Friday, January 13, 2017

REMEMBERING THE BABY DAYS


February 18, 1927 - January 2, 2017

In 1959 my husband and I bought our first house.  It was in Westminster, California, and on our street most of the husbands were former GI's and qualified to buy a home on a VA loan.  As I recall, the buyer had to have a monthly income of $350, and we barely qualified.  Our little family at that time included a 3 year old son, and two daughters aged 18 month and 2 months.  In 1961 our final daughter was born.  The house was small - only 1100 square feet, but it was a mansion to us compared to the apartment we had been living in.

Everyone on the block, it seemed, had little kids, and the first thing we looked for was a good doctor who would take good care of our children.  

Now in 1955, Dr. Melville Singer settled in Garden Grove, right next door to Westminster, and it wasn't long before the word went around that Dr. Singer - and later also his partner Dr. Kegel, were accepting patients ....and before long, every child on our street was placed in their care.  There were children from the Brown family, the Ritchie family, the Umnesses, the Zepedas, the family of the Zachers, the Beckstroms, the Dews and the Dominskis.  Oh, and there were more...but you can see that the word was out......and advice given was always:  "You'd better take him/her to Singer and Kegel."  

These children were part of the Shirley Street 'gang" -- all getting a good start under the good doctors.
It was comforting to know they were there for us.  

Dr. Singer was the first pediatric cardiologist in Orange County, and he joined the staff of Children's Hospital of Orange County in 1964.  His career spanned 60 years; he did good all over the world.

I was sad when I saw an obituary with his name.  Although my "baby" at the time was 56 year old, I couldn't help but remember how it seemed just yesterday when I cradled her in my arms and took her in with a high fever.  It was a good memory, not of her sickness but of Dr. Singer's legendary care.

Learning how to be a mom has to be credited in good part to listening to what doctors tell us to do for our little ones.  Thanks, Dr. Singer, for being there when we needed you.


Friday, December 23, 2016

I DUB THEE FAMOUS, FREDDY KATZ

September 11, 2013


To the family of Fred Katz:

I read of Fred’s death in the LA times and was sad to learn of it.  He was a good part of my life.

I attended George Pepperdine College at 79th and Vermont in LA in 1953 and 1954.  It was there that I learned about progressive jazz – on weekends my friends and I would go to Shelly’s Mann Hole and The Lighthouse.  During the summer of 1955 my then-boyfriend and I discovered the Stroller’s Club in Long Beach, where Chico Hamilton and his Quintet were regulars.  Freddy Katz played with them.

I was underage for going into that club, but we behaved ourselves, drank plain Cokes, and listened until the performance was over.  Management let us stay. It was there that I learned that the cello, in the right hands, could make very modern and very interesting jazz.  My date turned into my husband, and during our years together we always had those early progressive jazz musicians, including Freddy, on our record player. 

Fred lasted longer than my marriage did.  But I still loved that jazz and all those players – Brubeck, Chet Baker, Cal Tjader, Shelly Mann, Chico, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, and, yes, Freddie Katz.

The last time I heard him perform was in the early nineties, I believe.  I saw a little announcement in the Orange County Register announcing that he was giving a free jazz performance in a little church in Fullerton on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say, I was there, and it was very, very special.  At that time Fullerton had several little jazz spots where the young kids liked jazz, not rap.  They were all there, filling the church.  I ran into several friends from “the old days” – almost your Fred’s contemporaries – among those crowding the church.  It was so good to see him and hear that he was still making such good music on that cello.  Don’t get me wrong; he didn’t know me from Adam, but afterwards I did go up to him and mentioned that I had first seen him at the Strollers Club in Long Beach.  He smiled and said, “Those were the days, weren’t they?”

I am now 78.  I walk two miles every morning with my iPod buds in my ears.  And what do I listen to?  Actually, any progressive jazz CDs I can find, but among them, and often up for the day, is Chico Hamilton’s Studio recordings, featuring Fred Katz. 

He meant a lot to me, and I will miss the idea of him still being with us.  But he surely gave the world some good music.  I just wanted your family to know there are a lot of little “me’s” of an age around yet who remember those wonderful sounds he brought out of his cello, and how he contributed to one of the special things in my life.

