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These memoirs were written with the help of my daughter-in-law Suzi, over a 2 year time frame leaving many gaps. They are lovingly dedicated to my family.


I was born Lillian Claire Kittle on December 30th, 1922 in Glendale California. Doctor Westhall and Nurse Mary Fisher helped my mother deliver. Mary and mother became friends for life! What I did not learn for many years was that I had had a baby brother a beautiful child with a heart shaped face. He must have suffered SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I think it was grandmother who told me of the tragedy as mother could not bring herself to recount such a pain, so I can imagine their worry when I did not thrive. Fretful and crying incessantly to their horror, I continued to lose weight. The only way I would stop wailing was to bundle me up while mother would drive slowly around the quiet neighborhood, cradled fitfully in grandmothers arms.

My father had had enough.

Making several phone calls he

reached the pedestrian from Los Angeles, who was reported to be the finest in the area. The recall was that he strode in little black bag in hand, studied my emaciated body and demanded What are you trying to do STARVE this child!? Following orders father quickly drove and returned from the butcher shop with their best cut of lean beef. Someway it was heated liquefied scraped and added to the formula and the bottle offered to starving me. Mother would retell the miracle you eagerly started taking it to the last drop, gave a great sigh and instantly fell asleep. She and grandmother clasped hands and danced for joy!

My mother, Dorothea Wheeler and father Valmont David Kittle were high school sweethearts. Mothers picture shows shiny chestnut curls, flawless complexion and a shy smile, wearing the uniform of Glendale High School. About the only thing I knew of father was that an experiment in the school lab mixing a concoction that blew up and mostly destroyed the hearing in his right ear.

Their life together promised so much, mother beautiful and home loving; my dad (cant remember ever referring to him as Father) had been born into a family as they now refer to it, of great privilege.

His mother Laura Goff Kittle had been raised in a home of luxury. My Grandfather had discovered the value of iron rich lands deemed worthless to the Indian tribe who dwelt there. It was the Mesabi Range in Minnesota. He bartered with the tribe who accepted his horse and saddle for same.

Granddad Herbie walked into the hospital nursery the day I was born and greeted his grandchild Hi Tootsie (a popular song of 1920s and I answered to Tootsie Toots Lillian or when misbehaving, Lillian Claire!).

There was such love and closeness with mother and my grandparents that it came naturally to me to call mother mama and grandmother Clara mother. why. Grandfather was always even to mother, just Herbie no one ever questioned the Back and forth visiting in each others home I apparently never got upset when mama and daddy went off on frequent trips. They were young, made a handsome couple; money came in from the trust fund. As newly weds dad had gone to the School of Mines in Reno. Guess his interest waned; they returned to Glendale. He bought a roadster and taught mother to drive. She remembers her first mistake never pull in front a car too quickly good advice. However it had not deterred him from racing and beating the on coming train. They were on their way to visit his mother, grandmother Laura, and with mother with baby in arm, told on Valmont who received a deserved admonition. Another time he served as brakes for a truck on a downhill mountain. Dont ask me for details. All I know is that he lived to tell of it!

My earliest memory was of my father carrying me upstairs and placing me in my crib and giving me a bottle - really yummy stuff. Must have been more than crib age because I recall it had orchid tile in the bathroom and was in a very nice part of Glendale in the Rossmine area with white stucco and red tile roofs. My dad was driving in his fancy convertible with mother holding me with the fancy organdy bonnet. Dont know who chase it or gave it. It was made of organdy and had double ruffled edges with sharp hemstitching that scratched. stand it no more. I could I yanked the

miserable confection off my head and the breeze carried it away. What a fuss ensued. trieved. Mother upset ... father backed up and reBut guess I was spared further scratching.

One of the big mysteries that mother could never stop retelling was the time she was dressing me. I doubt I was more than three years old. She had placed me on the bed while I apparently was staring past her at something. What are you looking at honey? Still starring Oh just a man momma. With that she grabbed me and fled the house. Well never know -

Glendale offered one department store Webbs. It had hardwood floors, 3 rows of counters and a half upstairs. I loved to watch the polite clerk put the money in a little container, pull something and the money floated off and away up to the 2nd story, then mysteriously glided down with change (pre credit cards folks).

My favorite store was not the dignified Webbs but the wonderful Kresser store on the corner. What marvels one could long for, for only 5 or 10 and it had the lovely marble topped soda fountain with rotating stools to climb on and I would always order a strawberry ice cream soda, watching eagerly as the girl tamped down the vanilla ice cream ladled the strawberries and pushed the lever for the soda as it hissed into the glass.

On the way home from Webbs sometimes stopped at bakery and perhaps the home made chicken pot pie shop. Mother would place the still hot yeasty loaves of bread in the car with a no touch admonitions while she went to the pot pie shop. Not once did I ever mind. Leaving a hungry child with a crusty loaf peeking out was way beyond my power to obey, nor has bread ever tasted tastier!

e event ll so vividly on ca re I do hy W ough my debut th en v E ? r? he over anot Christas 5 days after w ld or w is th into ra ald Grandma Cla an r he ot m , as m a y. a happy birthd d ha I at th w ways sa ch ur years old! Su fo be to g in go I was rds it y todays standa B ! on ti pa ci ti an mepe paper strea cr e, m ta ty et was pr and table, ice cream to p m la om fr ers ura Grandmother La cake of course. ith d joined us w ha r) he ot m rs (Fathe was ns Wilburn, who so 8 r he of st la the r than I. just a year olde uts unshelled pean n w re st d ha Mother rn the prize. Wilbu in w ld ou w t os m ard find the of him all about the y have a picture (I ed ll ri th so e most and was ch are the simpl Su . discovered the e) m ed v lo he ng me how much hugging me telli d. joys of childhoo

Happy Birthday


Games I played
One favorite gam e was to create a dwelling with a old sheets and bl supply of ankets. I would pull out all the di chairs, arrangin ning room g on their sides un de r or by the table, then drape the cloth to form rooms. I was an Arab (as in the m or who knows?? ovies)

A less innocent ga me occurred to m e one day as I st curb and watch ood at the the not too heavy tr affic that came by ton Avenue. Wat Lexingching an approa ching car one mor culated assessing ning I calthe speed and I da sh ed ac ro ss the street. That was easy! I dont remember how m an y cars I out dash that was fun!) bu ed (my, t that last car st op pe d, a cross looking la marched up to m dy e and headed me to th e fr on t door. Mother, who had been do ing laundry in th e ba ck, was informed mad antics and I of my was whished into th e ho use with many sc ing and prohibitio oldns.


MGM ry fancy e v a d a h good Glendale alked a w e n O ouse. st the movie h eater pa h t e h t o in t s. distance GM lion M t n e b e recum ere two larg there w d n a d e t arpe e It was c ma typ ja a p wearing xushers ays an e lw a s a s. It w our uniform one of y (n e c n e i xper multiple citing e d n a s m xer roo aldrab bo hat had t s e i v o and m movies, ed). n censor e e b y d a re


Now I must introduce Millie my longest time ever friend for life. In fact our mothers and fathers Doris and Elsworth Heald were friends before Millie and I made our dbut. She recently sent me a picture of them on a camping trip somewhere in California. Millie is my senior by __ weeks and __ days. My first memories of our friendship were playing in her sunny bedroom with Raggedy Andy and large family of dolls. While our families were visiting Millie and I would abandon the dolls and wander into the garden. I then proceeded with what can only be regarded as behavior of a bizarre nature the newspaper lying on the floor was the first appetizer. Tearing off a piece I would creep behind the sofa and Millie enjoying the secrecy part, watched me munch away. Even worse was visiting their garden. The smell of damp earth incised a craving and soon a fistful was crammed into my mouth. Mother would have been horrified if she had known. Only years later did science find that this craving is caused by a deficiency of mineral, no doubt iron being most frequent. And hard as it is to believe, I also liked dipping a finger into new tar near the curb, scooping up a chunk and chewing makes me shudder remembering!





