visit him I would sit on his lap. We always were a very close family. Katy had bought a piano and was taking lessons, so I sat in on them and taught myself. Later Theresa who had a job in the Deisel Wemmer Cigar Factory paid for lessons for me for one year. Every morning before school, I practiced at least on hour or more because I loved and still love a piano. I really enjoyed school and had no trouble with the studies. At age 15, while in the 9th grade, we had a really great nun. (I attended Catholic schools always). She taught us the Virginia Reel and always helped plan our parties, because in 9th and 10th grades there were only 21 pupils and a party was always open to each and every one. In two years of high school our subjects were Math, Rhetoric, History (both American and Church) also Penmanship, Bookkeeping, Shorthand and a little Algebra. Yes, we had plenty of home work. My future husband, Charles (known as Hap) Malloy, was a real cross for the nuns. I think he lay awake at night dreaming up ways to tease and annoy the nuns. Our heat at school was a small stove in the back of the room and one day, Hap deposited some limburger cheese under the stove lid. What an odor! Sister had a terrible time tracing the source of this odor and of course had little trouble in also tracing the culprit. Hap was to stay after school until his dad came but a drain pipe was quite handy which was used in his escape. Before we could graduate, all our bookkeeping had to be finished and balanced. Hap had not finished his and guess who the good fairy was who loaned him her books. You guessed it - me. Our graduation class consisted of 5 boys and 5 girls. After one of our parties this Hap came up to me as I was leaving and took my arm saying, “I’m taking care of you”. These were prophetic words. I had several boyfriends but always came back to Charley. We fought often and would not speak for weeks but as the say, ‘True love never runs smoothly’. It was destined for us to marry but we had no plans for marriage. I was always concerned about money and never had enough. One day in February, I found a small pouch with three dollars in it. I did try to find the owner and then saved it until June when I spent it on my graduation bouquet. Our class play was given over to a Shakespeare play “The Merchant of Venice”. Charley had the role of Portia and his dad was so proud that he went to an actor’s shop and rented a suitable costume. I graduated in June, 1914 and began at once to look for a job. CHAPTER III I worked for a very short time at the Apples Stratton Laundry Company and I was accused of stealing from the till. One of the drivers was guilty but I was so mad, I quit. I then began work at the Boston Store, one of a chain of 21 on the East Coast. My wages were $8 a week, half of which I gave Katy. The balance paid for trolley fare to and from work and my clothes which were few. Shoes were very expensive and I saved for a long time to but a pair of grey kid shoes that cost $14. My boss was Chris Dahlgren, a tall Swede who had come to this country in a canal boat and pulled himself up by his boot straps. He was very temperamental and often raved and ranted at all his help. I also came in for much of this and I think I must have been fired at least three times and each time he would relent and ask me to stay, giving me a small raise. I finally blew up and he told me I was to pay no attention to him so from then on when he was angry I would laugh at him and eventually we became very good friends and I was later to be the cause of his becoming a Catholic. His wife, who was Catholic, ran away with one of the clerks in the store and poor Chris was desolate. He would come in my office and cry. I used to buy records for his stereo and take them out to his house. He was always pleased with my selections. I told him if he would go on a pilgrimage to Carey, Ohio on August 15th, and had enough faith, his wife would return to him. I always attended these pilgrimages and had seen two miracles. One was a man who had suffered severe rheumatism and the other was a young woman who had been paralyzed since about 8 years old. She left her wheel chair and walked by herself. I saw her many years later and she was fine. Chris did go and it would break your heart to see this tall man taking part in the procession carrying his candle. Believe me when I say, his wife returned to him the next week. Chris was so pleased he made me a gift of a wrist watch which I still have. I also have some of his letters from Akron, Ohio where they had taken another store as they no longer wished to live in Lima. Many times when I felt low I would read one in which he wrote “I wish there were more good girls in the world like you”. That always fed my ego and made me feel better. He told me of taking instructions and being baptized. The owner of his chain of stores was M.J. Federman whose address was 70 Madison Avenue, New York City. He was then to become my boss, to whom I answered. One of his sons, Joe, had bankrupted one store and he was given a second chance in the Lima store. He was not trusted too much so I alone had the combination to the safe which meant I opened and closed the safe. I had two cashiers under me and had full charge of the office. Joe would throw the letters on the desk with no dictation and say, “Answer these”. When I was 19, the pressure of my job became so great I was almost ill and Katy urged me to quit. The big boss told me if I would stay he would give me a partnership. That meant I would be put in a store and work out half interest which would be mine. I may have become a career person, but God had other plans for me. I was offered a job with the R.R. where Charles Lavery worked and I became the first girl to replace a man in the office of the Repair Department. This released a man to enter into the service of World War I. This department repaired all box cars, both home and foreign roads. I then could name and spell every working part on a box car. One day one of our men did not show up at quitting time and the men began a search. The poor man was in the habit of washing up in a lake which was in the back lot and perhaps had a heart attack. Anyway, what a traumatic experience for me when I saw the men who were dragging the lake pull up a boot. That is as much as I wanted to see so I left. I worked with only men who treated me like a princess and I loved it. How different in these days when our girls sometimes have mouths as dirty as any man. My brother-in-law worked in another office and we went back and forth to work together. One winter day the snow plows had not as yet been by and we had to go to work in the snow. I remember stepping in Charles’ foot steps and sinking almost to my knees. My sister Theresa had married Tom Powers and lived close to us. They awoke soon after the birth of their first child only to find the baby dead. To this day, I hate the sound of the telephone at night. I still remember Tom saying, “The baby is dead”. My brother, Joe, worked for the Metropolitan Insurance Co. and married Lita Grey. They had two little boys, Norman and Harold. Joe became tubercular and was sent to the Metropolitan Sanitarium in Mt. McGregor, New York. He was slated to come home but suffered a stroke and died suddenly. He was only 32. Of course, Katy came to the rescue and took in