Regards, 

            Bobby

Sunday, December 18, 2016

ART FERGUSON, AKA CHARLIE TUNA


1944-2016

One of my pleasures is to pick who is, and who isn't, an ImmortalNobody.  There are no qualifications other than ones I choose.  And I don't answer to anybody for them.  Interestingly, I have a more difficult time thinking of my picks as a "Nobody" than the "Immortal" which in my book has no religious connotation nor statement on an afterlife.  These Immortal Nobodies I choose are because I personally value their touch in my life, whether it was a real "touch" or simply a finger of fate touching my soul.  

Today's ImmortalNobody went by two names.  I knew him by "Charlie Tuna," the DJ on KIIS every morning of the work week, but as noted in the headline he was, in the real world,  Art Ferguson, a name I didn't know until he passed away in February of this year.

I think most of us hope the life we choose to live will be important or meaningful to someone.  We rarely get feedback if and when that happens.  Charlie and I never met, but our lives intersected, and I wrote a blog about it.

After I posted this blog, one of my daughters called Charlie while he was on the air and sent him a link to the blog.  She then phoned me to tell me what she had done and said he would be calling me shortly.  He did, and on the air we had a short dialog about two things: one, how his patter on the air unknowingly kept me going through a very bad time in my life and 2) my story reminded him that when he first started on the air, his hope was that he would make a difference in someone's life.  A few words made a big difference in both of us.  Read that blog here.

Charlie Tuna stands with the other ImmortalNobodies I have picked, a group of people who are important to me for one reason or another.  He hardly can be called a "Nobody" but for my purpose, he's at the top of my ImmortalNobody list.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

AN UNEXPECTED DEMISE

RICHARD DAVID KOBER
March 28, 1953 – February 9, 2005

An insurance claims adjuster died early Wednesday morning when he was struck by a tractor-trailer rig on Interstate 40 near Brinkley, Arkansas while he was investigating an earlier accident.

Richard David Kober, 51, of Baton Rouge, was struck by an eastbound tractor trailer rig at 3:26 a.m. when he attempted to cross I-40 near the 208 mile marker.  Kober was conducting a claims investigation for Great West Insurance co. at an accident that had occurred earlier at 11:44 pm on Tuesday involving two tractor trailer rigs and a vehicle towing a horse trailer. 

The driver of the tractor trailer rig which struck Kober told Arkansas highway officers that he had slowed his vehicle and was attempting to change lanes because of the vehicles parked on the side of the road.  He checked his mirrors to make sure he had clearance for his trailer.  When he looked back around at the roadway he saw a pedestrian in the middle of the road.  The driver said he swerved his truck in an attempt to miss Kober, but struck him with the left front fender. 


Religious service was held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home in Baton Rouge; interment was in Liberal Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife, Veda Lynn Norfolk Kober, twin daughter and son, Ashley Lauren Kober and Stephen Mathew Kober, both of Baton Rouge, mother Beryl Kaufman Kober, of Lake Charles, brother and sister in law Ronald Kober, MD and Stephanie Kober.   He was a member of Beth Shalom Synagogue, president of Beth Shalom Men's Club and a graduate of LSU.

****


The Kober family were actually closely related to Jerry's first wife, Carole, she being a first cousin of Richard's mother, Beryl.  (Beryl's dad, Louis, was a brother of Carole's dad, Edward.) The families had stayed close through the years, even though miles separated them.  As one can imagine, the tragic nature of Richard's demise was a shock to everyone.

Friday, November 18, 2016

LUCY WAS A LADY!

LUCILLE M. SCOTT
1928-2004

Dear John, Brian and families

I was so sorry to receive the phone call notifying me of Lucy’s passing.  I retired from work about the same time as Lucy did and since I had moved out of the area, I had been unaware of her stroke or her worsening condition.  It saddened me a great deal to receive that call.

Lucy and I worked closely together for the six years I served at the Rehab Center.  We covered jobs for each other, consulted each other – and frankly, depended on each other a lot.  We also laughed a lot.  Lucy was a bright spot in a sometimes-grim environment. 

We also shared with each other a lot about our families.  I feel as if I know each one of the family members, including her sisters, even though I have never met any of you.

If I could characterize her in a few words, I would say that of all the people I have ever known, Lucy loved her family the most.  She thought her sons were the most handsome, the smartest and best sons a mother could have.  She was so proud of both of you.  And when she interviewed me for my job, sitting on her desk looking me straight in the eye were pictures of her three grandkids, who of course were considerably younger than they are now.  She was fiercely proud of them, and of course with their parentage they also were the most handsome (or in the case of Jessica and Justine, most beautiful), smartest, and cleverest grandkids anyone had ever had.  And how she loved her sisters.  I was envious that I did not have the kind of relationship with my sister that she had with hers.

