Chapter 13: Our First Home

I think I told you we had to have our wedding at exactly the time we did for a certain reason. Since Chuck worked in the cannery, it had to be after apricot season but before the peach season. Therefore, when we got back to San Jose, we got back just in time for him to go to work with the peaches.

We moved into a duplex on Twelfth Street, right near Santa Clara in a nice section of town. This was a little place owned by a widow lady, and she was a lady who also had a good sense of humor. We had a living/sleeping room, dining room, tiny kitchen and a small bathroom. Since there was no place to wash clothes, we took our washing to a launderette every week. Although I said the one room was a living/sleeping room, it was really only a living room, and it had a bed that was a wall bed (Murphy bed) that was pulled down at night. The dining room was not too large, but it held a nice size table, though it was quite narrow. It would fit two plates directly across from each other with no space between them, so Chuck had a hard time telling which glass and salad plate was his. If we had guests visiting, it was a pretty hard squeeze to get everything on the table, but we managed.

The kitchen was large enough to turn around in, but that was about all. At least it did have room for our dishes and groceries and things we needed there. One time I remember using the oven to make biscuits. I made a little too much for one batch, but I had one left over to cook in a second batch. I promptly forgot about it, so it turned out to be a perfectly black piece of charcoal. In fact, it was black and shiny and looked like something one could eat. I decided to play a little joke on Chuck and I frosted the top of it. It looked like it was a tiny chocolate cake with the white frosting on it. I left the door open in the back of the kitchen so our landlady could look in when I served the dessert, and when I did, she got to see the look on Chuck’s face when he tried to taste it. It was devastating, and she nearly died laughing.

It was while we were in that house that we were getting along on just $7.50 a week for our food allowance. We went to the market once a week to get our food. Chuck wanted to get something I didn’t like at all, which was asparagus, and even though it was quite expensive, especially since he would be the only one to eat it, he insisted on buying it. You probably guessed what happened. I was soon eating asparagus even though I didn’t like it because I couldn’t see him eating it all by himself! In fact, I actually began to like it. The Crystal Creamery was one of the bright spots of our times in San Jose. Although we had only so much to spend on food, we saved up money for special events, and going to the Crystal Creamery for their fantastic ice cream was one of those. This was a hangout for some of the SJBC students.

Another time I decided to play a little joke on Chuck again. I had brought the wash in from the launderette and decided to sew the pant leg of his pajamas together on one side. That night, when he tried to put on his pajamas, he couldn’t put his leg into the pant leg. Needless to say, he was surprised, and we had a big laugh about that. Another time, he gave me some pants that needed to be repaired. The knee on his pants needed a patch. So I patched it in a nice way, but then just for fun, I placed another piece of material over the top and sewed it on quite hit or miss. When he saw the pants were repaired, he didn’t know quite what to say. He didn’t want to hurt my feelings and tell me that that wasn’t really the way to patch pants, but he didn’t know what else to say. Again, the landlady was peeking in the back door, and she could hardly control herself as she saw him floundering and trying to decide what to say. We both burst out laughing, and he knew then that he had been taken. Then he lifted up the “patch” on the outside, and saw it had been nicely patched underneath. He was very thankful I did know how to do it after all. One never did know what a new wife was going to do next, did one?

Chuck‘s job as a cannery worker paid fairly well. I didn’t have a job, though, because Chuck said that “No wife of his was going to have to get a job.” Well, we really did need more than the income he made, but it was all right with him if I baby sat from time to time, so that was my work at that time. He even came over and helped me from time to time, and we enjoyed telling the children stories at bedtime. So everyone was happy.

Later I got a job working at the San Jose Hospital as a nurses’ aide. Since I had been in nurses’ training for a year and a half, I knew how to do about everything a nurses’ aide needed to know. It was a nice place to work, and I enjoyed it. I remember that in time, as I had to turn patients over and do fairly heavy things, I hurt my back so was not able to do that part. However, I did other things, folding bandages, etc, and they eventually promoted me to work in the admissions office as the admitting lady.

Chuck and Dean Boulton started a small church with a group that had been meeting in homes in Palo Alto. They called it the Palo Alto Church of Christ. They met in a dancing school, not a church building, and Chuck took over the preaching every Sunday, while the elders took over the services at other times during the week, like the Wednesday night prayer meetings and Bible studies.

One day, we were having our service there when a good looking service man entered the congregation. I broke into a huge smile and just couldn’t stop smiling. When Chuck saw this, he was terribly jealous, and it was all he could do to get to the end of the service without saying something about it. Of course, at that time, I introduced him to my oldest brother, Phil, who was in the United States Army and happened to be in the San Francisco area at the time. He apparently just thought he would come over and surprise me that morning, and he was completely successful. I never knew he was in the vicinity, and never dreamed he would come to see his little sister and her husband in their first part time ministry.

One time, my parents came to visit us, too, and I can still remember my Dad getting the persimmons from the tree in the back yard. He loved them, and they were nice and soft and very sweet. This was the only time they ever came to see us in San Jose because they seldom went to visit so far away from home.

San Jose Bible College was right near our home, and they had an annual outing at Alum Rock Park. We enjoyed fellowship from time to time with our old friends from the school and had some of them over to visit us, too. Chuck and I decided to go to the annual outing because it was a beautiful place, and we wanted to go hiking, too. There was a stream in the park which we hiked along, and it smelled like rotten eggs.

The park got its name from the alum that was in the water in that stream. The fellowship that day was fabulous, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. There was also a swimming pool at Alum Rock Park, and believe it or not, Chuck went swimming with me there one time.

Although he had finally decided to go against his old qualms about “mixed bathing,” we actually seldom ever had occasion to go swimming after that because we never lived in places where we had access to a pool. It was not all that much of a big deal after all, as I came to realize. I’m very thankful I didn’t let that make a difference in whether or not I married him. The main thing is that we have things in common spiritually. Our views about the scriptures and spiritual things are almost exactly the same, so we never have problems along that line at all. God knew what He was doing when He put the two of us together. We praise Him for that constantly.

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