Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Grandma Part 5

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

My grandfather had just returned to port unexpectedly...

So he says, "Hurry! Meet me!" When someone comes home, I hop in my car--the little red Nash--my mother's car. I don't know what she did. She must've gone back to riding the bus because I had her car. So anyway, the day I had the date with this sailor I met your grandpa and we went to Yuma and got married. He came in and I met him and we decided to go to Yuma. Neither one of us could get married in California because we weren't of age. we were almost 18.

Were you still in high school?

No, I had just graduated. We got married in November so I graduated in May. And as we were leaving I said, "Hey honey, drive by the Plaza and let's see if I can find the sailor I had a date with." But we drove by the Plaza and there were 10,000 sailors and I would never...I don't know what I was thinking. How would I have ever found the guy that I had the date with? I mean there was 10,000 men and I would have gone down there...

Did you ever have to tell that tall guy that you were married?

No. I never did. Mother said--I just called my mother and told her that I just got married and she said, "To who?" That was the times then. Anyway, she said after we came home, "That guy that you had a date with called and wanted to know" and she said "I told him that you got married." So anyway, that was my love life. I called my mother, but your grandpa didn't dare call his dad. About two or three weeks later he finally called. I remember the first thing Grandpa Sweat asked me..."Are you LDS?" And I said "What is LDS?" I turned to Boyd and said, "What's an LDS?" I knew he was Mormon. He said, "Oh that's a Mormon," and I said, "No I'm not." but I've never known a more perfect, loving wonderful man than your great grandpa Sweat--Elmer Sweat.

So that's about it. Then I was married. We got married at Gretna Green's Wedding Chapel.

Did you love him? 

I did. I thought I loved him, but it was also the times. I had a boy next door all through high school that I loved as a high school girl. But he went off to the navy also. So I don't know--your grandpa was the first one that came back. But I wouldn't have married him if I didn't love him. All the others--other than the boy next door--all the others were just dates that I had--lots of fun and dancing and rollerskating and boat riding. There was a place where we rented boats. Most of the time we went on double dates with--I had two special girlfriends, Dorothy and Marsha. It was the 3 Muskateers, Dorothy, Marsha and me all through high school. We used to mostly double date or else just go alone. But you've seen pictures of it--all the soldiers and all the USO would go the dances and go--lots of fun. We did the jitterbug--I didn't get flung up in the air but...Frank Sinatra was my ideal. In face, I cried more for him when he died then Kennedy or any of them. You know, he was the one we used to drool over and I danced to Benny Goodman and all of the big bands.

All of the pictures you see during the war--they all went off to war and I don't know of any that got killed. My grandmother--your great-great-grandmother--my mother's mother had 5 sons and 6 or 7 daughters. 4 of her 5 sons were off in the war. She had 4 stars in her window. And each one was in a different branch of the service so all of my uncles, except one who wasn't able to go because he was color-blind--all of my uncles were in the service. So she had 4 stars out of 5. 

Did they all live?

Yes. They all lived. They all came through the war. Only one had to survive Hirojima. Uncle Leo had big scars down his leg where a mine blew up, but they all came through. None of them got killed in the war, and they all served in a different branch of the service. My cousin that was like my brother, he was in the service too so she had 4 sons and one grandson in the war. Ask me some more questions.

Hmmm....How long were you engaged? (Oh yeah, about three hours.)

I was never engaged. I just got married.

What was the precise moment that you knew without a doubt that you wanted to marry this person?

When I saw him and we just went off. He didn't have a ring or anything. In fact the ring that I had was one mother gave to Boyd to give to me. Cause you know he was in the navy. He didn't have any money whatsoever. We rented an apartment and lived with another couple and shared a kitchen. 

Was he gone a lot when he was in the service?

He was there, stationed in San Diego so it would be sometimes at night and sometimes just on weekends. He never got shipped out again. In fact the war ended right after we got married.

How much did your wedding cost? 

Nothing. I remember I got married in a light blue suit.

What was an average day like during those first years?

Boyd would get up and go to the ship and this other couple that we lived with--they were from Arkansas or something--well we would just...I remember laying out on the lawn during the daytime and waited til they came home at night. We took turns fixing dinner after they came home and when they didn't come home, I don't know what I did. Seems like they got to come home usually at night. They spent the day on the ship and then we'd wait for them to come home we'd have dinner and maybe got to a show, if we had enough money, which we usually didn't. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Grandma, Part 4

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

You'd never told Grandpa that you'd had asthma as a child?

