Autobiography
New Life in California

My Life


by Barbara S. Thompson

Chapter 4

Los Angeles

"Calla Lilies"
by Georgia O'Keefe
courtesy of E-fine Art Online.





Our house in Los Angeles was much smaller than this large one in Swarthmore. Stan and I would consult, both by phone on Sunday nights, and by letter about what to bring, and what to leave. Just at the end I felt I had made a mistake in shipping our furniture by rail, through a mover we had known for some time.

Then there was the matter of a car. I had some money from a down payment on the house. Stan wrote that a car was a necessity in Los Angeles, but still very expensive; perhaps we could get along for a time without one. I started to look for cars, and was astonished to find that the black market was very much still in operation. One bitter cold winter day I took Bruce with me, and we made a choice among the few which seemed to be honest buys. A Plymouth, at the same place where I had sold our car two years before, was the logical choice; not too high in price. But it had no heater, and heaters could not then be bought. We planned a 3000 mile trip in the middle of winter, with three small children. So we decided on the car with the heater, which happened to be a black Packard, which I drove around the block. The salesman from whom we bought it also took us out to lunch at a small restaurant nearby; I suddenly realized that Bruce's sleeves were ragged - he had on a well-worn sweater. In any case we bought it. I was appalled in one moment by the price, and in the next moment exhilarated by the notion of having a car, and especially one which I was convinced Stan would like.

Then right afterwards I had a letter from him answering one of mine in which I had listed the possibilities I had found; the Packard "would be his last choice." This was something of a blow. I suppose I knew underneath that he would not be averse to owning a Packard, once the adjustment to the price had been made.

The moving men came, and packed up our possessions, on the Thursday before we were to leave; on Friday they came again. I had saved out what we would need on our trip and put it in the attic. A number of things, a crib, some other things, I left in Betty's charge, to give to Stan's family when they came to see Evie.

Stan came in on Sunday morning. We all drove to Paoli to meet him, early. He had warned me to be careful with our little boys, near that track at the Paoli station. And so I tried to be. The train, monstrous in the narrow gorge, pulled in; Stan soon came down the steps. The moment of reunion; the surge of feeling. The two older boys greeting him with possessive abandon. Stevie pulling back in my arms, grave, judging this situation.

Then home over the long winding Pennsylvania roads. He returned to a house empty and echoing. This was the end of our life in this house; the conclusion of our time, which had begun with entering the house empty and echoing.

During the period Stan had been gone (six or seven weeks) we had written many a letter. Our relationship had moved into another level. In being united again, we found the new level exhilarating, and, inevitably, hard to maintain. When obstacles intruded, we had still primarily old ways of dealing with them. The changes which had taken place, while real in a sense, did not yet go deep enough. I had so much invested in my old way. It seemed to me that life could be maintained, or met, or carried on, only with the aid of energies which had become thoroughly egocentric, yet were all I had.

Our last meal, on Monday night, after Stan had had the car worked on all day (and here I had thought I was acquiring a car which was in excellent shape) we had with the Steins.

The next morning we started off. Betty and the children waved us on our way. Much was left behind. It took so long, it seemed to me, to find people, activities one could participate in, a way one might continue to go. I was still preoccupied with roots. I thought of living as something which involved time and a gradual forcing down of portions of oneself to draw nourishment. To start all over again? The laboriousness of establishing roots again. (The finality with which I viewed life!)

The boys were not particularly well. Each of them had had a cold, and the symptoms persisted. I had thought we might stay an extra day or so in Chicago, to give us a chance to recuperate, and after all we had not seen my family for over a year, or at least not Mother (I was still under the impression that I "should" spend time with my family). But there were reports of severe weather on the way. My father urged us not to wait. Prudently we packed up, and departed after one day.

The one day in Chicago was Christmas, a day late. The family waited for us; the boys had their gifts, without realizing that Christmas had waited for them. A pleasant time.

Then south on 66. We raced the storms most of the way west. At first there was rain, and a discouragingly long day, scarcely reaching St. Louis. Stan felt it would take us inordinately long to reach Los Angeles. But soon we began to travel faster, on straighter roads. The cold caught up with us in western Oklahoma, and across the Texas panhandle. Seventeen. With our small, slightly ailing sons, we could be thankful for the heater.

In Norman we stopped at the Tappans to see Mary and her family. A gifted, energetic family, not cut off from their vitality. Her husband seemed young and vigorous, and a little like my vital cousins at Kingfisher.

Then on. Cold, and winds sweeping across the plains. Light snow flurries. Behind us came a snow-laden storm, which descended upon the country and held it captive for weeks. Fortunately we crossed the plains a day or two ahead of its fury.

In New Mexico we had one unforgettable glimpse of a mountain framed in lesser mountains. Snow high, and dark, dark evergreens on its great flanks. The sunlight must have been touching it, for it was bathed in splendor. Only one view of it, unexpectedly; then it was forever gone.

We tried to stay as far south as we could. Sightseeing was rather purposeless, not only because Stan was in a hurry to return, but because the boys, except for Bruce, were not yet of an age to remember much of what they had seen. There was one low mountain range which we had to cross, and there we found an icy road for a time. Safely descended, we came to Tucson.

Tucson, with palms - palms! - and green plants amidst the desert, and a wind blowing - but not cold. We were safely there, over the last hazards, into the desert warmth. This strange southwest. We stood beside the car, where Stan was having gas put in at a filling station, and reveled in the unfamiliar warmth and the sight of palms and cactus.

Leaving Arizona at Yuma, at nightfall, we ran into the phenomenon of California customs officers; they insisted we unload all our luggage (and the trunk was packed) while they examined it. For what? Stan, in an unenthusiastic mood, unpacked. Finally and at last, he was told that he might reload.

We drove on into California, over the Colorado River, in the darkness. Our expectation had been to find a motel in the settlement beyond, but there was nothing there. The first town was many miles away. Had we realized, we might have stayed in Yuma. As it was we drove on for hours. Once we stopped, I believe it was at a filling station, where the drifting sand had half-covered the road. Just beyond the highway, in the darkness, were great sand dunes. It seemed a pity that the boys should miss them. What could we do?

There were, I believe, two towns along the way, at each of which we had hopes of finding a place to sleep. There was not a single vacancy. El Centro was the last, before we approached interesting country, the Salton Sea, the mountains to the west. Stan suggested driving straight through. It would have been a wise plan. But stubbornly I insisted that I wanted to see my new home as we approached it. I drove for a time, while he slept, and the boys slept on blankets in the rear. After a bit I would stop, and we all slept until the car got cold (it was cold in the desert) and I woke, to drive on. Finally dawn began, a faint touch of color to the rugged peaks on our left began to tint corals and rose in the Santa Rosa Mountains. We drove out eastward a ways, still involved in my insatiable desire to see the countryside, to have a view of the Joshua Tree Monument, but nothing but steep, barren hillsides were visible, so we turned back, and headed at last, directly, purposefully, toward Los Angeles. (Life would have been served more fully, had I accepted the inevitability of what happened; night time, and no motel; the mountains could have waited; we would even have had an excuse to make a trip. I was caught in a fear of missing something irretrievable.)

The approach to the city seemed to me to be down a long slope, lined with shops carrying a wondrous array of fresh produce. Stan stopped, to show me, and we bought fruit and shining vegetables, to bring to our new home. Oranges. Grapefruit.

Finally we crossed the city (a long distance across that busy city) and came to the portion where we were to live. Loyola Village. Somehow I got turned around in my directions as we left the main road, Lincoln, and it seemed to me I had some trouble thereafter in distinguishing directions immediately.

Our house was green. Color of growth. One of the larger pleasant houses, it was all on a level, with three bedrooms, one of which was somewhat inside as there was a back porch which Stan subsequently closed in with large panes of glass for a playroom. A two-car garage. Everything new. No trees. No bushes, except for a lemon bush which Stan had planted (Stevie subsequently pulled off each lemon bud as it appeared, squatting down to pluck it carefully with his small fingers).

The house was empty, except for the two cots Stan had bought, and placed close together in the innermost bedroom (I wonder why he chose that one; was it because it was next to the kitchen?) The Richards across the street had lent him a breakfast set, and there was a curving cream-colored bench in the kitchen. We could at least sit down. Others offered to lend us dishes, but we had brought enough, plastic ware it was, to last until the furniture came.

The day we finally reached Los Angeles was New Year's Day, 1947, Michael's birthday. The Richards across the street gave him half a cake, chocolate, with chocolate frosting. Celebration this first day in our new home.

That night we slept in our new house. Neighbors lent us mattresses for two of our boys, in their corner room. Stevie we fixed up with various odds and ends of blankets on our floor, near us. And we slept as we had seldom slept before, on our hard pair of cots.

On one side of our house was a half-finished house; on the other an empty lot. Beyond the lot the Nichols lived; Pat came over to greet us. I remarked on the wind blowing, and she said it blew every day, from eleven on, from the ocean. Her husband was an aviator. She was young and blond and well set up, with the promise of too much weight later on. One small son then, Scott.

After lunch Stan drove us up the ocean front. Storm clouds hung above the water, the bluffs at Santa Monica. Pelicans lining the old pier. Waves hurling themselves at the shore. A spectacular afternoon; dark purple and grey in the sky, the green of pines in the park at Santa Monica, sand-colored bluffs, geraniums in bloom, scarlet and pink, the endless water, steel-grey, fringed with white foam.

This was to be our home. The beach nearest us, below Playa del Rey, was for the time being closed to swimming because of pollution. Surrounding our house were others similar, and still more with slight differences, most of them a little smaller. All stucco, one story, in beige and white and cream and buff and green. Beyond our settlement of houses were the remnants of once vast bean fields. Sandy soil, as we found when we began to garden. And every afternoon, the wind.

