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Birthday

 

This was taken in the front yard of our house in Paauhau. My mother always combined my birthday party with one for my sister, even though our birthdays were two months apart. I recognize the Akioka sisters and my own sister, but do not remember anybody else!

. . .and who was that girl in the coat??

I remember it was a red coat and to this day thought she must be stiffling if the rest of us were in short sleeves!

 

1949, Paauhau, Hawaii:

When I still looked good in a swimming suit. .

When I still looked good in a swimming suit. .

1968, Riverside, California:

Two of the cutest kids ever!!  Mine!

Two of the cutest kids ever!! Mine!

1993, Tehahapi, California:

angel-1

1995, Tehachapi, California:

Hallie ~ just waiting, patiently!

Hallie ~ just waiting, patiently!

Each generation has their Christmas memories. As I reflect on the special people I have shared my memories with, I wish you all

Blessings on this most special of Eves and the creation of special memories of your own on Christmas Day, 2013.

My Map

Each one of those colors represent something different. Each state that has a color represent a state that I have at least stepped in. I’ve either lived in, visited for awhile, spent more than just a night and saw a few sights or just stepped in and kept going. The white ones ~ they’re kinda like my empty coffee cup in a busy restaurant. . . empty for a reason! Ignored, forgotten or overlooked! Something that needs attention.

  • The three GREEN states represent states I have lived in for a period of time. I started my life in Hawaii, lived most of my life in California and my life will probably end in Pennsylvania.
  • The nine BLUE states are the ones I chose to visit, sight-see and repeat those steps! I’ve either had a friend, a member of the family or left a piece of my heart in those states.
  • The AMBER states are ones I’ve visited, did a little sightseeing, spent a couple of days and then hit the road to the next destination. Alaska is the exception. It should fit into the Blue category since Jim and I spent two weeks with my sister and her husband, but the description stated you must have seen “a fair amount of” the State. We would have had to spend years there to satisfy that requirement!
  • and the RED states are those I’ve stepped in, stopped to buy gas and a snack, drove thru and took a picture or two or just satisfied the requirement of  not spending a lot of time or seen a lot of! In some cases, it hasn’t even involved slowing down on the interstate.
  • and the WHITE states are just plain out of the way! Haven’t had a chance to fill those in, hope I can, don’t know if I will kind of States.

The distractions on Facebook can be just that or they can make you slow down and think of how fortunate you are for seeing and experiencing as much as you have. It certainly has done just that for me. It has also given me ideas for future blogs. There is no reason why I can’t write at least one blog for each of those Blue States.  In most instances, I’ve visited the State several times, stayed awhile and didn’t want to leave.

It nice to have goals ~ nicer yet to meet them!

Want to make your own map? Here’s the page to start -

http://www.defocus.net/visitedstates/

I encountered two different women this weekend who really impressed me, for completely different reasons. I know the name of one of them, and although the other will always remain nameless, I will always remember her smile and her act of goodwill.

We were in Philadelphia for the weekend because we were taking a special trip offered by Amtrak to view the Autumn Colors on a route not generally open to Passenger Trains. As we boared a SEPTA train Sunday morning to take us from our hotel by the Airport into the City and the Amtrak Station, Jim scraped his arm on something. He was carrying our heavy overnight bag, and had to climb up several steps with two bad knees. He scraped his arm bad enough that it broke the skin and he started bleeding thru the shirt. I had bandaids on hand, so I doctored the arm, but the shirt sleeve had to be washed.  We had a seven hour train tour ahead of us, and wearing his coat to cover the shirt was not an option and I had to do something! I talked him into taking off the shirt and wearing only his jacket (zipped up) while I washed the sleeve in the restroom sink and dried it under one of those high heat hand dryers.

There were just two hand dryers in that large restroom, and leaning against the wall and warming her hands under one of them was an elderly (or so it seemed) homeless woman. Her cart has next to her and she was dressed in several layers of mismatched clothes She would not make eye contact with me.

