(BW) Aside from the timeline dates and a few other sources
such as old logs, this is from my memory, with the occasional
input from other people involved. Nothing wrong with memory, of
course, but one has to expect that there would be a certain deviation
from reality. I'm sure I don't remember, without some aid, important
things that are part of my past, and I am also sure that what
I do remember is just as likely as not to be incorrect. But, there's
memory, none the less.
Dec. 15, 1916 - Dave Williams (BW's Father) born in Texas
Jan., 1921 - Fern C. (BW's Mother) born in Fresno, California
Nov. 10, 1924 - David Ritson (FR's Father) born in London
April 10, 1927 - Edda M. (FR's Mother) born in New York
April 1, 1942 - Dave and Fern married at Kelley Field in San Antonio, Texas
August 19, 1942 - Dave's First Mission in WWII
Dave Williams was posted to RAF Station Polebrook in England. He was a navigator on B17's with the 341st Bomb Squadron of the 97th Bomb Group. He flew his first bombing mission on August 19th, 1942 to Abbeville Drucat, France.
August 1, 1944 - BW born in Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 4, 1946 - BW's sister, Wende Lynn Williams born in San Diego
April 1, 1951 - David and Edda married
1948 - 1951 (?) - BW lived in Tuscon, Arizona
(BW) Before moving to Tuscon, we lived in a number of places, I think related to the fact that Dad was often in training. Certainly being in Albuquerque had to do with training for bombardier and navigator in the B17's during WWII. I remember a few things from those early years, but not much. We lived in Loma Linda, California, where there was an empty lot across the street I had a hole in, covered over with something to make a shelter. We have movies from Panama, Fla, that show Wende and I playing on the sand dunes on the beach. I think I remember that and playing around those wonderful pools that form between the sand dunes.
I don't remember a lot from Tuscon, either. I remember the nursery school that both I and Wende went to. Lots of outdoor places to play with covered sandboxes, covered probably for the shade. One time they brought in a trained rabbit show. And I started elementary school there, first grade. Someone drove across the playgrounds drunk and ran over and killed one of the school children. We lived in a couple of places, but lastly in a brick house that I believe was just built on what was then the edge of town. Next to us was desert. I liked the desert with it's "jumping cactus". I enjoyed playing out there and tried to trap rabbits with a box trap. I always felt badly that I left a trap "up" when we left. Course it is a little unlikely that I would have ever caught anything.
Summers on the Farm
For several years in the summers, Wende and I would fly out to Texas and spend a month or two on the farm with Dad's parents. They had a farm of about 400 acres about 30 miles south of Ft Worth. My Grandfather would get up early, milk the cows and then go to work in Fort Worth as a builder working for Kimbel (sp?). I didn't know the details of what he did there but I know he was once involved in jacking up a grain silo that was leaning over. On the farm they raised different things, sometimes milo, oats, or something for hay. They had a few horses and cows, chickens and pigs. They had a big chicken house and they got eggs and raised the chickens to eat. I remember my Grandmother, Olive, ringing their necks and burning off their feathers. I know what a chicken with it's head cut off actually looks and acts like. For a while they bought us a shetland pony named Princess, and I used to ride different ones of the horses, but I had to catch them. They were kept out in the fields.
I remember one summer riding on the trailer or whatever it was that was being loaded with hay that was being baled from the fields. That year I believe the hay was stored in the hay loft of the barn. One corner of the farm was rented out to a different family and it had a house and small barn on it. My earliest memories of the farm are of riding in the house as it was being pulled on a wagon up the hill to where it was reinstalled from a lower area of the property. They had first built, or the buildings they bought that were already on the farm, were located in a grove of small trees near a creek that wound through the property. For whatever reason, I have in mind that it was too dark, but that seems unlikely, they relocated up to the top of a hill on the property and they moved several of the original buildings: the house, the barn, the granary, and a garage. I can only say this because I can remember what they looked like and these buildings were all of the same vintage, old. The barn was big, as I remember it. Two big sides with a walkway down the middle and a big hayloft above. The cows would be let into the left side and put into their stanchions, fed, and then milked. My Grandmother churned the milk and made butter. I think they sold some of the milk. The other buildings were a new granary with a slab floor that was more rat proof. The old granary was interesting. It had strange passageways from one part of it to another. They didn't use it for much. One room had boxes of old candy in it all stuck together. When they relocated they drilled a new well and put in electricity. There was a tower over the well, but I don't remember that it was to any purpose. There was always water on the ground by the well and bees used it for their watering supply. In my earlier memories, they still had an outhouse over near the garage and the chicken house on the other side of the well from the house. At night we used bed pans. They built onto the old house in stages that I don't know if ever finished. First they put in a new kitchen, which I remember as pretty small even so, with a nice pantry I can still smell. Then they put on a big bedroom and a porch. The hill had a nice view. I can sort of remember the new bathroom.