The back yard was still an uneven stretch of sandy soil. We waited for a while before improving it, until Mr. Jollie, the development's manager, instigator, operator, sent two or three more loads of dirt our way. I was disappointed to find that we had a flight of five steps in back, and that our porch was about the same height. Later on with the added fill, we made the porch only a step above the dirt, and built a small patio off the side door which Stan made in closing in the porch. The back steps had to remain the same, as they led directly down to the driveway.

The work of improving the grounds was a fascinating task. To me always more creative, more challenging than trying to improve an interior. Had I more faith in my materials? Or did the principle of growth encourage me? To change an interior was to work with, in a sense, static materials; to work outdoors, was to have living, enlarging things to use. Always the promise. Finality was not there. The potential. Next spring, next summer, next fall, the effect would be different, enhanced, improved.

I studied manuals with persistence, and Sunset, and the garden supplements of the Los Angeles Sunday papers. We visited the endlessly intriguing great nurseries, under their areas of lath. We bought hopefully, too ambitiously; fruit trees for Stan, shrubs to achieve various effects for me. Wherever we could have foliage and fruit as well, we chose the fruiting plant; guavas along the side of the house.

The neighbors began to share with us, calla lilies especially from the thin little lady in the rear; I spent contented hours later on digging up and rearranging those most prolific, most satisfying of plants. Most of the gardens nearby were new, and it would be a year or so before there would be spare plants to be given away. But the houses on the street behind us were considerably older, and the yards were well established.

There began the inevitable process of disenchantment. At first I believed in the promise of this new place. Another image. California. The ease with which a garden could be brought into being. The simplicity of keeping house in a one-story house. The sunshine. The newness.

But then. The small bits and fragments with which I began to torment myself. Our house, for instance, it seemed now to be the height of folly to have paid so much for a house. And there were other drawbacks. Our neighbors, many of them, had smaller yards to care for. Their houses, while not so large, were also less expensive. We had for a long while no immediate neighbors, and this too I presently translated into a drawback. The living room should have been on the rear; here we were having the opportunity of living in a new house, and it had an old-fashioned arrangement. Perhaps we should have been wiser to have settled in Pacific Palisades?

Discontent seemed to be my portion; I was, I suppose, searching always for perfection. We should achieve by diligence, persistence, knowledge of possibilities the optimum within our resources. The optimum. If one has the very best as one's aim, then nothing else is acceptable. And since perfection is probably impossible, I doomed myself to frustration.

Once again I was confused by the idea that there was only one best. The multitudes of possible ways for a situation to develop were outside my demands; I wanted the best. I was determined, in a curious, unconscious sense, to refuse to see life as it was, with many and many a possibility. There should be a way, the way. It was up to us to find this, and to follow it. We had failed when we did not. Haunted by failure, drawn on by a notion cut off from reality, I was trapped in a dilemma of my own making.

Beneath this quest for perfection, ill founded as it was, lay a certain impulse toward intuitive perception of the future. I was, in a way, dissatisfied with present circumstances because I could sense that there was more to be made of a situation than I had made. Tormented by this awareness, and yet unable often to make my intuition come true, be translated into actuality, I was restless under the burden of irreconcilable present and future.

When we first arrived in Los Angeles, I had high hopes of finding a group once more, in which one could reach deeper and more significant levels than one could in the casual, customary encounters. Presently I called Peggy, Mollie's daughter, and received a lukewarm reception. Nothing more. After a time Stan and I attended some lectures at the huge Congregational Church, where Dr. Kunkel was speaking. While I took notes, I don't believe it was at that time very meaningful to me. He looked small, his accent was something of a mild barrier combined with his slight voice; the light from the overhead chandelier shone on his baldish head. There was rather a large audience, and one night I recognized an acquaintance from Swarthmore, Marie Enlen; I remembered her name during that week, and the next meeting I summoned up my courage to reintroduce myself to her. Through her we met the Hixsons, and one night Dr. Kunkel and his daughter, a dark, rather shadowy young woman.

During that summer Mollie was in Pasadena visiting Peggy, and called us. She asked us over for dinner, and we left the children with Jean Richards, and went. A good time at dinner in a patio garden with Mollie, and later on during the week a series of three meetings with the group. She asked me to the first; but after the first, Dot [Chivens] asked me to come again, and so did the others; from then on I was a member. For a number of years we met together, somewhat to Stan's dismay; he felt, and probably wisely, that it was a risk to drive so far, late at night; we did not seem able to break up at a regular hour.

I gained much; reassurance, a sense of growth and continuity; considerable stimulus. Looking back, it seems to me we did not discipline ourselves sufficiently, and work on something unifying. Yet I was thankful for the opportunity to share with the others; the feminine inner turning of Marion and Peggy, the more direct coming to grips with the world of Ruth and Pauline and Dot. It was good belonging to a tight knit group. With its purposes and goals of searching beneath the surface, it was welcome change from the superficialities of much of my daily living.

By the time we moved to Whittier, in 1949, I had begun to feel with Stan that more should happen within the group to justify those hours of reaching and returning. That summer, it must have been 1950, Stan and I met a number of times with the group; once at a dinner at the Chivenses when Mollie gave a talk which spoke of affinity, communication, and reality.

Much construction was going on in our development. Bruce spent hours watching the workmen. He was a tall five years old, and a number of workmen would ask him why he was not in school. School was something of a problem; the nearest one was some distance away, and when Bruce did go to it, in the first grade, he went for only half a day, and by bus. The smaller boys ran out to watch for him, and see him leave, at eleven each morning. By second grade a school had been built on the hill not far from us, of temporary structures; bleak barrack-type buildings. Only his very first teacher was memorable; a tiny dark-haired sweet-voiced girl with a Russian name. With other teachers he began to be ignored; he was too quiet to catch their attention; not yet much of a student; slow in reading; slow in other subjects. I began to wonder if school was to be a series of vague defeats for him.

Michael had high hopes of school, and expected more, surely, than could possibly be realized. He had played on the equipment in the playground, and evidently thought that school was one long procession of pleasurable events. Yet with his vivacity and exuberance, I had no doubts that school would be turned into an interesting, stimulating experience for him. (No defeats! how unrealistic I was).

Stevie began to grow brown, and a little more substantial. There were numerous days to play outdoors. While he took his time about talking, he began to reach out into experience. His silken blond hair turned up in back, and I let it stay long, longer than I should, had I felt that perhaps there was to be another baby to follow this.

We got a small female dog from the pound, part Cocker, young and friendly. Stevie enjoyed her, as did the others. In the sandy stage of our back yard, Cindy dug busily, and no sooner fixed a fine hole, when Stevie settled down into it. Cindy thereupon sniffed in puzzlement about him, searching for her hole.

Later on, when perhaps only ten months old, she had a family of puppies. Bruce came charging in, to announce that she had "hundreds of puppies." We all hurried out to the garage to see what had happened during the night, and found ten puppies, of assorted colors and combinations, in her box. She had an air of considerable pride and pleasure about the whole affair. And such an appetite.

Stan's work kept him remote from us, not only because we never entered the building where he spent his days, but because the subject was beyond my capacity for understanding. He was still working on his doctorate, and spent what time was salvaged from projects about the house on his thesis. At least for one year he took courses at night at USC. Again, time away, occupied with other claims on his attention. I should have minded less (after all I liked the idea of his following other pursuits than those I could share, they were interests I respected) had he been able to give me more sense of his real participation. Could he have sounded more enthusiastic, or if being enthusiastic over engineering courses sounds a little too much to expect, at least driving toward a goal, I should have been quite reconciled. I wanted to be involved in large purposes, actual struggles toward coveted goals. He seemed to want me to leave his efforts alone. Was it because I changed them, corrupted them in a sense? made it appear that he was after more than he was willing to acknowledge? Perhaps he felt a caution, a humility in face of this drive he found within himself. If he should fail? Had he better equipment for understanding failure than I? Did I put an intolerable burden of "success" on him?

The end of the doctorate road came that June. Before that, Stan flew east once, on a trip which included a trip to Swarthmore, and his orals at the University of Pennsylvania. He sent me a wire, signed "Doc," so I knew he had passed, and he was almost ready to receive his degree. Wonderful knowledge. In June of 1949, a proxy walked in the procession for him (for $20) and accepted his diploma.

That year there occurred an interesting development in the neighborhood, in the way of a community organization. We all attended a meeting, held at the small church which the Lutheran group had erected, and learned what Stan had already gathered from the literature, that controlling votes were to be held by those who paid the largest sums in as members. Stan got up and made a speech, mentioning the undemocratic set-up of the organization, and speaking of the dangers in an oligarchy. I was impressed, and others as well. Marilyn spoke of it later, sure that many people didn't even know what he was talking about with his impressive vocabulary. The result was that the clause endowing certain members with controlling votes was removed. The organization could become a truly neighborhood affair; whether it would was another question.

Shortly afterwards I joined the Loyola Village Women's Club. I was pleased on being a member of such a group, not having expected to be asked in a conventional location. Beno's mother had asked me to go, but forgot about the meeting the night it came; I went anyway, and was mildly embarrassed when there was no one for whom I was a "guest;" Mrs. Swanson, the Lutheran minister's wife, said I should be her guest. But I was obviously rather odd to have arrived under such curious circumstances. Later on there were meetings in various homes, much companionship of a sort, casual, somewhat purposeless. I invited a number of my neighbors to go with me, who subsequently joined. Yet none of these activities, pleasant as they were in a way, had much meaning for me.

