Chapter 64: 1950 • Sonora, California
At fourteen, my sister Carleen stepped into our mother’s shoes when Mom was gone. It was expected and she didn’t think much about it, she simply did it. When she went anywhere she took me with her. On her way to school, she dropped me off at Mrs. Evans, then picked me up on her way home. Dad hired nineteen-year-old Ima Deaton to help with the younger girls and the house, but when summer came, Carleen took over. Betty and Claudia were now old enough to be pressed into service, and when she could catch them, she dragged them downstairs by their ankles and beat them with a wet washcloth to make them help her cook and clean and take care of me.
Hard-boiled eggs were Carleen’s specialty, and she thought they were perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She made deviled eggs, chopped egg and olive sandwiches, egg and noodle casseroles. The only times they weren’t perfect was when she put them on to boil at night for the next day, forgot about them, and went to bed. The pan boiled dry and the eggs exploded, filling the house with the stink of sulfur. Finally, Dad laid down the law. “That’s it! No more cooking hard-boiled eggs at night!” He was tired of scraping the ceiling.
1950 • Larry’s diary (age 16)
May 1 Went to San Francisco with Dad. Got new mouthpiece. Missed school.
May 2 New mouthpiece a little big. Using old one for concert and solo. Dad hired Ima to stay in home to take care of my little sisters. Taught her Canasta.
May 3 Played first public music solo. Got $55 gaberdine suit
May 4 Tuolumne County Orchestra spring concert. Wore new suit.
May 5 Got up at 3:15 and went to San Jose for music festival. Got two excellent ratings, one for my solo and 1 for Brass Choir
May 6 Stayed overnight at Days. Spent day watching other soloists and groups. Wore my medals. Got name on programs.
May 7 Met Dick Miller. Rode back together till Manteca, then hitchhiked home.
May 8 Ima keeping things in my room.
May 9 Saw The Inspector General
May 10 Ima put lock on door. Beat Ima at Canasta.
May 11 First day of fair
May 12 Kiddie parade. Band wore band pants and white shirts sleeves rolled up twice.
May 13 Went to fair. Took airplane ride. Played horses.
May 14 Last day of fair
May 15 Bought blue swimsuit
May 16 Had Wildcat picnic
May 17 Brass Choir played in assembly
May 18 Made election rosters. Mothers tea held.
May 19 Hung posters, made campaign speech
May 20 Made sign
May 21 Played at Angels Camp with Tuolumne County Band
May 22 Got 5th highest in Business Law
May 23 Election day. I won over Helen Revenski.
May 24 Got B in final test
May 25 Awards assembly, received my block lyre for 30 credits of music. Mom left for Chico to visit her mother.
May 26 Went to Prom with Shirley. Had a good time.
May 27 Charlie and Velma came up. Stayed in my room. Mom returned.
May 28 Saw Dear Wife with Ima. Charlie took pictures of me in my uniform.
May 29 Slept till noon. Asked Dad about new horn.
May 30 Went swimming at Columbia pool
May 31 Back to school
To be continued…
Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir; the full memoir is available as a web series at Sevenau.com. A longtime Broker/Realtor at CENTURY 21 Epic Wine Country, she can be reached at [email protected]