Wednesday, February 13, 2013
In third grade, I was on the lower grade side of our elementary school campus. The basketball hoops (two sets) were on the upper grade side, as were the cool tall swing sets. I sneaked over to that swing wet once when I was running and errand for the office (Yes, I was an office assistant in third grade).
I scooted over there (forbidden territory), swung on the swing on my belly and promptly scraped my chin on the ground and bled profusely. I had no legitimate way to explain this injury to the office staff, so I got in trouble for that transgression.
The principle spoke to me while he was holding the office paddle (with holes in it), but he never punished me. He didn’t even remove me from the office volunteer staff. Whew! Of course, I got blood on my clothes, so mom dispensed the appropriate punishment and never went up to the school.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The second incident that I remember from kindergarten was the day that I got in trouble for reading. Mom hired a tutor for me before I started kindergarten, and so I already knew how to read and loved reading already.
However, we were required to “nap” during nap time. We each had our own towel to lie down on. We laid down side by side (about a foot apart) in about three rows. I did not want to sleep. Like others, I had not taken a nap during the day for several years. So, my mom gave me permission to quietly read during nap time at school. Of course, she did not clear that with my teacher!!
I got into trouble for reading during nap time, and when I told my teacher that my mom had given me permission to do that, she said I was lying, and she washed my mouth out with soap!
Well, this is the only time that mom went up to the school before punishing me herself. She talked to the principle, who, I believe, assured my mom that I could read during nap time, and that he would inform the teacher of that. Well, I had no more problems during kindergarten, but that was the last year that teacher was at my school. I think she probably retired, as she was pretty old. At least, in my kindergarten mind, she was pretty old!
Monday, February 11, 2013
I am a creature of Los Angeles. Well, not exactly. I only lived in the city of Los Angeles for a couple of years, on Western, just north of Third. But all the other years of my life, until we left for KY in 2970, and left SoCal in 1989, were well and truly centered around Los Angeles. Even when we did not live in the county!
So, I suppose it might be good to revisit those scenes and describe them as I mean to remember them – not necessarily as I viewed them at the time. Do my current views compare, in any way, to the views of my childhood. Perhaps. Not sure.
My childhood home was in La Puente, actually unincorporated Los Angeles County, the area known as Bassett. I do not know the actual history of the place, really. It was orange groves before it became houses. But WHO owed the property, I do not know at this time. Since it was called Bassett, I suppose that someone with that name lived there, owned some land there, or was an important political figure there, at some time.
Well, my interest is peaked, so I looked up Basset on Wikipedia, and gained this information:
“Bassett is an unincorporated community in the San Gabriel Valley, in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located within the Census boundaries of West Puente Valley. Located in the San Gabriel Valley, the ZIP Code is 91746 and the community is inside area code 626.” And “Joseph Workman, the son of William Workman, owned 814 acres (3.29 km2) of the Rancho La Puente land, and borrowed money on the property. He was not able to keep up the mortgage payments so the bank acquired the property. In 1895, O.T. Bassett bought the property and Bassett Township was established. In 1921, Josephine (Workman) Akley, the youngest child of Joseph Workman, won a lawsuit to recover an interest in the Rancho La Puente land that her father sold. However, the decision was reversed in 1922.”
I suppose that Workman Mill Road was named after the Workman family. Workman Mill Road runs between La Puente and Whittier. I rode that road on my bicycle a number of times, and I drove on that road to my piano lessons many times. Well, yes. William Workman was in the San Gabriel area as early as 1841, and had dealings with Pio Pico and run-ins with the Governor, and William Rowland. I researched the history of the area for a while. That history might make an interesting novel. Fights between the Mexicans and the Californians. Arguments between Pio Pico and another governor with Workman supporting Pico, etc. Perhaps.
It looks like O.T. Bassett, the purchaser of the Workman property, never lived in California. He was an investment banker and lumber company owner, and was centered in El Paso, Texas.
Anyway, I remember being amazed that so many places in the San Gabriel Valley had English names: Bassett, Workman, Rowland, etc. The area was first settled by persons with Hispanic names, and at the time that I grew up, was still populated by a majority of people with Hispanic names. But at that time, I simply noted this, but did not take any abiding interest in the area. I still need to find out about the alleged orange groves. Hmmm.
I looked up the history for a bit, and found a website titled: A River, A Lagoon, and a Chain of Hills. This website is provided by the Bassett Unified School District. Cool!
I never visited the Pio Pico mansion until I was at Whittier College. I drove by it a number of times on the way to visit my future H1. It was, as I recall, tired and run-down. On the two occasions that I stopped and paid a visit, I was impressed by the “coolness” of the air inside the building. It was two stories, but it did not look like it was two stories. It was small enough that I thought it was strange that it was called a mansion. But I was told that more than half of the building went down the river one time when the river flooded. I have not yet researched that – to see if my informant was correct. Pio Pico was the last Mexican governor of California. I can see why the first American governor of California thought that Workman was anti-American in his support of and friendship with Pico. Hmm. That might provide a good story, as well.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The home that I was raised in was a typical home for the time and neighborhood. The houses were all built around 1955, give or take a couple of years. They were build on former orange groves, or so I was told. The houses were all one-story ranch style without basements or crawl spaces. Each house had an attached two car garage, however, there were not always entrances to the garage from the house. Our house was one that did not have a direct door from the house to the garage.