Lita and her two little boys. She and Charles had adopted a baby girl whom they named Mary and once again we had a full house. Poor Katy became a sick woman and for a year or more got no help from the doctor. It was then Charles and I began talking of moving to California to see if a new climate would be of help to Katy. One Saturday I came home to find Katy on her knees crying and there was more trouble. She had just finished spring house cleaning when lightening struck our chimney, knocking out all the flues in our house. Black sticky soot covered every inch of our house and there was Katy on her knees washing the floor. Every inch, even the cupboards, had to be washed with soap and water, even the piano had to have a bath. No wonder she became ill. Thank God for the good neighbors who came to her aid. Charles finally decided to do something, so he wrote to the Santa Fe office in Chicago asking for a job in California. He was a excellent M.C.B. man (Master Car Builder) so they asked him to come to Chicago for an interview. He was immediately hired. The nuns had always encouraged me to become one of them and I made a novena to do what God wanted of me. My intended (Charley) did not want me to go to California without him and wanted to get married and go along. I had a dream and it seems there were a lot of nuns and one said to me, “here alone will you find happiness”. I thought afterwards, did I do the right thing in choosing marriage?, but had I done otherwise I never would have had a son to give to God. Mrs. Malloy was very much against our marrying but Charlie’s dad was all for it. Charlie was 20 and I was nearly 20 when we decided to get married. Charlie also was given a job in California and the four of us were given passes on the Santa Fe, Chicago to Richmond, California. Theresa and Tom quickly sold their house and also came with us. Charlie and I were married at 6:30 a.m. on December 26, 1917 and after a brunch at the Malloy home, we left for California at 10:00 a.m. While waiting for the train here came Dad Malloy. We had understood that having our bans called out for 3 consecutive Sundays, we needed no license, however, we did, but Dad Malloy pulled some strings and eventually we were considered married and boarded the train. Our entourage consisted of Charles and Katy, their daughter, Mary, (3 years old), Syl, who was also to go, Tom, Theresa, their two children, Joseph and Madeline and the two newlyweds. After 4 1/2 days on the train, we arrived at Richmond and the day before New Years, 1917. It was very strange to find myself in a hotel room and not in a home with people I had always know. CHAPTER IV We found a small apartment on 2nd Street but soon moved to a better one on 4th Street. The United States was at war and Charlie had tried to join the Navy and been rejected so we were very surprised when he was re-classified and told to report to a fort in Washington State for Army training. Our first child was on the way and my in-laws wanted me to come back to Lima. I did not know what to do but always believed that God would take care of me and so he did. Suddenly peace was declared and solved our problem. We found a much nicer lower flat on 6th Street near Katy and again moved. We lived there in 1918 when the terrible flu struck. Katy and Syl both became ill and it was while I was nursing them that Catharine was born. I was told that I could not have survived had I contacted the flu. Katy had bought a Dodge car. It had 4 shifts and was like an old balky mule. While shifting gears it would jump all over the place. However, Katy soon became its mistress and we spent many happy hours driving out to the bay and Catharine would go to sleep the minute we started the car. When Catharine was 8 months old we decided it was time she met her grandparents so she and I went to Lima where her grandparents proceeded to spoil her rotten. Later my brother, John, became terminally ill and longed to see his little boy. Catharine was then 14 months old and Katy could not leave, Charlie and I decided to take Syl and, of course, Catharine, and go to Lima and then on to Indiana to see my brother for the last time. My poor brother had experienced nothing but bad luck and was such a good person. I’m sure he went straight to heaven. Again I had to make decisions. I had to make preparations for his funeral even before the poor man was dead. When Catharine was a baby she was terribly spoiled because the owners of the flat lived over us and complained whenever she cried, so we had her in our bed nearly every night. We had finally saved $300 and found a nice house on 15th Street which we could but for this amount. The first night there I put Catharine in her own room where she proceeded to howl for 3 hours. I put cotton in my ears and paced the floor. After a few such nights she decided she may as well give up and sleep all night. When Catharine was 22 months old, Louise made her appearance. Dad was asked to transfer to Calway, a town near Stockton. We sold our house, thinking we would have to move there, but the men there gave him a bad time so he came back. We decided to go into business and took the $500 which we made on the sale of our home and bought 1/2 interest in a garage in East Oakland. The books looked good and evidently there was a lot of business but in two weeks the partner skipped out and we were left penniless. We had our furniture and two small children and on a shoestring we bought an acre of land in the hills of Richmond which is now known as Potreo Avenue. We had chickens and as our third child was expected, decided to buy a cow. This creature was a very mild Jersey and had always been cared for by a woman and would have nothing to do with dad so guess who had to learn to milk her? I was frightened silly but soon mastered it and became very good. The milk was so rich that by evening I could skim and whip the cream. It was a long trek down the hill to the church, St. John’s which was only a mission. Our real parish was St. Ambrose in Berkeley. Finally, what was to be our third child arrived, another girl, but 8 minutes later, John made his appearance. What a surprise! John was born with his face against the world and with a veil over his face. According to Irish superstition, it meant he would leave the world. From then on he was to be our priest. They were very good babies and Catharine at age 4 became our baby sitter. We went to mass on Sunday, leaving her in charge. I certainly would not advise such a thing but we trusted her and she never let us down. Now comes some more bad luck. The Santa Fe went on strike and all we could do was GO IN DEBT which we sure did. At least we had milk, eggs and chickens, but there was no help in time of strike as there is today. The owners foreclosed our mortgage and we had to get out. On borrowed money we moved to a place on 44th Street and dad decided strike or no strike, he was going back to work. Anyway, the strike proved futile. The other unions did not back us up. We then found a cheaper place in a court near us and our 5th child, Rita, was born. John’s twin was named Margaret Mary. John Joseph was named for his grandfather. Again trouble struck. Dad was injured by the breaking of a measuring gauge and the steel belt hit him in the face. He nearly lost an eye and of course there was no “Medicare” then. I