When I finished cleaning Jim’s shirt I took the other hand dryer to dry it, offering it to anyone who had washed their hands, but everyone (about 4 people!) shook their head no, took paper towels and left, staring at the two of us using the hand dryers in ways other than the intended. Perhaps they thought I was homeless also. Who knows?

Everybody ignored us except for one woman. She smiled at me and then did something I shall never forget. She reached into her large, rather expensive looking leather bag and pulled out a pair of socks, leaned over and offered them to the homeless woman. One small little gesture. One small gestures that affected two people – the woman who will have clean warm socks, and me.

I say I care, and I do, but I have never given on a one to one basis like this woman did. I give to organizations who give to people. I get a receipt for Income Tax purposes. What is important  I learned on Sunday, is not whether I get credit for my good deeds, but whether my good deeds are going to the individuals who benefit the most from them.

How many of us walk by those less fortunate than we are and think “They should go to a Shelter.” or “Don’t they know there are programs in place for them?”  Why don’t we think “What can I do for that woman who is huddled by the wall?” “Is there some way I can help? Some little way?”

I have decided there is. I will carry socks in my purse from now on. and maybe an extra five dollar bill. Since I don’t know their story (and it doesn’t matter anyway) I really can’t judge them – I can only help them in any little way I can.

Look around you. They are there – they may not be huddled against the wall. They may be sitting on a bus bench or picking up a cigarette butt. They all have a story and they all need to know that maybe, just maybe somebody cares.

I’d like to be that person that touches one person’s life. Wouldn’t you?

Rock ‘n Roll! I was single and it was the 70’s. I loved Concerts and I loved Rock ‘n Roll! In those days I went to concerts and I bought albums, that’s what I did. The list of who I saw in Southern California would surprise you! I think I’ll make a list of everybody I’ve seen in concert and do a blog on just that, but that’s for later, right now I’m writing about my favorite performer of all times!

I had all of his albums and have seen almost every movie he has ever been in. I admire him for his voice, his intellect (Summa Cum Laude Graduate of Pomona College and a Rhodes Scholar) and his talent. He has written some great songs (Me and Bobby McGee, Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, Help Me Make it Through the Night and For the Good Times) and when I had a chance to go to UCR and see him for the cost of a $5.00 ticket, I jumped at the chance! That’s less than the price of an album, and much more memorable!

KrisRita - Version 6

It was May 18, 1975 and the venue was the Football Field at UCR, the price of the ticket? $7 for the General Public, $5 for Students. I went with a student and she paid $5 each for the tickets. The sad part? It wasn’t even full! Heck, it wasn’t even close to full. 2500 in attendance. You read it right . . . TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED people! and less than two weeks later the exact same show was SOLD OUT in San Diego’s Civic Theater! What was wrong with Riverside? Was it the advertising? Was it the venue? Who knows, but to me it was a great show! I felt like it was a personal performance, just for me!

KrisRita - Version 4A

Besides Kris and Rita, Billy Swan gave one of his first performances of “I Can Help” at this event. Billy was Kris’s bass player at the time.

KrisRitaFinal

I was close enough to get these up close and personal shots of the couple. He’s always been beautiful in my book. I wanted to get on the stage and just hug him, but then I knew I wouldn’t get to see the rest of the concert from inside the venue. . . .

crowd1A

The crowd, obviously wasn’t as excited as I was. They came to watch, I was there to appreciate. According to the Riverside Press Enterprise report of the concert the next day, Kristofferson received a ” . . . politely indifferent response from basically a picnicking audience.” and the “ . . . audience that seemingly enjoyed a peaceful afternoon and one another’s company as well as the music.” The reporter was NOT a Kris Kristofferson fan! Earlier in the article he referred to Kris’s “monotone-like bass” and his “dirge-like singing.”

Crowd

The woman in the picture was either dancing or scolding, almost 40 years later it is hard to remember, but I prefer to think dancing. The gentleman standing behind her is politely clapping and everybody else seems anxious to pick up and leave. The little kid probably wanted Kris to sing more and that’s why he’s upset!

