I was born in April 1948 at the old St. Agnes Hospital, where my mother was a laboratory technician, and raised in the Fresno/Clovis area. My mother’s family lived in Wisconsin and my father was born in Clyde, Texas where his family lived. Two years after I was born my sister Marilyn was born. My father worked for a pipe-fitting company, Valley Engineers, as a foreman. His workers called him “Mr. Dum Dee Dee Dee Dee” because he couldn’t sing; he sang that phrase everywhere he went.
We moved to Tarpey Village on Dakota Avenue in Fresno when I was four years old. Two years later our mother passed away just before Christmas, a sad time for our father with two little girls. We had live-in baby sitters for two years then our father remarried adding a stepsister. We lived in Tarpey until 1958 when we moved into a trailer park on Blackstone near Herndon.
I went to Fresno schools until we moved to Coarsegold in 1961. I attended Sierra High, which was an hour ride to and from school on the bus. In 1962 after a huge fire on a hill behind our property my folks sold our land and moved back to the park we’d previously lived in. During the summer of 1965, my father and stepmother separated and my father moved Marilyn and I to Madera. He was working for the Madera County Road Maintenance Department. One day in July he suffered a heart attack on the job and died. Our stepmother took my sister and me under her wing and brought us back to the park in Fresno and raised us. We are so lucky to have such an awesome lady to be there for us all these years.
I graduated from Hoover High in 1966. I started Fresno City College that summer to get some classes out of the way so I could start nursing courses when school restarted. Then, in 1967, I wasn’t sure I wanted a career in nursing so I took time off from school and went to work at J.C. Penney in downtown Fresno.
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In 1968 I got a job at St. Agnes Hospital. At that time they had on the job training for nursing assistants. I met a young man named Larry who had a job in housekeeping as a “turnover man” cleaning the surgical suites after each case surgery and ready for the next case. We talked and attended a few parties together but in 1970 we went our separate ways as I was dating a Navy man. In 1971 I went back to FCC to finish my nursing classes. One day during a class break, I went to a nearby Palm Reader. I’d never done this before, but I thought “what the heck.” I was still with my Navy boyfriend. She said she didn’t feel comfortable about that relationship and asked me about a man with blond hair in my life. I wasn’t sure who she was talking about in the back of my mind I remembered my friend Larry at the hospital. Apparently she had a good feeling about him, but I just laughed it off.
In June of 1972, I graduated from FCC and got my LVN license. In July my boyfriend got out of the Navy and we went to South Dakota where for about six months I was in charge of a small nursing home. Things didn’t work out so in December I came back to Fresno, and St. Agnes gave me my job back. In the meantime, my girlfriend was keeping Larry up on what I was doing. He called me the night I got to my parents’ house and we cried for two hours about our problems. So much for laughing off the “young man with blond hair” prediction. We began dating, and in September of 1974 we married in a simple backyard wedding. In our first six months of marriage, we had a house built and the new St. Agnes on Herndon was being built. I was at the old one while Larry was at the new one cleaning, waxing floors and more to get it ready for the move. Then we switched. I came to the new one to accept patients and he went to the old one to clean it up. We moved into our house Feb. 5, 1975 and the hospital opened March 22, 1975.
I worked the Medical-Surgical ward where I cared for patients after their surgeries until they were discharged. I did this work until I retired in May 2008 after 40 years. While at the hospital, Larry and I had our own janitorial business cleaning mostly doctor’s offices for about 30 years. We still don’t know how we did it while working two jobs. We also visited Hawaii twice, four Mexican cruises and our dream cruise to Alaska.
Since retirement we began going to the Clovis Senior Activity Center and have taken many bus trips through them and Best Tours - trips to the coast, mountains, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. But after all that there’s no place like home. We still live in our little house in Clovis after 40 years of marriage. We love our town of Clovis.