was nursing Rita and through worry, I poisoned her and she went into convulsions and was in and out of one for 6 hours. We thought we had lost her. Once again we were too many in cramped quarters and found a nice house near Alvarado Park. It was at the end of the trolley line which made it very convenient not only for dad to get to work, but at the other end of the line was St. Paul’s Church. Catharine and Louise rode this trolley every week to catechism class and we all went to church by the same way on Sunday. We loved to go to Christmas Midnight mass and again Catharine was left in charge. She was then 8 years old. When we alighted from the trolley on our return from mass, we could hear shouting and found all the kids up. It seems Catharine had awakened and found Santa had been there so she woke up the others. Most of their gifts were clothes and each child had carefully put theirs away. At this time Rita was learning to walk and one day while Catharine was helping her, she tripped on her and the baby's leg was broken above the knee. I checked her frequently but was never able to keep the cast dry so she had to be taken to Providence Hospital in Oakland and placed on a ‘Bradford Frame’, a contraption of pulleys whereby her leg was pulled into place. Of course, poor child could hardly move her body but never a complaint. At that time the nuns were building a large extension on the hospital and Mother Superior told me when she felt low, she would visit “Little Sunshine” and feel all her troubles vanish. Poor darling had so many bad times while her brother and sisters were disgustingly healthy. She would get sick for no apparent reason. She had pneumonia several times and was close to death. In all these times there was never a complaint. She always would say, “Nothing hurts me”. Dad had a chance to move to San Bernardino to finish his apprenticeship, so again, we decided to take this opportunity so he could become a machinist first class. We stored our furniture in Katy’s basement and rented a large house in San Bernardino because two other young men from the Santa Fe were also moving down there and were going to board and room with us. Their money sure helped a lot and we spent a happy year there. Katy’s sister-in-law, Anna Lavery, also came to live with us and as she was an accomplished pianist and we had a piano, we had parties almost every night. Dad would just go to bed. Anna and I even made up a song, “Don’t Wake Charlie”. It was a parody on a popular song. That was during prohibition, but one young man had a hidden still in the mountains and kept us supplied with wine. He would come down the alley with a five gallon bottle over his shoulder. We added some sugar, rolled the bottle, and had really good wine. I always kept wood alcohol to burn in a steamer for the kids’ colds and kept it way up in a cupboard. One of the men gave me a scare. He said he found my good liqueur where I had hidden it, then pretended he was going blind. I could have murdered him for scaring me so. As all things end, so did the year and we returned to Richmond. Katy had found us a house on Garvin Avenue, and here Mary Dolores was born. All the children except Catharine were born at home. I was tearing off a rusty screen and must have pricked my finger because the next morning I could not get out of bed. I had a very bad case of blood poison. It had traveled past my shoulder and I was in fear of losing my right arm. Katy kept my arm soaked in (I believe Bichloride Mercury). Anyway, I rallied, but as I was in the process of making Louise a dress for First Communion, I had to finish it with my left hand. Once again, Rita became ill. This time it was meningitis. I put my fingers down her throat to break the congestion, when she accidentally bit me. Immediately she said, “I didn’t mean to”. She was truly born an angel, and a very beautiful one. She had beautiful blond hair and hazel eyes. Once again, she had trouble. A Box of safety matches exploded in her hand, and her burn was clear to the bone on one finger. It healed slowly but of course prayer won out. It seemed every so often she became ill for no apparent reason and would be unable to keep food in her stomach. My remedy was a glass of water, one spoon of soda and Karo syrup. It took two of three days and she would be her old self again. We finally decided we could afford a car and this proved to be an Overland and now I began carrying all the neighborhood kids to catechism. One time I counted 13. One Saturday, I called Katy and told her all the kids had gone to bed which was strange and no one was sick. She came at once and coming in from outside she could smell gas. We were all being gassed. Our stove had no flu and the city made the owner change all the stoves, both cooking and heating. We decided to look for a house we could afford to buy and did find one close to St. Paul’s Church in San Pablo.
CHAPTER V We moved to San Pablo in 1929, just around the corner from St. Paul’s Church. John and Margaret were then seven years old and John became the pastor’s right hand. He went to mass each morning and served at the altar. He was too small to move the book, but he sure could ring the bell which he did with much gusto. As young as this, he had already made up his mind to be a priest some day. Our pastor at this time was Father Porta, a very kind person. He decided to take a vacation to his native Portugal and wanted to leave his parish in the hands of the Salesian Fathers. This missionary group had just purchased a large ranch nearby called the “Butts Ranch”. We became good friends and were happy the Archbishop gave them permission to take charge of St. Paul’s in the absence of Father Porta. Imagine our disappointment when poor Father was hardly out of the country and the Archbishop rescinded the order taking it away from the Salesians. Father Porta was so heartbroken, he never returned to the United States. We bought another cow and we also had chickens and rabbits which was a very good thing because we were plunged into the Great Depression. Dad worked 15 days a month and we kept our house by just paying the interest. One day I looked out and could hardly believe my eyes. There came Dad across the field leading the saddest looking animal you ever saw. He had secretly saved his dimes and nickels and paid $10 for this horse? Yes, it was a horse and it proved its worth because dad together with a couple of neighbors used it to cut hay which was baled and sold besides what we kept to feed our own animals. The hay cost nothing as it grew wild in the surrounding fields. These same men cut trees which they sawed up and sold for firewood. In about a year, Dad sold this same horse for $20. BIG DEAL! We also sold milk and rabbits and I had access to much fruit which grew behind the rectory. This I canned and many an evening meal consisted of bread, canned fruit and plenty of fresh butter and milk. One day Dad came home with a darling little dog which immediately took over as Mistress of the house. She was very protective and nothing was too large for her to challenge. One night she woke us up wanting out of the house. Two horses were in the yard and she chased them before she returned. One day in the rainy weather she came up to me with a baby chick in her mouth. The mother hen was in the wet grass with her chicks and Betsy