Great Grandmother Hannah Larsen was a widow of a Civil War Veteran, Christian Larsen. As such she was allotted parcels of land on the Mojave Desert to homestead with the provision that a house be built on the premises. So it was that land beyond Palmdale and Lancaster that one drove until a small water tank came into view then we turned across the railroad tracks on the right one turned onto a dirt road. It was then I sat upright and stared to the left. A white one-story house appeared. Mystery lent a fascination for it was called Sister Flavias House of Prayer. From stories and rumor I visualized the worshipers kneeling perpetually in their flowing white robes, hands folded in earnest petition. Never did see a single soul though - always indoors I guess

Passing one more place of interest, a chicken and egg farm belonging to the Sapps. We always had really fresh eggs. I was shown the marvels of the incubator where row upon row of eggs were changing into tiny chicks. They were turned by hand daily since the mother was not about so we bounced over a there to do it for her clutch.

On we jounced, until after another rise, the little house appeared Great Grandmothers first of two homesteads. Both had been constructed to comply with Governments requirements. It was neat, no frills, a bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room with enough room at the end for a cot - not youre luxury dwelling, but real adventurous



Oh, no frig, maybe a pump for water in the kitchen. A

real, working windmill pumped the clearest, purest water in a cement tank that one could want. The tank had been made to water the cattle.

When the family started to live there they scrubbed the moss that lined the tank with the help of bleach. When refilled it was the most delightful swimming pool one could ask for; no matter that it was ugly, it was cool, clear water. A few friends made the trip from Glendale. One little friend, Viola, joined me on a blistering day. We paddled about in our underpants and emerged shivering, as the water was not warm. One time for whatever reason, we squeezed ourselves into Grandmothers housedress; it was so tight only one of us could waddle at a time. We laughed so hard it was even slower

Viola was such a cute little towhead with big blue eyes. She ran with outstretched arms to greet me. I loved her too with just one problem of her little drooling kiss; in the evaporation breeze it was a cold kiss and I always tried to get it planted on my cheek Viola had been born with 3 webbed toes and an extra finger on each hand. The extra fingers had been removed; but she was quite happy with the webbed toes - she claimed it helped her swim better, and who is to say they did not.


I should explain that at the end of this same sandy road was the second homestead, even smaller than the first, perhaps a mile apart. It was adequate and fulfilled the requirements of a homestead. back. It had a little pot bellied stove and chairs enough for all with a table, a tiny bedroom, and of course a neat outhouse out

We were at his second house one day when Grandmother was washing the dishes (it must have been fall because I was wearing a little tan wool dress with red flowers on the yoke) and she had just poured the steaming water into a dishpan on the table (no sink, of course) when for some reason I decided to make a running dash and swing beneath it. dress and me. Bad idea instead of grabbing the table I clutched the dishpan then poured the whole thing over my wool

With one mighty stride and new Herbie ripped dress the from Thanks only regrabbed my collar

my body. tion I

to his heroic acceived first-degree burns - pink skin and front. Unguentine smeared over my


Grandpa Herbie and Grandma needed to do some work at homestead #1. It would only take an hour or so. Now Mother Hannah, you dont need to do a thing Herbie assured G -Grandmother. Well be back in time for lunch. The chores finished they returned to start lunch. As they reached the last rise they stared in horror. There was no house smoke rose from what had been a cozy little homestead. Grimly they began searching for remains. Nothing. Finally they walked to the little outhouse. There lay dear little Grandma Larson, alive. Her arms had been burned to the elbows. She had sought to calm down the flaring fire in the little stove had reached for the can of water and dashed it over the flames only it was not water it was kerosene! Great Grandma Larson survived. I was spared the details and she lived on til 87 and died in her bedroom peacefully in her sleep. I think the depression and taxes caused the family to lose the property along with other properties in Glendale. I still wonder if that little dirt dusty road is the one that now leads to Edwards Air Force Base. In my mind it will ever remain Grandma Larsons homestead.


Let us return to tell you of Herbies almost Magical Cow named Bessie whom he milked twice a day. Bessie produced such wondrous, rich milk that the Department of Agriculture paid a visit to test its high butter content. Herbie would bring in the buckets to the kitchen, pour the milk into the pans and waited for the thick cream to rise to the top. Meanwhile, Grandma would have been making and baking bread. She would slice the still-hot bread, put a layer of her homemade raspberry jam over it; then cut a square of the cream, lift with a spatula and place it upon the jam. Now dear ones, I do not think you will ever encounter a more delicious desert in this world - they do not even come close; I can remember it after all those years


The Soil produced a wonderful alfalfa crop. Grandfather Herbie had seen to that; the place was going to make some money. Except that the Jackrabbits discovered it and word spread also, I think it was the year of the Plague of Rabbits; they were everywhere, but especially in the lovely alfalfa crop. The crisis caused a gathering of the familys hunters.

Herbie, my father Valmont, Mothers brother Don, loaded up their shotguns, boxes of yet more shells, and went to war. They backed out some ancient auto (it was topless, perhaps some early Ford?) and to my delight put me into the back seat to enjoy the sport. Off we jounced over the sandy bumpy road.

We did not have to drive from the road when rabwhere! Bang-Bang-Bang. proved the safety of the was had by all.

more than a few yards bits were leaping everyl dont know if it imalfalfa, but a good time

It never occurred to any of the three men that it was a little odd to bring along a little 7-year-old girl.


Grandma Clara was not only the most wonderful human being that walked this earth, but she had the most delightful sense of humor also. It was she who bought me the little book that pictured the constellations in the heavens with helpful white lines that reveal the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, The Seven Sisters, Orion, Ursus Major and Minor. Then out we would step into the dark night with millions of twinkling lights and she would help me find them. Only those of us who have lived or visited the heavens without being dimmed by city lights can appreciate the dazzling display. But then, science aside, we finished off the evening with a Fairy Dance in the Moonlight. (After all, if Great Grandmother recalled seeing Little People who are we to dispute?)

She had been a teacher otherwise the state would not have allowed Herbie to move the family to Manitou Island lighthouse, isolated as they were at they end of the Island. What mother had not learned was how to drive. A twenties auto must have been formidable - gears to shift, no power stirring, but decided she needed to learn to able to go from house 1 to house 2. One We apclear morning mother and I begun the short trip to house 2 all went well until the return trip for whatever reason. proached the yard, but we were not slowing down.


