Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Travel Tuesday - Summertime Family Fun - California - Style

It's that time of year - going on road trips, having fun at amusement parks, or just venturing out to a nearby outdoor attraction.

A lot of my family goes back a few generations as native Californians. My mom's fathers side were native San Franciscan's (byway of coming from Boston and prior to that, Ireland and England) and my mom's father grew up in and around the Berkeley area.

My mom's mother, however, was not a native Californian, but she took to the California lifestyle pretty well (even though my Grandma still has a strong Minnesota-nice accent).

On my Father's side, my Dad is also a first generation native Californian, as his father was born in Oklahoma and his mother was born in Texas, but she moved to California at a very young age. My Grandpa came to Los Angeles and grew up on the Southern California coast in the 1930's and 1940's.

So, here are a few past (and more recent photos) of my family spending their Summer-time:

Disneyland, June 1971 - My mom with one of the Disney characters

My Grandma and mom on the now defunct Skyway ride ad Disneyland.

My mom, her brother and Grandpa at the front entrance at Disneyland.

 My Uncle, my mom and Grandma at the front entrance at Disneyland.

Eating somewhere near the Matterhorn (rails for the Monorail can be seen in the background, as well)

My cousins Tiffany, Paul and Sam at what appears to be Disneyland, sometime in 1988/1989.

My Dad caught a fish at Lake Shasta (my cousins Michael and Matthew are behind him). This was on a houseboat we rented and were on it for at least two weeks. It felt like forever and I couldn't wait to get off of it by the time we left. This was around 1988.

My brother and I on a big telephone at Universal Studios - Hollywood, around 1989.

My Grandma took some out of town family members to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco - however, this photo actually shows all family who lived in California at the time. My Grandma's sister-in-law Lenora, Izetta (back right) and their mother, Lydia (front right). This was the day after my mom and dad's wedding, September 19th 1978.

More Disneyland photos from 1971 - my mom's cousin Cynthia and my mom next to Pooh Bear.

Lydia, Annette (my grandma) and Izetta getting a hug from Tigger. This is near the main entrance of the park, just as you've entered in onto Main Street.

Great Uncle Ross and my Grandpa Vibert with Pluto.

Aunt Penny, Lydia, Izetta, Carole (my mom), Eeyore - the donkey, Cynthia, Terry and Annette

Carole and Annette, styling on what looks like a Southwest Airlines jet. They took a short flight to L.A. to go to my aunt Diane's wedding, circa June 1971.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Going Back to 1994

Twenty years ago - where does the time go? The picture above is of my Grandparents in 1994. My Grandpa was 72 and my Grandma was 65. Back then, they just seemed, well, old to my 12 year old self. But, they were still doing very well, health wise. My Grandpa, who never used a cane his entire life, helped us move in December. That's when I realized my Grandpa was still pretty darn cool. My Grandma also helped us out during the move. Looking back, I can't believe that they were in their 70's and late 60's and helping us move.

Most especially, looking back, I realize now just how much time has changed them. Now my Grandma can no longer drive, she's had two mild heart attacks and is on several pills. One of the heart attacks caused her to have a bit of a limp, but it's barely noticeable and she's too proud to use a walker or a cane, so she hangs on to us sometimes when going up steps. Yet, when I look at my Grandma, she still has that spunky attitude about her that she's always had her whole life. She crinkles her nose when she's unhappy or talking about something unpleasant. She'll still use her hands to gesture with when telling a story. Her eyes will get expressive when she's talking about something exciting. And, there I see it, the Grandma I've always known. She's slowed down, but she keeps on going.

One of my fondest memories from 1994 with my grandparents was hiking the hills behind their ranch and then coming down and playing baseball. It was Easter and it was that rare time of year in Northern California where the hills stay green for only about 8 to 10 weeks. If we have a dry winter, it's cut even shorter. My Grandpa's dog, Bozo, was still alive and so was my cousin's dog, Rainbow. We hiked the hills and I remember spending time with Grandpa, who helped me up several times when I got scared. We then finally made it to the top. All of us cousins were so proud of our achievement. This was something we'd been doing on this land since the 1950's. We were the 2nd generation. It was really windy out, I remember, and luckily many of us brought some flannel shirts to warm us up. We then ran down the hills, got our gear to play ball and we all played until dusk. One of my favorite Easters was in 1994.

I am feeling sentimental and this post nearly brought tears to my eyes, as I am still grieving my Grandpa's passing and thinking of our time together during 1994 brings back some good memories. I am thankful to have them to remember him by.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Growing Up Photos

When I was growing up, I lived on a street where there were many kids around my age. It was a great time to be growing up. I feel so blessed we had such great neighbors and fun times to remember.

Even though the 1980's were roughly 30 years ago, I feel like they are starting to gain a "classic" status and in a sense, I am starting to a feel a little old when I see photos from back then. I have to take a step back and realize, "Wow, where did the time go?"

Here are a few photos of me growing up:

There are just SO many here! Here I am eating green frosting that my Aunt made, but it was the wrong color, so instead of throwing it away, I said, "I'll eat it!!" What kid would let a perfectly good tasting frosting go to waste?

I was maybe a few months old in this picture. 

This was my 1st Birthday in 1983.

I loved my Graham Crackers! This was around 1984. My brother was holding a bottle of 7-Up.