It was a Sunday afternoon that I enjoyed and only wished it had gone on into the evening, but then again . . .

It was just a picnic event for a Riverside Sunday Afternoon!

We went to The Corn Wagon today, as I did last week, and I will do next week! Fresh fruit and veggies, straight from the farmer to our table – nothing could be better!

JimCorn1
Before I had even turned off the engine, Jim was out of the car with his bag to select our 13 ears of corn – like they were going to run out of it or something! They had 3 wagons full of corn and everybody was selecting the perfect corn for their needs. It’s almost a social event with people chatting as they are filling their bags. Several people had boxes  to fill, we only had a bag.

Jim Corn
13 ears, you ask? Yes! 13 ears for $2.50! Why 13? In case one of them is bad!  Which has never happened to me and I’ve been coming here as long as I’ve lived here!

Watermelon
Corn is not the only thing they sell at the Corn Wagon! They had watermelons, cantelopes, peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peaches, berries, cucumbers, and on and on and on.  And they had shoppers filling bags, knocking on watermelons, selecting the right tomatoes and of course, filling bags and boxes with corn! Cars were continuously pulling in and out of the parking lot the whole time we were there!
CornWagon1

Not only were the tomatos beautiful, but so were the peaches and cantelopes! We bought a huge, beautiful, ripe tomato for 50 cents! Can you say BLT’s??
HuskyHusker
After we got home, somebody had to husk the corn so Jim sat on the front porch, watching the world go by, and husked the corn! Already for the pot!
Fruit
I cleaned the rest of our bounty and put it up and was amazed that we got all of this plus the 13 ears of corn, for one five dollar bill!

Summertime in Lancaster County, at the peak of harvest ~ my favorite time of the year!

Van

I had a brand new van, two children ready to go, a vacation coming up and no money. I am not, nor was I then, the type of person to let a little detail like that stop me from my goal. I planned a trip anyway, knowing in the long run, things would work out.

. . . and work out, they did. Shortly before we were ready to leave, my sister and her husband offered me the loan of a gas credit card, and I knew that was the signal I was to go.

Friday afternoon, the van was packed and ready to go! Mattress on the floor, a ice box full of food, lawn chairs, clothes, blankets and towels for three and two kids already fighting over “shotgun,” we hit the road in the big blue and white Chevy van ~ Mickey Mouse painted on one side, and Minnie on the other. The Mom-mobile was hitting the road and we were heading east!

SCAN0008

Plan was to cross the desert in the evening hours when it was cooler. First leg of the journey was I 15 to I 40, with KOA, Kingman, Arizona our first stop. From Kingman, we continued on I 40 until we reached AZ 64 and headed north to the Grand Canyon and we were excited! We had no reservations for a camping spot, but as I said in the first paragraph, I wasn’t going to let little things like that get in the way!

First stop, Visitor Center, where we planned everything we wanted to see. Leaving the Visitor Center the plan was to go to the edge of the rim, see the view and take the obligatory pictures there. As we were doing so, the kids started to get excited and said something about their friends from school and were pointing at two boys who were with their mother! It’s that “small world” thing that happens when you meet a neighbor who lives 3 blocks away and you’re in the most unlikely spot! I had never met the woman, nor had I even heard of her children, but one was in Blaine’s class and the other was in Paige’s!  and remember that little detail like a camping reservation? Didn’t need one after all! She invited us to pull our van into her camping site with them! Free camping for the night, playmates for my kids and a real live adult to talk to – life is good.

dinner

After two days and nights in the Grand Canyon, it was time to move on and see something else. Paige had requested a stop at Page, Arizona, and got her wish.  One night camping at the Glen Canyon National Park and then on to Four Corners! We all had to either sit or lay on all four states – Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado before we traveled on to Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa

If you have never visited this area, I would highly recommend this corner of Colorado, Four Corners for the obvious and the Cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde for the historic value, the petroglyphs, or just to walk thru a cliff dwelling and comprehend how these people lived hundreds of years ago. After a full day of exploring, we settled in a campground north of Durango, Colorado and prepared for our big train trip the next day!