The farm had a tank for the cows and horses to get water. I
don't think the water was deep enough to swim in, at least during
the summer, but I used to go down there and fish for crayfish
with bits of bacon on a string. One year a tornado passed by across
the valley from the farm. We could watch the funnel cloud as it
traveled along. A lot of farms had tornado shelters dug into the
earth, but our's didn't.
1951-1955 - BW lived in Tampa, Fla.
I started second grade in Joshua, Texas, while Wende and I stayed with our grandparents on their farm a few miles outside of Joshua. Then shortly into the school year, I transferred to Tampa. Tampa was fun. We rented a big old two story house in the Ballast Point area. The house had a large lot with grapefruit trees on one side and hibiscus hedge in back, where there was also a small building like a garden shed. Dad helped fix up the shed with a new roof so I could play in it. The house had a big screened in porch where Dad and Mom had parakeets that Dad had brought back from the Azores, I think, and wanted to breed, more or less unsuccessfully, as I recall. Across the street was a vacant overgrown lot where the vines had spread from treetop to treetop and we kids could climb up to them and walk and bounce across the above the ground on the vines. Next to that lived a nice fellow who collected snakes. My parents joined the Ballast Point Country Club and we went there for houseback riding and swimming in their pool. I did a lot of horseback riding and rode in many horse shows for several years getting lots of ribbons, some second places, few firsts. I did enjoy riding and helping to take care of the horses. I also liked cherry sodas at the club. The country club was on the water of Tampa Bay and had old broken down wharfs. Every Christmas Santa Claus came in on water skis. I had a friend, Mike Flynn, who lived on the shore of the bay on a big, it seemed to me, estate, which I guess was just a little ways from our house, but we were inland. He went to a different school, Catholic I think, but somehow we met and played together. I remember often being over there for a lunch of peanut butter, mayonnaise and jelly sandwiches which I can still taste, and love. His brother accidentally knocked me out with a baseball bat once while we were playing ball in their yard. I still have that bump on my forehead, marked for life.
Feb. 21, 1953 - FR born Rochester, New York
1955-1958- BW lived in Savannah, Ga.
Savannah I didn't care for. Not sure completely why, I know that in many ways it is a great city, but I was seeing it from a young person's eyes. I give myself the excuse that it was a culture, reflected in junior high school, riddled with hate and bigotry and still engaged in fighting the last wisps of the civil war. In school, every kid was challenged by the bullies if they might have been a "yankee", from the north. I was safe as usual, being from New Mexico. They were brutal with each other.
We lived in several places. Often, I think, we would rent up to the point that Dad had to go abroad and we would go somewhere and then when he returned we would find somewhere new to live, often not far from the Air Base. I remember living in three houses, besides the apartment that we stayed in when we first got to town. The first house was brick and had an attic with a pull down ladder. I remember playing up there with my train set, I believe. We had a very cool train set with many neat cars, like the cattle car that had little rubber cattle that moved around on the loading ramp into the cars and a car with milk bottles that did the same thing only with little magnets, I believe, in the bottom of the bottles. We had one or two passenger trains and a freight train. Dad really got into it and made scenery from sponges that he died green, the lamps were wired, and he made people with molds he made from other figures, I guess, and poured in lead or some soft alloy. We had a transformer that could run, as I remember, 4 trains at a time.
That neighborhood had lots of kids to play with. I got in trouble once by leaving my bb gun unattended and Wende shot out a window, or something, when she got hold of it. Another time I loaned my boy scout knife to a kid who just about got electrocuted by trying to cut the overhead power lines to a playhouse. Always the evil lurking in the shadows.
