John in Korea
The trip home I was pregnant with Peggy so it was not easy.
When we got to Turlock I went to Bank Of America with my power of attorney and they told me that was no good. I have hated Bank of America ever since. The man had me bawling, big tears when I realized I couldn't cash his checks or anything. They were wrong of course and it worked out OK. Again I was living at 920 Pedros Rd. There I would push Cathy's tailor-tot up the dirt road to the mail box, by Divine Gardens, a club deal on the frontage road. About 1/4 of a mile, everyday, pregnant with Peggy, waiting for letters from John.
His letters were few and far between. Never any romance or memory stuff. When he did write it was just to say stuff like, “I've been a forward observer for 3 days”. I knew how dangerous this was, near front lines telling them where they should fire artillery shells. John was in 2nd Division Artillery. They were close to 38th parallel line.
One time I went weeks with no mail. I got a very formal telegram that they delivered to the door. All women and families dreaded seeing that man, because that is how they told you if your husband died. The wire said he had been missing in action. Then another one saying he was wounded. About that time he phoned saying he was in Japan on R&R. They had just made a mistake. Meanwhile I had been home worrying half out of my mind. I was living there 920 Pedros Road with Danny and mother and Cathy as a baby, and pregnant with Peggy, having a pretty rough time.
That's when pops had his Wormy Walt's ranch so I sometimes helped him count worms. He would sell worms by the dozen to help gardeners in their garden, it cultivated their gardens. Danny had a big fit that I was counting worms while I was pregnant, she thought that was going to mark the baby, but it didn't. Peggy wasn't any more a wiggly baby than any other baby. Betty had a little green house with flowers, she was married to Ralph by then and we saw very little of her.
My best friend was Madge Cato, Phyllis Ferguson's mother, she lived in Turlock, on Thor St. Madge taught me about cooking a little bit and about shopping at the store, I used to drive her to the market. She took the sale ads marked for what stores had the cheapest. Pops had a army surplus jeep with a big sign "Wormy Walts Ranch" on the side that I used to enjoy riding in. Mother went to the grocery store in it sometimes too. She also had an Oldsmobile.
The day pops drove me to the hospital when Peggy was born I am quite sure I was in the Oldsmobile. We drove past Madges on the way to the hospital and honked the horn like Auntie Burt always did when she arrived someplace."toot toot toot toot ta toot."
That was November 7 1950 when I wish I could have voted because I was finally 21, that was the mid election, it wasn't important for the presidential but it was important for me. You had to be 21 in those days to vote. It was a long labor, I don't think they gave us epidermal in those days. I had gained a lot of weight, probably over 55 pounds. So they gave me a lot of ether like they did when Cathy was born, I never saw the baby being born. They brought her to me afterwards John and I had decided that since we named the first one Loa Catherine after my mother the second one if it was a girl it was to be Mary Margaret after Johns mother. I saw this very chubby healthy looking baby the next day and she did not look like any Mary Margaret to me. One of the nurses said, “well you can always call her Peggy” I thought that was a good idea, she looked more like a Peggy. She was very healthy 9 pounds 6 ounces, big healthy baby. Looked like a month old baby already. The nurses came in the next day and were surprised I was doing so well after how much ether I had to have to get through the birth. Cathy was only 15 months old and still in diapers. Mother and I had our hands full with two babies in diapers, even if Peggy was as big as a 1 month old baby. It wasn't like having a brand new baby, she was really a 10 month fetus and much easier then a new born.
We lived there until John was coming home from Korea. I was looking forward so much to having him come home. I planned every day exactly how wonderful it would be to meet his train and I shopped for very fancy clothes. Including bright green high heeled shoes with a green purse to match. The dress was an orange knit dress. I really looked spectacular. I was counting the days and very anxious. He almost didn't let me know when he was arriving. I wanted his homecoming to be like in the movies. Very dramatic and a great love affair, lovers coming together. Actually, it was Oakland, where all the trains come in and it was very busy. Hardly anybody saw me at all in my fancy clothes. Who would notice another soldier saying hello to his girlfriend. It wasn't at all as dramatic as I had dreamed it would be, but he was home safe and that is all that mattered.