Mesa1

One of the highlights of the trip, for the kids as well as their Mama was the day we set aside for a trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow GaugeRailroad. The day started in Durango where we purchased our tickets and boarded the train. We were not prepared for the sights we were going to see as we headed north to Silverton. Nothing tastes better than soot in your mouth as the old engines chugs and chugs as it pulls cars full of tourists through beautiful canyons with views of the Animas River far below!

Durango

45 miles later we arrive in Silverton, an old miner’s town and a place for lunch and exploration. The time went much too fast and it was soon time to board for our return trip to Durango. The train will stop along the trip if there are people to pick up or drop off, and remember that scene in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” where they jump from a high cliff into a river? Yup! This is where it was filmed ~ along the route we had just traveled through.

Silverton

With what we considered the most memorable part of our trip behind us, we headed north to visit Golden, Colorado, home of, what else? but the Coors Brewery! Leaving Durango on I 60, we had to go over Wolf Creek Pass on our way to Colorado 17, where we headed north. As we started through the desert in Colorado we saw two hitch hikers, looking hot, dusty and really in the need for a ride. Throwing caution to the wind, we decided to stop and pick them up! Not a mistake!

Sunflower

I can’t remember where we dropped the first one off, but the second one invited us to spend the night at his boarding (?) house (and I use the term very loosely!) They were actually a mixture of college students and hippies and you couldn’t have asked neater people! The kids and I spread our sleeping bags out on the living room floor and people would step over us and continue on their way upstairs! In addition to a garden in the backyard, our host was very proud of this Sunflower. He is standing next to it. I wish I could remember his name or kept the letter he sent me from South America where he went with the Peace Corps the next year. It was a neat experience, but in retrospect, and with age and maturity, I probably shouldn’t have done it, but it gave my children a chance to meet and talk to people they would have never had a chance to.

The next day we took our Coors Plant tour that we were so looking forward to. At the end of the tour anyone over 21 got a cup of good ol’ Coors, and anyone under 21 got a cup of “Rocky Mountain Spring Water.” Well, my son was disappointed and told them his Mom let him drink beer, so it was OK if he had some. They didn’t go along with that and poor Blaine had to wait until we got to the van and I popped open a “Lady Coors” and shared it with him!

dinosaur

In the North West corner of Colorado and flowing over into Utah is the Dinosaur National Monument. We decided to go out of our way to see a Dinosaur. What we saw was not a real live Dinosaur, but a group of Archaeologists painstakingly working on a fossil, slowly removing it, scrape by scrape. They allowed Blaine and Paige to go down and watch them closely. Sometimes, being the only people interested in something pays big rewards. Although they were very interested at the time, neither one remembers much of the experience today. I do.

dino

Leaving the Monument area, our goal was getting to Provo or Salt Lake City and a motel with soft beds and a bath tub!  Although close to 40 years later I cannot remember whether we stayed in Provo, Salt Lake City or Timbuktu, I still remember the bath tub and the long soak as being the most relaxing thing I have ever experienced! I was preparing myself for the next day continuing the trip west on the I 80.

The first thing you see as you leave Salt Lake City is the Great Salt Lake, not the most scenic lake, but a lake, nevertheless. Our goal today was to see the Bonneville Salt Flats and it was about 100 miles from Salt Lake City. Bonneville is open to the public when there is no other event taking place (ie. filming of commercials, movies or sanctioned events) We were there the day nothing else was going on. I wanted to just drive on the Salt Flats, but we decided I’d “open it up” and see how fast I could get that 3/4 ton, ’74 Chevy van to go. Although I do not remember the exact speed, I do remember it was close to 100 MPH. When the van started shaking, I backed off. (Blaine described it as a “Rattletrap!”) Didn’t need it falling apart in the middle of no where! Nevertheless, that was a cool van!