decided she would rescue them which she did by bringing them one by one to the back porch, all in good condition. We always ate all our meals together. Why don’t families do that today? At this time Betsy would sit up on her haunches and wait for small pieces of food. She disdained to eat from a dish and would only accept small bits of food. She loved walnuts and would take a nut under the table, deftly crack it and eat the nut. She was chasing a large dog from the yard and a car did not see her. The driver, a man we knew, was ever so sorry and I just went in hysterics. Dad scolded me saying it could have been one of the kids and of course, he was right, but we all missed little Betsy, so much. One day the cow got loose and Dad and the neighbors could not catch her. Finally Dad chased her toward our barn and heaved a sigh of relief when he saw her go in, only to feel despair as she immediately emerged from a side door. I can still see the frustration in Dad’s face as he saw her come out that door and he said, “Hell, let her go”. The animal control agent told us to forget her, that when she got ready she would return. We had an old Buick which the men converted into a truck and they took anything that was available if they could get it for nothing or at least cheap. One night while I was gone, Dad found a young woman getting into his bed. He soon knew it was not me and got up and went outdoors to see if anyone was looking for her. A car stopped and a man said they were looking for a young woman, so Dad said, “Come and get her out of here”. They found her hiding in a closet. NEVER A DULL MOMENT! One day the men came home with some sheep. Don’t ask me what they intended to do with them. I wanted nothing to do with them. These sheep were put in a small cemetery across the street from us. It was badly overgrown with weeds and the sheep were to eat the weeds and clean up the lot. It was John’s duty to water these creatures and one day he came home with a sheep in his red wagon. (I can’t remember a time when the kids were without a red wagon). He found this sheep nearly dead and he, together with Catharine and myself, decided to put it out of its misery. John took a sledge hammer and hit it on the head as hard as he could, but it refused to die. I was stupid enough to suggest slitting its throat. We tried this but can you imagine cutting through all the wool? Any way, after repeated blows it gave up and we all felt better. None of us could ever stand to see any creature suffer. During the Depression our main source of amusement was to drive to the bay where the children enjoyed the water. When Mary was 8 years old we had a Postscript in the form of a new baby. I had a severe accident when he was on the way and will carry the result to my grave. A drunk driver hit my car broadside and my back was hurt. Joe’s was a difficult birth, but he was welcomed and Louise proceeded to spoil him terribly. Nineteen months later Joe had a baby brother, Richard, and I came close to death, but prayers were many and anyway I am still here. In December of 1930, Rita again contracted pneumonia and we took her to the hospital on the day before Christmas. She could not raise a fever with which to fight and the doctor was helpless. She drew me a picture and was happy but we knew this time we were going to lose her. I asked her if she would like to see the Baby Jesus and she replied, “Yes, I’m going to see him first” and she went to him in time for His birthday. For several years I could scarcely look at a Christmas tree but, of course, I never wished her back and on cold winter nights I was consoled by the thoughts of how happy she must be. After that I really grew up. Life goes on and often I wondered just what had been different about Rita. She saw things upside down and when she drew a picture, she drew it upside down. In 1932 F.D. Roosevelt was elected President and things began to get better. Dad had gone back to work full time, but became ill and they found he had ulcers and one day the doctor was asking him about his family. When he found out how many children he had and had just weathered the Depression, he remarked, “Hell man, no wonder you have ulcers”. For many months afterwards Dad’s lunch consisted of a quart of milk and two eggs beaten together. Catharine and Louise had a dear friend who lived near us. This was Linda Bucciarelli. She was with us every day and I loved her like my own. One night after she was studying with Catharine, I thought she should have someone take her home so I woke John and he played the part of body guard. He looked so funny as he had slipped on his Dad’s house slippers. Linda tried to get him to go home before they reached her house, but he said, “No, Mother told me to take you home, so I had better do that”. It’s a good thing John went to the Seminary or Lou Ferry would not have had a chance. Lou married Linda and we have remained very good friends. One New Year’s eve, Linda and Catharine did not have dates so Linda spent the evening at our house as Dad and I were not going to be home. They got into some of our wine and when I came in the house, there they both were with their arms around a stove pipe. I guess that took the place of a boyfriend. Lou Ferry played football with St. Mary’s and we did not miss a game when they played at Kezar Stadium, in San Francisco. Louise went with a St. Mary’s boy, Ernie Jorge, for a short time and on Dad’s and my 20th wedding anniversary the boys were at our house and I decked out in a window curtain and had a bouquet of carrots and celery. I believe Ernie was my husband and Linda and Lou were the attendants. I enjoyed my girls so much. When Joe was about a year old I awoke one morning and discovered I had a severe case of Bells Palsy. I knew what it was because my brother-in-law, Charles, had suffered the same thing. The left side of my face was paralyzed and I could not close my eye. I looked terrible but had no pain. I knew the children would be frightened and lay in bad thinking how I would approach them. Finally, I decided to make light of it, so I went out in the kitchen and lightly said, “the first one who laughs at me is going to be a whack”. No treatment helped and I carry a disfigurement to this day. John, who was 13, decided it was time he was thinking about his future. He was in the eight grade and had many outings with the Salesians, with whom we had all become very friendly. One certain brother, Dave Zunino, especially liked John and would invite him to accompany them on their walks, etc. The cook at Salesians was a brother who had been in the Polish Army named Brother Jerusel. He was a very nervous person but with a heart of gold. Many a night before a feast day he would stay up late baking 6 layer cakes for the boys. One July 4, some boys shot some firecrackers beneath the kitchen window which frightened Brother so that he flung a full pot of coffee through the window. John began talking of entering the Salesian Seminary and talked of it to our pastor, Father Tozzi. Father Tozzi insisted that John go to Menlo Park, the Diocesan Seminary, and said he would pay all his expenses. This was not to be because John had become in love with the Salesians. This made Father Tozzi angry and he talked to Dad who told him it was John’s decision, not his to make. John had not yet finished the 8th