We were headed straight between the house and the barn, chickens were flapping left and right mother seemed frozen at the wheel. What little I knew came to the rescue I grabbed the hand brake between us and pulled with all my might and we screeched to a stop before we bumped into the back fence. I dont remember any other tripsAt night the Coleman lamp with its twin mantel would be lighted. Am sure since we had no electricity that everyone went to bed early. After long labor-intensive days it would be welcome. I would be tucked in after my prayers, secure, happy and very sleepy. However, there were three awesome sounds guaranteed to make eyes pop open in the still of the night. Cant decide which were scarier. The sudden howling wind that moaned about the house, things creaked and shook; sudden eerie shrieks like a banshee made me dig deeper under the covers. If you have ever heard a pack of coyotes howling very close to the house with the aforea mentioned Mojave wind moaning menacing producing cacophony

and could not be much scarier except for one addition, suddenly a mighty roar. a lion?). A thun-

derous roar (could it be No, it issued from the other bedroom, all was well it was just Herbie snoring again.


Of all the pets I have loved and as nature decrees - lost, none remain more vividly in my memory than the three pals; Rex, Laddy and Fluffy. A predecessor of the famous movie dog Rin-tin-tin was I think named Strong heart, a German Sheppard. My father wanted only the best and brought two sons of Strongheart, never have I seen more intelligence in the piercing questioning look what do you want me to do now? Alert, questioning, ready to obey my slightest inclination command. An ingenious screened porch had been constructed beside the house. I was allowed to sleep out there on a warm night. Can only surmise that family felt perfectly safe with Rex and Laddy as my faithful guardians. Come light but pre dawn I would be nudged by a damp nose and eager canine eyes pleading; come on, wake up; its time go adventuring. Yanking off the nightgown, tugging a dress over my head and panties, slipping on the sandals covered about all the time Rex and Laddy could allow before they were looking over their shoulder, beckoning me Come on lets go!


Off we bounded sun not yet up, bushes to bound over, rabbits to chase, and little kangaroo rats leaping in all directions. Coming over a rise we halted. hundred feet away and standing motionless stood a small herd of wild cattle. They had long curling Texas horns and strange mottled colors, almost purple, some with ringed eyes. Immediately Rex and Laddy moved close to me forming a protective V formation. I did not ponder long. The command rang out sic em Rex, sic em Laddy and the chase began. What excitement. The cattle saw two speeding over rushing towards them and off they pounded, dust clouds receding at last Rex and Laddy returned panting heavily to be praised and patted. Time to return for breakfast.

House #2 had a little chicken coop. Daring the dog the hens and chickens would be let out to peck away and exercise. It was my job to round up the chicks that had not returned when food was put out in the pen. Rex watched me for some weeks cocking his head, eyes intent. One evening I watched in wonderment as after finishing nudging the last chick into the enclosure where upon Rex nosed the little wooden chip to the lock position. One smart dog!


I had never been to a live circus; only saw the Ringmasters in a movie. my own. One day I decided to conduct Making mounds in a circle and ordered Rex and Laddy to set at the appointed mound (I think Fluffy obliged) then proceeded to do a Lillian version dancing or prancing, my little subjects patiently waiting for the act to end.

Now I must speak of Fluffy, the loveliest calico cat. Her orange black and white showing perShe was beloved by Rex and fect markings, white paws and chest, plum of a tail and loving. Laddy curling up and napping next to them. When we had all returned to city life no dog dared enter or harm Fluffy; she had 2 protectors. For all her aristocrat mien Fluffy was a might huntress. Every little desert of mouse in her hunting range was doomed. One day she came meowing and looking up at me tail like a little sale. Meowing and looking back as if to beckon I followed her to the front cement stoop. There in separate groupings lay aligned perfectly the tails of the rats and mice. Proudly she walked back and forth as admired her prowess. Looking back I find it quite remarkable.


Great grandma Larsen had the front bedroom. She wore the long dresses of the Victorian era, which also served to cover a painful leg injury and lifelong bone infection osteomyelitis, which even today is not curable. She and Grandma Clara would speak Norwegian softly. They told me she had come over in a sailing ship. I can see her seated in a chair in the kitchen helping in anyway she could, shelling peas, paring potatoes. early life. How little I know of her Only of her early leg injury, that she had married a

Christian Larson who had fought in the Union Army in the Civil War. How hard life was in those days. We with our washers, dryers stoves and frigs I well remember the excitement when Grandma Clara got her first refrigerator. It was from Sears, which of course with some blue inside and smelled, well, like a new appliance. Same with our house but I sort of missed waiting for the iceman. A yellow plaque with required size would be pasted in front window, 25lb, 50. He would chip away, hoist it over his padded shoulder and trudge to the house while we hovered by the track, and sure enough we each received a lovely chunk and strolled off licking or biting our treats.


Grandma Claras garden was a delight to me. The backyard had been paved leaving squares of earth and easy access from all sides. Soon the squares were producing green shoots. Packets of annuals cost only 10 cent. As the flowers appeared I was enchanted in Roses had altheir beauty and fragrance, especially the smells.

ready grown from the previous owners; they smelled the best of all. The north side of the house was lined with calla lilies, stately and pretty but alas no fragrance. One morning inspiration struck. I would make perfume from all the lovely flowers. I grabbed a big pan and started to pluck all the ones that smelled good. Grandma Clara allowed me to have all the flowers I wanted, even the pretty pink ones. I lined them up on the shelf of the spacious screened laundry room, I added water, then waited and waited. Ruefully I sniffed my decaying posies. Guess it wasnt as easy as I thought at the very back square of that garden lies the little oval tine can. Interred within lay the remains of my little polliwog that had not thrived under my watch. -The Glendale airport was only a short distance from the house. One had to drive at the east end of the block to reach San Fernando Road and streets that led west into Glendale. An airplane ride was a BIG Event in the early 30s. Someone persuaded mother what a lark it would be to take a short 5-10 minute ride. Reluctantly she agreed while grandmother and I watch as the plane taxied and built up speed and lifted off. What relief to see the plane returning from the west, it would soon be landing. Lower and lower it came suddenly it reared and to our horror it gunned its engines and labored towards the sky. Grandma and I


were terrified! Frozen in time we watched as it circled about and made anther try. This time it set down properly. If grandma and I were frightened, a white and shaken mother attested to her state. A few years later while driving past the same end of the airport, we looked on helplessly as a small plane lifted off at the opposite end, then spiraled into the earth.


The public school (think it was at 9 Benjamin Franklin) was only a few short blocks away. I liked my first grade a lot. A friendly teacher, cheerful classmates and my desk with its own inkwell. Yes, my children, we used a pen (no feather to be sure) and dipped it into this inkwell and we were ready for our Palmer method penmanship lesson. On our tablet of lined paper we commenced using our lower arm, not just ones hand. Over and over we made each letter dip, write, dip, write. Then there was the chalkboard with the teacher patiently demonstrating that 2 + 2 equaled 4, 3 & 2, 5 etc etc. What fun I had! Jack and Jill or Bobby and Jane came alive through the magic of learning to read. Perhaps my enthusiasm was the cause of not walking to school but bounding. It was lots more fun and faster bounding. Early in life I found running with just my toes bent under was get fun (and continued to be so until after Rick was born) heals performed the same to normal method of getting about inside the house. Outside however it was the board and leap that propelled me. with the morning commutes. When I entered 2nd grade, teacher recommended to mother that I be placed in their third grade instead. Missed my classmates but third grade ones were ok too. art time! The best part of third grade was Happy Friday afternoon. No more spelling, no more arithmetic it was Out came the crayolas and the white paper. hour it was - all those glorious colors to scribble and blend. Time flew - One Friday I finished a strange picture. It had a weird tree in exotic colors unlike the usual blue-sky brown earth I usually made. For whatever reason, teacher turned it in to a citywide It won first prize! Perhaps it foretold the nascent competition. I never knew that a childless couple on the corner found much amusement

movement that was to follow. Picasso weird pictures that I could never relate to which would explain why I never attempted much til these last 6-8 years and sold to my great surprise, a their of then at my one and only showing.