 My brother and I having fun in the kiddie pool, around 1986-87 (basing the year by my brother's swim shorts, lol)

Wearing one of my favorite roller skating outfits - this one was real popular back then. Not sure why!!

My aunt Judy and her daughter, Melissa and me. Melissa and I were only 9 months apart, so we were constantly seen together - palling around! I looked a little hyped up on sugar here!

My cousins Jesse (age 13), Tiffany (age 12) and Noelle (age 14)- we were all so close growing up - we may be further apart now - but we will never forget the time we spent together - this was in 1992.

Me at Mother's Day brunch, around 1990. I was nearly 8 years old (my birthday is May 21st)

My cousin Melissa and I at my Grandma's ranch, around 1986. 

More of my cousin Melissa and I. I clearly look like I ate a Popsicle! 

My Grandma and I at Mother's Day brunch, 1990.

My Grandma and I at Mother's Day brunch, 1990.

My Cousin Melissa at Mother's Day brunch, 1990. Melissa was 7 here.

Me and Melissa at Easter brunch, circa 1992. I was ten, going through a chubby stage and Melissa was 9.

My oldest cousin, Sam (age 19), and his brother, David (age 17), at Easter Brunch, 1992.

Noelle and her sister, Melissa on the ranch, around 1986. Noelle was 9 here and Melissa was 3.

My cousin Sam and our Uncle Terry (father of Noelle, Jesse and Melissa), at my Aunt Diane's house (mother of Sam and David), circa 1989/90.

My Dad with my brother and I at my Aunt Diane's house, circa 1989/90.

My brother, Scott (bottom middle); cousin, Tiffany (bottom right) and myself (standing right alligator) were all in competitive roller skating. Skating the Gold Skate was a big deal! It was like the Olympics for Roller Skating and a huge 3-4 day event. This was in Bakersfield, CA.

This is me on a swing. This  Smurf themed swing set really was well loved, as you can tell. We finally had it removed, in which we had our yard completely re-landscaped the same year this photo was taken, 1991.

Me swimming with a little help from my arm floaters. I was 8 years old in 1990. I remember my Dad taking this photo. I was in the deep end of our pool. I used to think sharks were over here and would scurry away thinking they were after me. I LOVED to swim. I still do.

And, finally, a pre-teen version of me - where awkwardness was beginning to set in. This was my 12th birthday in May of 1994. This was my last birthday in my childhood home. We'd move to a bigger home on December 1st.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Remembering Grandpa

On the morning of February 8th, 2014, I received the news that my Grandfather had passed in his sleep (sometime after 4am). My grandfather had been suffering for weeks. He had been diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure) and was also having internal bleeding. Due to his age - 91 years - the doctors did not want to take him into surgery. They could not locate where the bleeding was coming from, but that he'd need a transfusion. One morning, a week or two after that, the nursing home had called us to say they thought my Grandpa had a stroke.We took him back to the doctors and again, there was still not much they could do. The next time I saw him, he did seem to slur his words more and his lip seemed a little droopy, but he still smiled for us. I can't imagine the pain he was going through.

My grandpa was a man's man. A very tough guy - he was in World War II and served again during Vietnam. He had many brothers who I am sure kicked him around during their younger days. He also had two sisters.

Even though he was not my biological grandfather, he was the only one I knew. My real Grandpa was never present (he passed away in 2003).

A few weeks ago, we ran across a box of his that was in his closet. He had many photos in it and practical joke items, post cards from Malaysia from when he went there, and various other items. My grandpa was incredibly smart. He was very mechanical and could fix just about anything. He loved to tinker in the garage and put things together.

Here are a few photos from this box and a few photos for us to remember him by -

My Grandma and Grandpa met years before they married. My Grandma was 16 and he was 23. He took her to a dance, but realized she was too young and took her home. She later married my biological grandfather Frank Sr., at 18 and had four children until they divorced sometime in 1958. On May 31st, 1959, Grandma and Grandpa were united in marriage, one that lasted nearly 55 years. This time she was 30 and he was 37. Here is a picture of the couple on their wedding day. They were married in her sister's home. Ironically, her sister was married to my Grandpa's older brother.

This is a family trip to Reno and the Sierra's, around 1959-1960. Grandpa had a T-Bird.

Some years later, My Grandma and Grandpa together in 1971. Grandpa was about to leave to Vietnam and the that general area.

This photo was taken sometime in 1975, shortly before they moved to their new home in Brentwood on the Murphy Ranch.

On their wedding day, opening cards and gifts, May 31st 1959.

Grandma posing for Grandpa, 1971.

Grandpa and Grandma together, 1971

Grandpa took some fascinating photos of Singapore, Pacific Ocean, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the ocean liner he was on:

Grandpa was a pracitcal joker. He was a true Virgo! Here, he puts on a wig and fur to get the girls laughing!

Grandpa was a also a doting Grandpa and very present in his grandchildren's lives. Here he is giving my cousin a piggy back ride, circa 1975, at the ranch.

Grandpa walked all three of his adopted daughter's down the aisle. This one was of the middle daughter at her wedding in 1969.

When my Uncle went to Vietnam, he had a leave in North Carolina, as so did my Grandpa. My Grandma flew out to North Carolina to see them both. This was around 1971-72.

These photos really only show a fraction of who my Grandpa was... but this is how I want to remember him, in his youth, living a very full life of adventure, and most of all, happy. I miss you Grandpa, so very much!