grade, but he never had any trouble with his work. Fr. Wiecoreck was then the Director and he asked John if he would like to enter at once and John agreed. This was in August 1936. I could only visit him once a month even though we lived just around the corner. The rules were much more strict then than now. I soon got around the rules by offering my services which were gladly accepted. That began what turned out to be 17 years of working for the boys. Together with Katie and several other mothers, we kept the boys’ and priests’ clothes clean, ironed and mended. When John went to Newton 4 years later he stopped in Lima to visit Dad’s father and relatives. His grandfather, affectionately know as the “Old Gent” was so very proud of John. In a picture I have of the two of them together you can see his face beaming. I wish he could have lived to see John ordained. It was while John was in the Seminary that Richard was born and as a great concession John was allowed to be his godfather and was allowed to come home for an hour. One of the pastimes was gathering mushrooms in the Spring. The kids and I would even gather them in a light rain. They popped up before our very eyes and all the kids knew which were safe and, oh boy, were they good. On May 27, 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge was opened and Louise and I were in the front line when the ribbon was cut. In order to be first in something we walked the bridge in our stocking feet. I still have a framed acknowledgment of this event. We also crossed the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge the day it opened and that was one of the greatest thrills of my life. CHAPTER VI On December 7, 1941 the Japanese made the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor which soon plunged us into World War II. It was necessary to convert many factories into war materials and Kaiser Industries came into the picture. He dug 4 deep channels in Richmond Harbor and soon a ship a day was launched. These were know as “Liberty Ships” The people poured into Richmond and soon the population soared to 100,000. My two little boys came home from school with measles and mumps. The newcomers, known as Oakies and Arkies, began building shacks around us in the open fields and they were not too clean. We decided to rent our house and move into Richmond. We found a nice brand new one on 39th Street. Our neighbors were the McGraths, and their second son, Rudy, was eventually to become Mary’s husband. Dad began working long hours and for the first time we had more than enough to meet all our bills. Hallejuyah! In the meantime Catharine had married J.B. White and Louise married David Bergesen. Margaret and Mary were both working. Soon David went back to sea and Louise with her baby Marilyn, moved in with us. We converted our garage into a room for them but we were very crowded. It was in this house that Joe came down with appendicitis and for a few days was a very sick boy. I always seemed to be looking for a good deal and I saw a lovely home for sale on the corner of 41st and Roosevelt. We had paid $4,200 for the house on 39th. We had fixed it up nicely but had not spent too much money and we got $6,800 when we sold it. The other house was much larger on a fenced in corner lot and only cost $8,200. To get back to the night Marilyn was born—I shall never forget it. I took Louise to Providence Hospital in Oakland and somehow we entered the wrong elevator. We found ourselves in a dark lab or operating room and began giggling. We made our way back downstairs and finally tiny little Marilyn was born. This was our first granddaughter and one month to the day, Catharine gave birth to our first grandson. Marilyn was my baby for a long time as Louise worked and is still one of my special favorites. David returned and soon moved his family to Oakland which left Margaret, Mary and the two boys at home. Mary soon married Rudy McGrath and for the first time we found ourselves in a house too large. Of course, our income was lessened and taxes were soaring. Theresa and Tom living at Pt. Richmond and Katie, whose husband had died suddenly many years before, was keeping house for Fr. Kelly, at the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in Pt. Richmond. Pt. Richmond then was a lovely place near the bay and I began dreaming of living there. By mere chance one day a friend called me and told me of a terrific house which could be purchased reasonably in Point Richmond. I went there and fell in love with the house. I told Dad about it and all he said was “Buy it”. I asked the owner to give me first chance to buy it and immediately put ours up for sale. Quite soon I had a buyer and without bickering agreed on a price of $16,000. We had only paid $8,200. We paid off the mortgage and bought the house at 31 Nichol Avenue at the Point for $8,500. For the first time we owned our own home free and clear with money in the back. Hooray! The children all loved this house and it was indeed charming. John had spent 4 years in Newton, N.J. and then as a “Brother” taught on the West Coast for 3 years. In 1946 Theresa and I went as far as Lima with John as he was on his way to Turin, Italy where he was to spend his 4 years at the Theologate. I felt so sad to say good-bye but prayed to God to give me all the lonesome hours and spare John from being homesick. While John was in Italy, I kept him, together with his buddies, supplied with all kinds of goodies, because even though the war was over, many things were still very scarce. A good friend, Fr. Gabriel, had a sister living near the school and the boys spent many of the their free hours there preparing pancakes, candy and other things. Mrs. Ottone gasped at their free use of sugar and of course there was always coffee for her and lots of cheap candy for all the little boys whom John taught every Sunday. Turin was very cold and many times John studied wrapped in a blanket and often wore gloves in the school room. For his four years in Turin his goody supply never ran out. I sent him many 10 dollar bills. These I put in the center of a book. There was never one lost. While in Turin they had the famous elections. The Communists were sure they were going to win and had chosen a certain tree on which to hang some of the Salesians. Our boys were sent into the streets incognito and would heckle one another thereby furthering the cause of the Christian Democrats. As history shows the Christian Democrats won. Our Ambassador found there were Americans studying in Turin and used his influence in getting them more heat and things began looking up. While I lived at the Point I spent many evenings with Katy accompanied often by Joe and Richard. We all enjoyed cards. Also, I often went fishing with Tom and Theresa who lived next door to me. When 1950 came it was time to think of John’s ordination. I begged the Provincial, Fr. Tozzi, to bring our boys back for this event with no success. I wrote to many steamship lines and I think I would have been willing to work on the ship had I been given passage. They all told me there was no chance of getting a booking so I wrote to Fr. Giovannini, a Salesian in New Rochell, and he was able to get passage for 2, of course 3rd class, on the “Vulcania” due to sail in June. Dad had to work so I finally urged Katy to go with me. Fr. Gabrial