I was born in Canoga Park in November of 1934, on a dairy that my parents owned. My mother milked cows the day I was born. I had two brothers and two sisters. We didn’t have any toys, so we did a lot of pretending. In the corner of the milk barn we had a make-believe store. In the store we sold pie, but the pies were cow pies.
After we got older we had a lot of chores. By then we had moved off the dairy and had a walnut orchard and chickens. We worked in the fields hoeing weeds, feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs. There was not much playtime, except for gym in school. We also rented an alfalfa field. We learned to bale hay.
I went to Canoga Park elementary and high schools. After graduation I went to work at Prudential Insurance in Hollywood. It was an hour drive, but we had a carpool and had fun going to work.
I’d already met the love of my life, Joe Giroux. We got married when I turned 18. Actually, it was two days later. My parents didn’t approve, but later decided that was the best thing I ever did.
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Joe was in the Navy Reserves and they hadn’t scheduled enough meetings so they drafted them. Shortly after that he had to go to Korea. He was gone for 18 months. He wrote to me every single day he was gone.
When Joe was discharged, my brother-in-law asked if we would like to go into raising turkeys. I really didn’t want to because I was happy with my job, but let Joe make the final choice. We moved to Mariposa, where we stayed for two years. The turkey business wasn’t good and we lost the ranch. The only good thing in all of that was that Jeff, our first child, was born.
We then moved to Camarillo. Joe was a property manager there and we had a good life. I worked at 3M and we were very happy. Twelve years later here came Brian, our youngest son. I quit my job after he was born, and started working out of the house doing alterations. That was really an experience. I got real good at it and had a couple of stores that sent me all their work.
When I got married I didn’t know how to cook. My mother did all the cooking and never taught us girls. My husband was very patient with me and I finally decided that if I could read I could cook. I would experiment on new recipes and he would say “you don’t need to do that one again.”
Then Joe was diagnosed with cancer. That was rough. After five years Joe passed. I was lost. Then I learned how to drive the motor home. We belonged to a camping group. I really enjoyed being with our camping friends. After our campfires we would usually end up at my motor home. It was a “party house” where we would drink our wine and play games.
A couple years after Joe died I decided to move to where all my siblings lived. So I chose Clovis, which is in the middle of all of them. It was a good move. A friend encouraged me to start line dancing. After I learned how, I joined the dance team. We competed with other seniors in Pismo and Cambria. We always got a trophy.
I ended up working for the Clovis Adult School and being line dancing instructor Jim Ray’s assistant. After Jim retired from the school, I also quit. The school was cutting back and the two other teachers I did work for also quit.
So now I’m doing volunteer work at the Clovis Senior Activity Center and loving it. Part of the job is registering students for the dance class. I also work at the front desk. I get to meet a lot of interesting people. People-watching is one of my hobbies.
I knit squares that are taken to the Trinity Lutheran Church. They make blankets out of the squares for Warm Up America!, a nonprofit group that donates blankets to the needy. It is a beneficial effort and it makes me feel good.
I play cards with a group of friends twice a month. Just friendly competition! Another group of friends and I attend every Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater performance. We have season passes.
I have two sons. Jeff is married to Lisa and they live in Summit, New Jersey. They have three beautiful children. I am so proud of them. I don’t get to see them very often. Kevin had a job in New York but now is going to get his Master’s degree. Caroline also lives in New York and works in social media. Kathryn is in her first year at Dartmouth, New Hampshire and is doing real well also.
Brian is married to Sonya; they live in Reno, Nevada. They have one son, Jack, who will soon be 6. He loves his Legos! He is exceptionally bright. He could count at 18 months. He goes to a charter school.
I’ve had a full life and still love keeping busy.