The beginning of my parent’s marriage was tough from the standpoint of others. I’ve spoken about my Grandma Flora and Grandpa Charles felt about my father. To be fair, my Grandma Tonia felt equally disdainful toward my mother. Truthfully, my father could have married a nun and my Grandma Tonita would have thought that the woman wasn’t good enough for her son. I’ve known people like that.
By the time my mother had Cammie, she and Tim were living with Grandma Tonita. Grandma Tonita might not have liked my mother much, but my dad had helped her buy that home and there was no way Grandma Tonita would deny my father anything.
One day, Grandma Tonita got mad at Jubie. She picked up infant Cammie, took her into the bedroom and locked the door. To say my mother was livid is an understatement. No cell phones in those days, so my mother went to Uncle Fred’s house to tell him. Uncle Fred was able to get ahold of Tim, who was on a job site. Tim came home right then, collected Jubie and Cammie and they went to stay at Uncle Fred’s until they could get themselves a place of their own.
Dad worked in underground construction and worked on job sites all over Northern California. They began moving from city to city, following his job sites. They started out in Tracy, CA then went to a million other little tiny towns, often staying at small motels. They ended up in Paso Robles, then Salinas, when they discovered Jubie was pregnant again. Jubie decided moving around was tough enough with one child, but the idea of two children was too much. They moved back to Santa Clara and bought their first home at 3481 Shafer Drive. In April 1955, they moved into their new home and Timothy James was born that May.
Their family was expanding quickly and Laurel Renee was born the next year. By 1958, they had a five year old, a two year old and an infant. Mom used to say she’d have her kids in bed by 7 pm because she needed to keep her sanity.
They had moved into a neighborhood in its infancy. Other families moved onto the street. Henry and Jeanne Hassman, our next-door neighbors, became friends. Henry worked as a machinist at Kaiser Aluminum. They lived at 3475 Shafer Drive.
The Purse family lived at 3474 Shafer. Candy Purse was the same age as Laurie and they ran the streets together. The Schmidt family, the Hildebrands, the Morgans. Gus Hildebrand and Henry Hassman were in the Navy together in WWII.
The Moon family lived at 3471 Shafer Drive. Rebecca Schmidt, Dave and Kitty Payne at 3488 Shafer Drive,. The Flocchini family at 3591 Shafer Drive and the Walker Family, including daughter Ila (Poky) Walker. After the husbands left for work, the wives would get together for a coffee klatch every morning, while all the children played at each other’s homes and in the streets. This is where their family life started. Jubie invited the whole kindergarten class for Cammie’s birthday and the entire class showed up, in costume.
One of our neighbors, Candy Purse, shared a story and I’m retelling it, with her permission.
Candy Purse did go on to marry a Hispanic gentleman and credits my father with influencing her decision.
The neighborhood stores were Dicks Grocery Store, Baskin Robbins, Ben Franklin Five and Dime. The bar, Barber shop and Baskin Robbins are all still there. It was a bucolic, Mayberry existence.
They took many trips together, trips that mostly centered on camping. They would camp with Tim’s family including Fred and Alice, Dorothy and Sam and Angie and Tom.
The 1960’s left a big impression on my parents. Jubie said that when President Kennedy was shot, Jackie was just a baby and it was very frightening. Then, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby were shot on T.V. too, one right after the other. It was difficult to leave the television, they were so afraid something else would happen.
When the moon landing occurred, Tim thought it was all bullshit, that it had been filmed on a sound stage. Dad was that way, it took a lot to convince him. He never ended up believing in the moon landing, incidentally.
In the 1960’s, the kids were attending Pomeroy Elementary, Curtis Junior High and Buchser High School. By 1961, Jacqueline Celeste was born and finally by 1965, me. Mother gave each of her children full names. I was named Yvonne Annette. Their family was complete.
By the 1960’s, the big kids were running with friends, and starting to live their own lives. By 1972, mom and dad decided to move. It ended a period of time in our lives when we lived as a whole family. By the time we moved to San Jose, Cammie had moved out, Tim and Laurie shortly thereafter and it was just Jackie and I left at home.
As the 1970’s took over our lives, we left behind our early selves and moved into a new phase. Grandchildren ahead!