LEARNING TO GET ALONG Kate’s Journal


Episode 19 Oakland

By 1951 the patterns of our early married life were being formed, convivial, but hardly ever serene. Two diametrically opposed personalities frequently clashing.

The trucking company had been sold, and Sam went to work at the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. where he was to remain for nearly 40 years. His expertise in transportation and in safety engineering sent him up and down the West coast from Monday to Friday every week. The dye was cast for him to become “Dr. Advice” in the future.

Meanwhile I was what came to be known as a “stay-at-home” mother, just as my mother and all the women I knew then were. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, wallpaper, garden and cook. I tried my best to be perfect, still too young to realize that would never happen. (In case you wonder at the wallpaper skill, it was very important in the 50’s. Every room in the magazines had wallpaper.)

Our older women friends had long since realized that none of the above were important skills, but I still fed on their praise when I was showing off. Much like the feeling I got as a small girl when I got approval for being a “good girl”, or learning something new.

Since Sam traveled all week, and we lived in a more rural area, I thought a dog would be a good idea. Calling a pet adoption organization, I expressed the desire for a large dog. The woman said they had one but it was too much dog for me, so I took him home. Sarge was a slow, sleepy and very large Great Dane, who wanted badly to be part of someone’s family. He slept in our downstairs family room, and late one Friday night when Sam returned home from traveling all week, Sarge refused to let him into the house. Though Sarge was a family dog, it became clear that ours was not the right family.

Sam and Kayti Going to the Oakland Flower Show, Oakland in those days had a more upscale social life.

I tried to rejuvenate my painting skills, but I soon realized I needed help. I submitted a painting of my daughter to the “Famous Artists Schools” which was a correspondence school for illustrators. I received a thumbs up from them saying I had possibilities which planted a seed in my brain.

Famous Artists School

I waited for an opportune moment and announced my intention of signing up for the school. It was met with the utmost of negative reactions. As a matter of recollection he said “Over my dead body!” I believe I said OK!

Many years later I met a gentleman who had been a graduate of that school and had become a very successful illustrator of women’s clothing for newspaper advertising. This was before photographs of actual people were used.

Not being at all deterred in my quest for further education, at the beginning of the next semester, I entered the California College of Art in Oakland, sharing baby sitting with a neighbor, and walking two miles to catch a bus. The halls of higher education held wondrous possibilities, and though my intent was to someday call myself a painter, there were other avenues to pursue as well.

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.

15 thoughts on “LEARNING TO GET ALONG Kate’s Journal”

  1. Sadly I think many young wives and mothers are still trying to be perfect. The expectations on them have not seemed to lessen over the years. Luckily we come to the conclusion over time that’s it’s not only unnecessary to be perfect, it’s also impossible.

    “but it was too much dog for me, so I took him home”—Ha!

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    1. I learned never to take rejection well.
      I see so many young women today who are still trying to do it all. It’s OK for awhile, but balancing kids, work and still trying to be the perfect pin-up can never work. We all learn from experience. Learn and laugh at our own stupidity.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometime we learn to point out the fact that the other partner has legs and hands to do it themselves. Mothers of boys try to ruin it for simple young girls who take their boys away from them. They seem to be recreating the roles their own mothers taught them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Two miles to catch a bus! I’m so glad you stuck with it–you’ve made some wonderful art. And wallpaper: I’ve put it up, both pre-pasted and not, and tried my best to remove it: not the easiest job when it’s been on the wall for decades!

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    1. It seems that I did an awful lot of walking in those days; I didn’t have a car. Daughter took piano lessons some distance away so we walked there too. I guess when you make your mind up to do something, you just keep pushing through.

      Did you ever paper a ceiling? I did our first kitchen in red strawberries–ceiling and all. It’s funny though; one of our nephews, 66 years old just told me recently that he remembers that little house and he loved the wallpaper! Go figure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the worst myths perpetrated by the Cosmo gang and the Betty Friedan wannabes was that you can have it all. I finally figured out that you can have a good bit, if not all, but you can’t have it all at the same time.

    The greatest irony of all is that we struggled in the 60s and 70s for the freedom to choose our own path. Today, young women are tying themselves in knots because they don’t necessarily want what they’re told they should want — by women who call themselves feminists. My, my. What a strange world it’s become. Compared to some young women today, my mother was a feminist — in the sense that she was strong, determined, competent, and able to face up to difficulties. No marshmallow, that one!

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    1. It’s true; you can have it all “but not at the same time’.
      I look at the women of my family and realize that they too were all feminists. It was simply expected that they should be strong. When we think of most of the women of history, I guess they fit the description as well. It’s good to come from good stock isn’t it?

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