A Kidnapping in San Diego

In the summer of 1948 Dad moved us to a Navy base twenty miles from San Diego. Val, Chip, and I lived with him, Gammie, Poppy, and Dad’s sister, Aunt Jane in a three-bedroom olive-drab Quonset hut of wood siding, 20 feet by 48 with tongue-and-groove wood floor. The infrequent rain echoed on the curved tin roof. Dad had ignored the Florida order requiring him to send us to Mom for the summer. She came to visit us in Vallejo and found no one at home. She learned where the Navy moved Dad and arrived at the hut in her rented car after Dad had left for work in his khaki Navy Uniform.

Mom knocked on the door. Chip swung it open with me behind. Mom’s blue eyes, a wide smile, and her mellow voice welcomed us and filled me with joy, “Would you like to come to Miami?”

“Yes,” I exclaimed.

“Me too,” Chip added. We ran to her waiting arms, hugged, and kissed her, and got into her rental car.

Aunt Jane heard the commotion and came outside flustered by the turn of events. “Your father will be angry when he comes home this afternoon,” she yelled.

So glad to see Mom and go to Miami, we ignored Aunt Jane’s plea. “Get down out of sight,” Mom said, fearing Dad would have police searching for us. Such a change of custody would be kidnapping except Mom’s right of visitation allowed self-help before courts honored sister-state’s divorce decrees avoiding the expense of another court order.

She drove us to San Diego and returned the car to a rental agency.

She hailed a taxi to the train station where we scrambled onto a train headed for Miami.

A Kidnapping in San Diego   

Chip and I played cards with Mom in the lounge car, eating sandwiches, drinking root beer or coke, and watching the open spaces, hills, and valleys across California and Arizona until we were tired and went to sleep in the sleeper car. We climbed into bunk beds, Mom kissed us goodnight and we closed the curtains. Soon we drifted asleep to the rocking and rolling of the train.

   

Three days later we transferred to the Orange Blossom Special for Miami. Grampa and Ruthie met us at the  station, hugged and kissed us, and drove us to our home on N.E. 34th street. My prayers had finally been answered: I would live with Mom, Chip, and Sheba at “the cottage.” Ruthie and Grampa were close by. It did not take Chip much time to interrupt this heavenly atmosphere by verbally teasing and physically bulling me. Name calling was his favorite. I was a “puner” or a “weakling.” If I ignored him, he would pound his fist into one of my shoulders to annoy me, but unknowingly he was making me tougher.

One day when we both were visiting Ruthie and Grampa, I complained about Chip’s verbal harassment. Ruthie suggested a way of dealing with hurtful words: “When Chip teases you, think of the words ‘duck’s back.’ Nature provides oil on duck feathers to prevent water from making it cold. They preen their feathers to spread the oil on. Water rolls off their backs when they waddle onto land or when they come to the surface. When Chip calls you a hurtful name, remember the duck’s back and let the words roll off like water rolls off a duck.”

   

Ruthie’s wisdom helped me realize Chip’s words could no longer hurt me. I was in control of my emotions with a simple strategy, which improved my relationship with Chip because when he could not provoke me. He either ignored me, or found a way to include me in a game or other activity.

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You Got Lucky When You Met Joan

(Click on pictures to zoom) It was an amazing romantic encounter so very intense The moment I saw her eyes I began to lose my sense She walked up the stairs to meet me for a blind date When I look back I believe this was meant to be by fate The stars, planets and energy fields were aligned just right When both of us were brought within each other’s sight This beautiful and graceful modern dancer by chance to meet From a friend named Hal who gave me an invitation so sweet I said no at first thinking it a waste of time looking forlorn As I was going to the bay area for law school tomorrow morn This was going to be my last night at Cal State Long Beach A lively wonderful woman was surely way out of reach Having had blind dates from many a considerate friend Who would apologize later when it was another dead end But now was a different time and much to my surprise When those divine mysterious forces were summoned to arise And carefully place this lovely creative vivacious beauty Before an awaiting Annapolis grad who always did his duty For eight and a half years until he resigned his commission But on this fateful day had an unforgettably joyful collision Dark shimmering hair, sense of humor, very intelligent too Adventurous, a love of reading and children, a heart so true She made me feel important liked my photographs and slides Our chance meeting established she had the best life provides Lucky for me she had just finished a summer session of dance Tomorrow I‘d be in San Francisco it would be my last chance To learn enough about her to see if this could possibly be A kind and loving person who would share her life with me Our conversation seemed so natural as she set me at ease I was magically confident and somehow knew how to please Not the usual awkward athlete when time was so fleeting Everything went so smoothly from the very first greeting She was only twenty one and came from Oak Park Illinois I also from that state at Morgan Park a nine pound baby boy Eight years older but our birthdays were only a day apart The relationship continued building momentum from the start We both loved music, the outdoors, and having lots of fun And each of us left cold Chicago for the California sun She had an exceptionally warm smile that grabbed me right away When I hugged and kissed her that very special fateful day   Could our angels have been planning this encounter all along? When I think about our meeting it makes my heart sing a song “You got lucky” Dan when you met your lovely Joan She came into your life when you were all alone Then I asked her to come with me to see the Golden Gate And decide to live with me in Berkeley before it was too late She looked at me and smiled in response to this impulsive plan And I could hear my heart skip a beat as she said, “Yes, Dan” So off to the Frisco Bay we sped in my white corvette Stingray I will always be grateful for that wonderfully beautiful day And now that I am seventy two and she is sixty-four We are parents of three amazing children and what’s more We have three grandchildren and another on the way And are thankful for the blessings of each and every day We still love each other no matter what the day brings When I remember my meeting her that day my soul sings (Click to read: it will zoom)

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