I don't know really. I hadn't had any. I guess he'd probably known. I had a few attacks in California and then when I moved up here to Hever I didn'f have any--a little off and on I guess.

How did they treat it when you were little?

When I was little, as I remember I was in an oxygen tent quite often and then when I really had a bad, bad, bad attack I'd get a shot.

Did you have to stay in the hospital?

Yeah, I'd have to stay in the hospital although I don't remember too much other than that I know my mother didn't have money so she'd have to go to clinics. I remember hearing--my great Aunt Rose--who I was very close with for some reason or another. That's who Jayne was named after--Aunt Rose but she was my great aunt and her daughter Fern I was real close with--(and I heard them talking)...about everything. I remember they told me once--Mother, she was my mother's cousin so she would have been my 2nd cousin, but they were close, and I remember her saying once that she took my to the hospital with asthma, or the clinic or whatever--they were so full or something so we say and I could hardly breathe and they put me on a table and left me in the hallway. I don't know whether they were full up or just exactly what it was, but I remember her telling me that mother was out--anyway, when she found me, and I was laying there on the table with asthma and I couldn't breathe that she put up a big stink--boy, she just flew into a rage that they were doing that just because she didn't have any money and so forth and so on. Boy, she really--cause I guess Fern was with her or something. She said, "Boy, she sure got the nurses and doctors going" and I got put in a room. But she said "Oh she was so mad when she found out" that I was in the hallway lying on a table. Boy, Fern would say, there was doctors and nurses running around everyplace to shut that woman up and get that child taken care of.

So, my youngest memory is of riding around on my bicycle with my three Mexican friends and staying over at their house. In face that had a --Jean and Rose and I can't remember the other one's name--they had a cousin--his name was Dale--but he was older and he was so good-looking. I remember thinking, oh he is so good-looking, but anyway, I didn't name Dale--your dad--after him. I liked the name Dale, but it reminded me of him, and oh, he was so good-looking.

What modes of transportation did your family use?

Oh, we always had to take the street car. We didn't own a car when I was real young. Buy going different places, you'd get on the street car and go, and that was the main thing. When I was in high school, Mother got a red convertible Nash--really fancy--and I had just met your grandpa, Boyd and we took the car--she had just got it--we took the car and we were going to the beach and some guy in front of us put on his brakes and your grandpa slammed into him and mashed the front end of the car. He didn't even want to come back to my house. I don't remember what happened after that.

Your mother didn't let you ever use it again?

No, we drove clear to Heber in it in the middle of winter in a red convertible Nash and everyone wondered what had happened to your grandpa. They thought we were millionaires. A red convertible in February.

What was grandpa doing in California?

He was in the navy. I married a Navy man. Everybody was--all during my high school, that was World War II so everybody enlisted in the service. I mean everybody. Our whole high school football team went and joined the service. The whole team. My whole high school was during the war. We couldn't go to football games. We didn't have any activities because you had blackouts at night. At night time we put black curtains over the windows. You couldn't travel. Gas was rationed.

You met him during high school?

Yeah, I met him in about February I guess of my last year in high school. Do you want to hear all about it?


Like I say, it was during the war. All the boys except the ones that were 4F and couldn't get in--I mean everybody was in the service, so I used to go rollerskating with my girlfriends on Friday nights. Saturday nights we went dancing at the Paladium. Gene Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, all the bands played, so on Saturday nights we usually went dancing and Sunday we went to the beach. We would meet all the young servicemen. They were all young boysa just our age you know, they were 17, 18, some were iven 16 probably because they all joined.

Anyway, I met a guy rollerskating--I can't think of his name right now--and he introduced me--or he brought a friend for my girlfriend--and then the one I had gone with got shipped out--you know they only lasted for a little while--and then the one that my girlfriend was going with--he brought a friend for me and his name was Marvin--I didn't like him very well, but anyway I went out with him. He was from Oklahoma. He was an Okie from Oklahoma and I went out with him a few times and meanwhile I was going with other guys--I don't know, you just met them. But anyway, I went with Marvin, and prettya soon, Marvin got shipped out and then one day, knocking on my door was Marvin's brother and your grandpa. And so then I started going with Boyd, your grandfather. That's how I met him.