One-day teacher came to my desk and took me into the cloakroom where she unbuttoned my collar looked at my chest and solemnly told me that she thought I had the measles and should go home right away. Please and quite ignorant of the consequences (I felt fine) I hurried home and informed mother. By afternoon I was not feeling chipper and by evening the red measles had arrived in earnest. I guess it was a bad case and sure felt miserable. When I got over the worst mother gave me several of her magazines (Ladies Good Home Journal, It was Housekeeping

among others).

not the articles I read, the picture and caption were fine, but it was the Free Samples that excited me. address have One filled in (mother addressed must and the ones name, a home

stamped the envelope postage 3 cents. One by one a bulky One by one a bulky envelope would arrive and mother would enter with a smile on her face and watch as I tore away the wrap. There it would be a tiny sample of pepsodent toothpaste, a wee miniature bottle of Jergens Lotion, perhaps a Lady Esther tube of cold cream. They were magical and paid off - still using these that are still being sold.


We lived on Walnut Street. Its nutty name came from the simple fact that we lived amidst a lot of walnut trees nor did we ever need to buy any. No wonder mother stuffed dates and the turkey stuffing was deluxe - laden with same. My enemy for the raid was 10 year old Harold Gardener who lived farther down Walnut. He was the only boy I knew well enough for such and seemed infinitely older. I decided that boys were, I didnt know why, well, interesting The aforementioned house across the street was the home of a Spanish couple and their little daughter with whom I played (but not the cowboy games) Her parents were from a long line of early Californias Their name is on main roads and districts in Los Angeles. When I entered their house with my little friend it was painfully sparse. Not a single ornament graced the built in dining room sideboard. Mentally I compared it to our interior a pretty bowl filled with the circle of pansies that mother grew brightened the table, as well as the pleasing china and bric a brac that lent interest to the rooms. Such drabness in the house across the street bothered me. Each time I entered it looked sadder. Her mother, so slender so pretty so quiet. What to do it was too depressing. A little thought popped into my head the very next visit to Kresser 10 store found me in the aisle where china and glass were sold. There it was, a pretty pink glass bud vase and it cost 10 cents. I could afford that! Back home I went to mothers sewing drawer. There I found an _ scrap of linen. Laboriously I cut a circle of the cloth and sewed an edging of lace. Now the family would have something pretty for the dining room. Whether this pleased the lovely Spanish lady I cannot remember can only hope so. I have deliberately not used their famous name; you would all recognize it. I do so because many years later I leaned that the husband had shot and killed the sad lovely lady who lived across the street.


Herbie and Grandma Clara and great grandma had moved to a nice house in Glendale higher up one slope that become hilly to the north. I was this house where I jauntily pose in my red and white polka-dot dress with a matching umbrella no less. Great-grandma loved to usher me into her bedroom and over to a desk under the front window - a bright cheerful place where she delighted drawer. in pulling open the top There would be an orange,

an apple and always a tinfoil wrapped Hershey bar. Smiling she would cut a wedge of the fruit and break off 2 or 3 of the Hershey squares. The fruit was fine but oh the Hershey. The tinfoil wrap is gone and now my fridge holds a plastic bag with a perpetual supply of tiny individual ones. The same window that brightened grandmas bedroom looked out onto the pretty front lawn (they always seemed to have pretty lawns). Nothing was more fun than to run barefoot through the clover and the pervasive crab-grass that no one could ever quite eradicate. Delightful until one sunny day I scampered across the cool and soft expanse, suddenly I felt a piercing stab between my big toe. I had stepped on a bee who did what bees do when stepped on he stung! I howled in disbelief! Had never felt anything so painful. Visiting 2nd cousin Don who seemed almost grown up to me rushed to my assistance (may have pulled out the stinger). I was too busy howling.


A group of the family was gathered for a weekend visit. I loved it when we all gathered in the living room. The men would start telling stories of their camping trips. It almost always veered into scary tales; the sound of something moving outside the tent, the snap of a twig - loved it until I had to be tucked in, prayer said, lights out. higher.

Then the images took over.

Covers were pulled up

Herbie had a larger than usual flock of chickens one year. Keeping watch over the flock was an imposing cock of the walk who took his status seriously. I think I was perhaps 3 years old when I wandered over to visit the chickens. They did not mind and kept clucking and pecking. Himself was not pleased. He ran towards me with the intent of pecking my face, not too difficult since I was not very tall. Fortunately mother saw the attack and swooped me up into her arms. She was relating this frightening moment to grandmother when the front door opened. It was Herbie who was greeted with 2 distraught women talking at the same time the roaster had attacked Lil! No sooner had the excited words that had tumbled out than Herbie without uttering a word strolled towards the back door the roaster was seen no more.


Climbing jumping sliding leaping let to frequent encounters with painful surprises. Suddenly fearful and staring at the nasty piece of wood jabbed into a finger, I needed help, fast. Only one person could handle this awful predicament must find Herbie - fast! There he was in his big leather rocker. Holding out the throbbing finger, he placed me on his lap, after finding a needle and carefully somehow retrieved the splinter as only Herbie could do. There was an even worse mishap that occurred at homestead #1 when I was 7. Running about the yard without my sandals, I stepped on a nail - a very rusty nail. Infection set in rapidly. An ominous red streak signaling infection climbed up my leg. Those were pre antibiotic days. The family tired not to show their concern but I sensed it was serious. The one remedy they used was socking in hot water and, I think, a solution of potassium permanganate. Finally the red line of infection begun to recede. To everyones immense relief. Think I remembered to wear my sandals after that! -Great Aunt Annie came out to visit us while we lived in Grants Pass Oregon. She had married an inventor from Chicago who When Auntie stepped worked for General Motors. She had a way about her that caused men to fall over themselves to assist her. down from the train several gentlemen were assisting her tipping their hats as she graciously smiled and thanked them. There was a reunion of mutual friends from Wisconsin days. Relaxing after a wonderful dinner (I can still remember it; roast lamb, mashed potatoes rolls and pie (maybe apple). This was typical meal when we drove to visit Aunt Ina and Uncle Edwards in


some part of Los Angeles. He was Chief of Police and she held an important position - very high for those days. In spite of this huge report I couldnt keep still and was dancing and leaping about as I fancied myself a ballerina. My, isnt she just like a little butterfly declared Aunt Annie. This admiration of my talent inspired me to even greater expressions of glory. With a bounding leap I landed on a throw rug which slid me almost under the dining room table. The ensuing laughter brought down my dancing efforts for the day.


