Episode 29 Fremont 1966-1969

The years after my Southwest odyssey were ripe with possibility. I had come away with a deep feeling of humility and admiration for these people who had so little and yet were so generous and had the gift of laughter and ingenuousness.

The window dressing business, was still going well, spreading our good will and fancy frippery from San Jose to Oakland, our daughters became young ladies and began their University lives, we continued our outdoor life camping, hiking, fishing in the Northwest and Canada, went often to the family cabin at the Russian River,and generally enjoyed life.

Russian River

As fascinated as I had become with seemingly endless native subject matter for my painting, the opportunity to paint closer to home arose.


Other People’s Children

The City Recreation Department, using a charming old building across the street from Mission San Jose, had a sculpture class, and I decided to take a class. The instructor left and I was asked to teach the class as well as begin a pottery class, and they would even pay me! I couldn’t believe it. I was so rusty at throwing pots, I went to a neighboring town’s recreation department to brush up. We had no pottery wheel, so we bought a hand-made wooden kick-wheel through the newspaper, which turned out to be so uncomfortable, prospective students were dropping out. After a few money-raising events, we bought the real McCoy and things picked up. City coffers are notoriously empty when you need them.

We had a few memorable parties in our Japanese garden, even digging a pit to roast a pig for one party. The pig was still squealing at midnight, so we ate chicken and shrimp. The infamous zucchini parties came in the summer.

Just before high school graduation, our youngest daughter and a large number of her girlfriends had a photo-op on our red arched Japanese bridge, which suffered loudly from the added weight. Unfortunately, no photo remains.

J Garden 4 (1)

We all seem to have a favorite car in our past, and mine was a yellow Karmann Ghia dubbed “Herman”. It was truly mine, but with two daughters, one at San Jose State U., one still in high school, I waited for my turn. Herman lived with us for 15 years or so, and when he had reached his doddering years, a young grandson sobbed that he had hoped to drive it when he went to college.


We found ourselves traveling to the Northwest, often as guests of Georgia and Emmett Oliver at their lovely home on the Hood Canal. Dr. Advice was an ardent fisherman, and Georgia and I had formed a strong bond during our summer in the Southwest. Emmett was introducing me more and more to Northcoast art and the country itself was beautiful. Our youngest daughter had been accepted at the University of Washington, and we began thinking seriously of moving to the Seattle area. Karma was right and it seemed to be the right thing to do.

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 “LIVIN’ THE GOOD LIFE Kate’s Journal”

  1. Herman is a good car to have for teenagers–you’ll always be able to find out if they’re where they say they are by scanning the parking lot. 😉 My husband said his parents got him and his sister a used, bright orange Beetle Bug when they were in high school. Then his dad would drive to where they said they were going to be and confirm it. That was in the days before cell phones. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to confess that was an internet photo. My Herman was a pretty yellow. But orange would be a good choice for a parking lot. I never thought of that ruse, but found out 30 years later that a daughter stuffed too many kids in Herman and took them up one of the steepest winding roads in our area. Ignorance can be bliss.

      BTW love your new book!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a rich history of events. A tapestry come to mind but that’s a bit of a cliche. I so enjoy the opportunity to peek inside other peoples lives. Thank you Kayti.
    My first car was a Ford Single spinner. V8. (Light blue with leather seats.)


  3. I have a clutch of white-veined rocks — pebbles, really — from the mouth of the Russian river. Just now, they’re living in a cactus pot: the best kind of souvenir.

    You really have lived a blessed life. Of course there were hard times, but my goodness — it’s starting to sound like a fairy tale! That said, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have playing Cinderella. 🙂


    1. While building our Japanese garden we scavenged the nearby creek for rocks, some of which were quite beautiful. On our next move, we had the movers pack all the special ones to go with us. Some things you can’t part with.

      Remember: all that glitters isn’t gold.


  4. When I was living in a college dorm, I had a roommate who had a Karmann Ghia. It had a reserve gas tank, but she often switched to the reserve tank and then forgot to stop for gas, so the reserve tank ran out, too.


  5. I laughed when I read about your roommate’s memory lapse. We seem to expect the young and the very old to be forgetful! The young are too busy to remember and the old have too much to remember. There must be a period in the middle when our memories work as expected.


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