Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Brief Personal History...

I am now commencing to write the history of my life...

My son Joey challenged me to write a single page personal history.  But my life has been far too long and full to put on a single page.  Besides which I'm much too blabby.  So, it is what it is.  Might crank out 10 pages, or 100, as the muse moves me.

This blog has already been an adventure of many posts.  I'm not done yet.  But only a few of the pages have really been about my life.  Well, more than a few.  But not all of them.

I was born 19 Feb 1953, in a little maternity hospital in Inglewood CA.  Or so I am told.  Don't really recall the event.

We lived in a little house on Redondo Avenue in Manhattan Beach CA. These early photos, about 1954, show my Dad holding me, the kid with Calvin-style hair.  Standing by are Mom, Mary Lee, and Billy.

Me with rubber ducky, about 1955.

This is me on the right, Billy and Mary Lee, and Kathy.  About 1957.

Shortly thereafter, about 1955, my dad built us a big new home at 123 So. Meadows Avenue in Manhattan Beach.  Most of my childhood memories took place there.  I remember when we moved in the upstairs was not yet finished, and there were no carpets on the floors.  I shared the big bed in the living room with Billy and Mary Lee.  It was taller than me, so I needed a boost up.

My Mom's garden was always spectacular.  Manhattan Beach was an ideal growing climate for lots of beautiful garden plants.

This little Super8 video clip shows brother Tommy sneaking up on some unseen creature.  Featuring Mom's Snapdragons, Iris, and Roses.

This one shows the children lining up to show off their Easter finery.  Notice in this dramatic action sequence, Mary Lee and Kathy lead down the steps, followed by me.  Then Billy pushes Tommy off the steps - but kindly helps him up.  Give me some insight into my lifelong antipathy for bow ties.

Ours was a bright and warm home to grow up in, and I remember lots of happy times together with my big family.  I had two brothers and SIX sisters.

I remember lots of evenings in the den, fireplace roaring.  We frequently had a good supply of pine cones for burning, gathered from around my grandpa's cabin at Mt. Pinos.

This photo is my family, in front of the Christmas tree, about mid-60's.  My sister Sarah is the little baby, and Ruth had not yet arrived.  Billy, Mary Lee, Jim, Kathy, Dad.  Tom, Cindy, Beth Ann, Sarah, and Mom.  Not certain what Tom was holding behind him in his right, but it was probably some kind of mischief.

I spent my grade school years at Pennekamp School, just a block up the street from us.

My third grade class, with many friends.  I am the geeky kid on the bottom row, third from right, with the Cub Scout neckerchief.

A number of friends I have met though the years have kept in touch through Facebook, including several in this photo.  I recognize Ken Jencks and Mark Holler, in particular.

After grade school I went to Foster Begg Junior, of which I made an earlier blog entry celebrating my most memorable misadventures there.  It was confusing and tumultuous time in my life, and the only happy memories I keep are of moments playing sports, in the swimming pool, or in the library.

I recall the day, playing flag football, when I first met up with Nate Garner.  Our paths paralleled for a time as we later attended Mira Costa High School, played on the football team, then went our own ways.

My best mentor through high school was unquestionably Jack Fernandez, the wrestling coach. Nobody else made much of an impression on me, but he did.  I was never a very good wrestler or a great scholar, but Coach Fernandez was a great coach and a good man.  I realize now just how privileged I was to have met him during such a formative time in my life.  Outside of my home and family, many of the useful things I learned about in high school came from him in the wrestling gym, or from the school library.

I spent quite a bit of my idle time at the beach.  It was always a fun place to play, out in the surf, often with my friend Steve Stringham.

During my growing-up time, the LDS Church was a constant.  My parents were devoted and faithful members.  Most of my closest friends were members of the local Ward.  After our local congregation moved into this building on Rowell in Manhattan Beach, I spent quite a bit of time there with my friends and family.

Something else I spent time with in high school was SCUBA diving.  With my cousin Daryl and our friend Larry Carson, we explored the underwater world.  I never realized before that sand dollars are common in Redondo Canyon.

A group from our Boy Scout Troop certified at Dive N Surf pool in Redondo, and we had some great expeditions diving around the area.

Right after high school I was pretty aimless, really didn't know what to do with myself.  I ended up going to a couple of meaningless terms at the local college - but I spent most of my time reading at the local LDS Institute library.

Their collection was impressively comprehensive.  I learned a lot about LDS Church history, and even occasionally went to classes - mostly just for show.

In October 1971, my Mom and Dad were in a horrific auto accident that put my Dad in the hospital for months, then at home in a hospital bed with traction.

This is the family gathered around the hospital bed in our den.  Tim, Mom, Dad, Mary Lee, Kathy.  The little ones, Ruth and Sarah.  Bill, Tom, Cindy, and Beth Ann.  Me down on the end.  I was still learning how to shave.

After floundering for a while, I signed up for a special course at BYU.  It was sponsored by the Youth Leadership Department.  But we called it the Survival Adventure.

The course ran for four weeks, basically hiking through the wilderness of southern Utah with just the clothes on your back, and minimal supplies.  During the trek, we covered several hundred miles across the deserts and mountains, starting from Green River UT, past Hanksville and across the Henrys Mountains, through Capital Reef, traversing south to the tiny town of Boulder UT.

The experience marked another turning point in my life, and thereafter I determined to volunteer for missionary service for my Church for the next two years.

To be continued...

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