Married Life & Still a Teacher
Since Glenn has written in his autobiography the details of our marriage and honeymoon, our wonderful children, and the various homes where we have lived for 57 very happy years, I see no point in repeating the same story. I'll try to tell more about some of my own activities in addition to being a mother and wife.
It is true that I ended my career as a public school teacher. However, I still did some teaching in addition to rearing my own children. Through the years I gave piano lessons, first in South Hutchinson where we lived our first year, then in Jetmore where Glenn taught for two years before we moved to California, and last here in Culver City. In addition to teaching piano in Jetmore, I also directed the children's choir at our Methodist Church.
When I had children of my own, I gave them piano lessons. One of the three, Jean, was soon playing music more advanced than I, her teacher, and we had to find other teachers for her. I maintain she learned her ABC's on the piano as she started her lessons before she could read. The other two didn't become real pianists, but could play for their own enjoyment. I'm sure the piano background helped Greg to learn his trumpet and Glenda her flute. Besides teaching my children, I gave a few lessons to two of my grandchildren. The other two grandchildren lived farther away, but they also took music lessons. We have always been a music-loving family.
In addition to giving piano lessons, I taught Sunday School classes for many years. Actually, I started very young. My Mother always taught Sunday School classes at church and when I was still in grade school, I taught the littlest kids. Through the years I continued to teach Sunday School classes. I often said I learned more by preparing the lessons, especially when the pupils were junior high age or older, than my students ever learned.
I've always been active in the women's organization of our church. The
name has changed several times through the years. Now it is called
"United Methodist Women". Once a year during the summer the organization
holds "Schools of Christian Mission". These sessions are held at
various college campuses and last three or four days. There we study
the subjects that are to be the special interests for the next year.
I have attended these "Schools" for many years, both while living in Maryland
and in Culver City. I still have that same love of studying and learning
that I've had since my kindergarten days. Also, I have often returned
from the "School" to teach what I learned to the other women.
When we first came to California and were living on the meager sum of $120 a month given to Glenn by the GI Bill of Rights while he was attending the University of Southern California, I got a job working at night when Glenn could be home with the children. The place was an ice cream and candy store with a restaurant adjacent. A couple ran the establishment. The wife ran the ice cream and candy store and her husband ran the restaurant. At first I scooped ice cream. Before long, however, they put me on the cash registers. I say registers, plural, that is, because there was one on either end of a long candy counter. Customers paid for ice cream and candy at one end and restaurant meals at the other. In slower times, one person took care of all three--two registers and the candy counter. The candy was displayed in trays and people just chose the pieces they wanted. We had very few packages already made-up. At times, that job was very taxing! Some customers wanted candy while others stood at the two registers waiting to pay their bills. We were near the Shrine Auditorium and how well I remember the rush when a show was over at night. Those nights I would go home a very tired lady. I have to say, though, I did enjoy the cash register part. Of course, those cash registers didn't do all the arithmetic for you as today's machines do. You had to figure the amount of change to give the customer. You also counted it carefully into the customer's hand. Today, in too many places you just get a pile of money handed back to you. What I really dislike is to have my change handed to me with a pile of coins on top of the bills.
That cashier job came to an end when I became pregnant with Greg. By then Glenn was working more and going to school less so we had more money in our household budget.
During the winter months Glenn's folks would come to stay with us. With Glenn's Mom there to baby sit, I did several different kinds of work for a number of years. The extra money really helped with household expenses. First, I spent a few days on the assembly line at the Paper-Mate Pen Company factory just down the block from our house on Helms Ave in Culver City. That was certainly a different type of experience! However, that job only lasted about ten days. When the company bosses decided that we had made enough pens for the Christmas market, they laid off all of us newly hired workers. Since they gave us quite a nice bonus, I didn't feel too bad about that. One time I spent a week or so behind the candy counter in a five and ten cent store. I had previously applied to be a switchboard operator at the Penny's store, and when they called me to come there, I left the candy counter. Running the switchboard was a fun job and a brand new experience. It lasted only during the holiday rush, however. California used to sell all the new car tags in January. If you were a member of the Automobile Club, you could buy your tag there. One year I got a job selling tags during the rush season. I thoroughly enjoyed that selling job. Today the state has gotten wise and sells the tag for a whole year when one buys a new car. Therefore, there is never the rush there used to be in January. People now renew their car licenses during various months and most do it by mail. The AAA (American Automobile Club) does still sell to its members, and that's where we get our renewal stickers.
In the '60's when Glenn was getting interested in the new world of computers, I started to work part-time with him in the Cinema Department at the University of Southern California. He was in charge of film distribution and was developing techniques for cataloging, booking and selling films. He was using keypunch cards with the sorting machine to input material into the computer. He was also developing mailing lists to use for promoting the films. Glenn got permission to hire me to help him on his project. I found the work interesting. The computer language being used was Autocoder. Both Glenn and I took the IBM self-teaching course in Autocoder and received our certificates of completion. Now we could write simple programs to use all those cards we had been punching. You can imagine that we sometime brought our work home with us. We spent many hours developing new ideas and getting the old ones to work. I enjoyed the challenge presented by all that computer work.