Lucy was caring and compassionate, sometimes to a fault, and she often ended up on the short end of the stick with the residents of in her sober-living house.  But at work if we had a problem, Lucy would be the first one to step up to help us.  She was a very kind, warm person, a beautiful, beautiful lady, in body, soul and spirit.

One of my fondest memories is how Lucy always told me about lounging around the house in her silk pajamas.  One day she told me she had 10 pair of them.    She asked if I had any and I said mine were all flannel.  She insisted, as only Lucy could insist, that I go buy myself a few pairs, that I would feel better about myself, that my husband Jerry would appreciate it, and that it would make such a difference in my life.  I did not rush out to buy any, to her chagrin.  But last December I called her to announce that I had just bought my first pair – that finally in my retirement I could sit around the house in my jammies if I felt like it and her many admonitions had finally come home to roost!  And yes, I did feel quite elegant – and yes, Jerry DID like them, a whole lot!  She said to me, “Think of all those years you wasted!”  Vintage Lucy, right?

At Christmas the six of us girls in the office exchanged little Christmas gifts.  The only gifts I can remember specifically are the ones that came from Lucy.  Her taste was exquisite, and I am still using the vase, the scarf and the pill case that she give to me at various Christmases.  She always was careful to let me know that they were gifts she had received from friends but had put away because she didn’t really need them.  She wanted to be up front with me about how it was that I got such a lovely gift.  But I knew her friends to be as elegant as Lucy was and I cherished each one of the gifts.  I still use them and think of her each time.

It is hard to lose a mother and grandmother (and sister).  I am sorry I didn’t know earlier of her illness because I surely would have sent a card and come to visit her in the hospital.  Please accept my condolences at this sad time.  Unfortunately I was out of town on the day of her funeral.  I am grateful that Brian called to let me know the sad news.  She was a very special lady.  I shall miss her.

Hugs to you all.

                                                    Bobby Title



Saturday, November 12, 2016

CLARA & NELLIE C. LONG - Missionary Children


On January 1, 1868 an accounting was taken by the U. S. State Department entitled "Lists of Citizens of the U.S. residing in Istanbul on January 1, 1868.  (National Archives.  State Dept. RG59, Consular Dispatches, Constantinople, Microfilm T-194, Roll #9).  

This is how the Long family appeared on that list:

Albert Long, age 35, born Washington, PA,  Missionary – arr. 1857
Persis S., ----  [no age given], [no birthplace given],wife
Mary L.,   [no age given], b Massachusetts, dau.
Nellie A.,   age 9, born Constantinople,  dau
Clara S., age 7, born Constantinople, dau
Rosa C., age 5, born Constantinople, dau.

On a single tombstone in the Protestant Cemetery, Ferikoy-Istanbul, there is inscribed the names of both girls.   Under Clara's name appears this:  "Died Feb. 15, 1868" and under Nellie's name is ascribed this:  "Died 3 Aug 1879, age 21."  From the information above, we can see that little Clara died a month after the information for the State Department was collected.

Their father was the Rev. Albert Long, DD, at that time a Professor of Natural Science at Robert College in Istanbul.

In a book entitled "Fifty Years in Constantinople and Recollections of Robert College," author George Washburn tells about Dr. Long's work:

"Dr. Long, not yet 40 years old, taught several years in America, was a missionary of the American Methodist Church in Bulgaria for 12 years, and a co-translator of the Bible into Bulgarian."

"On our arrival at Constantinople…we found Dr. Long very anxious as to the health of his daughter, and not long after, Mrs. Long and his daughter went to southern France in the hope that a change of climate might restore her health…. His daughter died at the college on August 3, 1879."

"Dr. Long left Robert College in June of 1901 for a year of rest in America.  He had been in failing health and the doctor thought a year off would restore him.  He and his family left for Liverpool, England, where he was hospitalized.  He died on July 28, 1901 and is buried there….Mrs. Long died in December of 1901 at Enfield, New Hampshire leaving two daughters who still reside in that town."

Lynn Scipio, in his book "My Thirty Years in Turkey," wrote the following: "Dr. Long had been a professor at Robert College for 29 years.  He was born in December of 1832 and graduated from Allegheny College.  He came to Turkey as a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church."

