A few minutes before midnight, on Saturday January 13, 1962, I boarded a World Airlines plane at the airport in Honolulu, HI. My family and some friends from church were there to see me off. Thirteen hours later, Sunday January 14, 1962, about 1:30 pm, I landed at the airport in Oakland, CA. And so began my life as the wife of a young Marine.
I was a very young, immature, scared 19 year old who had not ever been so far away from family and things familiar. As I got to the door of the airplane and looked out, I really wanted to go back home. I remember the sun was shining, however, it was cold and there were no leaves on any of the trees I saw. Standing at the bottom of the stairs on the tarmac was the Marine I had married. I remember crying, partly from excitement in seeing him and partly because I didn't want to be in what seemed to me, a foreign place.
My mother had made me an outfit to wear...it was beautiful...a powder blue wool dress with a matching coat. My grandmother had given me some money to go shopping at Liberty House (a store that has been closed for many years) to purchase a black patent leather purse, black patent leather pumps, black gloves, nylons and a black hat that had a short veil. She wanted me to look "presentable" when I got off the plane. Actually I was very uncomfortable and could hardly wait to change into something else.
My grandmother had a sister that lived in Oakland and she had sent with me a box of red anthriums to give to her sister. I had her phone number and address and so we called to get directions. I walked into this grand aunt's house to meet members of her family. I only knew one of her daughters, the rest were strangers. I remember it was a very awkward moment for me...oh, did I say I was also very shy.
My first meal in California was tacos that were made by the wife of the Marine's uncle. They were so spicey, I couldn't eat them. They all laughed and thought it was so funny. To this day, I do not like Mexican food. I do eat tacos and even fix them sometimes. However, going out for Mexican food is not a favorite thing for me to agree to very often.
So for the past 49 years California has been my home other than a few months of living in Arkansas and Texas. I have lived in several cities in California, starting in Castro Valley. Hawaii will always be home and I still refer to it as such.
Oh...the marriage to that young Marine ended in divorce after almost 10 years of marriage. My daughter was born during that marriage. Little did I know that after almost 10 years of being single, I'd marry another Marine...
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