Monday, October 9, 2017

California Here We Come....

Right back where we started from.
 (we were born in San Jose)

 So when we were on the shuttle bus to the airport (1/4 mile) I calmly said to Lou-Lou, " Um, I forgot my passport". She took it real well. 
 I had been reminding Lou Lou all week to not forget her passport because she lives an hour from me and who wants to drive an hour home to grab it? 
I had my passport card in my wallet where it always is because I cross the border so often that I don't need my passport booklet, but when flying you need your booklet!
So we drove 2 1/2 hours home and returned the next day for the same exact flight. 
(the ticket agent changed our flights for free)
 I set the alarm for the same time, showered and put on the same outfit, had the same breakfast and we were off. Again! 

This trip was a much needed and overdue trip to the Bay Area to visit our sister Susie. 

We arrived a little late to visit Susie our first day so our first stop was San Fransisc
o to get our sour dough bread clam chowder bowl and ice cream at Ghiradelli Square. The hot fudge in that glass with the ice cream and whipping cream never tasted so good.
 I need to have that combo more than every 10 years. 

 Near Ghirardelli Square.
We had great weather!

Susie is not a morning person so we stopped for lunch at an Indian place in Glen Ellen called Yeti's (SE of Santa Rosa) before heading to see Susie for the first time in a very long time.  
Nann bread with honey butter.  Yes, me and Lou Lou shared it. 

Susie has had a rough go for a year and a half. 
She had been living in a home for over 15 years when she had an episode.  She was in her room, out of control making a mess and head butting which she has always done out of frustration.  It took four police officers to get her on a gurney. They took her to the hospital where she stayed for almost a year. The home was not able to take her back due to the circumstances and there was no home available for Susie.
Below is her diagnosis from Dr. she had been seeing for many years before entering the hospital.
Autism Disorder
Moderate Intellectual Disability
After being examined in the hospital and under constant care and evaluation they did not see any Schizoaffective behavior. 

 While picking up the last of her personal belongings and talking with her long time care givers who just love our little Susie, they told us Susie had not been doing well for quite some time, you might even say years, but their concerns were never addressed. When my father and brother visited her in the hospital they were shocked to see her condition. She had lost A LOT of weight and was pretty banged up. So sad.
 Poor Susie was frustrated, not feeling good and had no way to communicate. 
Susie is now in an acute care facility and doing so well. They have stabilized her medications and she is ready for her final move to a permanent home in Vacaville. 
More on Susie later in this post. 

She loved the T-Shirt, Smarties and Beaver stuffed animal we brought her.  She has always loved holding things in her hands. 
Susie lets us know when she is finished visiting so we took her que and only stayed an hour knowing we were coming back in a few days. She knows who we are, calls us by name and never mixes us up which I think is amazing.

We headed to Mariposa after our visit with Susie to see our old cabin. We spent a lot of time there when we were little and I'm not sure Lou Lou and I had ever been back there together!
Sherwood and Leona owned the house on the left and our cabin is to the right. 
My father and brother built this white fence around the property.  
Sad to say the fence is gone, the pasture we had our horses in is planted with trees and the road to the right is much much wider now and paved.  Oh, and the white cabin looks mighty different too. We met Bill and Rita Long, the owners of all of this property, as well as some property across the road. They have owned it since 1985 when they bought it from one of Sherwood's daughter. 
The hill behind the property is named Potato Mountain as Lou Lou remembers it and Bills refers to it as. My father remembers the mountain being named Mount. Bullion that was named after John C Fremont's wife's father, Thomas Hart Benton, who was a senator. Upon googling, Mount Boullion is a community near Mariposa and a mountain.   
Sherwood tells his UFO story where late one night he looked out his bedroom window on this mountain and saw a disc moving among the trees.  From time to time it would hit a tree and then the tree would catch fire, then soon burn out. The next morning he went out to take a look and saw tree sections that had burned at heights that could not be reached by humans without scaffolding. Sherwood swore by it.  

Sherwood Mudgett with his daughter.

Leona Mudgett

Porch enclosed. 

Porch not enclosed and me on Tuffy.
Porch enclosed. 
Bill's son let us look though the cabin.  It was really nice to reminisce. 
I really love what Bill has done to the outside and the inside. I casually mentioned that if he ever decides to sell the place to call me. HaHaHa

Fifty tears separate these two pictures.  Lou Lou and I used to swim with pollywogs, dragonflys and water snakes in this pond. 