And my girlfriend started going with Marbvin's brother. She didn't marry hum, but anyway, then I started going with your grandpa, Boyd, and we went together, I don't know--a couple months. Then he got shipped out. So anyway, it was pretty serious, I guess. Everybody was serious, but I was still going with others, in fact, I met another guy, I can't even remember his name, Ibut I remember cause I'm only 5'3" and this other sailor--I prefer sailors. I went out with Marines, never went out with an army man. I went out with different marines and sailors and I like sailors best of all. But I was a good girl. Anyway, so your grandpa got shipped out and I had met this sailor. Where did I meet him? I don't remember if it was at the beach or a dance, but anyway, I met this sailor and he was 6'4" oh he was tall and good-looking. They are all stationed in San Diego and anyway, your grandpa had shipped out and I met this big, tall, good-looking sailor and so he said the very next weekend he didn't have a very long pass, so would I come down to San Diego and meet him. I said, "yeah. Where will me meet?" And he said, "Let's meet at the Plaza" They had a big plaza and I said, "OK, I'll meet you next Saturday." Well between that weekend and the next weekend, your grandpa called and they had sent him back to San Diego because the ship--the U.S.S. Klondike had to come back for some kind of repair....

To be continued.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Grandma Part 3

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

It's a short one today! My kids are waiting to be tucked in. We'll continue where we left off...
Boy, you did move a lot.

I moved a heck of a lot.

Where in California did you live?

Mostly around Los Angeles. East Los Angeles is where the high school was, which is--now, well you can't even get into it. It's the--There were a lot of Mexicans there when I went to school there, but now it's the hell-hole of California. East LA--been on television (this must have been transcribed around 1999, to give you some sense of what Grandma is talking about.) They've done lots of shows about it. It's a slummy area, and a scary area.

Was it like that when you were growing up? Oh no. I worked during junior high school, or during my school years, at W. Woolworth Company upstairs in the office about six blocks from home and I never thought about walking. I mean it was just as safe as anything was in those years. During high school I worked at W. Woolworth's. I was upstairs in the office and I helped in the office. I did the machines, you know, the cash registers and just general office work upstairs. I wrote to my boss for years and years after I was married--well, we exchanged Christmas cards every year. And all of a sudden I didn't get any Christmas cards from him. I mean this was even after your dad was born. So I worked up there til after I was graduated and I thought I just didn't want to work there anymore. I was tired of it.

So then what did you do?

I worked other jobs, but mostly office. I always did office. Even in high school I took mainly typing, shorthand and office practice and business correspondence. Then you didn't have to go to typical college or anything. In high school you decided if you wanted to go to college and you took math and all those kinds of things, which I didn't take...(At this point we start talking about other things for a while.)

When you were a child, what did you do for fun?

I remember one time--I don't remember what grade I was in. I had a girlfriend, her name was Jeanie and I had a bicycle--oh my dad had promised me a bicycle, but he didn't buy it for me, my mother did. I remember getting this fact I have a picture of me with Ray_______--the one my mother didn't marry, and a little Chow dog--Pheobe. I still remember Pheobe and the bicycle and the picture. And we lived somewhere near the big, big, big, big (of course it might not be that bit) but I remember they had the colloseum and the museum--it sort of reminds me of when I went to San Fransisco--that big park there--where they had all the different museums--Candlestick Park. Anyway I remember we used to ride around the Colloseum and go to the museum--go downstairs to get to the museum all the mummies and there was a flower garden. Anyway, I remember we used to ride around on our bikes for hours. We used to have three little Mexican girlfriends. Well, I had one, and she had two sisters. I stayed with them for sleepovers and stuff. Their mother used to make tortillas you know, and stuff like that.

(Right here there was a spot on the tape that I couldn't understand, but I do remember talking about how they didn't have any good tortillas in Utah for years and years, and how much she missed real Mexican food when she first moved.)

So you asthma wasn't triggered by exercise?

No. My dad had asthma, and I guess I inherited it that way. He had asthma and he used to smoke cigerettes. I don't know. I took the tests, you know where they scratch your back and the only thing that showed up was barley. You know, so I tried some--my mother tried barley soup and barley doesn't bother me. Cigerette smoke bothers me and dust bothers me terrible. I think probably a lot of stress at different times would bring it on. And I don't know about when I was little, but as I got older, stress brought it on. And then I was never allergic to horses--we had horses here in Heber, but when the horse would wheat--I could pet them and do everything, but if a horse sneezes on me, I would break out. And real sweaty horses. I didn't find out til later when that's all we had was horses, but they have to sneeze on me or be real sweaty. Anyway, now I pretty well don't have asthma, they say you outgrow it, which I thought I did outgrow it. I didn't have too much asthma when I was in high school and then I got it again after I was married. The first attsack I had in a long time your grandpa didn't even know I had asthma. I remember we had bought a house there in California--it was real old and smelly place and damp and I had an attack and had to go to the hospital and that was the first he'd heard of it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Grandma Part 2

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

Vaughan was a friend. He was an older man and she took care of him more or less. 