Then there was the matter of the church. Shortly after we arrived, we learned of a Lutheran church which was just getting under way; for the time being it was meeting in the garage of the minister. The boys were invited to go to the Sunday School, and it seemed like a pleasant idea. Stan took them a number of times, and Mr. Swanson the brisk young organizer and minister (this was a "mission," we learned) who had been an advertising artist, drew pictures on a large blackboard with skill and effectiveness. I joined the church in the first real organization, largely because I had never joined a church, and wished to do so, unobtrusively and easily. Stan stayed aloof, and presently we realized the material was too orthodox for us to wish our children to be exposed longer. We withdrew them. During the first few months I joined the Dorcas Society, primarily because Marilyn invited me, and it was another bond in the community.

Once Mr. Swanson visited us, perhaps it was that second spring, to urge us to return to his fold; I had not been "active" for a time, and he wanted to check, for their church felt that only active members should be retained on their lists. Presently he grew quite excited; Stan and he carried on a discussion, which for Stan was without heat though much interest; Mr. Swanson grew thoroughly agitated. I tried to mollify him and soothe the situation, by serving coffee. Mother happened to be visiting us, and heard the conversation through the heater (a fine means to pass conversations from the living room through into the bedroom portion of the house). She found him quite startling. At one point he said, in connection with some question of ours about the books of Dr. Kunkel that he would not give such books to his congregation; they were not ready for them; it was like giving rattlesnakes to children to play. Finally he asked us if we even had a bible in the house. We reassured him on this point, and also that some of our dearest friends were ministers and missionaries. Stan's point I believe was that he was interested and open-minded and would be glad to discuss material with him. His attitude, as far as I understood, it was that it was imperative that we accept and believe, unquestioningly. Apparently it troubled him to have lost us. Later on he moved to San Anselmo, and the last we heard of him he had returned to advertising, and given up the ministry.

So for a long time we had no church or meeting. There was a Quaker Meeting beginning in Santa Monica, but it was too far to reach, and in the middle of Sunday afternoon, and altogether somewhat complicated to try to make a part of our lives.

Bruce had more than one good friend; usually one at a time. Danny lasted for a time; later they all went to Alaska. Later on there was Dickie, who was small and alert with the longest eyelashes I could remember. Once he and Bruce disappeared, our last Thanksgiving there, and explored the hills and banks not far from our development, finding arrow heads and a piece of pottery; the latter Bruce still has; the former he allowed Dickie to throw off the embankment. He and Bruce put on a circus once, for which they sold tickets, and enlisted Michael's aid (he put on a comic show with his doctor's kit, forever patching up the contesting fighters - I believe most of the show was fabulous fighting between cowboys and Indians). We gave out popcorn at such a rate that all the profits were soon eaten up. One little girl brought a cash register.

We were throughout this time restless, searching for something better, more durable in a sense than what we had. What we really wished was some strength, some core of purpose. We were drifting, unwilling to come to terms with life, unable to face and grapple with the perhaps insoluble problems of existence. What we longed for may well have been a reason for being. But we searched in the wrong places, in the wrong ways. It was easier to experiment with the idea of new spots to live in; building a house near the ocean, or on a hillside amidst the chaparral, or in an orange grove. These were concrete projects, possibilities which Stan could bring about with his own plans, his own hands. I was less eager, for I sensed some of my limitations, yet I encouraged his dissatisfaction with things as they were, for I too could visualize better, more productive living in another setting. Again intuitive perception, but not backed up by sensation, my own hands. And it was easier to escape into dreaming that it was to make more of the setting in which we happened to live.

Yet the long drive to Downey was wearing [North American had moved our operation to Downey], and it seemed as though we should consider moving to the east side of Los Angeles. From living in a development, without relation to anything in particular, it seemed as though it would be pleasant to move to a town. We chose Whittier as a town of stability, tradition (midwest as it turned out), a life of its own.

Our second Christmas there, my father came out from Chicago to spend the vacation with us. Once we drove over to Whittier to look at the situation; I remember we invited him, and he declined; I suppose now that he was reluctant to have us move; he enjoyed our pleasant one-story house. We explored a bit, and found nothing exciting, but still felt we would choose Whittier; what other town had its look of a community?

At last in May we put the house on the market. Nothing at all happened. It was a number of months before finally, recognizing how close to school time it was getting, we lowered our price and in August the house was sold to a family with four small children.

We had a week in which to find new housing, and to move. Whittier had few houses for sale which were in any sense an improvement over what we had. Moreover Stan had for a long time wanted to build; here was our opportunity if we could only rent for a year. I placed ads in the Whittier paper for a house to rent.

Just in time (two days or so before we had to move) we found a rental. It was a small, stuffy, two-bedroom house on a middle-aged street in Whittier. Stan joined me and we looked at it together. For $100. This seemed to me high, but the best we could do.

That night another opportunity presented itself, and this too I felt later on I had muffed. We had looked not only at houses, since rentals had not been apparent before, but at a few lots. We had seen one that day, or I had, on the east side of Whittier, a flat lot with high old orange trees; there was much cordiality on the part of the owner, a young woman, who even felt that should we be unable to find anything to live in, perhaps we could manage someway, using their facilities, to build, and live in a tent meanwhile among the trees. The situation had begun to look rather desperate for housing; this encouragement made the prospect much brighter.

It would be nice to have our lot all ready and waiting (what if it should be sold by the time we got moved to Whittier). In this moment of indecision, I wondered aloud if we should go ahead and make a payment on the lot. Stan asked, "Do you want to?"

This was not the time yet for a decision on a lot for the building of a house. Yet I responded favorably; another indecision would be settled. It made our list of tasks complete. There was satisfaction in getting things done in a sweeping fashion.

Presently a reaction set in. As time went on, I began to realize that this lot had some disadvantages. Yet rather than face them realistically, I pushed the subject away as best I could. To decide that we should change at this point became increasingly difficult.

The situation in moving to Whittier was to be different again, from what had gone before. It was the new beginning. In the few days that we had, all the details were managed, of finding a house, of arranging the moving, of actually moving from Los Angeles to Whittier. The next day I returned, leaving the boys again with Kay Malmstrom, and scrubbed and cleaned. It was a more energetic day than I had planned, and on the way home I could feel my heart palpitating; a curious sensation; perhaps I had worked too fast, trying to finish before the heavy cross-town traffic started, and start back.

Whittier of course, where we lived, was a quiet, dull place. The first few weeks or at least days, I was sustained by the feeling of accomplishment. We made a trip back to the house on 83rd Street, to move some plants, and heeled them in at our lot. The lot itself at first was a joy to visit. Stan was to make his dream of building a house come true. We could see advantages in the lot; the big trees; the proximity to the East Whittier School (this would mean that the boys would have another school change next year, but that could not be helped), the partial country-ness of the area, still largely orange groves (had we been realistic, we would have realized that in only a short time, the last orange groves would be divided up into home sites).

Through an artist friend of Stan's who worked at North American, we met a young architect, who showed us a house he had done, considerably more elaborate than we wished, and after some consideration, we decided to let him design a house for us. It was to be extremely economical; like some of the reasonable houses shown in Architectural Forum. (The economy was a mirage of course; instead of being our least expensive house so far, it was our most). Things moved ahead in an exciting way.

The plans for the new house came along; after a time the architect had a plan ready; it emphasized triangles, largely because the house was to be turned on its lot to take advantage of the sun (as well as to have protection at the appropriate times of day and of seasons). Triangles were not at all my idea of interiors, and I wished momentarily that we had not embarked on any such scheme, to build a house. Eventually of course the design came more what we wanted, while not, supposedly, sacrificing economy.

One more element of the house. I was still obsessed with the need for perfection. The house we would build should reach perfection. The design (and whatever agonies over matters of detail - what if something I decided upon was "wrong," less than perfect?) and the location and the setting, all should be perfect. The fact that I did not know what constituted perfection for me, or just how I wished to live made it difficult. Our architect found it bewildering too; when he planned our study, part of the living area which stretched across the south glass side of the house, I wanted ample closet space, but I was uncomfortable to tell him that I wanted it to house my paraphernalia for writing; after all if you make room for writing, you "should have something to show for it," and mine was invisible. He suggested we "throw things away;" one should not keep all those oddments that most of us store in attics; this was to be a house without an attic.

Stan, when the architect's plans were ready, got bids on the construction. One night a builder in Whittier came out, and they worked over his bid, at the dining room table which Stan had made before we left 83rd Street, while I got dinner. I was not far away, and dinner could have waited. Yet I did not somehow want to join in the discussion; the contractor's bid was too high, it seemed to me; instead of taking part, finding out what he was doing, what the possibilities were, I remained busy with my pots and pans. Stan decided to give him the job, and I was appalled at the cost ahead. What had happened to our economical plan? I forget now what the arrangement was, but it seems to me it guaranteed him a certain amount which was far higher than I had, unrealistically, expected.

And so at last the house was begun, once we had the loan, and various contractors lined up (plumbing and electrical as well as the builder); Stan was sub-contracting some of it. This was in February, months later than he had wanted to get under way; sooner than I wanted (the whole prospect of a house was too much for me; I could not see how I had once been enthusiastic over the idea. Was it because I wanted Stan to have his heart's desire? yet when it came to putting it into reality, I was overcome by the multitude of difficulties, the need for practicality, for a capacity for getting things done).

