Long Beach, California

It always seemed big to me during the years I lived in it.
We were crammed in nicely; a house full of women, except when my father was in port. Grandma, my mother and her sister Corinne and various female renters made up our family.

Dad 1928

Mama 1928
My Parents in 1928

Aunts and Great-Aunts have had an influence in most of our lives, some of whom are elevated to “Auntie”, as if setting them apart from just being an ordinary Aunt. I had all of these, with Grandma’s sister Georgia at top of the Auntie list. Given the fact of my birth to my nineteen year old parents in a shaky economy and in an unusual living environment, Auntie and Uncle Phil wanted to adopt me, which obviously did not happen. However, their Highland Park home formed my alternate home throughout my younger life.

Running up the middle of American Avenue, now Long Beach Avenue, was the Pacific Electric Railway, otherwise known as the Red Train. This rail line was the brilliant idea of Henry Huntington, one of the Big Four railroad tycoons. The streetcar connected us with Los Angeles where My mother would hand me off to Auntie in the morning and Auntie was waiting with me to be returned at the end of the work day.

The Red Train holds other memories as well of my kindergarten beau Richard, with red hair and freckles, whose father was the conductor of the Red Train. The ultimate job for a father to have.

baby parade
The Long Beach Baby parade

first day of school kayti louFirst Day of School, Long Beach

By the time I entered school we had spent time in San Diego twice where I have fleeting memories of one room apartments/bathroom down the hall, and being very glad to come back to Grandma’s house.

I had a police record of sorts when I was lost at the age of four. Victimized by six year old twin boys who thought it a grand idea to desert me at the bottom of a deep ravine near our apartment. Later, when returning in the third grade, I met the boys again, who obviously remembered the thrashing I had given them when I was recovered, because they avoided me like poison, as I had been given lessons in self defense by my father, who did not tolerate cry babies.

Navy life was filled with hellos and goodbyes; some happy and some not. In the times we were stationed somewhere for a time, life was good. It was the three of us and my father was home each night.

Mom, Dad and Me 1934 1934, Long Beach

We were stationed in Bremerton, Washington twice, and lived across the Sound in Port Orchard, where puppies came into my life. Grandma did not tolerate dogs; dogs were dirty and had fleas. She would not be happy today to know that Charlie, Master of the House, sometimes slips into the room where her large favorite chair provides a night’s resting place.

GypsiesGypsy Camp Wikipedia

I have written about our time in Port Orchard in second grade on a previous post and the fear I had in walking to school passing the camp of gypsies. This is similar to my memory of it as I ran past. There was also the collapse of the large sand hill where we played which buried two of my classmates.

My mother became active in the Navy wive’s club, where the Admiral’s wife took an interest in us. They frequently sent the shore boat over to Port Orchard and I was sometimes allowed to steer the boat. Thrilling on a windy day. I repaid this kindness by climbing the Admiral’s cherry tree and falling out breaking up a perfectly sedate tea party, and sending me to the infirmary for patching up.

The other good thing I remember about the second grade is being selected to hang the class paintings which probably gave rise to my future occupation in the art world.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

17 thoughts on “A HOUSE FULL OF WOMEN Kate’s Journal”

  1. How nice that you could grow up around extended family. That doesn’t happen much anymore, and I think today’s children are missing out because of it. Love that you stood up to those boys!


    1. I was lucky and didn’t really know it. I was always a bit envious of families who stayed in one place and went all through school together. My husband is one of those people and has had lifelong friends he began school with. On the other hand, I began each year anew. I agree, children today are so involved in their own pursuits and smart phones they never learn the joy of sharing family life.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Janet. I have been thinking of writing this for my family for a long time. It is easier for me to do it as part of my blog so I hope others can enjoy some part of it. So much in the past is unfamiliar to younger people Glad you enjoyed this part. Bear with me if I repeat myself.


  2. I love what you say about having your father home every night. Such happiness. Are you an only child? Love the photo of you and your parents and the way your Dad is holding you, and adore reading of your feistiness!


    1. Life was quite different when my father was home with us. Yes, I am an only child; not always happy about it as a child. I once (at the age of 4) told someone I had 4 older brothers and when asked where they were, I said my mother kept them locked in a room and just fed them bread and water. Maybe the start of a fiction writing career.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I can get lost in old photos. My great grandfather took up photography as a hobby. He was a contractor in Bristol, New Hampshire and I have photos of many of his buildings. He also did many “blue” photos. I haven’t a clue how that was done, but I am amazed at how forward thinking people were in those days.


  3. You’ve reminded me that I won the Baby Contest at the Maytag Family Picnic one year. I just went in and looked, and I do indeed have the gold bracelet that was my prize. Clearly, Mr. Crosby was thinking of us both when he sang this song! What fun to hear it again.

    There was a set of twins in my life, too. Roy and Roger Haines. They had red hair and freckles. They always were together as I recall, and I remember them of being capable of high jinks. I remember one confrontation with them in the school yard, but it couldn’t have traumatized me too much, because I don’t remember what it was about.

    Being an only child didn’t bother me so much when I was a child, but I surely do hate it now. Of course, that’s the proverbial two-sided coin, and plenty of my friends would be happy enough to have less conflict with siblings. One thing’s for sure — we both had great parents.


    1. You were undoubtedly a cuter baby than I because I didn’t even place. Twin boys can be a potential problem I guess. Two are better than one for self esteem. A niece of mine has 3 sisters and a brother. They have so much fun together it makes me jealous. On the other hand, I do know families who developed much different personalities when adults and now have nothing in common. Sad. Yes, I’m sure we did have great parents—look how well we turned out!


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