The front of Sherwood and Leona's house as we remember it. 

It looks much different now, but still a great place and a lot we still recognized.

Daddy walking from Sherwood's garage.

The garage now. 
The vice grip is still there!

Bill kept the original brand for the Mudgetts on the post outside the front door. 
This wheel chair, I think, belonged to Sherwood's father that lived with them before we had the cabin.  Bill told us a story of the wheelchair believing it was Leonas' but tis not so. She passed away in 1978, a few years after we sold the cabin and Sherwood passed away in 1983. This wheelchair is much older than that. Bill told us that when the chair was bothered or moved to different homes on the property it would move, like it was possessed.  He moved it to the old garage and it has been happy there for the last 30 years or so. Bill says that he just leaves it alone!  Lou Lou and I just had to sit in it, right? It wasn't spooky nor did it wiggle and shake. The wheelchair reminds me of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. 

Dials Rock Shop is still in the same place with all the same yard decorations. 
I love when time stands still. 

Sad to say that it was closed on our way out of Mariposa. 

The Jelly Belly factory is fairly close to Susie so we headed for a quick stop.
That grizzly is made of jelly belly's and there is Ronald Reagan enjoying his favourite candy. 

 Photo booth pictures have been our thing for a long time.  We never pass up a chance when we see one. I believe these on the right were taken when were 13 because we have BYU t shirts on and I think that was David's first 

Can you tell we went down memory lane on this trip? We lived in Tracy 1973-1976 and this is where we went for 8th grade.
Below is a picture of Lou Lou and I as flag girls for a parade leading the Lammersville School band. "let's get Marilee and Marilou to be flag girls cuz they're twins and it will be cute".

I really like the hills of central California. 
We were able to visit with Jill for a short time in Tracy and it was great to get outside and hike again. 
Jill, along with her sister Julie were our very best friends when we lived in Tracy. 
Julie wasn't able to make it down from Washington and we missed her. 
We drove by our high school and failed to get a picture by the school sign. Lame. 

I think this pose will be put to rest for the year and possibly forever.
I'm not anticipating anymore hikes this year and you know what, this pose isn't easy for me  to do and I'm not quite sure why. I was never able to do the splits so maybe that's why. 

Another nostalgic stop was Sunnyvale. We lived at 790 Lakebird Drive. This was our first house and Lakewood Elementary was where we went to Kindergarten.  The house is now a home for the elderly and has been well taken care of. This was not my first time back to this house. The summer after my mother passed away in 2003 my father and I took a drive from Thousand Oaks where I was living, to visit Mariposa, Sunnyvale and Tracy. We knocked on the door and my father explained that he had just lost his wife and if they didn't mind, if we could take a peek inside. At that time a family was living in it. They were so nice to just let us walk through. We looked in the back room that was our room from birth to age 5 and there on the wall was an embroidery that was identical to one I remember my mother making. 

Here is a picture of Bradley standing in front of the one my mother made and gave to me when we lived in Drayton Valley. 

You can imagine how surprised I was to see something so recognizable at a time that was still fresh from losing my mother. I hadn't thought about that embroidery in years! I couldn't hold in my emotions and right then the owner of the house took it right off her wall and handed it to me!  If that was not a sign/tender mercy from my mother I don't know what is.  What are the chances of that happening? It was totally meant to be. ( side note. In the October 2017 conference, Elder Rasband gave a talk entitled, By Divine Design and he tells us that nothing in life is by coinscidence) The embroidery was a kit from the 70's and was mass produced but I know that it was a connection I will never forget.  Look at the picture of my mother pulling Lou Lou and I in the red wagon. See the awning in front of the car and the straight wall to the right? You can see the mailbox there and the mailbox is in the same place in the picture with me standing next to it. We were able to walk inside the home again and this time I took pictures!

Standing on the driveway of the same house. 
I have no idea if this is me or Lou Lou. 

Get a load of this picture. 
Behind the table in the picture on the right is the big picture window that is the same in the picture to the left. Not a lot has changed in the home, aside from upgrades and it was so nice to see it again. 

I'm guessing this was taken in 1963. Susie was 6, we were 3 and David was 10. 
I am on the....right.  Yah, I'm on the right. I think. Mark says that if you cover my mouth you   can see Clark. It's true so I must be on the right. 