Reno

The next stop on the trip was simply overnight camping between Bonneville and Lake Almanor, California ~ exactly where, I do not remember. On the way thru Nevada, we stopped in Reno and visited a Bookstore ~ what else? and Paige and Blaine each got a book. I’m sure I must have, also, but I don’t remember, since there’s no tale to tell about mine. I do know I took this picture of a citizen of Reno sleeping on a bus bench . . .  .

Almanor

and I do remember Lake Almanor! My aunt and uncle lived on Lake Almanor and had since the 50’s and now my Grandmother lived with them. When we arrived at Aunt Pat’s house my cousin Mike, his wife Roberta and their baby, Abbie were there. I hadn’t seen Mike in years and had never met Roberta and Abbie. It was like a mini-family reunion! We visited with Nana and the children “got to” pick beans in the garden for dinner. After dinner, dishes done, it was family time. Family time this night was reading out of Paige’s new book, one in the Nancy Drew series, “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet.” Paige still remembers the name of the book and furnishing the book for all to enjoy. We visited with Mike and Roberta outside before climbing in our cozy house on wheels. Tomorrow San Francisco!

Nana

California was our Family Reunion or just plain Family Tour! My mother’s oldest brother, Henry, lived in San Francisco, and I had not seen him in years, so the next stop was a short visit to his home, to introduce my children to my Uncle. We had a delightful visit with him showing us his ancient Greek coin collection. Each child left with one coin, a souvenir of an unforgettable visit.

Our next stop was just south of San Francisco and San Jose was our destination! Cousin Mike’s sister, and his parents had lived in San Jose for years. I had not seen Suzie since we were teenagers, and now we were both mothers with children about the same age. It would be nice to touch base with her and spend some time getting to know her.  . .  and that’s exactly what we did! We laughed, the kids played, and we saw the sights and visited Uncle Harry and Aunt Bettie.

Paige1

One of the favorite tours we took was the Winchester House, home of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Construction continued on the house from 1884 until the day of her death in September of 1922, non-stop, around the clock. Legend has it that she believed as long as she kept building, she would never die. The house has many strange elements – 160 rooms in the house, staircases leading nowhere, doors opening only to reveal a wall, etc.

Time in San Jose drew to a close. It was Friday and I had to be at work on Monday, but I had to stop in Riverside to say Happy Birthday to my Father. I had called him on his actual birthday (4 September) but that was two days ago and I had a card and small gift for him. Our chariot was waiting to head down I 5 towards the Southern California, “The Land of Many People.” We arrived in time for dinner and gave a recap of our two weeks to Grandma and Grandpa, showered, slept in a clean, warm bed and were ready for the final and shortest leg of our trip the next morning. Palm Springs was only a short hour away and we all wanted to see our cat and the two shortest wanted to see their friends.

As I reconstructed this trip, I kept thinking we fit an awful lot into two weeks. We had experiences that would live in our memories for a long time, and some that we would never forget. The only thing I would do differently is to keep a log and/or receipts. I’m sure I knew way-y-y-y back then how much it cost, but I sure can’t remember now!

And my final thought on this trip is this: Everybody should have children like I did, children who you could share experiences with and enjoyed most of them, and yet still knew who was in charge. If I were in the same position today, with these same two children, would I try to duplicate this experience?

In a New York Minute! I would!

I love you Kids!!

 

**Disclaimer:

The photos are terrible. Remember they are almost 40 years old, and although I won’t admit I look terrible after 40 years, I do not look nearly as good as I did 40 years ago.

Photos are lucky; colors fade so you can’t see their faults. I’m not so lucky, wrinkles and white hair stand out like red chair in the living room of an 1890 townhouse! (Yes, I did it and as far as I’m concerned, it was the “pop” that living room needed!) 

All this to say the photos are not my best, but they’re better than nothing!

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