The house was, technically, a two-bedroom, but we used it as a three bedroom. The house was situated on a one-sixth acre lot, just like all the other houses. The roof was so flat that there were no roof tiles as I currently know them. It had a rock roof. The rock was placed on top of black tar paper. I remember helping dad on the roof once. I was probably about 10 years old at the time. I climbed up the ladder, which was not too steep, as dad had a very long ladder, and had enough space to solidify its stance a few feet away from the house.
Anyway, we had one of those “turn left to get in the garage” sort of driveway arrangements. The front of the house had only two windows: to the full bathroom, and to the bedroom next to the bathroom in the front. That was the bedroom that my sister and I shared for a few years, at least until I turned about 9 years old. I slept on the top bunk. The street light from across the street shined into the bedroom. That was a BIG window. There was a window to that bedroom from the west sided, that ran nearly the entire length of the room, and was stationed just under the eve. I never like that window.
When I entered the home though the front door, I looked directly into the living room. For us, the living room was the “show room” that had the best furniture. During my early childhood, that furniture was a naugahyde sofa. I think it was dark red. There was also a naugahyde chair for my father. We had linoleum floor throughout the house. No carpet.
If I turned left after stepping into the “entry”, I could enter a small hall that encompassed three doorways: on the left, a half bath (later became a ¾ bath), straight ahead, the family room (later became my parent’s bedroom), and to the right, the kitchen. I do not remember kitchen before the change in the kitchen format that happened when I was about 10 years old.
If I walked into the entry and turned right, and walked through the door that was across the way, the walker would enter a SMALL hallway that held four doors. Those four doors were: the one just walked through, the one on the left, that entered my parent’s bedroom (later mine), the door straight ahead into my sister’s bedroom (the one I shared for a few years), and then to the right, the door to that full bathroom. That hallway was one of my favorite places when I was in junior high. Although this was in southern California, I LOVED to turn on the gas wall heater (one of two in the house) to fill the hallway and bathroom (when that door was opened) with HEAT for my morning tasks. That made getting up and out much easier. Then, when I was about ready to leave that side of the house, I opened my bedroom door and tried to whisk the heat into my bedroom so my mom would not know what I had done.
The back yard was huge, in my view. Keep in mind that we moved away from there the day after I graduated from high school, when I was 17. I had lived there from two months before I turned two until three months after I turned 17. So, my view is that of a child, really. The back yard was not my favorite place until dad built the wood deck under the large tree in the back. It was my duty to keep the leaves off of that deck. Dad had built the deck with a small space between each decking piece, so that I could sweep/rake the leaves off of the deck, and the small leave pieces could fall down between the spaces on the deck.
My dad built a pipe climbing apparatus for me when I was about five years old. In later years, we used that space for growing carrots and lettuce. I do not recall my sister ever using that space. The backyard, other than for those two hard scape items, was grass, except for around the edge of the property. At one point, before my active memory, everyone in the neighborhood paid for a fencing company to come through and put up five foot fencing around all the individual lots. We also had a gate between our property and the property and the property to the east of us. My mom’s friend lived there, and there was fairly frequent movement of the ladies between these properties. Our neighbor had German shepherd dogs, though, so we kids were never allowed to traverse between these properties without the direct intervention of our neighbor between us and the dogs. Those dogs were scary! They barked a lot.
My dad poured a concrete path all around the sides and back of the house for my skating. I recall that he pulled up some old concrete path, How could any concrete be “old” at a 10 year old home? Anyway, dad pulled up some old concrete and there were a LOT of pill bugs under the concrete. For some reason, I decided to pick up the pill bugs because I liked them. They were all rolled up. Then, at one moment, they all unrolled and started walking all over my hand and arm. I freaked out!!
Such was the life of this small child in my childhood home in southern California.
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Attempt to lose weight. WOW. I remember thinking, way back 21 years ago, that since I could not lose weight (then 170 lbs), then I would just not worry about it. It took about 10 more years, but I climbed to 235 pounds in no time flat. Not to worry, just buy size 20 in everything, and get on with life. I should be about 130 pounds.
I got from 130 to 170 via three pregnancies and then apathy. Anyway, about three years ago, my middle daughter was working at Curves in town, and I eventually decided to join Curves because it was only for ladies and I only needed a bag of canned goods for the application fee. So, I have now been at Curves for over three years. I lost no weight at all, but have gained strength, flexibility, and some endurance. So, that is good. But not good enough.
At age 59, I know this is my last chance to get this done. Now at 216 pounds, after four months at Sparkpeople, I still need to lose about 80 pounds. I figure that will take 3 or 4 years to lose. I am within range on calories and exercise 2700 Kcal per week. It still is not enough. But I will keep on working the program, be mindful of the carbs (never get enough) and the protein (rarely get enough).
The reason that I want to lose weight is simple: I want to be able to captain a small sailboat by myself. That means that I need to be agile, strong, and have an ability to focus on the weather, the rigging, and the tiller. Being overweight, slow to move, and finding it awkward to get up from sitting flat on the floor, must be overcome.
I dance, walk, and do some more. I would like to skate again, and maybe, just maybe, ride my unicycle (!) again. I used to love to race skate (when I was a kid). I still like to go fast. That is why cruise control is my friend. I do not want to get any more speeding tickets!
Anyway, this topic is somewhat depressing to me, as I never thought I would be this big. I am ashamed, and want to hide somewhere, but I am too big to hide anywhere.
I will not give up, though. This cannot be the permanent state of affairs for me.
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