If you have read Glenn's autobiography, you know that his work developed into big projects--first, making audio-visual catalogs for schools and then publishing books in which we tried to catalog all 16mm educational films, and later filmstrips, that were available for schools at that time. As the projects got bigger and some of the responsibility for them was taken from Glenn's direct control, the administration decided that it was against policy for husband and wife to work together.
About that time the department got a grant from the United States Information Agency (USIA). The USIA shipped many 16mm films to numerous countries around the world, and our foreign diplomatic centers maintained large film libraries. These films were translated into the native languages of the countries. Sharing these films with the native populations was one of the methods the agency used to tell the American story around the world. The agency had noted Glenn's cataloguing system and wanted a similar one to fit their needs. Lucky for me, I got the job.
I've forgotten just how many languages and how many countries were involved in the project--probably thirty some of each. Many countries and languages I had never heard of before. Again, I don't remember how many titles were involved, but I'm sure there must have been dozens, maybe hundreds. First, I had to enter the information about all their films that were not already in our data bank. Because Glenn's project dealt mainly with films for schools, many were not. A few of the government films were also in USC's film library. For all the rest, I had to keypunch cards. Then language codes had to be added. Somehow I managed to construct a system so that I could make lists for each country showing what films were in their library, how many copies of each title, and into what languages they had been translated. Then, periodically, I had to record the deletions and additions for each library. With all the data in the computer, a catalog could then be make for each library giving the language translation, synopsis, producer, year made and other pertinent information about each title.
At first all my programs were done in Autocoder, the only program I knew. When Glenn left USC to go help set up the government's new AudioVisual Center in Washington, DC, Herb Farmer, who was my immediate boss on the USIA project, made arrangements for me to use the computer facilities at the University of Maryland. That was another good break for me. I was able to take my job with me when we moved. The one drawback was that there they were using Cobol, not Autocoder, as the language in their computer. I got permission to sit in on the university class in Cobol. What I learned in the class along with what I understood from the book, helped me made the change over to the new computer language. Actually, my programs were not really that complicated and I kept thinking the USIA office would want to stop the grant and begin doing its own work. However, when I would go in to report they kept saying they weren't ready and I would get a grant of money for another year.
When the University of Maryland decided to do some major construction and changes in the department where I had been working on the keypunch, I was allowed to move the keypunch home. I sit up an office in our basement. I still used their computer for my reports and printouts. There were times when some program just wouldn't work and I would have to spend many hours finding my errors. Actually, since there wasn't anyone to help me, I'd just have to keep at the job. Then suddenly, light would come and I would see my program error.
I don't remember now just how many years I worked on that project. I'm truly grateful for the experience and also the money. It was fun to go into the Washington offices of the USIA and feel that I was really working for my government. How could I have been so lucky to have the USIA give USC a grant just at the time I needed a job, and to have someone like Herb Farmer have confidence in me to do the work!
Awhile after that job was over, Greg decided he would like us to find another house and rent ours to him and his friends who were students at the University of Maryland. Our first home in Maryland was in College Park, which was very close to the university. When we moved to Maryland, Greg was our only child living at home with us. Glenda had been married for a year. She was following Doug wherever the Navy sent him. Jean, being a senior in college, had stayed in California. At the time Greg was attending school less and less and working more and more at TV stations. In fact, he was running the one at the university. We decided to take him up on his offer. We purchased a nice home in Seabrook, MD, a few miles away from College Park. Greg and several university friends rented our home until Greg got married. Then he and Rhonda bought it from us.
Being without any responsibility for children and having Glenn away at his job during the day, I guess I became a little restless. I decided I should find a job. At a drug store nearby I was hired to take care of the Hallmark Card Department. I also took my turn on the register. For some time I had day dreamed that it would be fun to own a small shop, such as a gift and card shop. At the drug store I discovered how time consuming it is to keep those cards in the correct pockets. Customers look at cards and then return them to any convenient pocket.
Seeing that problem and others that retail merchants face lessened my desire to run my own business. Of course, the biggest problem in the retail business is always too few customers. I was told one Friday that I was no longer needed at the store. At the time I felt hurt because I thought I was doing a fine job. However, in a few weeks I learned that the store was going to be closed. Cutting expenses by getting rid of one employee, the last hired, was not enough to help the store's financial problems. It just didn't have enough buyers in that community.
Now that I review the jobs I had, most do not even exist in the same
form today---the cash registers I worked bare little resemblance to today's
machines; the assembly line at the Paper Mate pen factory is no doubt much
more automated; candy in most stores is packaged and placed in help-yourself
aisles (and where can you find a five and ten cent store?); a type of switchboard
I operated is obsolete; since California car tags are no longer all renewed
at one time, extra personnel is not needed in January; and any computer
equipment or computer languages I used are certainly relegated to a time
Brief Medical History
I suppose it's appropriate to include some medical history in this brief autobiography. Doctors always want to know about your ancestors' health problems. Luckily, I don't have a lot of serious illnesses to report. As a small child I was subject to nose bleeds and was given cod liver oil because the doctor said I was anemic. In grade school I suffered with boils. These seemed to be common at that time. My mother and my Daddy also were afflicted with them. Now I never hear of such things, but I did find the word in my 1978 dictionary. The first definition of "boil" was "a painful swollen inflamed area of the skin containing pus". I'm including this because I have been asked what I was talking about when I told how Mother would put a mixture of bread and milk on my boils so they would come to a "head" and the "core" could be squeezed out. And boy did that ever hurt!!! I've often wondered what caused those boils. I had them on my face, my arms, my back, and one time on my bottom. I remember that time particularly because at school I was so embarrassed having to sit on the edge of my seat and trying to act normal.