Auntie visited us one more time while we lived in Grants Pass. For some reason she persuaded mother to drive her back to Chicago along with Grandmother Clara. The family hired a teenage from church to care for me. I guess she also helped with the cooking, so off they went leaving Herbie and me and Helen. All went well; only one event bothered my routine. I discovered rather Doctor informed us that I had contracted the 7 year itch! This was a sobering thought. Since Helen seemed a clean person the mystery remained unsolved, and gradually the itch disappeared with some sort of medicine I smeared on my chest. It took me a long time to stop fearing my sentence and really it really had gone away! Far more interesting was the trip to Chicago. Cars in those days always were not equipped with all the refinements and comforts we expect. No power steering, no automatic clutch, no freeways. Mother must have done a fine though tiring job. Finally they reached the Chicago area and Auntie directed mother to the exclusive suburb called Elmhurst. Auntie was a widow for some years and so lived alone. But trouble beset their approach. The car got a flat tire and had to be repaired by local filling station.


What on earth would cause such a spot of tacks littering the road? With relief they pulled onto the ground and Auntie unlocked the door and turned on the lights. The luggage was brought in and mother was weary, contemplating falling into bed. Suddenly headlights flashed into the house coming from all directions. The three women stood terrified when pounding on the door began. It was the Chicago police. They were not looking for the three ladies they were looking for Dillinger! To later generations he was the informer gangster murderer from the 30s who had been reported to be in the area. On the lamb as the saying goes. Dont think the 3 ladies spent too restful a night. Forget how much longer before Dillinger was captured with his girlfriend in Chicago, but remember how the event was splashed all over the front pages. But it explained the tacks that I think Dillinger had tossed out to stop the police pursuit.


Walking to church school one morning I beheld a sight that stopped me and no doubt caused my eyes to stare in complete consternation. There walking ahead of me were two men; only one lurched forward and then the other, each contorting in turn as they slowly swagger to their destination. Dont

know how I came by an explanation, it might have appeared in the evening papers for whatever reason the two men were in Grants Pass. That was my first knowledge of what were called Siamese twins. It was sight I would never forget. -My bedroom in our year sojourn was upstairs, mothers was down. One sunk in and stayed put like a snow angel, you made your mold. One night Grandma Clara came up to read my bedtime There was no answer, no movement. Puzzled story and say goodnight prayers. She walked to me bedside and spoke to me. Grandma spoke again a question. I could stand it no longer. Leaping from behind the door I greeted her. The sleeper fashioned from rolled up blanket had worked hee hee hee!! Brat -


A most charming rivulet ran across the front yard of the Grants Pass house. About a foot wide, it felt wonderful for hot bare feet on a hot day. The counter point to this pleasant pastime was skipping through the cool grass until a foot funk down in something warm gooshy and bad smelling. Oooh oooh oooh!! A wandering cow had done what wandering cows do When Rick was about 3 years old mother, he and I drove from Glendale back to Grants pass to visit Great Aunt Amanda. An independent retired navy nurse widowed at an early age, she bought a small cottage and a cow and proceeded to make a happy contented life for herself. Her little home was immaculate even though water came not from a faucet, but from a hand pump in the kitchen. We heated water on the stove for bathing. Her vegetable garden produced wonderful tasting vegetable (the tender new peas served with cream from Bessie, I can still remember). Rick enjoyed everything in the serene setting until he was introduced to the litter outhouse he entered under protest!


The month of June in southern California is almost always mornings of misty fog gradually burning off by noon or even later. But come July and it full blown summertime and the begging to go to the beach begins. Finally we are assembled towels bathing suits blanket maybe a picnic lunch. No freeways existed so there was a lot of stop and go traffic but finally the beautiful blue green ocean the froth on the beaches the smell of the sea I was overjoyed. As soon as we were settled on the blanket I pulled on my little rubber shoes 9think we all had donned our swim suite, covered by clothes before we left home. The rubber shoes were a very good idea. Sting rays were not infrequent on the shores and I had heard enough stories to make me dread stepping on one. The Pacific was never warm but I finally flapped in and paddled blissfully. I only entered to the 2nd wave; when a bigger one rolled in. I just ducked down and let it roar over me. One was always conscience of the ever threatening rip tide that could suddenly drag one out and away from shore. I witness one terrifying rescue of a woman being swept against the pilings and almost dashed against them. Thank goodness for our life guards! There were times we had lunch from the pier hamburger stand. The cook threw the patties on the big black grill. Soon their aroma ? the sizzling onions was I

so wonderful I can taste it this moment after all these years. think that was the time of corn fed beef. Add the onion a slice of tomato no were has anything tasted more wonderful! The walk 15 feet to the chocolate soft ice cream machine perfection!!


In later years on the same pier a handsome couple strolled by. Only after they had passed did I realize that the beautiful blonde lady in the ankle length mink coat and the handsome dark haired man were Alice Fay and Tony Martin the romantic singer of his time. Oddly years later returning from Brazil choosing a new bedroom suite, I had picked and purchased of what was to me a lovely set. Then and only then did the owner of the co inform me that Alice Fay had chosen the same set. I appreciated his waiting til I had made my choices and not because a movie star owned it first.


Herbie pushed his Hudson (his favorite car) til it was almost dark. The motel (very few One gathered in those days) was a cluster of little cabins. their towel and tiny bar of soap and walked the 40 feet or so to the shower house. done we were in our beds and asleep in 2 minutes. That Suddenly, a

frightful noise that intensified. It was overwhelming; the loudest sound in the world! The cabin shuddered the train roared by. We were alive! Next morning we saw the railroad tracks ... about 25 feet from our lodging. Which reminds me of an earlier visit when I was still a teenager, Herbie mother and I drove up to visit Aunt Amanda. I think the trip epitomizes what travel was like pre-air condition, pre-motels mostly or very dicey. An early start (Herbie always boomed us awake with Rise & Shine and rise we did though little shine. The cool morning drive raised our spirits. Leaving Glendale, Burbank, the San Fernando Valley behind - we climbed through the pass. No freeway 5 but Bakersfield. The cool of the morning long gone; windows open and blasts of hot air, cant remember when we finally arrived at the orange juice orange. There is shone, a huge gleaming replica with a sign beckoning all you can drink 10 cents never has any beverage equaled the ice cold and fresh off the adjoining orange grove, that exquisite ambrosia.




The Christmas before the depression was one of abundance. I was the first grandchild. Grandma Laura had passed away and grandpa Kittle had married a widow from Texas, who was a marvelous cook and had a merry laugh. The ritual in our family was to have the big party and fit giving on Christmas Eve. After supper we all gathered by the tree with lights sparkling and a fire crackling in the fireplace. So many gifts they piled up beside me (was it 50 ?). I knew I was a very lucky girl. There was even an electric stove that worked! On Christmas day I managed to cook a pan with pieces of cubed potato. Well try not to shudder at the safety factor! On Christmas morning I stole out of bed (is there a child who does NOT?) and hurried to see what Santa had left in the night. Sure enough my stocking dangling from the mantle bulging with a naval orange and some tiny toys. Thanksgivings - Grandparents, all the women working laughing with heavenly smells wafting from the kitchen. The deep voices masculine laughter from the idle men congregating in the living room. The most unmemorable was the one I spent in bed miserable with chicken pox! The plate brought in lay uneaten alas the Then, one day, you are preparing the meal and they are bringing in things and finally as today - Grandma drove over the hill and thru the woods all 3/8th of a mile to son & daughter in laws house! And a wonderful Thanksgiving meal it was. show went on without me I lived on to enjoy many many more.