By this time, Mother was going to college in Boone, North Carolina, at Appalachian State College in the summers in Library Science. We bought a piece of land there in the mountains and Dad built a cabin of cement block and knotty pine. His Father, also Dave, was in construction in Ft Worth, in addition to having the farm south of Ft Worth, so Dad had probably picked up some of his Father's building skills. He wasn't a great carpenter, as I recall, but better than I am. I don't exactly know when the cabin was built, it just appeared pretty much done, at least livable. My job was to dig the dirt out of the basement area so it could be used for something. Not one I enjoyed.
I don't remember a lot of what we did in Boone. Went to movies, whatnot. But I do remember swimming in the creek at a swimming hole and coming out covered in leaches. One of the people we knew, a real estate guy, was Mr. Critchbaugh, I believe. He was probably 90 when we knew him and could remember his first ride on a train and his first ice cream.
1955 - FR lived in Lincoln, Mass. Visits London on Queen Mary
1956 - FR's Grandmother Francesca M. dies
Fall 1956 - BW started 7th grade in Boone, NC for a few months.
One summer in Boone was extended into the fall because Dad was on temporary duty somewhere till then and Mother was probably taking the opportunity to take more classes. In Savannah, Mother had enrolled Wende and I in dancing class: mostly ballet, but some ballroom. Being from a big city on the East coast, or whatever, we were way ahead of backward Boone in such things, so when the teachers at the junior high covered the new dances, don't ask me why, we could demonstrate the latest things, like the shag - which is one version of what we call the swing now. We were hot. The few months or so of school there was pretty fun, I got a lot of attention. First girlfriend.
We stayed till about Thanksgiving I think, and it snowed. I had never lived where it snowed and that was fun.
Fall 1956 - BW transferred to HV Jenkins Junior High (7th, 9th) in Savannah Ga.
(BW) When we got back to Savannah, we moved into a new place on Janet Drive. I had tested well the year before and they wanted to put me into a special program to merge the 7th and 8th grades. I didn't have to participate and Mother wasn't sure it was a good idea, I had already had some of regular 7th grade in Boone. but I was eager to participate in the "advanced" program, of course, even if I was late getting in. I think there wasn't that much for 7th and 8th grades anyway. The schools were crowded and they were on double session, so they probably left even more out than they would have anyway. 9th grade, though, was difficult for me as a result and I did not do especially well. Learned to ice skate.
Summer 1958 - Dave W. posted to RAF Station Feltwell, Norfolk, England
(BW) Dad was transferred to England! Our quarters were not
ready, of course, this is where snafu comes from. So we stayed
in Brandon Manor, a great old hall near Brandon, which is in northern
Suffolk, not too far from Lakenheath, out in the country. The
base Dad was stationed to, RAF Feltwell, had been an airfield
during WWII of just grass, no runway as I had seen before. And
there were few if any other Americans there. Dad was in missiles
at this point and I guess they were putting missiles in there,
but he never talked about what he was doing or what he had done,
for that matter. When they did finally get a house for us, we
moved onto the base in a brick neighborhood where all the houses
looked alike, but were quite nice, I thought. Each bedroom had
it's own fireplace where they burned coal, which we had. And there
was a clothes washer that boiled the clothes. Dad and Mom had
a nice garden in back of the house, everybody had a big back yard
that backed up to each other so that from the upstairs windows
you could look out on the backs of everybodys houses and yards.
Lots of gardens, of course. I remember dahlias. I also remember
it being on the cold side, but I didn't mind that, then or now.
In fact, I liked the English climate for the most part.
Fall 1958-June 1960 - BW went to High School (10th,11th) at Central High School, Bushy Park, London, England
(BW) Wende was put into a British girls school, Claremont, a school for Christian Scientists, and a former home of Queen Victoria . She was two years younger than I was. My parents were concerned that if I were put into a British school I would be too out of step with the American system, for whatever reason. So I went to the nearest high school in the American Armed Forces Dependents School system, which was in London at that time using the old headquarters buildings of part of the WWII command, American Headquarters or something, Bushy Park, also called Central High School. Heck I may have used the same head as Eisenhower, but didn't think of it at the time. (The buildings no longer exist.) Some of the kids boarded and some of the kids came in as day students. Not all were from military families, but most were. I boarded and went home for the weekends. I loved it. We rode those big comfortable English buses back to Lakenheath on Friday night and came back on Sunday. We stopped along the way, in I think, Newmarket, for a break. I remember the great fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. Very hard to get that good fish and chips in the States, and maybe even in England anymore. We lived in dormitories, two to a room. There was a little snack bar and each wing had a British guy who looked after us, I have forgotten what they were called, Dorm Master or something. I was there for two years, and I only remember two rooms. In the first room, the "whatever master" took us camping one weekend down on the cliffs of Dover. And he was one of the soccer coaches, I think. I went out for soccer, but I wasn't any good at it. Nobody cared. I enjoyed it. The second year I was in a different wing of the dorms with a different leader, another very nice guy. He helped me with my second year Latin and I did really well as a result. Bushy had the reputation in some circles as a tough guy school, and there were little gangs of thugs in the dorms who sometimes terrorized us, or tried to. For some reason, they pretty much left me alone. I pretty much stayed on the school grounds which was fenced off from everything else and its own little world. In retrospect, too bad I didn't make the effort to get downtown and see more of the sites of London. A little bit timid.
