Going to a concert in Redding in the 1970s wasn’t just a matter of driving a couple of miles down the street. It involved driving for at least an hour, in the dark, up over a pass and down the winding highway on the other side, often in the rain. And then home again. But being able to hear and see music programs live was really important to me. Our music exposure growing up in isolated state parks was from the radio or, as time went on, classical and folk music records. Never live.
Serving on the Shasta Community Concert Board entitled me to two (if memory serves me correctly) free tickets to each concert. Part of my responsibilities included trying to recruit new members from the Trinity area. There were meetings to attend in Redding although I don’t remember how often. When I was on the board we met at a large home up on a hill, just off of Highway 299 on the western outskirts of the town. I believe the homeowner, possible the chairman (?), was a plumber. I do remember being quite impressed by the size and beauty of the home. It was a good location for me because I didn’t have to drive all over town at night to find it. Concerts were held at the Civic Auditorium.
In October I took Jeffrey to see the Ober Kerchen Children’s Choir. It was a wonderful group but we left shortly after the intermission because we were both so tired to start with. Still, I always felt when taking a child with me that it was worth the trip just for the exposure. Plus it made it special to have one-on-one time together.
I went to a Community Concert committee meeting at a restaurant in Redding one rainy night and wrote that I should have gone to another one but we had a phone company dinner in Weaverville that night.
On November 13th Bob and I were in Philipsville at the River View Inn for dinner. We sat next to a couple who had recently moved to Mad River. She had written a little book on the history of the area in Southern California from which they had just moved and wanted to send me a copy. She also had driven a school bus. The next morning we ate breakfast at Tarentinoe’s then visited the phone company business and main offices in Garberville. Drove from there to Eureka, stopping at the Founder’s Tree so the Whitakers (phone company people) could see the redwoods. Ate a seafood lunch at Lazio’s in Eureka, stopped briefly at Willow Creek and got to Weaverville about 5:30. Picked up the children at Linda’s where Florence had taken them because we were supposed to have gotten home earlier that day.
I fed the children and then we got Christi Forero to babysit because we had something we had to go to at the Gables. Got home around 12:00. Bob had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to catch a plane from Redding to L.A. It was going to be three hours late so they ended up going down in Mr. McGuire’s plane, which came clear up to Redding for them.
That evening I decided, at the last minute, to go ahead and go see the M… (can’t read my writing) dancers in Redding and take Rebecca. I couldn’t get a sitter. Dorothy Goodyear said she’d take Jeffrey and Clarke, so I took her up on it. Raining hard all the way to Redding. It was an excellent program. African dances, songs and gymnastics. Lots of drums. We went home right afterwards but didn’t arrive until nearly midnight. I hauled the children home and got to bed around 1:00.
We had Thanksgiving dinner at Florence and Leonard’s. Aunt Nell, Uncle Stanford, Nancy and David Adrian—with Robin, Noel and Kent- were there. Aunt Nell seemed depressed but Uncle Stanford was quite “chipper”. That Saturday I took the children to Junction City to the Fancy Fair. They each bought something in the way of a toy. I bought a raffle ticket for $1 and Sunday night got a phone call saying I’d won $25 worth of meat!
Children started getting sick but I was hoping they’d be well in time for us to go to the Bay Area to the opera. Funny now that I’m not that fond of opera but it seemed to appeal then. I think part of it was the atmosphere of the Opera House and the costumes and sets. We drove to Berkeley the week before the 1st of December. Went to a book store on Durant St. (the college bookstore was closed.) Bought two secret panel Japanese boxes, one for Rebecca and one for Jeffrey, and a hand puppet made in Poland for Clarke. We found them at a Pier 1 (first time I’d seen a Pier 1). We stayed in the Campus Motel. “Berkeley is really getting kind of dirty compared to what it used to be. Lots of litter and the Pancake House restaurant where we often have eaten has grimy curtains, etc.”
“We got to the opera about 15 minutes before curtain time and chatted with Candy and Jim Fields. They went down with us last year but they took Carin and were visiting relatives this year. The opera (Tosca) was good. Everyone died magnificently. Bob and I went to Blums in Berkeley for a snack on the way home. Tried to see BART but it closes at 11. There’s a lot in the news on its lack of safety devices.”
We went home Sunday and picked up the kids from Linda’s. It was a good trip “good to be able to concentrate on each other.” Bob took
that week off and spent most of it studying about computers, which he was getting interested in. “The children really enjoyed being able to pop in on him in his shop.” Thursday he went to Palo Alto to get more computer information, go to bookstores and visit friends. He got back around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Thursday night I had a nursery school meeting and picked up Christi to babysit but Bev had to come and get her afterwards. Friday I wanted to go downtown to mail some letters, late afternoon, but I’d left the lights on in the car and the battery was dead so we walked. It was terribly cold. I hadn’t realized that when we started. After we went to the post office I took the children to Varney’s for hot chocolate and to warm up. I hadn’t brought my purse so had to charge it. We headed home and were near Jeannie and Fred Meyers’, just past the Joss House, when Vernon Ryan and Ruth stopped to ask if we wanted a ride home. I said yes so he took Ruth home and we met him at their driveway. It was really helpful because we were all cold.