My dad--Larry--well, first of all he remarried a lady named Ida and they had a baby. I remember going to their house and seeing the little baby. I think my dad was a lady's man and a gambler. Anyway, they divorced and then when I was in about the sixth grade we were living in Vaughan's house and my dad came, and he was getting married to Ruby, and she had two children. My mother kept the two children--Buster and Marie while they went on their honeymoon, except they stayed for a couple of years. I'm not sure how long. I must have been in the sixth grade. Buster was only about three and he couldn't talk very well. We couldn't understand him very well, I should say.

Marie was about five and neither of them went to school. 3 & 5. Little Buster was so cute--well Marie was pretty too, but we remembered for years afterwards when we'd say "there is is" he'd say "did a bum". There is is. Did a bum. That was his "there it is." 

So mother tended my dad's third wives children, and then he was killed.

Did she come and take the kids? Yes.

Was that hard?

Yes. It was. Everybody was like--I mean everybody--friends and the whole family. Everybody just loved them. I don't remember her actually coming and getting them and taking them away, but she did. I must have been at school or something, because I don't remember her actually taking the kids, but I know we just loved them. That's just how your great grandmother was.

What special quality do you remember about your mother?

That everybody loved her. She made friends so easy. I mean my girlfriends, my old boyfriends--they were like her children and she lived her life for me. I mean she was always--that's all there was, just mother and I. But she made friends so easy. She made friends with anybody she met. She was an outgoing person. But, when she moved up to Heber--she knows more people in Heber than I ever knew living there for as long as I lived there. Everybody always liked her. I envy her. She was so outgoing and made friends so easy.

You know, she lived a pretty hard life. She was a waitress from the time she was 16 until she got emphysema when she was 80. She was waitressing right up until then. In fact, I think she said she was 13 the first time she waitressed. She was a waitress all her life.

Even in Heber? 

Oh yes. Even in Heber. The doctors and everything. Dr. Bogess. She was an outspoken person. She tells the story--Dr. Bogess tells this story. She worked at The Hub and Dr. Bogess and Dr. Jenson used to come in all the time and sit and have coffee for two or three hours sometimes and never leave her a tip and yet, "Hey! Bring me another cup of coffee! Hey!" So she said that after a couple of months of them coming in every day, finally she blew her top and she finally had it with him. She told him off. "You sit here and order me around!" Well, I don't know just what she said, but anyway, she called him an SOB right there in the cafe. She said, "You never leave a tip" and they were just dumbfounded. 

She got it off her chest and every time they came in after that they would leave a tip, believe me. And Dr. Bogess was a good friend of Boyd's--your grandpa, and he had to tell him--he didn't know that she was related to us, and when he found out, cause she told Boyd, she told us about telling doctor's off, and when Dr. Bogess found out she was my mother, he had to tell the story. "You know, I never thought about it til she told me. You know we sit here, and take up the table" and so forth. But he got a kick out of it anyway. And he came to her funeral. He said, "I'll never forget it. I was never so embarassed in my life! But it was true. It just dawned on me--she waits onus!" but anyway. that was the kind of person she was.

Do you remember the way she dressed?

No, not really. I mean, she was a waitress. Mostly in her uniform. She was just an average person. She didn't dress fancy and she didn't dress sloppy. She just dressed. Acceptable.

In California, did you live in just one home?

Oh no. I never lived in one home. That's what I remember most. We moved. We moved. We moved. We moved.

Did you like that? 

No. I had...I mean I had a wonderful, happy childhood. But I hated it. In junior hight I went to three different junior high schools. I was a very unhappy person at that time. Chianging junior high schools every time. I hated that. But in the sixth grade we lived with Vaughan when she took care of him, and then we moved. They build a new junior high school--Kearn's junior high school, and I started it, because I'd been to the sixth grade with all the kids and then we moved into the new junior high school. We moved a lot.

Were you still living with Vaughan?

We moved. She must have met Bill Gordon, her third husband, because I remember junior high as being with him. I was unhappy and I wanted to go back to where I went to sixth grade, and that's why in high school we moved back there. And that's whe we lived across the street from Vaughan and that's the place where I lived all during high school. That was the last of the moving and then I got married. But before that we moved and we moved and we moved.

 Of course, in the fourth grade I went to a private school for girls and it was wonderful! It was so much fun. I lived in a big dorm and that's where I first rode a horse. They had horseback riding lessons. It was a very private, expensive school.