The house absorbed his energies from thereon. It seemed to me strange that he should insist on going to see how work had progressed every day. I was content to wait a while, and be surprised. The fact that the workmen made errors was something I had not counted on. Soon after we had begun the house, and when Stan was away on a trip, I found that the plumbers were digging a trench off in the wrong direction entirely. That I could see, by reading the blueprints myself. I had been under an impression that workmen were experts with their own materials and in their own fields.

At Easter time we decided to tear ourselves away from the house for a few days, and took a vacation to Death Valley. It should have been a fascinating trip (we took along scraps of wood from the construction to make fires at our camp) and was, although shorter than we had expected, for a storm hit the Valley and winds blew, sifting sand into everything, including our lunch. Stan, in erecting our tent for the night, had the experience of its blowing down upon him; the pegs could not hold it in the sandy soil against the wind. We drove westward, and came home along the east side of the Sierras; snow swirled in the high places, and it was chill in the valley; we could not try sleeping out, but stayed in a cabin below the mountains.

Once, perhaps it was in April, I went for a weekend at The Pines. For me a welcome respite from the concentrated life at home. I returned with more awareness, able to see and appreciate more what was occurring.

I reached too a limit of another kind, and decided I should do something directly about my inner disquiet. I made an appointment with Dr, Kunkel, and had a curious impression; considerable relief in having accepted the fact that something could be done, instead of feeling that I "should be able to handle" whatever dismay I might experience. I had three appointments, and then we moved to our house, and I did not attempt to manage anymore. The cost troubled me as well, and Stan's disapproval (he probably thought I should be accepting what life had happened to give me, and translating it into productive living; this standing on the edge of real participation in life doubtless had been going on too long; he chose to enter more fully, and I should, by this time, be able to as well).

We ate many suppers over a fire in the backyard before we moved from 414 S. Washington. One day Michael made himself a car out of scraps of wood from the house.

The first of May, despite the fact that much needed to be done, we moved into the house. Stan had been working on the house since its beginning. I had helped here and there, particularly on the roof, where we nailed one night till after dark. Bruce assisted too, somewhat; the other boys merely enjoyed all the pleasures of construction. They rode madly around on the cement floor, when it was first laid. And built in the pile of sand. And climbed around and about on the lumber piles and especially in the house structure. We had expected the orange trees to be sources of enjoyment for them too, but we soon found, in climbing them to get ripe oranges, that they were covered with a black smut which rubbed off on hands and legs and clothes. Only the avocado trees were really satisfactory to climb, and each of ours was only partially on our land; we shared them both with our neighbors. But beneath the trees they made passageways in the black mud while we were irrigating; later these dried hard, and split. Directly underneath the soil was friable, but just outside the ring of branches the ground was baked hard.

Stan had asked Jim Malone, who was thinking of working for North American, to stay with us when he and his new wife Ruth arrived. When they did, he was in the east on a trip. Ruth was his second wife; we had all known Vivien in Swarthmore days; he and Vivien had been members of the class with Mollie. We were not surprised that they had got a divorce; Vivien had been in a sense uninvolved for a long time. We hoped only that both would be happier alone; now Jim was married again.

Ruth and Jim joined our household, and even helped some on the new house. Our quarters were small, but they were for a time content to be with friends, however crowded. They even stayed on until we moved, and Jim helped Stan with the moving, so that we managed it all ourselves finally. (A horrible day in some ways; one collects and keeps too much; we had stored and forgotten things in the storage building in back; Stan was exasperated when finally odds and ends that had to be moved, or abandoned, came to light; he blamed me - and rightly, for I should be able to organize and discard things, but usually postpone it, or delay because I see potentials in materials and hesitate to throw them away; there have been days in our marriage when apparently worthless objects have been most useful).

Ruth was a discovery to me. Her approach to life was entirely different; forthright and direct; she was short and round and full of ardor for living; sudden laughter; and yet in spite of this she had as her deepest interest her writing; she had worked as a newspaper reporter for some time, and hoped some day to finish a novel for Doubleday. At the same time she had shortcomings, which I gradually began to recognize, and in a way accept.

They remained with us for several weeks. It was curious to have a woman around, available; such a vital, enthusiastic woman. No air of criticism, or hesitation in accepting me, or elements of our life. She thought she was pregnant again, and having lost each pregnancy so far, early, she went to bed. After a number of days she was up again, and disappointed that once again a child was not to be theirs. At least not yet.

The boys warmed to them. So much laughter and enthusiasm in the house. Ruth teased Jim, and the boys, in a way they all relished.

The Malones found an apartment in Long Beach, with a tiny view of the ocean. I felt a loss when they moved away. We visited them at least once, and went swimming at the beach down below the high banks. Cold, as is the Pacific Ocean. Ruth's schedule of work when she was actually working amazed me; at other times she was indolent, relaxed, devoted to creature comforts (a welcome change from my puritanical experience, emphasized, for me, by Stan's urgency to work, to get things done, when many a time I felt like idleness. His was less puritanical duty toward working as it was pleasure in the work; I could not distinguish between them then. His industry made me feel ashamed of my own desire for freedom. Was he fearful that I would be as opposed to all sorts of labor as was my sister Constance?)

The Quakers held their annual conference on world affairs in Whittier in June - a regional meeting, which had an interesting array of speakers, including Ted Paullin whom we had known in Swarthmore. I wrote to him, inviting him and his family to stay with us. Ellen and the children accepted, while Ted stayed in one of the college dormitories to be closer to the hub of activity.

Ruth took care of publicity for the meeting, and presently worked full time for the Friends' Service Committee in Pasadena. We went to an AAUW meeting with her, to which she had been invited by a member of the committee for the Whittier conference (she had volunteered her services). This was the first I knew of the AAUW (in some ways I remained extraordinarily unaware of what was going on in the world); I had seen notices in the paper about its activities, but it did not occur to me I might join. Part of this was a kind of diffidence on moving to an established town. And part of it was due perhaps to Stan's disapproval (often fancied, rather than actually existing) for external preoccupations. I suppose he feared I might get too distracted from family responsibilities, and as it was I did only passably well in what I needed to do. Part of his feeling may have been due to his own reluctance (of an introvert) from getting too involved in "things." He resisted our taking part in the Friends Church, and I took the children to Sunday School despite the atmosphere of non-enthusiasm; once when the assistant minister called, I did not invite him in, feeling confused, and that Stan would be home any minute (I don't know quite why I was so uncordial; I wasn't much drawn to him as a person; did I fear that if Stan met him he might decide that this church too was too orthodox for us to go to? and then what kind of religious experience, with others, would there be for the boys?)

During the Conference, the Malones had rooms at one of the dormitories. Ellen and the two little Paullin girls stayed with us. Sometimes they all attended meetings, including evening meetings; Ellen had scissors and paper and pencils in her bag for them. Infinite patience and appreciation. She too was something new for me, stimulus and a departure from any recognized ways of looking at things. One night we had a party at our house, with the Malones and the Paullins and the Bruffs (we knew them from a discussion group which Stan and I had begun to attend growing out of the Church adult class) for Ellen's birthday. Sincerity and excitement and devotion to something beyond themselves. We met the Milton Mayer too; he was enjoyable in an iconoclastic way; Ellen and I took part in a Great Books type discussion of the Declaration of Independence. (Karen, seven, was disturbed at Milton's abrupt treatment of her mother).

The conference was stirring. A speaker from Africa, most articulate. Some from India. A smooth, overly confident young man from Yugoslavia turned up one day for a discussion on the campus.

Ellen opened up new vistas to me, of confidence in a process of growth, of belief in her children, in faith that good could be brought into an often unwelcoming world. She managed the mechanics of their life, the moving, the getting to places, calmly and with unobtrusive skill. She brought a smiling look into my kitchen each morning, and enthusiasm into every encounter. She championed unpopular causes because she believed deeply in them herself.

When they left I felt curiously bereft. This was another kind of world into which I had moved for a while. It was as though a stretching of potentials had occurred. A reaching into something larger than I had known.

The summer progressed. We were busy with swimming lessons at the high school for the boys. Each morning I took them over, and remained with them. I believe it took quite a long time, each boy being in a different age group. Stevie was too young, as I remember, to take part. But he went with us, and we sat in the bleachers and watched. Occasionally we came by bus when Stan had the car. Then a long trip home, or so it seemed, and by the time I arrived, I was not in any mood to start work on the house.

There was, for me, primarily painting to be done. Once in a while I did a little, but most of the time it seemed too great an effort, in the hot weather, to organize myself to paint. Some of the woodwork I did get painted, but the bathrooms, with their high walls, in the center, the core of the house, seemed more than I could undertake. At least I didn't, and a year later, when we were on the verge of putting our house up for sale, before moving to Oak Ridge, we had painters come in and finish the bathrooms.

During the summer, Stan borrowed a spray gun, and sprayed paint on the ceilings, and on the walls that surrounded our patio, and on the exterior of the house.

At the end of the summer we took a vacation. We planned to take both weeks at once, but as it happened, we returned after one. We drove to Sequoia, leaving shortly after midnight, and arriving in time for breakfast. The boys were enchanted with the idea of awakening in the foothills, and eating breakfast in the mountains. Our camp was along the Tokopa River; the sound of the stream all night (as well as smoke blown back into our faces by the breeze off the water - the fireplace was surely turned wrong). Stan and I were so weary that first night that the hardness of the ground was no deterrent for sleep. After that the mountain air and daily exertions were sufficient to insure sleep. We climbed more than one peak; not high in themselves, but a long climb for us. Bruce left his canteen on top of Little Baldy, where we had sat, on the smooth rock summit, studying the contour map and trying to identify various points with the aid of binoculars. Stan and Bruce climbed it again to bring down the canteen. The younger boys were across the road, in a mountain meadow, a doe and her two fawns not far off; as fair a picture as I had ever seen. Then as I approached, I realized that Stevie was in tears; he had eaten apple butter on a sandwich, and some of it was still on his hands and face, attracting a bee (he knew the peril in which he was placed when a bee came near - since that almost disastrous occasion in early May).