When I was in Istanbul in 1992, the girls' tombstone was broken in half.  One half was tossed in a rubbish pile.  I was able to retrieve it, and in my rudimentary Turkish I asked the custodian who lived on the grounds to please keep these two pieces together because Nellie and Clara were sisters.  He said he would fix it.  I truly hope he did. 

It is all that is left of these dedicated Immortal Nobodies in Istanbul, Turkey.



Friday, October 28, 2016

A MOTHER-IN-LAW PAR EXCELLENCE



IDA MAY BARRY KIRKPATRICK
27 August 1904 - St. Andrews, TN
15 July 1987 - Orange, CA

Mothers-in-Law get a bad rap, I think.  I suppose there are some of them, like some daughters-in-law, who leave something to be desired, but I've had two Mothers-in-Law and I count myself lucky with both.

I became Ida May Kirkpatrick's daughter-in-law in 1955. I was young, only 20 and in college.  I didn't really know then why people said that about mothers-in-law, because my dad's mom lived far away and died shortly after my mother and dad married.  Hence, I didn't even have a pattern of a mother-in-law's function in the larger family.  All I really knew was that often, there was mother-in-law trouble in a family.

Well, Ida May knew instinctively how to be a good one.  She was born and raised in the south.  Her first child was a girl, a few years older than her only son - the one that I had married.  She adored both her kids and was predisposed to adapt and adopt into the family whoever her kids wanted.  I was the beneficiary of her open arms as she welcomed me as if I had always belonged there.

She was a warm and caring person, good natured and very giving.  My new husband probably told her that I didn't know how to cook, so almost every weekend we were invited to their house – early enough to let me help in the kitchen, where we learned a lot about each other all the while I was learning how to cook.  (I never mastered fried okra, much to my disappointment!) 

After the babies began coming, the weekend visits didn't end.  She made sure we learned some of the southern tricks to entertain the little ones as well as the bigger ones as they grew.  I was always so grateful for her warm loving arms around the newest baby when it was fussy, and by singing to them, she taught me lots of old southern rhymes and songs to add to my repertoire of mainly Girl Scout ditties from my childhood!

Later after our kids got older, she made sure that when summer came there was always fresh plum juice in the fridge for the kids, because she introduced them to it, along with the fried okra and other southern delicacies.  My own mother, who hated to cook and therefore wasn't very good at it, had little to teach me about cooking, and I literally and figuratively ate myself to a substantial size on Ida May's lessons!

She worked hard during the day as a cook at a little local diner, but she was never too tired to do what needed to be done.  When she saw that a certain item would help me in my wifely cleaning or cooking duties, she always tucked one in my purse (or diaper bag!).   

She was a traditional southern wife to her husband, who was a somewhat difficult man who worked hard as a blue-collar worker in the Southgate area, and she also took care of her mother-in-law Gertrude, who lived in the tiny garage apartment.  Once Ida May's children left home to be married, Aunt Bettye, her single sister-in-law, moved in.  All this was Ida May's responsibility, but the only time I ever heard her complain was when Gertie hid a pound of bacon in between her box-springs and the mattress and it was up to Ida May to trace where that awful smell was coming from.   Gertie was nursed by Ida May until her dementia drove her into a nursing home.  And Ida May nursed her husband Ray until he died at home of emphysema.   

Life was not easy for her.  Between her two children she ultimately had twelve different sons and daughters-in-law – (yes, her adult kids were the marrying kind).  She was my mother-in-law for 16 years, and never once during that time did I ever have an occasion to "roll my eyes" at something she did or said.  I loved her a whole lot, which made the dissolution of my marriage to her son a double loss. 

She spent her own final year in a nursing home, and I was able to spend some time with her there.  She barely could carry on a conversation, but she was able to tell me that "Aunt Bettye" (her younger sister-in-law) was a good person and asked me to tell her that, and she apologized to me for my ex-husband's behavior.  She also said she loved me a lot. 

Ida May Barry Kirkpatrick was truly a good-hearted, warm person.  My children, now mostly grandparents themselves, know how lucky they were to have her in their lives, and I am glad that I had as much time with her as I did.  She helped me understand the role of a mother-in-law, though I really think I fall short of her in the image I try for.


REST IN PEACE, MY SWEET MOTHER-IN-LAW