Bob worked on the translator for a while and “I guess it was really upsetting to people who wanted to watch the Army-Navy game.”
We had about 14 inches soft dry powder snow on the ground on the 8th of December. Still very cold. I had to cancel nursery school night and day classes. I put chains on the car. The children slid on the disk on the garden slope some. I was trying to finish up my Christmas shopping.
The day before my birthday I wrote, “Tomorrow I will be 34. I can remember when I thought being thirty was terribly old. Was amazed that people that age could ride bikes.”
Marcene Parkan took the children on a Saturday so we could attend the wilderness meetings. 207 people talked and perhaps as many more signed up to do it but had to leave early. Roads were icy and we had to use a jumper cable to start the car when we left Weaverville. Vernon Ryan, Gil and Lucile Snyder, Alice and Horace Jones, Florence and Leonard, Fred Esselink, Al, Marne and Muff Wilkins, were there. Bill O’Neil gave the Supervisor’s statement, Jim Winegardner the high school students’, etc. Leonard, Alice, Vernon, Bob, Fred and I spoke.
Sunday both Rebecca and Jeffrey were sick. Florence and Leonard brought us a little puppy, one of Freckles’ children. She was black and very cute and the children named her Blackie. But she was a nuisance—howled at night and messed all over the floor.
We had temperatures down to 10 degrees and were happy when it warmed up to 30. Many people had frozen pipes. Pipes were frozen at the recreation building so we couldn’t have nursery school. We did have the adult class where I handed out lists of books for adults and we talked about nursery school some and then came home.
Bob called and said he had just been to a movie called “Ryan’s Daughter”, which he liked very much. He told me to open my present from him. Vance Packard’s “A Nation of Strangers”.
It was a month later before I wrote again. I came down with the English flu on the 22nd of December. Florence ended up taking the children one afternoon and then the puppy, which had diarrhea. Things went downhill from there. I barely made it through Christmas and the children were sick too. Bob got it.
We went to see the doctor and were on medication but after New Years I ended up in the hospital with viral pneumonia. I also had tonsillitis and we all had a strep throat that was resistant to the medication we were on. My roommate at the hospital smoked and I passed a note to a nurse to give to Dr. Breeden. A little while later staff came in and wheeled her out, bed and all. Florence and Leonard took the children. Sometimes I could see the older two get off the bus at their house through my window—they lived close to the hospital. “I don’t know what we would have done without their help with the children.” That was followed by a long convalescence with the older two allowed home on weekends when Bob could be there, then full time and finally Clarke. We had to get someone to come in and clean a couple of times. Florence and Leonard brought Clarke up for a brief visit.
Bob began working on long-term planning for the phone company and was more relaxed doing that as well as having the wilderness hearing behind him. The long-term planning was to last three months and Frank Hinson was doing his former job.
Candy stopped by and went to the post office for me while Bob was in Victorville again for a few days. She brought me a book. I’d just finished reading “Ra.”
On the 17th of January I was still wheezing and a bit wobbly. “I think Rebecca and Jeffrey are ready to come home but I think Clarke would just as soon be with grandmother.” On the 25th the children could come home.
Lyndon Johnson died on the 22nd.
The first weekend the children were home Bob took Jeffrey and Clarke with him to Redding on Saturday. Leonard took Rebecca with him to the store and “where she spent the morning ecstatically counting money.” Thirty dollars in dimes, etc. She spent the afternoon with Florence. The children ate dinner there and then came home.
Sunday Bob really concentrated on the children. He and Jeffrey built a log cabin from Lincoln Logs. Then he helped Jeff build a waterwheel from a science kit and Rebecca worked on putting together a plane that was supposed to fly but didn’t. He helped her with it also and Clarke spent most of his time running back and forth between them and me. They were really glad to be home. Saturday night Jeffrey snuggled down under the covers and said, “My own bed.” He also said, “Mommy when you were in the hospital and I was at grandma’s I really wished you could get out of the hospital.” That was the first time he had ever talked about it. I later learned from Mary Jo, the kindergarten teacher, that Jeff had been almost autistic while I was in the hospital- wouldn’t talk or respond to anyone. Apparently they were with us just for that weekend because Sunday night they went back to Florence and Leonard’s and Monday they went to Linda Lindsey’s so Florence could paint her laundry room and they brought them up to say goodnight to us.
Bob invested some money in a company that made chips that go in computers and one other company. “He said he wouldn’t be too surprised to see this area without electricity in ten years. I read in the February issue of Saturday Review about a 100-year-old man who just the last year invented an apparatus of lenses for focusing the sun’s rays into ” a black-box radiator wherein enough heat is produced, up to an estimated 3,000 degrees Kelvin, to run a turbine, which in turn will produce low-cost electricity with pollution zero. His name is Dr. Abbot-the description (the result of a 90 minute interview (which ended with him singing a sea chantey) is excellent. He’s a truly amazing person.”
We had some good things come out of that month though. “Introspection and discussion between Bob and myself about him, his job, the children, etc. Sort of a re-evaluation. He’s giving Jeffrey a lot more attention now and getting good results.”