had charge of religious articles at the school and he gave me money with which I was to buy medals, rosaries, etc., in Italy. I was to be allowed some of the profits. Happy was the day we went aboard ship, but it was a miserable ship and in eleven days of sailing we did not have our bunks changed once. Oh well, anyway it was a very smooth crossing and the morning we stopped across from Gibralter was very exciting. Small boats came near and we bought things by putting money into the basket which would be sent up to the boat. We were on the first boat to dock at Palermo after the war and saw much devastation, halves of homes and miles and miles of broken trains on the country side. From Palermo we went to Rome where we were met by a Salesian, “Ft. Consul”. He knew Rome very well and showed us everything of interest. The catacombs, the home of St. Cecelia, the Forum, etc. We had tickets for a public audience with the Holy Father and we entered St. Peters by a side door very close to the main altar called “The Glory of Bernini”, so called because Bernini had fashioned it. It stand 6 stories high. As we entered the door I raised my eyes and lo, there was the statue of Don Bosco welcoming me to Rome. Needless to say, my heart skipped a beat and I felt welcome. When they brought in the Holy Father on the Sedan Chair he spread his hands over the crowd in benediction and his hands seemed almost transparent. This was Pope Pius XII. From Rome we took the train to Turin arriving in the evening. How happy John, Katy and I were. He took us to Mrs. Ottones where we were to stay and for the next few days he came when he could but he was then in the middle of exams so we were alone a lot because Mrs. Ottone would not let us leave alone. She was afraid we would get lost. On Ordination Day, John came for Katy and me and we went to the Church of “Mary Help of Christians” a beautiful Basilica built by Don Bosco. There are several saints’ bodies in this church. The body of St. John Bosco especially is interesting. His face is covered with wax and he lies in a glass coffin behind his special altar where anyone can view him. The bodies also of Dominic Savio, a young saint and that of Mary Hazzarello, the founder of the school for girls, connected to Salesiaans. John was ordained a priest on July 2, 1950, and as I knelt at the altar rail during all of ordination, I felt my heart would burst with love and pride. This was my life’s greatest thrill. There were 40 ordained that day and during the ceremony, who made his appearance but Fr. John Wagner, a friend from Richmond. We had known him since he was 13 years old and he flew in that morning and stood in the line of priests who, after the ceremony, laid hands on the new Ordainees. John took Katy and me up the Matterhorn for an outing. We took a bus way up the mountain then had our first ride in a cable car which swung out over a deep valley and on up to a higher peak. John had a tin cup and the mountain spring water was deliciously cold. We picnicked on cheese, bread and salami and had a liquor made of flowers from the Alps. This was a delightful drink. We were invited to attend a July 4th celebration with the American Ambassador but John had booked passage on the “Ill De France” for a short time later so we had to refuse. John’s first mass was read at the Don Bosco Altar and Fr. Wagner was with him. We traveled by train from Turin up the Mediterranean with Fr. Wagner and a couple of h;is friends from San Francisco. I can truly say it was one of the best night’s sleep I ever had. The trains in Europe are different from ours. A hallway runs down the side and individual rooms open on to it. These rooms have seats for 4 facing one another and John told Katy and me to pull the shade and close the door and in that way we each had a long seat to stretch out in and as the trains are electric, we just glided along. The next morning we parted company and John, Katy and I went on to Lourdes and Paris. In Lourdes we stayed with some nuns and John said mass in a chapel directly over the grotto. That night there was a procession of lighted candles and the church which is on a hill suddenly put on a show. First it was outlined with lights, then as they went out the center was lighted. Finally, the whole church exterior was a blaze of lights. In Paris John said mass in the Church of Madeline. From there we traveled to La Havre and on board found we were to have as table mates another priest and his two cousins. They were so much fun and we had the most delightful crossing. In New York we were met by a certain young man whom none of us knew but on of John’s class mates had told him of our coming and had asked him to look after us. He waited while we cleared customs and then drove us to his home in Jersey City. There his mother had prepared a lovely dinner and put us all up for the night. We stayed there several days and they drove us to Newton where the cook had prepared a special cake for John and there was an entertainment prepared. We then headed for home, stopping for a visit in Lima. In the afternoon the fellows, with John, had been in town and they came into the house shouting “get into the basement”. John and I were stupid enough to want to watch whatever was coming which proved to be a tornado. It took off several of the shingles from the side of the house where we were standing. John later went into the devastated area but there were no casualties. We saw huge trees uprooted and one auto on the top of another. Katy was staying with a friend and they fortunately were in the cellar because it tore out the side of their house which was brick and much debris was in a tree in the yard. I forgot to mention a very important instance which occurred while in Turin. We visited the Superior General, Fr. Ricoldoni, and he made Katy and me Ladies of Pope Leo, presenting us with medals which are not given to many. I treasure it as I also treasure a framed certificate signed by Fr. Rinaldi who was the 3rd successor to Don Bosco. No doubt he will be canonized. This is my co-operators certificate. To return to the trip home, I remember thinking I would rather take my chances with earthquakes than with tornadoes. We finally arrived in Richmond to find 40 people waiting for us. Of course, it was to honor John. I then had only Margaret, Joe and Richard, so I became active in outside activities and I began driving for Red Cross and took up First Aid. I also helped the nurses for Pre-school children and one day a week visited and helped the handicapped. Joe finished high school at St. Mary’s in Berkeley and decided to enlist in the Army. His goal was to be a teacher and felt he could get his college training with G.I. money which he did. He spent his training at Camp Lewis in Washington and met Beverly Wooten and wanted to get married. I begged him to wait until he was out of the Army but that was not to be. Beverly came to Richmond and John performed the ceremony. Since then he has been called upon to perform many marriages and baptisms. Margaret married Jack Smallen and lived with us for one year. Joe and Beverly lived on the campus of San Francisco State College where Joe attended and from where he obtained his degree. They later spent 3 years in Africa on the East coast which is now Tanganyika. (Later Tanzania) They then had 3 little boys and I