Another day we spent climbing along a trail that led high and far back into the mountains, to one highland lake after another. To elevations of 10,000 feet and more. Sometimes the trail led along the edge of a cliff; no fence, only a sheer drop (the cliffs of this intrusive rock are often undercut.) The boys were more aware of the danger than I had realized they might be; calmly cautious.

In one of the icy, glacier-fed lakes the boys actually went swimming. Only Bruce could swim a stroke or two, and we watched them closely, Stan stripped down to his shorts so he could go to the rescue if anyone got beyond a safe depth. But they merely had a fine exploratory time, reaching a little island, splashing in the emerald green water. Above, the serrated cliffs, streaked with snow, and from each long snow bank a stream of water moved down the face of the rock. The cliffs - pale grey, down lower, some trees, dark shadowy green; above, the intensely cerulean blue of the sky. High Sierra country.

That was the day we were caught in a downpour before we finally reached the end of the trail, and our car, parked in a meadow. Thoughts of supper encouraged us (the utter physical weariness after hiking all day). But when we reached camp, it was to find that the deer had eaten the entire contents of a package of hot dog buns which I had left on our table. (Butter, milk, hot dogs, we kept under a tub, weighted down by rocks, in the stream below our camp). I had not expected deer to gnaw through paper.

We drove to Kings Canyon, and found it exciting, stimulating in a strange way (its tremendous bare rock walls, the churning river fighting its way through its twisting course in the bottom of the canyon). We stayed overnight, despite having brought almost no camping equipment; Stan and I slept between the two blankets we had brought, with Stevie in with us to keep him warm; the other two boys slept in the car, each with a towel over him; we froze much of the night, and woke often, to watch the stars overhead, and listen to the clatter, at one point during the night, of the bears overturning garbage pails down the winding road. The next day we explored up the river a ways, into a broad, open, lush valley, with the characteristic tall cliffs rising on each side, a glaciated valley.

When we had been there a week, and reluctantly given up the idea of hiking back into the roadless country served only by trails, we felt that more exploration would be somewhat repetitious And home we went, content, replete. I imagine part of it was our restlessness, perhaps an inability to stay, and merely live each day. Not yet for us the contemplative week or so (or more) of vacationing which other people seemed to welcome. I am not sure of course what it was that Stan might have found lacking; I think what I dreaded was the descent of one of his moods, when he in a sense left me, and I was not prepared to handle the details of vacation life without the reality of his presence.

That fall the boys started in the East Whittier School. Bruce, fortunately, was in the class of a charming, young, sweet teacher who began to bring him out, to help him, to try to understand him. Presently he was beginning to get hold of a number of tasks which had hitherto troubled and baffled him. In spelling he moved from the lowest category into the highest, slowly, but steadily.

Michael fared less well; he had for a time an energetic and appreciative teacher, but presently he was put in another group whose teacher was of the old school; precise, methodical, insistent on measurable progress. He had found Jimmy at that time, a new boy on our Davista Drive; they became close friends for the rest of our stay in Whittier.

Somewhat daringly I took on a Cub Scout den for Bruce. The younger boys came to meetings, and often participated in projects. Bruce enjoyed it, and made some gestures toward finding his capabilities, and finally had one congenial friend, James, who entered school late and who joined our den.

We had acquired a playhouse for the boys (from an ad in the paper), and it became the center of much of their activities in the corner of the lot. Stan erected a basketball goal, which Bruce used a great deal then. And he hung a swing in one of the orange trees, which twisted, but was greatly used; I brought home an old tire from a garage, and that too was used as a swing.

The year, our last in California, unfolded. Stevie had found friends, a boy on one side of us, Gary, and a girl on the other, Toni. He had started kindergarten, and while he was quiet and more observing than participating, he was interested in this new experience.

In May he had had a bee sting; we had paid no more than the usual attention, comforting him, putting soda on the spot of the sting I had pulled out). A couple of hours later we found him broken out in large red welts, when he was taking his bath. We called the doctor, who recommended a prescription, and Stan went off to get it. While he was gone, Stevie woke, or half woke, then collapsed in my arms. Terrified I took him to the hospital, Jim driving (fortunately he was there). At the hospital we found that there was no doctor there; ours came after a time. Stevie opened his eyes then, and took us all in; the little room where he lay on a high table, the nurse, the doctor, Stan who had joined me. His face was no longer ashen, nor his arms and legs limp.

Bees thereafter were a constant peril. With our orange trees, so often in bloom (both valencias and navels), we could hear bees buzzing around the fragrant blossoms much of the time. We had to impress it upon him (only four then) that on no account must he touch a bee. We carried an antihistamine with us at all times, to give him the moment he should be stung again.

He had been our difficult baby; unable to hold food down in those early months; apparently ill at ease with us; fussy; crying for long periods when nothing I did seemed to soothe him. Our first step was to move him from a room of his own into ours; Stan remembers Mollie as urging us to try this, so he must have been two or three months old before we moved his crib. Stevie remained thin until he was almost a year old; then he began to fill out, showing the dimples of other babies in his elbows and on his hands.

When he was about a year old, Edith took the older boys out to Rocky Point to be with her before we should leave for California; it must have been in late August. The effect of their absence on Stevie was quite startling; he stopped laughing, and our house was like a tomb for the two days of the weekend. He crawled about, as though searching, and puzzled by their absence. Stan and I tried to induce him to smile and laugh for us, in his high chair, at the table with us both. Not a bit of it. Only when his brothers returned did he take up his life as it had been.

Our move to California had effected the biggest change of all in Stevie. The freedom, the openness of life there, had worked its beneficial effects on him. Yet when a photographer took pictures of all of them, when he was about 19 or 20 months old, I was not at all sure he would not burst into tears, and be impossible to work with. He did, and picture taking almost came to a standstill. He was a determined little boy. In the morning he fussed over what he should wear. I forget why the arguments were so protracted, but I recall that Vivien (when she and Jim visited us, probably in 1948 when he was 2-1/2) felt that perhaps he should not be given so much choice. Yet with such a child, discipline was extremely difficult (it still is). He resisted with such intensity that if one became really severe, the first thing one found was that he had been really deeply upset. With Bruce, with Michael, I could recognize signs, and realize to some degree at least how each felt. With Stevie, it often seemed as though I had before me a stone wall. Yet he was extremely vulnerable, beneath his defiance.

He withheld much of himself, except when life obviously mistreated him, whereupon he shrieked at the top of his lungs. I could be quite distraught with his crying; was it some sense of abandonment to which I responded? Once at the doctor's office in Swarthmore, when he burst into protests (it was his first visit, so he must have been only a month old), I remember the doctor remarked that he did not know which was more upset, him, or his mother. (This remark of course irritated me, as I disliked the implication of being carried away by emotions).

On the way to California, he was not well (nor were the others, really) and I had to hold him all the way. (I must have ignored the other two).

Sometimes I felt a wall between him and me. I had not found the quick response from him that I had from the others, the warm acceptance. And with my self-doubts, my sense of being unworthy of the love of another, I was not sure about him. Once in our kitchen on 83rd Street, an incident occurred which suddenly resolved my insecurities about how he felt toward us. Stan had returned late, and we had had spam, which the boys especially enjoyed. When Stan did arrive, we told him there was no more for him. Stevie believed us, and leaned over from his high chair, and put his arm around Stan's neck, and comfortingly told him he would give him some of his. (He was two perhaps, just managing words).

One could recognize, I suppose, how much he wanted to love his world by the affection he lavished on our pets; on dogs; later on, on our kittens. Sometimes I wonder if he has not been the most sensitive of all the boys to my own insecurities and hesitancies; if perhaps he did not protest, in his first months, against this unwillingness on my part to take full part in the lovingness of the world.

The year on Davista Drive was one of small events. I found with my Den, our Sunday School (Stan and I also went to a discussion group which met occasionally), AAUW (which I had at last discovered and in which I found most congenial acquaintances), a writing group (the first time I had written, or indeed shown any work to anyone in many years; it was a large group, led by a retired high school teacher, Miss Funk; I was eager at last to write again, and usually had something ready for the meetings, although my critical faculty worked overtime); errands for the house, keeping the house and the garden and trying to help with projects absorbed my days. Sometime during the year Mollie came, and we had a meeting in Pasadena at the Chivens' home with husbands too, and a meeting of our smaller group, at Ruth's house. Stan and I met with Mollie one evening at Peggy's; I remember being somewhat surprised when Stan observed that he could not count on me getting errands for the house done, and I felt defensive; it was as though I needed time for writing, and the endless needs of the house.....perhaps it was that I felt that I was being sucked in, and had to struggle to find time for something of my own. I could not see then that I was defeating myself; when I delayed doing things for the house, I was really undermining our relationship; Stan felt betrayed by my apparent lack of eagerness to rush out for paint and supplies at a moment's notice - very likely he might feel my writing was becoming an enemy (as I had felt the house was mine). Again it seemed as though I had missed the essence of what was happening.

Why was it so difficult for me to see jobs and errands and various toutine tasks as only a part of a larger whole? Did I fear, as I had as a child, that should I give a small amount of myself to something, I should immediately be called on to give all of myself? I had then a feeling that someone might demand my entire being, and I needed all my strength to resist. Almost as though annihilation awaited me, unless I hung on to what I had with all my energies.