Easter - The lovely flowers trees and their delicate greens, the earth reborn. As with Christmas there were two distinct celebrations; the holy one when we remember the risen Christ and the ancient pagans welcome of the return of spring. In defense of the Pagan; why are we so critical of ancestors who had no knowledge of Christian hope to sustain them through harsh dark winters? How they must have welcome the first flower to poke through the last snow, the greens of leaves appearing, the sun really was return from its mysterious disappearance, who was there to explain? Easter church service meant arriving with new patent leather shoes, a new dress and maybe even a tiny new mesh-metal purse. Happily the good news of the resurrection was not lost. I tried to put the terrible event of the crucifixion out of my mind - much too painful. Easter morning I awake to find an enormous 3-foot high basket with the bright pink cellophane wrap. I could make out the form of a large Easter bunny, opening it eagerly, I would delight in the candy eggs, the tiny yellow peeps all resting atop the shredded grass. grandma & gramps. This gift from On My grandmother Laura had passed.

Easter morning I would open my eyes to gorgeous and enormous cellophane wrapped Easter basket. Within would be all the delights one could wish for: a huge chocolate bunny, a tiny egg carton with chocolate marshmallow eggs, lots of yellow peeps (how come I never became ill with bunny overload?). But that was not all. Awaiting me when after I had hurriedly dressed and greeted both sets of grandparents and mother, there would be a big carton on the floor. In it would be either a pair of adorable fuzzy duckling or two little white bunnies and a gift from the visiting grandparents.


The 4th of JulyI dont think there is one person reading this who does not have happy memories their holidays as a child. It was usually a picnic day. Off we would go taking potato salad (of course!) hamburger buns with beef franks and never without mothers wonderful lemon meringue pie or chocolate cake. One favorite spot was the Rose Bowl Park. If we stayed on we were treated to the wondrous spectacle of the fireworks. Oh, the oohs and aahs as the lovely colors final burst and boom as they shot into the night sky. And soon the pungent smell as the smoke drifted towards us. The finale and happy and sleepy it was home and beddie bye.


Chapter 2 Married Life


James Terrell

I married James Terrell on October 19th, 1941. The ceremony was performed by his grandfather Rev George MacDougall at the home of his mother May Wilson. Although the marriage didnt last but a few years it produced a beautiful baby boy and beautiful he waseven winning a Prized Baby Show.


Later I met a young Air force Lt named Bill Donlon. together for 54 years.

We were

married in Las Vegas on the last day of the year in 1949 and were We lived in New York City, Brazil, Argentina, Panama and Rio de Janeiro. While living in Virginia I was awarded a job to work at the White House for the office of the Secretary of the Air Force however it coincided with my husbands promotion and we were transferred to Brazil. After a crash course in Portuguese I learned to entertain diplomats and host receptions for formal events with Brazilian Air Force personnel.

Bill Donlon


Rio De Janeiro: Bills four-year at the Pentagon was almost up. He had written back-up letters on South America for then President Eisenhower, and received a Letters of Commendation - the highest conferred in peacetime to an officer of the United States Air Force. A day or two later I received a call in my office from the head office to please come there. Puzzled, I could think of no reason, good or bad, why I had been summoned. Mrs. Donlon, we received the Efficiency Reports results from the tests we asked all of you to take a few weeks ago. We are happy to report that you had the highest rating in the Air Force, the only perfect score. Of course I was pleased as well as very surprised. Her next words stunned me: As a result, you are being transferred from your This could not be happening to me!. One saw present position to work for the Secretary of the Air Force, at the White House. bunches. movie newsreels or TV with people. But exciting news comes in I had just tested the lush carpet of my promotion and was trying to quickly recognize the VIPs that strode across it when within a day or so, Bill was informed that he had been selected to an assignment in Brazil, probably one of the most desired and beautiful places on the earth. The requirements were that the officers needed to attend language school for 6 months; the wives would have a 6-iweek-starter course. And study they did; they were fortunate to find a Brazilian couple from Rio who lived in D.C. who could teach the intensive course. Portuguese uses sounds not found in English, Sao Paulo, for instance and the countless other St. names needed to be pronounced like soon --sort of. It is not an easy language but compared to Oriental etc we should not complain. One very smart officer, who handled financial matters so well, could not cope with the strange to us tonal sounds. I came to love them. The time flew by and the hectic time for the move arrived. Our mission was to establish a friendly rapport with the Brazilian military;


to assist them in resisting the unfriendly Russian influence seeking to infiltrated Latin American. I had tried to buy the prettiest clothes I could afford, as we knew there was to be a lot of diplomatic receptions and formal events with Brazilian Air Force personnel. As someone who had always liked pretty cloths, shopping for a Rio de Janeiro wardrobe was pure fun. My favorite ladies store for ladies only was my goal. Located in downtown DC it carried lovely everything from formal evening dresses to lingerie and high heel shoes, not inexpensive but still far less than the big department stores.

One requirement was we all had to get yellow fever shots. Thank goodness the Salk polio vaccine had arrived and I can remember the 3 of us walked the line and ate a sugar cube (I think) soaked with vaccine. For our yellow fever shots for Rick and me I decided to reward us with a fun day. First we would get the shots, then have a lunch in a nice DC restaurant and then enjoy a movie matinee. The shot hurt more than some but we hurried out, relieved it was done. Now for the FUN only it wasnt. Got through lunch and into matinees. Already we both had a spreading red splotch on our arms the size of a saucer. And it began to ache. Suddenly we both were only to leave and head for home and at least be miserable on our comfortable beds. What must it be like to really have yellow fever I mused and shuddered?


We had time to visit with Bills family in Nantucket. Jeanne was still single. We made our ritual walk into the ocean mid calf level that was as far as I venture since water always felt like the ice had just melted. Then flew out to be with my mother in Las Vegas, was in July and very hot. The planes were prop and could not fly very high. Very shortly after takeoff we encountered minor turbulence. The bell dinged and we were told to fasten our seat belts. Pretty soon I caught on to leave it buckled so I could tug it firmly quickly. nounce: Heading west one saw nothing but inky clouds and even As we reached mid west the captains voice anLadies and Gentlemen we are advised that the turbubumpier skies.

lence is severe to the west, we are directed to divert to Texas until conditions improve. With that the plane turned southwest and we bumped down at some Texas airport; then took off again for Las Vegas relieved that we could resume the trip. What we hadnt anticipated was the frightful news given to mother in Las Vegas. One airport official had reported in full that 3 planes had crashed and storms horrendous. No wonder as she hurried to greet us (in those days in 1954 you walked through gates and onto tarmac to greet arrivals) that her face was tears stained. Think it was hours she had been sitting or pacing not knowing if it was our plane that had gone down. From there it was up to Lakeport to visit Grandfather and Laura and family, Vivian, John and my namesake Lillian. Back in Vienna, Virginia the time of departure had come. I would miss our humble little house with its huge lot, the pond with croaking frogs, the southern pines, and the fireflies flashing in the summertime. What lay before us? We drove to New York; can vaguely remember dining in our room. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time.