managed to keep their home which was in Montalvin Manor rented until their return. Dave and Louise also traveled to Egypt where Dave had connections with Sharp and Dohn Pharmaceutics, however that is their story. I hope they will also write their life’s history for their children and children’s children. Richard went to work for Felice and Perrelli Canners and there he stayed for about 20 years. A law was [passed banning artificial sweeteners and the cannery was forced to quit canning. Stupid law. This was a severe blow to Richard and also to me. One Summer I visited John in Bellflower. The cook walked off and John asked me to take over. A strange kitchen and knowing nothing about it was fearful, however, I asked Mama Margaret (Don Bosco’s mother) for help and she did. Anyway, I stayed for a month or more and one morning John walked in with the bad news that Tom had died. I felt I should have been with Theresa but I could not change that. That night John and I came to Richmond for the funeral and I was driving and got a ticket for speeding. Seems I had passed a Highway Patrol Car. No wonder I got a ticket. Poor me. My girls were having families and our house was always HOME to them, especially at Christmas. Our house was large and one time I had 35 seated for dinner in our dining room. Teresa was now living alone next door and was not well. She was cooking for some nuns and would come home, go to bed and have the room spin around her. One evening I took her dinner to her and she said it tasted so good. Later in the evening I looked in on her and I heard a rattle in her throat which seemed to be the death rattle. She asked me if I thought she was dying and as simply as I could truthfully answer I replied “Well, we can’t live forever”. I called her doctor who it seems was out of town and another one came who did not recognize how ill she was. He told me to give her a little whisky which I did but she soon lapsed into a coma but not until I had called our priest. I called her children and Katie and I proceeded to sit out a vigil. She passed away that night and I said the prayers for the dying and next day made all the arrangements for her funeral. Madeline, her daughter, and Charles wanted my help and I gave it. The children wanted to sell the property which consisted of her house with a rented apartment below and a small house in the rear. Syl had married and had a small daughter. His wife decided to leave him and he moved in with us. We enjoyed him so much. Syl and I decided to buy the property next door, and this we did.
One night Mary Thauberger (Katy’s daughter) and her husband came to our house and woke me up to tell me the terrible news that Syl had had a automobile accident and was dead. >From then on I sent half of each month’s rent form next door to Syl’s daughter who lived in Ventura, Calif. Dad had always said he would retire when he was 65 and this he did. We decided to go to Europe. Bob White was stationed at Frankfort, Germany, with the U.S. Army and had permission to have leave as long as we were in Europe. We had passage on the “America” and were to said on a Saturday. We boarded, stowed all our luggage in a nice cabin and went out on deck to watch the tugs take us to sea. The ship lay in the harbor all day and all night and the passengers were getting restless. The next afternoon news came over the loud speaker that due to a strike the ship was not going to sail, and she never did sail again. What to do? I got in touch with T.W.A. and that night we had our first flight across the Atlantic. Next morning we came down thru the clouds to see beautiful castles and green, green, everywhere. We were in Shannon, Ireland. I have always wanted to visit Ireland and some day I hope to do so. From Ireland we flew across the channel to Frankfort where we got in touch with Bob. I believe this was on Monday and Bob was not free until the following Saturday, however we knew some people not far from there and had a nice visit until Bob came on Saturday and we were on our way. We had a small station wagon and it performed very well. We first drove into France in search of the home of my grandparents, the Brunettes. We did find the church where they attended and one can imagine my thoughts as I walked in there and imagined the ghosts of my ancestors watching me. How I wished I knew the language but that was not the case. We then returned thru Germany and entered Italy by way of Milan. From there we traveled to Venice, Florence, Padua, Turin where we visited with our friends, the Salesians, then down to Rome where we again visited Salesians who took us to a hostel run by a group of Canadian nuns. While in Turin we visited the room in which Don Bosco died and we saw a man there who was in the process of preparing an enclosed frame for Don Bosco’s little purse and his crucifix. I bought some small medals and the gentlemen placed them in the purse, then gave them to me, and as no one will be able to touch the purse anymore, I can truthfully claim I own the last articles to come out of it. The hostel in Rome was the very same one Joe and his family had stayed in when they returned from Africa. After a tour of Rome, we traveled to Piza and Bob climbed to the top of the tower. We then went on to Spain by way of the coast of the Mediterranean, arriving in Barcelona. There we saw an exact replica of the Santa Maria, one of Columbus’ ships. From there we went to Madrid and stayed several days with Bob Hills and family. He was in the Air Force there and the son of the Hills family we knew when we lived in San Pablo. He took us to the famous “Valley of the Fallen”. Franco had built this place to honor his soldiers. It was a hugh cathedral cut in the side of a granite mountain. On top, reaching to the sky, was a large cross and the inside had altars of great beauty even though seeming very simple. From there we drove north to San Sebastian, on the extreme north coast, then again into France. There, of course, was Paris, where we stayed several days taking in all the sights. Bob and I went to the very top of the Eiffel Tower, toured the Notre Dame and of course spent hours in the Louvre. Then on to Lourdes where Bob and I made the stations. These are on a hill and we started on our knees, but I gave up and finished by foot. Bob stuck it out. We wanted to go up to Brittany and the beaches made famous during the war, but when we reached La Havre we were told that the coast was fogged in and we could not go. Our homeward boat was the U.S. and not due to sail for several days so we had to be content with visiting the near by area. Bob came on board with us and I felt so sorry for him. He so wanted to be sailing with us. The ship was lovely and our cabin was luxurious. We were on B Deck quite high on the boat. One night we were struck by 3 hurricanes. I went out about 2 a.m. and the deck was awash. There were so may sick, however I did not miss a meal, though we had to be strapped in our seat. It was very severe storm. When we docked in New York, we found that several ships had also been hit much worse than ours and we saw people being carried off on stretchers. After returning to Richmond things went along for sever years with nothing of importance happening. In 1957 we celebrated our 50th anniversary and it was truly a day to remember. Of course, John was the main