Thursday, August 19, 2010

Important Business

A few days ago, Letty and I felt very important stepping off the presidential helicopter and on to the soil where the 37th President was born.
We are in Yorba Linda, California, the site of Richard Nixon's childhood home.

The helicopter seats 16 and was used by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon (who flew 180+ trips) and Ford. His most famous flight lifted him from the south lawn of the White House after he resigned from the Presidency on August 9, 1974.

Letty and I arrived early to the Nixon Library, and we were the only ones on the helicopter tour. The turquoise carpet caught my eye. It certainly didn't look very presidential. The seats were gold tweed.
"Gold and turquoise were very popular back in those days," said our guide. Unfortunately she wouldn't let me take a picture. The helicopter is called "Army One". It's actually a Sikorsky YH3A "Sea King".

Nixon's Birthplace

Nixon's 1 and 1/2 story home was built by his father. He sold citrus fruit as a living and owned 8.2 acres. A large pepper tree, planted by his father in 1913, still stands loyally, like an old friend, near the door.

Letty sits near the back door where young Richard and his brothers ran out to play among the citrus trees. All four boys slept in the room on the second floor—two in a bed. The stair case is narrow with no handrails. I saw a photo of how the house actually looked many years ago. There was no rich green grass, and there were no flower lined pathways. Just dusty brown dirt. Nixon once said, "We were poor, but we didn't know it." To see the inside of the house click here
It's furnished with Nixon's parents original furnishings, including the quilt and the blanket on the bed where Nixon was born. (note: a fifth brother was born later at a different location--5 boys in all, however 2 passed away at a young age.) The family moved to the neighboring city of Whittier in 1922. The home passed through a series of owners until 1959 when it was officially designated an historic site.
He is buried next to his wife Pat, in a quiet spot surrounded by colorful flowers.

A beautiful reflection pool stretches across the grounds.
I stand near the house, and look across the reflection pool, toward the museum where we jouneyed through Nixon's triumphs and struggles. Although Nixon's memory is tarnished by the events leading up to his resignation, he made great strides in reaching out to China and the Soviet Union. I came away feeling he wasn't that much different from you or I. We are all placed in specific places for certain reasons. Whether it's the job of "President" or (fill in the blank), each of us have opportunities to affect our world for good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Day With Dad

My dad is 81 and curious. We spent the day together exploring the coastline. It all started when my husband and I found out we would not be able to go on vacation this summer. So I decided to take a "mini-vacation" --two days at my parent's home near the beach.

Normally when I visit, my mother and I spend quite a bit of "girl-time" together. But since her knee was out-of-sorts she elected to rest. "Go see what your dad is doing."

I found my dad in the garage installing a small countertop and sink. "Can you hand me the crecent wrench?"

Fast forward.....
I finally got my dad away from the garage and talked into a bike ride along the coast. Okay, he said, but first—could I warm him up for tomorrow's doubles tournament? As we whacked the ball back and forth, one of dad's younger friends walked by. "What age division are you playing in tomorrow, Don?"
"The 130's"
"The 'Oh My Gosh' division??"
(In the 130's division, he and his partners' ages must add up to 130 or over.)
It turned out Dad warmed ME up. "Keep your eye on the ball...all the way to the racket!"
"Ha! Ha! Try to get that one," he says.

After tennis, we latched the bikes to the back of the truck and headed across the bridge to Balboa Island to catch the ferry. Balboa island is full of little shops, small restaurants and ice cream stands. Dad wanted me to take a picture of the frozen banana sign.
We veered away from the shops and threaded along the tree-lined streets. Homes of all sizes sat elbow to elbow. Finding a spot to park was a miracle.

The ferry approaches the dock. Dad says, "C'mon!" I'm so excited. It's only about a 5 minute ride, but I always love it.

Rippling water slapped the boat. A cool wind blew the the clutter out of my head. I took a deep breath and relaxed.
We made it!

With the rolling sea to one side and colorful cottages on the other—there is so much to look at!
We stopped at a little cafe for lunch. I ordered fish and chips and Dad had a hamburger. We people-watched in front of a breezy window.
We rode on to a black top which stretched close to the water.
It belonged to a public school.
The school is in the background. I'm standing on the sand. What a fun place for recess!
To the side of us, a lifeguard watches summer visitors carefully.
We head back across the harbor.

I ran back to shore and captured the Balboa Penninsula ferris wheel spinning through the sky.

Thanks for coming along!

This ferris wheel reminds me that we need to keep looking up. I'm going to be posting about that soon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Diamond and Other Things

I tried to vacuum the sheepskin rug and Diamond insisted on "helping" me.

She's quite a character. She scared the living daylights out of the parcel post man today. He came prancing down the driveway and almost dropped his box when he saw Diamond stretched out by the back door. Diamond licked him all over and I assured him she was okay. He relaxed and told me he had some milkbone biscuits in his van...just for this sort of situation. So Diamond followed him out and enjoyed a snack.

I've been doing housework, yardwork, bills, errands, organizing, caregiving, dog duty...and I'm pretty sure it would make a boring I'll stop here.

Yet I do have an overnight trip to my parents home coming up and I'm looking forward to that beach air!

Hope your summer(s) are going well.