Mother and Dad liked English things. On the weekends we would often drive around looking at antiques. They bought quite a few things, many of which I now have.
On vacations, Mother would have always arranged a trip somewhere, so we saw lots of the usual tourist things in England and in Europe. One Christmas there was a tour to the Holy Land; one Easter there was a tour of Spain and Portugal. There were many trips throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. I don't remember visiting Wales, which is too bad, because that is almost certainly where Dad's Williams' ancestors come from and if he had gotten interested in figuring out who came from where, it would be a lot easier for me to figure out now. As it is I only know that of course Williams is a Welsh name, to say nothing of David, and that when Francesca and I visited many years later, I was never as at home anywhere as I was there. But so far I haven't been able to trace the Williams' back more than a few generations, all to the midwest of America. He felt at home there too, I believe. He dressed casually as a middle class Englishman.
Visited Cambridge, Dover, Plymouth, Lands End, Mousehole, Glastonbury, and Bath.
June 1959 - BW bicycles around Europe
(BW) I do not know how this project got started, maybe someone saw an ad on a bulletin board, but however it came about, it was great. Dad hooked me up with two guys just a year older than I was to bicycle through Europe. We took the train to Paris from London, then bicycled across France and into Germany on the Mosel River, over to the Rhine and took a boat up the Rhine to Acchen (?) or somewhere around there, where we got off the boat and bicycled over Belgium to Brussels. Then we went up to Amsterdam and toured around the Netherlands and back to a ferry at the Hauge to England. All together we biked about 1000 miles, and traveled a bit more than that in what I recall was about a month or 6 weeks. I had a fairly new German style bike, 3 speed, heavy. The two companions, Dennis Kosanke and Wendle Bemis, had new 10 speeds, which they sometimes let me ride, since I was always the last man in the train on the 3 speed. We stayed in youth hostels mostly, a few times with friends of Dennis's. His father was in business and had connections all over. Lots of fun.
We went to Morzine for Christmas by train across France. Morzine is near Mt Blanc on the French side. It is, or was, a small ski resort in the winter. We stayed at the Grand Hotel. Christmas dinner included raw oysters, my first. While we were there I took skiing lessons at the Ecole Ski de France. I had never skied before, but I enjoyed it for the most part and did pass the first level test. The whole family took the gondola up to the top of the mountain above the town, but I was the only one skiing down. The trails were labeled for the beginner, or at least not difficult. But the one or two weeks of ski school left a big gulf between what I could do comfortably and the distance from the top of the mountain to the bottom. Tres frightening, but I eventually did make it all the way down.
1960 - FR visited England and fed deer in Bushy Park. Goes to school at Hampstead School. Visits France and Italy.
(BW) You are not supposed to feed the deer in Bushy Park. The Park is across the river, maybe, from Hampton Court, residence of kings and queens. Besides whatever else, the park was a hunting area for the court. Probably a capitol offense to be fooling with their harts, as it should be. The location for Central High School was carved out of one side of the park and when we ran cross country, we would run through the park. I was a pretty bad cross country runner, but still game to try. Not sure exactly when Francesca and her brother Marc were in the park, but it was probably in the summer, and not when I was likely to be running by for a handout. I doubt you are allowed to feed the cross country runners either or catch their hearts.
Easter 1960 - BW and Fern go to the Basque
We visited San Sebastian, et al.