The World Series of baseball was being played and the Yankees won. We boarded the PanAm for the all night flight. Now one did not board an airplane in shorts and T-shirts. It was a different world my dear young readers. Bill and Rick were attired in suits; I foolishly had chosen a gray part silk sleek dress and high heels. The Pan Am brochure had offered sleeping accommodations for an extra fifty dollars (hundreds by todays standards). No one did. All went smoothly and we landed in Caracas to refuel. I promised myself I would try to relax and sleep from now on tight clothing or not. What was that flash of light ahead of us? Could it be lightning? Lightening?? Yes, it could. I tried to repress stories in past of planes going down in the jungle and never being found swallowed by the forest. Some nice bumps jolted the lights; somehow I was not managing to getting the rest I so craved. The others managed to at least have their eyes closed Morning colors streaked the sky. Flying into Rio de Janeiro is not to ever be forgotten I witnessed one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. The giant statue of the Christi de Coronado hold out his arms to welcome us, the Sugar Loaf thrust up from the sea, all the hills, the blue green water rolling in to break in scallops of foam on the famous beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Just 24 hours after departing New York City we landed and pulled up to the gate. By now I just longed for the hotel, a shower and collapse on the bed. We all stood, the door slid open and we filed out. Suddenly the cool air we had sat in cleared. Stepping out we were greeted by a blast of tropical 98 degrees air and humidity and the whole A.F. contingent had dutifully turned out to greet us.


Dazed and groggy we all shook hands chatted and moved towards the car that was to take us to our hotel. A Captain Greg and wife Fran had been delegated to escort us. We had also been met by the Air Attach and his wife, the ranking comprised the JBUSMC translated it read Joint Brazil United States Military Corp (I think ) The Air Attach wife was dressed in black. Much later I would learn she was in mourning at the loss of one of her 4 sons to polio. The Salk vaccine had not arrived in time for them. We were dropped off at the Hotel Miramar directly overlooking the famous beach at Copacabana. Fran was determined that we attend her big cocktail party that evening, wanted to comply but think the bed won out. The furniture was made of lovely rosewood. Next morning we were driven to a small house close to the shores of Leblon, we could gaze down at the famous black and white tile design so famous to Rio. Leblon was fine, a 2 bedroom upstairs, one bathroom in 2 compartments with the ubiquitous be dot. The large bedroom held a beautiful carved armoire, heavy fine rosewood or mahogany. We had a housekeeper hired by our sponsors, named Edite. was from northern Brazil having come in search of work. She She

spoke with an accent that strained my understanding of Portuguese to its limits. Q Senora que arros? I stared trying desperately to figure out that last word. Reason: Simply an inquiry if we wanted arros - which is plain old rice. We did. We were fascinated by this new exotic world; the sounds were different the smells were different. We also came to realize that with no screens on their huge windows we had lots of fresh air. and nights enlivened with the buzz of hungry mosquitoes. The remedy, friends advised. was to buy and burn all night coils of Boa


Noite, which means Good Night: Several nights peacefully, until the most shattering noise rent the air. Banging of a hammer driving nails into wood what on earth was going on? Dragging myself to the window I blinked and gawked. Dozens of men and women were assembling or reassembling wooden carts and piling them high with objects. Exciting but at an ungodly hour. Come morning (Rick and I cannot remember how Bill ever got his car out and off to work in the city; but somehow he did.) I could not wait to go with Edite to my first live streetmarket. The murmur of voices the exotic smells, dangling mysteries. I was experiencing the real flavor of a tropical city and a way of life new to me. I was loving it! And then there was the meat wagon. The pungent odor of dried meat, hovering flies and flies crawling on the display all arrange so neatly. tail of the pig. My nose twitches, my eyes stared as I comprehended that what I was looking at were neat And I do mean tail plus the neat rectangle that comprises the very last part! There were other stacks of mystery meat, all equally odiferous. I realized that the very poor had learned to utilize every scrap; it was all they could afford. Next I headed for the loveliest wagon, a fragrant revival to still quivering olfactory senses -flower cart. Choosing lovely flowers, most exotic and unknown to me, I piled arms full into the basket Edite held. Then came a fruit cart, huge abacaxi (pineapple to us), different type bananas, and fruits with exotic names. The heat, clamor of bargaining voices and the tropical butcher shop suddenly were overwhelming.


The poor from Northern Brazil had migrated to Rio and unable to afford houses erected wooden shanties clinging to the sides of a hill. At first glance they looked charming. Thick bougainvilleas covered part of the roof; little palm trees and greenery concealed their ugliness. Coming down by the thousands the city was not capable of absorbing so many. But they had one thing going for them - a million dollar view of Rio and the sea. Edite had learned to make a classical dish brought over from Portugal with its fishing traditions, squeeze its saltiness, and mix with eggs crumbs and deep fry. Delicious. But the specialty and the peasant food of Brazil was their Feijoada Completa. It consists of black beans with onions and garlic. (It was then that the poor added the mystery meat. I saw to it that Edite had decent beef from the one large market in the area. The beans were served with white rice, sliced oranges, green sliced couve a green, kale perhaps, stir-fried in butter. Chewy rolls delivered daily by a man who carried them in a basket on his head completed our Brazilian Dinner. Soon it was our Saturday night special. One of the Nonoes was using milk products. The reason became apparent when we moved to our permanents home up in the hills 6 months later. A large oval tank truck would arrive on our tiny street; the maids would converge with pitchers in their hand. The driver would turn on the spigot and that was their dairy delivery. The only problem was that the supply would at times be augmented with water from the nearby lagoa (lake) and there would be a little fish included in the container. We learned to do nicely with dry, powdered Danish milk. The

store sold delicious ice cream made from same and every two weeks an Air Force plane would drop off lettuce from the states and cream. There was a reason for this, although their farmers


produced beautiful greens, only foods that could be cooked were safe. At that time unsafe fertilizers were used and our Surgeon General warned that even soaking them in disinfectant wouldnt kill the amoeba. He had been captured and was a survivor of the March on Bataam. We heeded his counsel, but it was very, very difficult to sit in a restaurant and watch the Locals enjoying a delicate green salad. had no answer. Rick has rightfully questioned: How come they could enjoy and not be affected? Good question to which we We only knew one of our wives scoffed at the warning. Some months later she was carried on a stretcher to an Air Force plane and flown to Texas and seen by tropical diseases specialist; Diagnosis: amoebic dysentery. About six months after our arrival we learned of a brand new house for rent in a lovely secluded hillside location with the famous Jardim Botanico alongside. Even had to It was wait for the paint to dry.

up a dead end street; the dead end consisted of the beginnings of a heavily wooded hill. A tiny tickle of water fell from the hillside. Our two story edged that forest. To our delight, those waters pure and clear provided our own well and not city water. One large papaya tree stood in back; big elephant ear plants covered the shady driveway. Two story with 3 bedrooms, a bath upstairs, and terrace; big living and dining room with half bath. The kitchen was tiled with tiny white tiles. That would dismay our kitchens of today - except that there was a drain. The maid would slosh suds about, push the excess with a big rubber scraper and leave to her room and bath via the back door. I did not learn in time that one must keep lighted bulbs in all closets. My brand new Samsonite luggage developed a terrible odor that sun and scrubbing could not restore.