Now this is both unrealistic as a view, and somewhat detrimental to the forming of a sound, vital relationship. Was I afraid that Stan too would demand everything of me? Yet marriage is a giving, a surrendering of separate values. Being a relationship and not a thing, one surely cannot apportion and choose; this I will share and this I will withhold. Perhaps one has to have sufficient faith in the marriage itself that its aliveness will solve many of the problems; where indeed each partner should be alone, should seek a path of exploration by himself, should in solitude assimilate an experience. And where the giving can be with abandonment, nothing held back, a reckless involvement in sharing.

That Christmas my father came out to see us. We met him at the station, and stopped at Sears on the way home; he bought the boys all large cowboy hats in different colors. That afternoon we disconered that Stevie complained that his legs hurt; we found they were covered with large dark spots, like bruises. Stan took him over to the doctor's, and I heard nothing more from him for hours.

Finally at two he called. He had had to take him down to the contagious hospital - our doctor thought he had meningitis. And for an hour or two he was kept waiting with cases coming in which really were meningitis. Eventually a spinal test was made, and he was negative. He was kept in the hospital, and presently Stan came home, early that morning.

Dr. West told us, after he had seen him the next day, that he believed he had infectious purpura. We visited him in the hospital. It was the infectious ward, and while he was isolated from other cases, we passed an iron lung in the hall, and felt a sense of struggle and danger; disease here was a formidable opponent.

Stevie stood in a crib, in a small room; we could see him before we entered; there were glass windows opening onto the hall. There was a second bed in the room, with an older boy. Stevie's face was drawn; he acknowledged our presence without exuberance. We had brought him toys. He looked at them. My impulse was to gather him into my arms. But we were supposed to come quietly and leave quietly. There was a kind of betrayal in the room; parents had no right to leave their small son in this bleak hospital room. While we were there, a nurse came in and gave him a shot; he accepted it without real protest, but the tears gathered in his eyes.

After a short time we were told we must go. We assured him we would return tomorrow. He watched us go, a forlorn little figure in his hospital pajamas, imprisoned in the crib.

He remained five days in the hospital. Dr. West told us we could get him on Thursday. The infection had subsided considerably. We went to claim him, wondering what our bill might be. This however was a hospital for contagious cases, and we found that we were not charged at all. Strange discovery.

Stevie was on the mend. He went outside before we meant him to, to see Gary and show him his new goldfish. (Recently he told me that he spilled the goldfish out on the ground, and quickly rescued it, and did not tell me about it).

We counted 16 marks of shots in Stevie's rear. Battle wounds of his miraculous recovery. We were fortunate to have our son.

Sometime during the year - in February - Stan came home with the announcement that he had quit his job. It was not entirely unexpected. I had seen it coming for some time; his area of talent and contribution was being gradually taken away from him. Why? it seemed to me short-sighted of Chauncey Starr to act in this way. He was bound to lose as effective an engineer as could be discovered anywhere. One with both practical grasp and intuitive vision. What was needed in the atomic energy field. Two years ago Stan had almost left, but had been persuaded (C.S. can be extremely convincing) to remain, on the promise of an expanding program. In some ways the program had indeed expanded, yet here C.S. was for some curious reason contracting it, making Stan's area of function more and more limited. Bill Parrish had lost patience some months earlier, and had left. He was in Aerophysics [also at North American], and Stan too could move there easily, but it was not to be for long; work there was not what he wished to do for more than a few months.

Once again then, a new frontier. This time there was no immediate economic concern. Stan merely transferred from one section of North American to another. But his dissatisfaction continued to grow. It could be only a matter of time now. He talked of setting up a consulting business in his little office, in the ell angle off the garage. Was I discouraging? I had no idea of the possibilities, and I was, not unnaturally (with my background), fearful of the failures; or of failure. Not for me moving out into such a position of uncertainty. Our house had absorbed all our assets. We had little enough with which to sustain such a venture for the preliminary first months - supposing it went well thereafter. I suppose too I had my father's deep distrust of the future. Lack of confidence in my own capacity )and thus Stan's too; at least I felt no strong belief in opportunities for consulting in Southern California).

His chance to set up his own business came and went. Perhaps it was as well. He may not have been ready for it any more than I was. My distrust of such an act of faith (in the future, in himself) might well have spoiled it for him.

For some time I had somewhat expected Stan to find a period in Oak Ridge useful. Much was going on there; I had only reflected impressions. He had much to contribute to the atomic energy field in a practical way. It seemed unlikely that he should go on much longer outside the field.

To leave our house was a harder decision for him than for me. Yet a house is surely not an end in itself, particularly not for a man; it is a means, a realization of a way of living - or part of it.

Oak Ridge had become a reality for us then. We had our house definitely for sale. A month or two of waiting. I found waiting for a buyer not at all enjoyable; being, in a sense, on display, evaluated. Our taste in houses up for decision. One of the agents, a delicate young man, said one wasn't interested in pleasing many prospective buyers; all we needed was one.

My father came out with Janet in late July or early August. Once my father decided, while the delicate young agent was showing the house to prospective buyers, that he was not talking up the good points enough, and proceeded to take a hand himself. Afterwards the agent returned, and extremely politely indicated that as agents they preferred to do the showing themselves. My father was silent, and I felt protective; at the time a little nonplussed by his taking over (it was our house, indeed our agent); now I could not bear to feel that he was diminished (an old, old feeling; however resentful I might be toward him, it was worse when he might be defenseless).

When he went back east, he was still "not sure we could sell our house;" pessimism again. It was not surprising I felt miserable during a house-for-sale spell. Perhaps no one would ever want our house? reject it? and us?

In coming west, he and Janet drove the Fredericks' convertible to Albuquerque, met Henry there (he flew out to save time on his vacation) and drove madly to Grand Canyon, there to meet his parents and sit on a hotel terrace to look at the Canyon, or preferably at people. My father had suggested we meet him there, and as Stan was not taking a regular vacation that year, but only a couple of long weekends (I wonder why), we decided we could manage such a trip, adding some other sights, and making a loop home. It took us quite a while to reach the canyon, as we drove through Oak Creek Canyon where we stopped for a swim (and asked directions of a familiar looking couple in a camp who turned out to be the Episcopal minister and his wife from Whittier). We started late the afternoon before, hoping to miss the desert heat, although we had started a little too soon, descending into Indio into more and more intense heat. Sometime later, we slept beside the road, the stars unbelievably brilliant in that high sky; desert all around us. It took us all day the next day to get to Grand Canyon. Not only did we stop at Oak Creek Canyon, but we visited some cave dwellings in the grey cliffs of a canyon not too far from Prescott I believe. And later on we stopped at an extinct volcano, a high burnt-out red cone. Nearby among the cinder and lava turmoil, twisted and black, was a cave in which frost hung all year.

So finally we reached Grand Canyon. A thunderstorm as we arrived made a place of shadows and unexpected light upon the turrets and cliffs of the Canyon. Unbelievably exciting. We drove on, along the road leading through forests; it was night by now, and we met occasional deer, to the boys delight.

I think it was nine when we arrived at Bright Angel Hotel. Our relatives had registered, but no one was there. We waited; we left a note that we would be back, and explored a little along the rim; I knocked at my father's door and had no answer. Finally we decided that they had all gone for a drive, and went down to the campground for the night.

The next morning I woke early, and decided to revisit the hotel. It was six I believe; not early for my father, who was indeed awake, and shaving, when I knocked at his door. I had my hair in a kerchief; he said "yes?" taking me for a maid or some other strange female. Then great rejoicing; apparently our failure to appear the night before had plunged him into deep gloom. He was cheered immediately, and planned to collect the others, and take them to breakfast in the hotel dining room. (He still had not looked in his box for my note). Janet walked down with us to the campground, where Stan was still asleep, Bruce just waking, on blankets on the ground; the other two waking in the car.

In the hotel we had breakfast amidst the enthusiasm of the Fredericks. Later on we drove along the rim road, stopping for views now and then. The Fredericks were ardent viewers, and my father delighted in pointing out sights (I had not realized how much he adored an admiring audience while he emitted geological lore, gleaned from the guidebooks. Mrs. F. apparently encouraged him, and appeared to be an attentive listener; they rode in the back on the subsequent trip north to Zion and Bryce).

At noon Stan felt we should go on. While Dad had lunch with us in the grill (hamburgers, I'm sure), we told him our plans about leaving for Oak Ridge at the end of the summer. He was shocked; we had been a convenient reason for making California trips; unknown to us, he and Mother had been talking about retiring here, not too far from us.

We went on. (Later I learned from Janet that he was hurt that we did not invite him to go with us; I thought he would enjoy the leisurely trip with the Fredericks, all planned, far more than our whirlwind dash. Yet here was a thoughtless oversight; "reason" sound perhaps; feelings awry. Not the first time. Nor of course the last. Perhaps too I felt our simple style of living and camping could not attract a person with the opportunity of another way, the F's, of seeing this spectacular country. False humility again. Possibly a deprecation of our way, which again was not the "perfect" way, but another way. (Why was I so scornful of my own elements?)

Our trip was rapid. Around the Grand Canyon, and north. Indians along that barren land. A trading post; once we saw an Indian imprisoned behind bars in a truck. Into forests again, and on into Utah. Sleeping that night on a side road (in the sandy tracks). Great red rock cliffs above us when we woke in the morning (and all night, those fathomless reaches of the sky, star studded).

Bryce Canyon after a long drive through high, often wooded land, sometimes meadows; sawmills; and numerous sad little spectacles of rabbits on the road, struck by speeding cars.

