Friday, October 26, 2007

Marcella Armstrong's Journal, Installment 7

At Grand Junction, Colorado, we stopped for a week, living in a motel. There were peaches that Dick had to inspect. It came time to go and he found that he was being sent to Vancouver, British Columbia. We were put on the train, the Union Pacific, for San Francisco and Oakland. Our dog was put in the baggage car. It was so new to us -- travelling in a Pullman car. We were met in Oakland by the Welch plant manager and taken to the big Leamington Hotel, where we stayed for 13 days -- waiting for our furniture.

School began and I had to find out where the schools were. Dick had bought a very nice new house in _Castro Valley._ this was a community of all new homes. Susan was to go to Castro Valley school. Joan's school was in Hayward, a big High School. At the desk in the hotel I found where and what time in the morning to board a bus to the two places. So that was my schedule every day: to take Joan and then Susan. Finally our furniture came and we could leave the hotel and retrieve our dog Brownie, who had stayed at the plant manager's home.

It was Halloween before Dick came home. We were well established by that time. I was helping with a Girl Scout troop. I had gone to a PTA meeting and had volunteered. I was assistant leader. Dr. Runyon's wife was leader. Later I was given the troop alone. Also I began to write the publicity for many troops for the Hayward paper.

Hayward High school looked like a small college. There was an English building, a science building, an adminstration building, etc. Joan and Susan were very good students. Joan made California Scholarship Federation -- Susan in seventh grade began to learn the clarinet.

We like California. I went to an adult education evening course in Creative Writing at Hayward High School -- and made "writing friends" -- Alice Robb, Dorothy Hutchens and Florence Sims. We met for lunch in our homes and read and criticized what we wrote.

But it all came to an end. The Welch Co. again transferred Dick -- this time _to Washington State._ It was the summer of 1953 when we moved to Kennewick. Susan was a Junior in High School. Joan had a year at Oregon State College.

While Dick was finishing the Welch Co. work in California he had a severe heart attack. (The Welch operation had been moved to Redwood City in the S and W plant). He had a 50-50 chance of surviving. There was a blocking of an artery in his heart. I flew down from Washington and later Joan and Susan flew to Oakland, where people met them. Dick was in the Redwood City Hospital for five weeks.

We had to go back to Washington because school was beginning. I drove Joan down to Oregon State at Corvallis. But first I drove from Redwood City to Kennewick. It was a little difficult climbing 4,000 feet over the mountains of northern California, then up the Columbia River.

Leonard Cook, an engineer at Welch's, came up on the train with Dick when he left the hospital. It took so long to come up the front steps of our rented home on Olympia Avenue in Kennewick. When he was ready to go back to work, I took him to Welch's where he worked only an hour a day at first. The time was gradually increased.

We liked Kennewick and bought a new three-bedroom ranch-style home at 320 South Ledbetter Avenue. We went to the Presbyterian Church across the river in Pasco. Dick was ordained an elder. The minister was Reverend Jack Adams.

Susan was in the band with her clarinet at Kennewick High School. It was hard for her to change shcools just before her junior year. She entered the College of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and decided on a career in Occupational Therapy.

Joan was majoring in Bacteriology. She joined a good sorority and lived in the house for three years. After she graduated she worked for a year in cancer research at the college. She met Donald Joy, who was studying mineralogy. They were married June 15, 1957 in Westminster House near the campus. Don had another year so Joan worked as a research assistant at Oregon State College.

After his graduation, they left with a U-Haul trailer for their home at Grants, New Mexico, where Don was to be in the laboratory of a uranium mill. We visited them there. The company had built rows of new homes. Albuquerque was the nearest city.

Back in Kennewick -- the Yakima Presbytery wanted a church in Kennewick; so we started to make plans. We met first in the Odd Fellows' Hall, then in an old Lutheran church, where Susan was married. Dick was on the committee to find a minister. At first a very modern manse was built at the edge of the golf course. The men of the church built it. The architecht was a church member. Reverend Jack Wilson was the first minister.

I was the first president of United Presbyterian Women. I had gone to Whitworth College two weeks of two summers for training. The other officers were Lu Murphy, Frederico Uhrenholt, Augusta Clements, Hannah Chamberlin, Barbara Wilson and Lillian Stradford. Also my friends were Treva Rudnick, Jessie Pease and Vera Stahl.

We couldn't stay to see the church built but we have gone back -- even to see the beautiful sanctuary, which was built last.

While we were visiting Joan, Don and their Boxer Sam, a telephone call from Westfield asked that Dick come back east to be quality control supervisor at the North East, PA plant. It was a _hard move_ -- leaving the West and our girls. That was in the summer of 1959.

We stayed with Joe and Tootie in Westfield while we looked for a place to live in North East. We found a duplex apartment on South Pearl Street and lived there until the next summer. We moved down near Lake Erie to a quite new grey house which belonged to Ted Sprague. We signed a 2-year lease. We enjoyed living there because of the many birds which came to our feeder. We had the use of a private beach.

I had needed something to do so I drove to Chautauqua to summer school and enrolled in a Library Science course in Reference Works. I drove to Westfield and over the hill for 3 weeks. It was a course from Syracuse University.

I applied for a job at the Westfield library -- and got it. It was part time, for the library was open only afternoons and two evenings a week. I loved the work.

Mother and father were in a nursing home in Westfield. Joe and Tootie lived in Hartford but visited Westfield often. We were in Washington. Harrison and Molly in Oregon. Clara -- in North Carolina. It was the only thing for Joe and Tootie to do -- to sell their house and move Mother and Father into Caldwell Nursing Home, a large house which was once Bill Welch's home. It was on the corner of East Main and Cottage streets. They were in one room with their own single beds.

I saw them many times. Mother died on August 7, 1962. Father died on December 31, 1962. He was very lonesome alone.

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