1242 Sargent Drive in Sunnyvale. We moved here in 1968 and lived here for 4 years or so. 
The left is what it looks like now. I kind of think it's the same b ball hoop. I don't know how that can be after 55 years. 

Nimitz Elementary. Lots of memories here, mostly good, but I had a very traumatic incident take place here. I was in 6th grade and I remember being dragged by my legs by some bully boys and my shirt went up. I got really embarrassed as you can imagine.  I ran into this very bathroom and wouldn't come out. Finally the teacher sent a girl in to get me and the boys apologized. 

I remember sitting under those very trees and learning that Raquel Welch had fake.... 
Yep, you heard it right here. 

I  loved my 6th grade teacher an I'm pretty sure he liked me too. 
Scrap books are a good thing to keep for years and years and years so you can pull out little gems like this. 

Susan Hatch.  Susie Hatch. Susie June, her nickname.

I believe Susie is walking on her knees here.

 Below is an excerpt taken from my fathers personal history and written sometime ago. 

"Susan, born on February 22, 1957 and was such a cute baby and gave the family a complete  assortment. But, Susan was different.  It was obvious from the day of her birth that she did not have the same responses and reactions as expected.  She was watched over by the pediatrician and examined at frequent intervals.  She was behind the curve on walking, growth, and talking.  At the age of 3 1/2 she was pronounced as suffering from Childhood Schizophrenia, or Infantile Autism.  This syndrome had only recently been identified and nothing was known about what to expect as she grew up. 
Naturally the first question asked was "what caused it?"  The doctor said that the cause was something that occurred during the pregnancy.  Some event, or emotional trauma to Barbara.  This was not believable nor acceptable.  It was not until 1986 that the American Psychological Association announced that Autism was neither causable nor curable.  Much attention has been given to Autism in recent years but no effective treatment nor cure has been found.  Susan taught herself to read at about  age 3- 4 by watching and reading the screen credits and other printing on TV.  At first her murmurings were thought to be childish muttering, but close attention revealed she was reading from the screen. 

At an early age she picked up newspapers and magazines and apparently read them.  One little thing we noticed was that magazines and such began disappearing.  It was soon obvious that she could not endure clutter and if there was not a proper place for things, into the garbage they went.  The tale is not yet told on her life, but she is quite healthy and has a cheerful, happy disposition.  The family has periodical telephone conferences in which she is chatty and entertaining, if not always understandable.  At about the age of 6 she began living  in care homes and has so resided ever since".
We met her new case worker, social worker and care giver and we believe Susie will be in good hands once again. She was responsive, settled, communicative and just fun to be with. We are excited for her new chapter and she is too. 
She still loves the newspaper. She was rubbing her eyes so I grabbed my reading glasses and the rubbing stopped. I think she looks great in glasses. Susie also "signed" her name on the legal documents and she is now good to go on October 19th. And can I say that she  inherited the best set of hands in the family. Her fingers are long and her hands are so soft. She loved when I rubbed them. 

Sisters, Sisters....

 Best smile ever Susie! 

 This photo was taken about 10 years ago and it's a favorite. 
Reunion day will be a grand day!

( update... 1 week after this post was published the Napa, Sonoma and Santa Rosa areas were hit by several fires. Wind has fueled the fires and the areas we drove around and loved have forever changed. Lou Lou and I have remarked several times how the timing for this trip to visit Susie was so perfect.  Had we been there when the fires broke out our visit would have been much much different and extremely hard. We could not have planned it better.  Tuesday morning Lou Lou called Kevin to see if there was a time that we could meet him ( he owns the Adelaide Home that Susie will be moving to October 19)  and there was already a meeting set up with all of "Susie's new people" at the exact time we were wanting to see Susie. This may not sound like a big deal, but since learning of Susies episode over 18 months ago, Lou Lou has made so many phone calls to figure out when went wrong with Susies care. What caused her to lose so much weight and lash out so harshly?  Lou Lou worked hard and never let up.  California is changing how the mentally and physically disabled are being cared for so it has been a time of transition for everyone which made it more difficult.  Susie was well taken care of in the hospital and now this acute center at Sonoma Developmental Center in Glen Ellen and we know she will thrive at the Adelaide House soon. For now she and the other clients have been evacuated twice which causes more difficulty with logistics and the care that Susie needs. She does not do well with commotion and change. We are in contact with Kevin and he tells us Susie is coping and she is doing well. Music to our ears.