Bryce Canyon in its shades of reds and pinks and buffs and grey and white. I had not expected to come out above, and look down upon it. High towers and etched walls and fretted turrets. A jumble of warm-toned, wind-carved rock. Along the edge, tiny chipmunks darting and appearing, only to disappear (one caught one's breath for fear they had tumbled over the cliff, yet immediately they were back).

And on. Stan had, I see now, an unenviable lot on many of our trips; he was the one usually to hurry us on. It seems difficult to understand why we had such a brief trip, when we surely could have taken two weeks vacation. Probably it was for financial reasons; the house had taken all we had; the new job at Oak Ridge, unlike his other jobs, had not been an improvement for pay, but something of a loss. (This too my father inquired about, and was dismayed to think Stan had accepted anything for less than he had been getting. One's reasons for such an act can be sound; I am sure Stan's were; this was a new possibility, and a direction in which he wished to go. Had we waited some months, would something else have appeared, which would have been more promising, perhaps even more "permanent?" I have no idea; I feel as though we had to go the way we went).

In the afternoon we reached Zion. No longer cut and chiseled fretwork of rock. But immense, monumental mountain forms of rock, swept bare and smooth with wind and water. The most startling part comes first, before one is ready; the road leads among the rock masses, a tunnel, sudden glimpses outside of great mountain forms. Then into the valley, with a serene stream wandering down its level floor. And on every side, sheer walls. The boys climbed on some rocks, one big boulder I remember near where we were parked. And waded in the stream. Water "wept" down the face of a dark rock cliff above us. The boys saw a snake in the water, swimming with its head above, a red stripe, it seems to me, along its back. Not poisonous, we had read.

And then westward. Across the great stretches of desert. We had wanted to reach Boulder Dam by late afternoon, and before the tours might have stopped for the day (we had to drive home that night). Presently it became a race; distances were greater than we had realized; the desert moved by disappointingly slowly; we could see the rough bare forbidding ranges on the horizon. Hot. Bruce dropped his hat out of the car. Stan sent him back for it; he was barefoot, and when he reached the car again, tears were streaming from his face, and his soles were blistered. Once we passed a family whose trailer, piled high with household goods, had tipped over beside the road. The family were gathering about it, straightening furniture; but the trailer looked hopelessly damaged.

Finally through Boulder City (trying to estimate distances and not watch the clock too closely). Last trip at 5:30, we learned at a filling station. We had only a few minutes. Stan drove fast.

My memories of the approach include swinging around the curves, past rocky abuttments, tires protesting. I was not quite sure that we could meet the let-down which would follow if we missed the tour. Stan was putting every resource at our disposal, to meet this challenge.

And finally the dam below, and the blue-green water, and the barren rocky slopes rising from the lake surface. Stan swung over near the entrance, left us there, and parked the car. We were in time. The last trip through the dam was about to start. We had a brief wait, in the high, high temperature on the surface; then soon down in an elevator, into cool and stimulating lower regions. The size of the installations is unbelievable; and the amount of power; one feels the throbbing constantly. Stan and I had gone through the dam years before, alone. Now we had our three alert, aware boys with us.

After the tour, we returned to the surface. Not much difference in the desert temperature. We had a picnic in a shaded small park in Boulder City.

Then homeward. First to Las Vegas, around nine or so. Gayly lit up; a gawdy town.

Across the Mojave as night settled down. The road was heavily traveled, hour after hour. For a while I was driving, and realized that I was maintaining a higher speed than I liked. A long way through the night. After a while we stopped and drove off the road, stretching out on the ground for a short period of sleeping. Every now and then we were awakened by a loud clanging and crashing nearby, and found that we had inadvertently stopped close to the main rail line toward Los Angeles.

After a couple of hours or so, we drove on, over the pass, and down into the long level valley land. Home at last, through the sleeping city. The boys slept most of the night in the back of the car, Bruce usually on the seat, the other two on blankets on the floor.

Later on, perhaps at the end of the week, the Fredericks arrived with my father, and had supper with us. Some discussion of quitting a job to set up in business of one's own; the F. parents protested, warned, spoke of dire results; pull of the past. All three vociferous, full of various enthusiasms, alert interest, polite curiosity. Janet surrounded by people with elderly point of view.

My father stayed some time with us, two or three weeks. Much of the time we got on well enough, and he stirred up excitement among the boys, chasing them about the house. Two things he said stay with me; one when we were returning from some sort of drive across town, I forget where (perhaps the museum), and the boys were hungry; he was convinced I did not feed them enough.

This comment startled me; could it be that I did not put sufficient food out for them? It seemed to me that they ate up to their desire. He went on to say that he had told Marjorie the same thing in connection with Timmy, and since she had acted on his counsel, Timmy had gained a great deal of weight.

The other thing was that he was concerned that when Stan left for Oak Ridge, and while I waited till the house was sold and affairs here settled, I might not be able "to manage the boys." This amused me, and Stan too, when I mentioned it to him. There were obviously varying interpretations of "manage."

Later we made a trip to Yosemite, another long weekend. Driving north at night, sleeping in a vinyard for the remainder of the night (my father insisted he had not slept; yet at the same time, "it was surprising that no cars passed;" we were silent, for both Stan and I had been repeatedly awakened by the sweep of headlights as a car passed or turned at a crossroads some distance away). The boys slept in the car, and Stan and I on the ground, my father, at first a little dubiously, also on the ground on blankets.

We had lunch on the cliffs above the valley. Yellow jackets buzzing around, making it miserable for Steve. We looked down upon the valley floor, far below, and across, more excitingly, to the mountains across and beyond; Half Dome, and beyond it, more mountains, and rivers flashing white, a waterfall which seemed to be a solid pale ribbon until we looked at it through the glasses when its quality as moving water could be discerned. Wondrous high country; masses of rounded grey rock; dark forests; occasional glint of water.

We camped in the valley, amidst the crowds. That night my father and I attended the camp meeting, with its movies and program led by a naturalist, and the firefall from far above. Stan had decided sleep was what he especially needed; the boys too had stayed in our tent, although they were disinclined to forgive me when they knew later that two of us had gone to the camp meeting.

The next day we explored somewhat, hiking a ways up the rushing stream at the head of the valley, visiting the museum, listening to a naturalist, watching an Indian dance (Chief Lenni, it seems to me; a heavy set, grave man. California Indians seemed to have slim pickings, and to have developed little in outstanding characteristics of their culture). Bruce was intrigued by a relief map of the Yosemite area in the museum.

The old familiar unease began to creep in, when Stan found a trip going not to his liking, and withdrew to a greater or less degree. It was difficult to know what to do when this started. Was I to change? to give up immediate plans? to suggest going on? The effect of his mood was somewhat paralytic. I would be unable to reach him, to find out what it was he felt we should be doing differently. He merely disengaged himself from our petty ways; and as these ways were frequently the boys preferances, and especially Bruce's, as he grew older and more alert and more evaluative of what he saw, it seemed to me that I would be caught between two sets of demands.

Now the presence of my father increased the pressure. However potentially it could relieve it as well, as later on, when we were at Big Sur grove along the Pacific, and my father forgot himself (his usual company manners) and in great indignation when I started to drive along a road (he felt we should go another way) he reached over and jammed his foot on the brake, only it turned out to be the gas, and I had to push on the brake with all my strength to keep us from hurtling forward. An outbreak of power tactics. Indicative that I had not been allowed to grow up; my apparent considerate treatment from him was a concession to convention, not his inner conviction. Stan happened not to be in the car at that moment, but was walking along the bridge behind with one of the boys. After that Stan sat between us, should I (rarely) be driving.

In thinking over that situation, I imagine I had been somewhat irritatingly superior just before; I had examined the small map we had been given, and felt I knew which road to follow to see the big trees; my father took longer, and was angry when I made such a quick, and he felt inaccurate decision. I was driving, and I could take the matter into my own hands. No wonder he was outraged. His should be the authority. His daughter should do as she was told. I didn't, and he tried to stop the car forcibly. Afterward I was somewhat shaken, for I was not yet ready to say to him calmly and with authority, no. I was not, I could see, free. [Michael reports a trip across the country when Barbara was driving and Michael was acting as map reader and route planner. His grandfather grabbed the map from him at a point of decision as to the route to be taken, and proceeded to direct the party a hundred miles out of their way, Michael, being small, had no recourse.]

Stan's presence maintained peace, and apparent harmony. Yet just beneath the surface this old insistence on power and control waited, ready to burst forth disconcertingly, and indeed dangerously, at any moment.

While I had Stan's authority beside me, he was not going to make any power gesture. Yet where was my own, that I should be able to handle future situations?

In cases where there was the possibility of conflict between my father and me, Stan responded with an awareness which was alive. But where my father and I were aligned in interests (both wanting to go for instance to the camp meeting) he felt perhaps threatened. Anyway the withdrawing mood descended.

Bruce reminds me that we stayed the second night, for he made up for the oversight the night before, and all of the boys watched the firefall. Like a water cascade of sparks.

So it was early the next morning that we must have left. We drove out of the Park by way of the east pass [Tioga] (which Stan and I had so long ago entered at night, missing the entire approach). It looked not at all as I had expected; masses of rocks in ramparts of red or buff; the sun beating down; at one point we found remnants of snow, and climbed up the slope, not there too steep, to slither and slide in it, and throw snowballs. A long way, along the edge of the steep canyon splitting the mountains from their height down to the desert on the east side.

Then northward. It was Stan's trip again; he had thought of going to Tahoe for a long time I suppose. The mood was lifted. We traveled through arid, desert country for mile after mile. Past the dried Owen Lake (once full of water flowing down from the mountain streams). Past salt flats.