I had the usual childhood diseases of mumps and measles, and during the summer when I was thirteen years old, I was diagnosed with typhoid fever. I didn't know anyone else with the disease nor did anyone find the source of the infection. My memory is that I had high fever for weeks and weeks and it was during a very hot summer. I was not allowed out of bed until my temperature was normal again.
Prior to Jean's birth, and all the years afterward until we left Kansas, I suffered with "hay fever" until the first frost. It was believed that the main cause was milo maize, a common Kansas farm crop. On the way to California in 1950 when we were in the middle of the desert, I dared to stop my medication and found to my relief that my "hay fever" problem was gone.
The birth of Glenda, my first, was rather difficult, and the doctor had to use his forceps. The worst part, however, was the rule that a new mother should stay in bed for ten days. I can still feel the pins and needles in my feet when they finally allowed me to stand up. Jean's and Greg's births were easier. In fact, I had what the doctor called painless contractions before Greg's birth. I was on a routine visit to the doctor when he sent me directly to the hospital saying I was ready. After Jean's birth I was allowed up the fourth day and after Greg's they made me get up the next day. How ideas change through the years! We had wanted to have four children, but after two miscarriages, it seemed wise not to try again. The first miscarriage was blamed on a bad cold, but the doctor found no real reason for the second. We couldn't feel too bad stopping at three since all three was such healthy babies and through the years proved such blessings.
Except for the births of my babies, I had only one other hospital stay of any length. This happened sometime in the 50's, but I don't remember the exact year. I had an extra rib at the top of my spine and an operation was necessary to remove it. According to the surgeon it was embedded in my nerves and that was the cause of all my pain. I have a scar on the left side of my neck as a result of that operation. I'm not sure whether such a thing is inherited, but if any of my children, grand or great-grandchildren develop constant pain in one arm, I hope the doctor will decide to take an x-ray. My pain went on for months before any doctor thought to use an x-ray to find the real cause. As a result I took lots of pain medicine that never really helped.
While we were in Maryland, I believe it was in 1974, I had a hysterectomy.
In recent years I had a couple emergency room visits when a heart attack
was feared but didn't happen. So you see my medical history is rather
uneventful. I have been a very lucky person health wise.
I wrote most of this story in 1999 and 2000. Now it's the end of 2002 and time to finish my writing. Glenn's autobiography tells about our lives up to the year 2000. The happy highlights of the last two years include:
---The births of our first great grandchildren, Theodore Francis, August 29, 2000 and Thomas Kent, July 25, 2002. What joy they have brought us all!
My Great Grandchildren, Theodore and Thomas Brau
(Ages 2 yrs and 5 wks respectively)
---A wonderful 80th birthday party given for me by my family December 17th, two days after my actual birthday. It was in the social hall at our church and over 80 people came. One highlight of the party was our four grandchildren singing "People Will Say We're in Love".
Getting ready to blow out 80 Candles
---The wedding of our grandson Daniel Calhoun to Adrianna Graziani, July 28, 2001, at the Culver-Palms United Methodist Church.
Mr. and Mrs Daniel Calhoun
---Our, granddaughter Jacqui Cole's Master Degree in Communicative Disorders-Speech/Language Pathology from San Francisco State University.
Graduate -- Jacqueline Suzanne Cole
The sad part of the two years has been Glenn's poor health as he copes with vascular dementia. I'm so thankful that my health is good and I'm able to care for him as well as continue to enjoy my hobbies. These include reading, needlework, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and using my computer. I enjoy exchanging e-mail with family and friends, and also use the computer to publish the 54th Troop Carrier Wing Newsletter twice a year. This was a project Glenn and I started together in 1992, when we organized a reunion of his WWII comrades. Because of Glenn's gradual loss of ability to use the computer, I have assumed that responsibility entirely. It has become an interesting hobby for me and I have become acquainted with many of the veterans through e-mail and "slow" mail.
Through the years Glenn and I have always been active in our church, serving on committees and various task forces. With Glenn's increasing health problems, those activities are no longer possible. I'm happy that Glenn is still able to attend the Sunday morning worship service with me. In fact, he looks forward to that. I try to do as much as possible in my United Methodist Women's work, especially in my Friendship Circle. This meets monthly on the second Saturday and usually Greg stays with Glenn while I attend the meetings.
In closing, I must express my gratitude to the members of my family for all their special love and caring. Finally, a special "Thank You" to my son Greg for all his computer work that has made it possible for Glenn's and my stories to be printed.
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