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NEW BEGINNINGS Kate’s Journal


Episode 23 Fremont 1959

375px-Mission-Peak-2006
Mission Peak in Fremont, CA

Our best friends as well as Sam’s family had all moved into this new community which incorporated in 1956 by merging five old farm districts. Business was booming with new doctors, dentists, banks etc. opening regularly. There were probably 6,000 people here when we moved; there is now an ethnic diversity of 225,000 many of whom come from nearby Silicon Valley.

We moved into our new home in Fremont and began to figure out what to do with all the additional space both in and out. I had been taking classes in Japanese Flower Arrangement for awhile, and we decided to take it another step forward and put in a Japanese Tea Garden with ponds, waterfall, arched bridge and eventually a Tea House. Dr. A took pick and shovel in hand and dug till we had a pond big enough to swim in, which ended when we threw in all the koi fish. The whole thing turned out so well various groups around town began asking permission to come take a look.

J Garden 4 (1)

I met a Japanese/American lady who was to become a good friend who was brushing up on her Japanese, so I began learning the language as well. My Campfire group began studying ancient Japanese culture whether they liked it or not!

What do you do about a gorgeous new neighbor wearing short shorts and high heels, and who looks like a TV model? Why, you make a friend as quickly as possible. Joan did not come as advertised though; she was one of the nicest and funniest girls I had ever met and we became good friends.

We tried to figure out what we could do to earn more money for Christmas, and explored all kinds of things including running a Christmas tree lot or perhaps a nursery school. I came up with the idea of painting store windows with seasonal greetings. She immediately said “I can’t paint”. But of course I could, so with her pretty face and personality she got the business and I climbed the ladders, did the work and collected the money, which was not always the easiest thing. I became known as “the hatchetman”.

We took over most of the stores in town as well as branching out into Oakland and San Jose. I received some strange requests while painting in the cold December weather. One was a book deal which I took, and several were for decorating entire showrooms. We made a real business out of it and eventually spread out into dressing department store windows, which is what I had done during high school in Alameda at J.C. Penney.

Meanwhile, our youngest daughter had a delightful Native American teacher with whom we became very close friends. She was from the Pueblo village of Isleta in New Mexico, and her husband, a commander in the Coast Guard and also a teacher, was a Quinault from the State of Washington. I have written about their stories in the past.

We began vacationing in the Seattle area and at their home on the Hood Canal which they graciously allowed us to use as our own on occasion. We fell in love with the area and eventually moved there for a time. The fishing was good, and the diving in the Canal was lovely.

We fished and hiked all over the Northwest and Canada trying all the while without a lot of success to capture the sheer beauty of the country.

Sitting around mellow with a glass of wine one evening, my friend Georgia said she was going home to New Mexico when school was out and would I like to go along? Her plan was to come back just before school started in the fall. Dr. Advice while working to get the OSHA thing going, had spend some time in New Mexico, and he agreed that it would be a good thing for me to go.

So the day after school was out we took off in Georgia’s car bound for the desert. We would be living with her various family members and traveling between Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. We opted to do this as cheaply as possible, with me keeping track of the money which we would only use to buy books and artwork. The car was packed with art supplies and sun lotion.

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14 comments on “NEW BEGINNINGS Kate’s Journal

  1. beautiful photos and story AK. Love reading these! Keep em coming How are you feeling today! Love, Cindy

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  2. You have had such adventures Kayti, I love hearing about them!

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  3. Traveling between Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos in a car packed with art supplies and sun lotion sounds pretty much like heaven! Glad to hear you’re on the mend.

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    • It was more than fun! The people I met on that first trip ere so wonderful. Because of my friend Georgia, they took me in and could not have been more pleased to pose for me. We traveled that area (husband and I0 for probably 40 years, always meeting up with people I had met on that first trip.

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  4. What a lovely post! I lived in Fremont for a short period of time in the very early seventies. I had family living there and went back to visit many times. It’s such a beautiful area but it probably changed changed. I haven’t been there in 30 years!

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    • It has changed a great deal since you were here. We now have great ethnic diversity due to Silicon Valley. So many tech companies in Santa Clara, Mountain View, Cupertino, etc. Fremont is expensive, but not so much as those cities so we have had a great upsurge in population. It is still a very nice place to live however.

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  5. I loved the reference to painting the store windows. That was quite the thing in our town when I was growing up. It wasn’t done only for Christmas. Valentine’s Day, Homecoming, and Thanksgiving were times when the stores allowed school kids to have their fun. Schools and grade levels competed against one another, and some of the work was really great. My personal triumph was a cardinal perched on a football goal post: a big cardinal, since that was our team mascot.

    I’ve been in New Mexico twice, and loved every minute. I’d be so happy to go back again, although that may or may not ever happen. I spent time in Abiquiú, and visited Ghost Ranch. I have a rock in my copper basket of rocks that came from the red cliffs O’Keeffe painted. I took the high road to Taos, helped pick cherries, and didn’t pay nearly enough attention to the various ruins. Ah, well. I’ll just read your memories, and enjoy!

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    • We began painting the various seasons too. I was glad they didn’t make us come wash the windows afterward.
      During all the years we went to the Southwest, I always had the feeling I belonged there. We all have something in our lives which seems a high point; those days were mine. I found the landscape beautiful, but soon became enamored of the people. There was a painting or sculpture around every corner and the women especially fascinated me. The old people with wrinkled faces fit right into the wrinkled hills.

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  6. You seem to have a gift for making wonderful friends and another for creating beautiful things. You’ve been twice blessed.

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  7. You’re fascinating, Kayti. Thanks for sharing your rich life with me. x

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