Finally into higher land, grazing land, wide and level. And over a barrier of mountains, on a dusty steep road. Somewhere along it we freshened up, with new shirts and jeans for the boys. At Zephyr Point we found the Steins' summer home without too much inquiry, with a view of the long, woods encircled Lake Tahoe stretching out before. The Steins however were gone, to Los Angeles we heard from a neighbor.

We drove around the southern portion of the lake, with its unsurpassed views, of rocks lifting from the water, hills crowned with pines, and everywhere the intensity of the blue water beneath the sky; white clouds in swirled masses over the distant mountains. The only campground was full; we had instead supper along the beach. The sand here was astonishingly coarse and each grain large and bright colored. The boys rescued a water-worn little wooden boat from the edge of the water, and brought it with them. As the sun sank lower, it began to grow cool.

Southward. In Nevada, just before one entered California, a thriving settlement of gambling establishments lined the highway.

So that the boys should know what a gambling place looked like, I walked into one of them; and was met, as I had expected, by a polite gentleman who informed me minors were not allosed. So they walked out again. My father and Stan and I wandered about a little. Tense concentration on faces. Emphasis. One wonders what urge toward life this attempts to answer.

The ride through the mountains leading south and a little east became wilder, more primitive. We slept finally, in a camp along the hillside, in the forest. Dark when we arrived; to discover where we might be was one of the joys of awakening in the freshness of the early morning. A rock nearby had looked like a bear the night before. There was another camper nearby. My father visited with him, and presently came back with a gift of a couple of small fried trout which the camper had taken from the mountain river that morning. We all had a bite.

Down through the Calaveras country. Dryer. No longer shaded forests, but out into open country, oaks growing in the toast-colored hillsides. Heat increasing. Crossing the wide California valley toward San Francisco. Rolling hills for a time, wheat. Later the Central Valley. And finally, through grape vinyards, along the edge of the Monterey Peninsula.

We drove through Monterey without lingering much. Again the Pacific. Pines, twisted and stunted on the cliffs, outlined against the water. Through Carmel and its quiet, studiedly casual streets. To the south the long winding road, increasingly wild, brilliant flowers in the intricate array of shrubs on the bank to our left; on our right the land dropped away, sometimes in precipitous cliffs, to the ocean, which beat and churned and dashed against the rocks.

Somewhere along the way we saw the Pacific redwoods at Big Sur. A place of quiet. And before that, early in the day, while still on the far side of the state, we had come to the Calaveras redwood grove, this time of the really big trees, gigantea, among which we walked, and looked up and up into the feathery branches overhead.

Homeward through the night. Stan had agreed he would be back at work the next morning. My father tried to stay awake to keep Stan awake; Dad often nodded. I made little attempt. We drove through Santa Barbara. And Oxnard. And through the San Fernando Valley. And finally to Whittier. I think we arrived about four; perhaps five. All of us went to bed for a while; when Stan got up to go to work, for one of the few times in our married life I stayed in bed.

I have wondered sometimes why the values of my father were of such exceptional and durable strength in my life. Was it perhaps because he represented not only authority as a father, but complete and final Authority? His views became mine, and as they were pronouncements about the world as it is (or should be), and sprang from Divine Authority, I could not regard them lightly withour danger of utter condemnation.

Where does a child find sufficient faith to begin the process of changing his childhood set of beliefs? If the beliefs are in themselves without faith, in the future, in the essential goodness of the world, it may be that it is a most difficult matter to change; to discard what has come to be inappropriate, to find one's own philosophy of living. Particularly if there is, as well, condemnation in the thought of change. If the beliefs include a static basis, change becomes "impossible;" how can one change something which "should" be stationary, unmoveable?

The end of the summer came. The house was not sold, after long discussions with the new buyers, who wavered, and who proposed and counterproposed. We were interested in how the real estate agents discussed the matter with first the buyers, and then us, and how diligently and patiently they worked to bring the problem to an acceptable solution. Finally we took a second mortgage which we were not anxious to do.

When it was at last settled, I felt triumphant and relieved. There was a little feeling too, that see, we did sell it (my father had said "if you can sell it").

Stan left for Oak Ridge. We were to follow whenever he had a house for us. It was almost September, and school would be starting soon there; not so soon in Whittier. We all went to the library and brought home books, and I settled down to read in the barwa chair under the patio orange tree.

Then a moving company called, and announced they were coming the next day to pack us up. I was appalled; already? Things I had not finished. I put them off till Friday, when Stan would be back.

In June of that summer, Stan called me one day; he had been looking at cars; he had, he said, found a two-door Packard, grey, in good condition, and could get a substantial turn-in value on our current car. I was against it, as I was by habit, for I could not see how we could manage a car as well as the expenses on the house, and ordinary costs of living. But he persuaded me, as he always has on cars (and everything else he really feels we should have) and I agreed. But I said that I should now have a fund, monthly, of $25, to put in the bank, for myself; my own; no questions asked. Somewhat to my surprise he said yes - I really should not have been surprised at all. So by the end of the summer I had $ 75, and out of that I paid for pictures of the house.

The fund has fluctuated since; from time to time we have borrowed from it; usually when we have moved. Eventually it gets repaid. I have tended to consider it only another reserve. This year - I plan to use it, or part of it for my interests. Perhaps. Curiously it takes a certain amount of courage for me to use it up, or even the smallest portion. Am I again afraid that the future will be dark? No more periods in which I can be confident that the fund will continue not so much to grow (its purpose is not supposed to be merely another savings account) as to be replenished? Something really my own? Yet if I do begin to build something professional of my own, should I be cautious in a way which surely reflects my old fear that should I squander something now, I shall never, "never'" have another chance?

That night I remained up late - there was a fire burning in our triangular, corner fireplace. Outside a moon shown from high above the orange trees. The light flickered on the glass. To be awake so late and to be alone - a deep pleasure to be there, tempered by the knowledge that it was for so short a time.

Once the Howtons and Mollie had driven over to see the house; earlier that summer. Mollie had spoken of the reversal of our customary view of a house; instead of closing us in from the outdoors, this house opened up to the world outside. Still it was a small, protected world on which it opened; an extension of the living space we used; the patio, the yard, surrounded by a tall fence.

That was the last night with all as it had been; the house the way we had meant it to look; arranged and polished as we wished it to be. Stan arrived by plane from Tennessee, at two or so in the morning. We sat on the couch in the living room and let the effect of night and the burning fire settle into us. Our nearly two years of planning, building, and finally living in this house.

The next day Stan must have gone to look into the plant for a time, for I remember he was gone when the photographer came. About nine the Mayflower truck came, and the men spent all day packing things up. Sometimes they packed what I had put out carefully for us to take in the car with us. It was a confused day. The house lost its semblance of being our own.

Finally that Saturday the last of the furniture and possessions had been removed. The house was empty; a shell; flies buzzed throughout it since the doors had been open all day. Bill Bollay stopped in; he had just left North American. Stan and he following different directions.

Finally everything was finished at the house. We had given the keys to the Cunninghams, who had dropped in to see us before we left. Our last act was to spray the insects buzzing about in the house with a bomb, and close up the house. Plants in bloom or in green foliage. The orange trees erect and flourishing. The house - long and glass-enclosed and brown, with its butterfly roof, its look of belonging to the earth and the particular spot in which it found itself. I had, I felt, failed the house. But it need not have been so. It might be that some day I might be able to grow sufficiently, so that another such house would be different.

The last night in California we spent with the Malones. They had helped us move into the new house; now they were waiting with dinner, beds, companionship, as we moved out.

We slept in various ways in the Malones' house; on our cots; the boys on the floor. Bruce woke early in the morning; was it four? We had not been sleeping too soundly, so we got up, and prepared to leave. Ruth and Jim awoke and made coffee; they had some with us, thoroughly sleepy. We said goodbye in the cool dark early morning in Sierra Madre.

***

See the previous chapters:

Chapter 3
Chapter 2
Chapter 1






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West By Northwest



Voices of Peace, Volume VI
¡Volveremos!
Africa: Peace with Justice Northwest Tour
Starhawk's Heresies in Pursuit of Peace: Thoughts on Israel/Palestine.
Sarah Shields asks Please Dad, Tell Me: How Do I Stop Being Complicit?
Peg Morton sharesMy School of the Americas (SOA) Saga.
Web links
Erbin Crowell considers Coffee and Fair Trade.
Illegal Logging Threatens Ecological and Economic Stability.
Ecstasy of Ecology - Penny Livingston and the Permaculture Institute.
Norman Solomon considers India and Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons and Media Fog and the USA's "War On Terrorism": Winking At Nuclear Terror.
M.G. Hudson asks us to Consider the Case of Patricia Sweets: The Failing Safety Net of Publicly Financed Health Insurance.
Patrick Morris, writes on the role of the Royal Pains.
High Plains Films releases This Is Nowhere
Meet Skip Schiel, an remarkable photographer
Delight in Guy Weese's Summer in the City Photos
Doug Tanour's Exodus Poems
Jane Farmer uses the medieval villanelle
Explore a few small presses with big ideas. We look at The Magic Fish, When Spirits Come Calling, Saving Wilderness in the Oregon Cascades and Cradle to Cradle.
Barbara S. Thompson's My Life, Chapter 4, Moving Out West to Los Angeles.
Cogentrix to Aquila, Going from Bad to Worse? by Mary Zemke.
Lois Barton's Sunnyside of Spencer Butte, The Cat That Flew and Sauerkraut and All That.
Jonnie Lauch's electronic debut in Nighttime Intruder.

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