celebrant and Fr. Wagner spoke. There were 13 priests on the altar. I have a tape of the entire mass. A reception was held14 in the Salesiand cafeteria and in the evening there was a dinner at King Richard’s Table in Vallejo. Margaret had taken two pictures from my album, one of the graduation girls, the other of the boys. These were from 1914. John had Dad’s and my picture superimposed on the programs and when I opened one it seemed I was seeing ghosts. John was then director of a school in Los Angeles and we spent 6 months there. He had bought a large building to later be used as a boy’s club and also an apartment house to some day serve for homeless boys. Dad took care of the apartment, collecting rent, etc., and I worked in the Bellflower school. I hated the apartment and almost became ill with lonesomeness so after 6 months we came home. During these years we had the place next door rented to three lovely families but as all good things seem to end so did our luck. One by one, thru sickness and other moves we lost our good renters and had trouble with the new ones. John had heard of a large ranch near Sebastopol and he had dreams of building a seminary and retreat house so he purchased this. He was the Provincial. Dad and I stayed there the first summer and I canned hundreds of jars of fruit which grew on the place for the Salesians. It was a glorious summer. Later Margaret and Jack moved there as caretakers and we had many fun times there. We even had a wedding. Marilyn married Glenn Willis and of course John performed the ceremony. While we were there we had bad news. John was being sent to the East as Provincial of the Eastern Province. There he remained for 6 years and each year we went back there and spent a month with him. The first year we took the train to Montreal where John met us with a car. We traveled on to Quebec then on to the East Coast of Canada. From there on down thru Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut and on to New Rochelle, N.Y. , John’s headquarters. No other place can compare with the autumn beauty of the East Coast. I worked in John’s office, mainly filing all his accumulated mail. He was in the air more than on the ground as the Salesians spread from Canada to Florida and from N.Y. to Minnesota. We visited all the wonderful Salesians. We also visited the Mother House of the Sisters of Mary Help of Christians. They are great people. John took a pilgrimage to Europe and in the group was a certain couple, Mr. and Mrs. Soll Roehner. John had met them thru business dealings. These people were later to become the most delightful people I was ever to know. While in Italy, they insisted that John’s mom was to have a gift and they chose two gorgeous pins, one a cameo and the other an image painted on ivory. This one came from the Vatican museum. We have since visited them both in New York and later in Florida. What beautiful people! Syl’s daughter lived now in Oxnard and I had been sending her half of the rent from next door but she needed money so we paid her her share and now owned the property. We had a lot of trouble getting tenants who were good pay and decided to sell the place. The new owners did not care to whom they rented and we found ourselves neighbors to Hell’s Angels, hippies and dogs by the dozen. Our lives became unbearable. One evening one of the dogs bit Richard and the gang just laughed. That was just too much so we decided to sell and move away. Margaret and Jack were still in Sebastopol so we decided to try the country. We bought a beautiful house near the church and as usual, I could go to daily mass. For awhile we were happy but in the 3 years we stayed there not one neighbor had spoken to us. Richard was commuting 100 miles daily and many mornings he found it so foggy he could not see. Again, we had to make a big decision. Should we return to the Bay Area? Finally we decided to do that, but found property sky rocketing around El Cerrito where we would have liked to buy. Louise told us about a Mobile Park near her and after much thought we decided to try mobile living and that is where I am writing from. We have terrific neighbors and feel very safe here. In buying this place we had a nice surplus and I have invested in 2nd mortgages, five of them and they are bringing in 10% interest. This leaves us money on which we can draw for vacations and we have had 2 Caribbean Cruises, a trip to Alaska and this year we expect to fly to Canada, rent a car and tour Jasper National Park, Banf and Lake Louise. Our very best friend, Ellen Silver, whom we have know for many years, always accompanies us and John also goes along. John is now president of Don Bosco Technical School in Roesmead, Calif. and I see him frequently. On December 6, 1977 we celebrated our 60th anniversary. (Our real anniversary date is Dec. 26). John did most of the planning for the event with the other children’s help. We were invited to have the mass in St. Peter and Paul’s Church in San Francisco and the cooks at the rectory offered to cater the banquet. There were over 20 priests in the sanctuary and during the mass, John fastened a gold medal and chain (a gift from Fr. Gabriel) around my neck and I have never removed it. Also during the dinner, John presented me with a gold medal of Mama Margaret (Don Bosco’s mother). This is not often given and I felt very humble in receiving it. This came from Italy. At present we are both enjoying good health at 80 years of age. I miss not being actively involved with the Salesians, however, we do contribute each month to the seminarians in Equador and we have a adopted girl in Haiti. EPILOGUE I am thinking about the age in which I have lived. I have seen the first radio and television, also the first airplane. During my life time the electric light was invented, also the first automobile. My first ride was in a Stanley Steamer in 1910. I watched the first moon walk and have seen the rocks collected there. Also, Lindburg’s airplane “The Spirit of St. Louis” is to be seen in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. I also heard of the first Atomic bomb with President Truman ordered dropped on Japan. While this brought terror to hundreds of people, it did bring the end of World War II. Coincidentally, I was born the year a war ended. My oldest daughter was born the year a war ended and he oldest daughter was also born the year a war ended. The Zeppelin Hindenburg passed over our house some time before it crashed on the Atlantic Coast. I have been asked, what were my goals in life? I don’t know if it could be classified as a goal, however, I have always liked people and always wished to be respected and liked by my friends. I’ve tried by example to instill honesty and faith in my children. I’ve tried to teach them of God’s love and that He always does what is best for us if we trust him. Our hands have been given to us to use for helping others and if we do that, I’m sure some day we will greet one another in heaven. We have taken many risks but that is what makes life exciting. This is written in June, 1978. At this time our family totals 72. There are twenty-five grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren with three new great-grandchildren expected. One more arrived on July 18, 1978.
Submitted by her granddaughter, Susanne Bergesen-Belt, Lafayette, California