Dad grew up in Michigan, as an only child. His mother never worked outside the home, and his father was a machinist. They had a nice home, one that I don’t really remember, but they also had a summer cottage in Nova Scotia, Canada. This I do remember because ever since I was born we visited every weekend during the summer months, and my parents took many pictures. Throughout the years they would talk about neighbors, and neighborhood dogs at the cottage. How could I not remember!
Dad only had one real job in his lifetime….he worked for General Motors. This was what he always wanted to do, and what he went to school to do.
Mom and Dad married on Friday the 13th, in the month of December. Dad felt he could not take time off from work, so they spent one weekend on their honeymoon in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Who would go to Cincinnati for a honeymoon? Mom told me later, she wasn’t impressed with a honeymoon in Cincinnati! I can’t imagine why! Like most young women, I’m sure Mom had visions of a romantic honeymoon in someplace like Niagara Falls.
In 1947 Dad was transferred from Flint, Michigan to the General Motors Plant in Van Nuys, California. Our family was still small with only Mom, Dad, my sister and myself. I was about three and a half, my sister was about six months old when we moved. Sure it was an adventure for me, I busied myself by serving pretend coffee and tea on the airplane to all the passengers. They thought I was so cute, they were partially right. Little did they know I was a cute princess!
Dad worked long hours, especially in the summer, and fall. Being a General Motors man, he was busiest when the new models of cars were being produced for release in the fall. It seemed to never end!
I remember him telling me that GM wouldn’t promote him to Plant Manager because he didn’t go to a University, only a trade school. That must have been a tough pill to swallow, because he was very conscientious about his work, and was known for being very fair with the people who worked for him as well. But he was a perfectionist, and he expected the people who worked for him to be as conscientious as he was with their work. Everything had to be perfect!
I once was told by a peer of his that he was well-respected, because of his work ethics, he always tried to work things out for the betterment of his employees.
Dad being a hard-working GM man, would come home after a long day, and step into whatever was going on at home. Usually we were bickering, or Mother was deep into disciplining one of us. He would hear part of an argument, and immediately one of us was in deep trouble! There wasn’t necessarily any trouble, it could have been just a discussion, but someones head would roll! I can only think Dad must have been very tired or stressed over his work.
His fuse was short, and it wouldn’t take much for us to annoy him.
This one time I remember Dad getting really upset about something we did, probably bickering. He stormed into the bathroom, turned on the bathtub faucet, and proceeded to fill the tub with water. Before my sister, and I knew what was happening, we were grabbed by the ankles – at the same time – and dangled over the tub of water. This was presumably to scare the bejeebers out of us so we would stop fighting!
OK – so it worked, we stopped fighting, and the bejeebers were gone!
My sister and I thought we were goners, and marched like good little indians! At least for a couple of days! I don’t think either of us will forget! Usually the day was pretty quiet, and unless something upset our mother, Dad usually stayed out of the adventures of child raising. He also never used those tactics ever again!
Each summer we would take a vacation. Mom and the three of us kids would pack up and take the train to Indiana, or Michigan to see our Grandmother, or Great-Grandmother, and after we’d been there for a few weeks Dad would take three weeks off from work to pick us up. That was always a fun trip, and we looked forward to it all year!
After we visited with our Grandmother, we would pack up and go visit our Great-Grandmother in Indiana. After we’d been visiting for about three weeks, Dad would fly back to retrieve us, first checking into GM in Michigan, and picking up a new car. We’d drive back to California, and have a fun family road trip.
The family traveled all over the United States seeing many wonderful places our beautiful country has contained within its borders. We’ve been north, south, east, and west, but never south of the border into Mexico, and never into Canada. Dad was terrified to travel outside our boarders.
We started out camping in a tent, and slowly worked our way up to a tiny trailer. One time I remember camping in the woods, and it was snowing. Now, I was a princess, I didn’t camp, let alone camp in the snow. But, we were camping in the snow regardless of my status in life. Apparently neither of my parents paid much attention to my status!
Another time, we went camping in bear country, and my parents warned us not to take food to bed with us, or have any food in our tent. They even explained to us about the bears, and their passion for eating everyone’s food regardless of where it was or, who was there.
In the middle of the night, I was awakened by something outside our tent, and I was sure it was a bear. I tried to stay quiet, not wake anyone up, but I just knew we were going to be eaten by a bear. Soon I had the entire family awake, and searching for the food. I was positive there was food in our tent. Sure enough, my sister had taken cookies to bed with her so she wouldn’t starve in the middle of the night, and sure enough, there had been a bear outside our tent that night. We awakened to tracks, and a rip in our tent. Some kids (my sister) never listen!
By the end of this camping trip, we were all ready to go home, and were finished trying to convince my sister she wasn’t going to starve in the middle of the night! That was a worthless endeavor!
I think that was the end of our tenting days, and after that Dad had purchased a small trailer to do our camping in.
Thank you for taking time to read a day in my life. Karen
Stay tuned for more later…..