Looking out at the luxuriant tropical foliage that comprised our view in the hills of Rio De Jarieu Brazil, I marveled for the 100 th time at finding myself actually living surrounded by such beauty. Idly I reached for another grape from the cluster on the plate, popped it in my mouth then remembered the occupants of my apron pocket. Quickly stripping the green globe of its skin with my teeth, I gently offered the morsel to the ball of fur that shaded from black and grey to the predominant white that framed its face. Delicately taking the offering in its tiny fingers (and regarding me) it nibbled away a midmorning snack. Our acquaintance was only a week old, but already we had settled into a familiar routine. Fred had been thrust at me unbidden by its owner who quickly discovered that her pet Boxer harbored a jealous dislike of the little newcomer to her home. Fred was a baby Marmoset. He had been sold, too young really, to be taken from his mother in the open marketplace in Rio. Just days before he had been thrust at me huddled in a little bird cage quite bewildered by his orphaned state. I regarded him in a bemused state. A picture of a famous old Victoria still life wider than it was long came to mind. In it recumbent upon a luxuriant mound of fruit was a ring-tailed marmoset. How serenely it looked out from its abundance. The grape had been a logical meal after viewing the picture, but it must need protein of some sort. Fortunately the pre-christened Fred was quite ready to instruct me as to his tastes. A bit of egg white from the broken shell was just fine, scrambled morsels of yes. At the first sound of the shell being opened Fred sprang to the side of his cage eagerly clutched the bars to receive his egg on the half shell. One morning I offered him a spoonful of milk and sugared tea it immediately became his beverage of choice.


We had arrived in October, Brazil springtime and now would be celebrating our first tropical Christmas. Forget the tree, there were none but of course we could put up some decorations and then there would be proper Christmas meal. Well, no turkey, but we could have next best thing, roast chicken of course. The day dawned, bright and clear and hot. The brand new air conditioners that came with our household goods lay unopened in their cartons; hug windows and no way to install turn on the fans. The roasting chicken in the tiny kitchen, Edite and I trying not to bump into each other, seat streaming down our faces, not too bright a menu choice I decided. Cant recall the next two Christmas days in Brazil but think it might have been steak on the menu. Rick had been enrolled with all the military children in the Escola Americana. English was spoken of course, but he and the other kids were picking up Portuguese while we adults struggled daily to better speak and understand the language. The very fact that we tried pleased them immensely and they quickly supplied the word we were groping for. It was much appreciated if one spoke some Spanish to apologize in not knowing Portuguese, it was the recognition that Brazil long for as the largest county in South American and spoke Portuguese not Spanish. Rick celebrated his 12th birthday with his Air Force friend (see picture) Am sure we had cake and ice cream. Since milk products were not deemed safe to use, we bought Danish powdered milk and Ki Bom (How Good) ice cream.


It was so rich, golden in color.


could however, use the sour cream. The forbidden milk was dispensed by a truck. The maids would sally out, bucket in hand and the milkman would open the spigot water truck fashion. The trouble was that along the way, dilution would occur and small fishes from our nearby lagun would be included for free in their buckets. Then there was the matter of learning to deal and cook with grass fed only beef. The good looking steak or roast were almost unachievable (restaurants were fine, thank goodness). The time had arrived that I should entertain some of the officers wives including a Brazilian. I outdid myself, carving out a pineapple filled Jwan with tropical fruit and even a bird of paradise head.

cream puffs all placed on a side table, buffet style. The Brazilian senora guest was not accustomed to self-serving, having lived all her life with help. With a dismissive wave of her hand I obediently filled her plate and placed it before her. -The frequent official receptions given by both Brazilian and United States officials were impressive. Bill always wanted dinner before we went; I saved my appetite for what was to come, but Bill and Rick enjoyed theirs. Before sampling the delights of the buffet table, we faced a ritual of formal greeting of the Brazilian officers. All? In our best apparel the officer looking dashing in their dress uniform medals and ribbons displaying the ladies in their silks and organza. But before we could sidle up to the delicacies we faced the daunting gauntlet of the reception line.


As we entered we faced a line of 8 or more Brazilian officers to greet us. So what is the problem you ask First we greeted them in our best school Portuguese Bou Note, mucto prazer as I held out my hand. In return the handsome officer returned the niceties then startled me by proffering or European formality by a clicking of heels bowing over my outstretched hand and kissing the air above it quite charming really. It was just trying to offer stimulating conversation to each officer in turn. How are you?? No time to inquiry as to their health, their family. It was this awkward passage that I learned only years later that caused more than one person to down an adult beverage or two to glide through the taxing ceremony (no doubt our haste felt likewise). The hors d'oeuvre were lovely presentations and plentiful. A steak and shrimp tree tiny sandwiches fruit and as a finale ice cream balls (made from the safe Danish cream). They were coated in nuts or coconuts chocolate bits. This tasty disguise no doubt, explains why a Brazilian guest unsnapped her velvet evening bag and dropped the ice cream balls inside. Speculation has endured for half a century as to the moment of discovery. We were about to experience our first Carnival. I can not imagine any where on the globe where the intensity of expectation and absolute immersion was more strongly felt. Competition is fierce practicing their Brazil dances go on months ahead.

poor scrimp on their meager salaries to afford the costumes the glitz the grown up make believe for the glorious abaniton and to obey.



Bill Donlon

The Air Force officers and their wives were invited as guests to elite Brazil municipal I think it is called. It was dress up time. Husbands in their formal dress uniform, we wives in our best formals. I hauled out my heavy black satin strapless. We were ushered to the mezzanine shaped and we could look down at the orchestra bands and dancers below. It was exhilarating. The air force contingent was seated on the left side. Someone whispered in my ear to look to our right there sat the beautiful actress Ginger Rogers. Even at a distance her eyes were a brilliant blue. I hope the faded news clipping can be reprinted. It shows the Air Force general talking and Bill chatting and enjoying the gala. Well we AF wives looked fine it was just that the Brazilian ladies looked downright splendiferous! a talented lady in the family. The other event was attending the Yacht club (pronounced Yachee Clubee. One did not dress up for this event. Sort shirts and cool dresses for us. No alcoholic beverages were served; the soft drinks we sipped may have (occasionally!) been augmented. But it was the compelling beat of the bands that overwhelmed the senses. People danced solo, doing their own thing. A new band would take up the previous ones music so that not one beat was skipped. Talk about decibels. The heat grew more intense as more people joined the party. I walked out on the deck to cool off. A gorgeous ship had pulled alongside seemed like the ones I had seen in the movies. Bill was inside dancing. I think we could have worn ear plugs and still not missed a note. At one point Bill laughing briefly removed his sport shirt, wrung it out, put in on again and resumed his American version of the samba and disappeared into the throng. Their gowns were silk or satin but bedecked with elaborate beading probably from Paris or


Panama It was Ladys Day at one of the golf courses in the Canal Zone. So it was understandable that the lady teeing off on hold number one was puzzled when a masculine voice shouted Look out Lady! Club raised the lady turned but spied only her equally surprised partner. The voice shouted again in pairs. Only when the voice came again did she glance up and was aghast at what she saw descending directly over her were three parachutists blown off course on military maneuvers. Happily a collision was averted. Too bad one of us hadnt the wit to warn her with Fore, 12 oclock high!


After moving to Charbonneau my new friends told me of an art show at the local club house and encouraged me to enter my paintings, which I did with the help of my Rick & Suzi and imagine my excitement 3 of them sold!