How did you manage to get in? 

Well, mother worked two jobs. She worked two jobs and she'd come on weekends, but she couldn't afford it. The main thing too, I believe my aunt told me, cause I had asthma all this time too and I was in and out of the hospital. I'd have a trigger of allergies and get rushed to the hospital and finally the bills got so high, even though she was working and trying to pay off the doctor bills and school. She had to get two jobs in order to pay the doctor bills off and yet keeping me in school. That was in the fourth grade. Then she couldn't afford to keep me in that school any longer, and I stayed with my aunt and uncle that next year, but mother was always there. Even when I was in the private school she'd come and get me on weekends and we'd go to this place where they had barbecued spareribs which I so loved--with the little fingerbowls, which they don't have anymore, and then we'd go play miniature golf or something. So I was with her on the weekends, but I lived with my aunt and uncle for a while, and I have a cousin who is three days younger than I am. Ed is 3 days younger than me, so that's the only brother I have ever known, and he's in California. I was born on the 26th and he was born on the 29th. so anyway, I lived with them for a year and then I went back with my mother.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Grandma Part 1

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

Part 1: (speaking about her mother)

She could remember every telephone number, every address clear from when she was a child and I couldn't even tell you what my telephone number was before this home. As soon as anything's over, I forget it.

When and where were you born?

I was born in St. Louis, Missourri in 1926. I remember going back and forth because all my mother's family was back in Missourri and we travelled back and forth all the time (from California).

I went to Catholic school in the first and second grade...All my schooling was in California

What is  your first memory of your parents? Do you remember your dad at all?

Oh yeah. My dad, I guess they were divorced--I don't know just when. It was when I was real tiny, but they always remained friends. I saw my dad off and on.

What was his name? Larry--Lawrence Frank Zimmer.

You wanted to name my dad after your dad?

Yeah, I thought I would, except your Aunt Mina named her boy Larry, so I never did name one Larry, because we already had a Larry. But I remember my dad coming quite often.

Didn't he live in Missourri?

No. He was in California. He was a cab driver. They got divorced when I was real young. My mother packed up me, put me in a stroller, and she and her girlfriend hitchhiked with me in a stroller all the way to California when I was real young.


I don't know why, just to get to California. And then, apparently, she moved back to St. Louis and met her second husband, who was Daddy Mack. McMillan was his name. Clyde McMillan--met him. I had asthma and I guess she was told the asthma was too hard...Anyway she and Daddy Mack moved to California for me and I guess I was 2 or 3 or o4. I don't know. But apparently he couldn't find a job and he didn't like it or something or rather, so I guess she had to make a choice between him and me because he was her one true love, I understand. But anyway, he went back to St. Louis and she stayed in California. So anyway, that was the end of their marriage.

Did they stay friends?

Oh yes. She stayed friends with every one of them. When I went back when I was a teenagers, he came to visit. Oh yes, they stayed friends all of their life. He remarried. She even wrote--well she wrote to everybody, bue she even wrote and stayed food friends with his family and everything. They kept in youch more or less.

Was he like a father to you?

No, not that I remember very much, because I was so very young. I don't remember him very much. I was on 2, 3, 4 years old.

Did she get married again after that?

Then she had a boyfriend for most of my young years. His name was Ray ____________. She never married, but that was my dad for many years.

Was he a good guy?

Yes. He was an alcoholic. I remember they used to have quite a few fights, but he was good to me, and they were together for years and years and then I met him again after I was married. I can't remember where, but I remember meeting him again after I was married. He said, "I remember when I used to change you diapers," No. He didn't really say that cause I was older--5? Anyway, he was around most of the time when I was a young girl.

But she didn't ever get married again?

Yeah. Oh yeah. When I was in junior high school she married Bill Gordon-during my junior high school years. He was a quiet, moody man. We didn't talk much. He used to mostly sit and play solitaire if I remember right. He was a cab driver also. He was during my junior high years. He wasn't around much--he was either driving or sitting, but there were no problems he was just there. And then, after I got married, well, she divorced Bill, and he died, but right after I got married...almost immediately, she married Merrill Wise.

Was that in California?

Yeah, they're all in California. She married Merrill Wise and she was married to him for a few years. He ran off with some young girl and that was the end of her marriages. That was enough. She never got married again.

**** My grandma wanted me to add this comment: I must add that my MOM was a wonderful loving person. .Ask anyone who knew her!!! She always put me first thruout her life... She was always there for me... She had a hard life but with a smile.....She was truly giving, caring & loving...XXX***