July 1960- BW studied French in Paris for a month
(BW) Another great project that my Dad put together, or at least another one I don't know how it came about. Plan was for me to go to Paris, stay in a room in a house and go to the Alliance Frances to study french for a month. I was on my own in a beautiful city; I loved it. There were several people staying in the house, and a couple of Americans, but the proprietor, wonderful woman of a certain age, had the idea that I was not to use any English, so they would do things like not give me a spoon and make me ask for one in French. The Alliance was a very good school and I did learn a lot of french that month. Otherwise I wandered all around Paris. I was happy to just walk around looking at everything. At the end of the month I took the train to the coast where I met up with the rest of the family and we went in our big American car down through France to Italy. I loved being in Europe, but I hated being an American in Europe. I disguised myself as much as possible. In Paris, the owner of the house thought I was British, for whatever reason and I didn't tell her I wasn't till later in my stay. It had to come out sooner or later, of course, I wasn't really hiding it, she just assumed. She would tell us stories about how brave the British airmen were to fly over Paris and swoop down through the Arc de Triumph. She didn't have as much praise for the Americans. I don't know why at this point, I suppose she thought that they were as obnoxious as I did.
BW and family drove their big American car all over Europe and filled it up with Italian marble.
Fall 1960 - BW transferred to Lakenheath High School, RAF Lakenheath.
(BW) In my senior year of High School, the military school system opened a High School in Lakenheath, which was not far from Feltwell, so I became a day student at Lakenheath. Part of the way through the year Dad was reassigned, to Vandenburg AFB I guess, and we had to move out of the house at Feltwell. The rest of the family stayed on. Wende was still at Claremont and Mother was teaching at the Lakenheath Elementary School so we got rooms at some kind of dormitory for me, Mother lived somewhere, I don't remember where and we finished the rest of the year without a home. I doubt I minded, I liked being alone anyway. The school year was ok. Several of my friends from Bushy were now at Lakenheath. I didn't work very hard, slid through, mostly. But did learn to write a little due to one good English teacher, Mrs Klinesmidt. Also had a good Math teacher, Joe Hananiah (sp?). All together, though, it was sad to be leaving England and my friends. For the most part, I never regretted the moving that came with being an Air Force brat. I liked new places and people, but the senior year of high school separation is a little different. Sader than usual. I know where a few of those people are now and there is a web site to let people know something about their friends from Lakenheath, but I haven't stayed in touch with anyone from those days, mostly on purpose.
BW, Wende and Fern tour Greece, Egypt, Palestine.
Jan. 27, 1961 - Olive Choate Williams (BW's grandmother) died
(BW) My Grandmother was one of my favorite people. Dad went back for her funeral. Grandfather remarried many years later to a widow who lived fairly close by his farm, but I never met her or her children.
1961 - FR moves to Perry Lane, Menlo Park. Goes to Ladera Elementary School (3rd grade)
Easter 1961 - BW Toured Spain and Portugal
June 1961 - BW graduated from Lakenheath High School, RAF Station Lakenheath, England.
(BW) I graduated 5th in my class, as I remember, out of 100. But I can't say that I used High School very well, maybe no one does. It is a hard period of one's life to make everything fit. What I think fit best for me was just being in England and traveling in Europe. I was forced to learn a little English and I liked Math quite a bit and was good at some of it.
July 1961 - BW returns to USA. Dave W. posted to Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
Summer 1961 - BW got first drivers license in Texas to help drive across USA to Ca.
(BW) I was in culture shock when we returned to the States. We came back to Philadelphia for a few days while things caught up with us and I couldn't believe guys were wandering around on the streets in their under shirts. I was repulsed by most things American. It's a cultureless society; I liked the deep culture of England and Europe. Snob, in a word.
Not exactly sure what we were all doing during the summer, but somehow we ended up for a bit on the farm in Texas. I was supposed to learn to drive so that I could help drive on over to California. Grandfather was teaching me. He used to tell me about his learning to drive, which was to just get in and drive, not much of an example. I don't remember too much of it, but I do remember driving his truck with him as passenger, taking a turn, driving down into the ditch beside the road on the wrong side of some kind of sign (probably- do not drive in the ditch) and back up onto the road on the other side of the sign after the turn. He didn't say a thing. They are a stoic bunch out there. I did take the test in Cleburn, not far from Joshua, and I did get a license, so I guess I passed, must have been a slow day.
Fall 1961 - BW started college at UC Santa Barbara
(BW) At a reasonable point of my senior year at Lakenheath, I knew Dad would be stationed at Vandenburg AFB, which is between Santa Maria, California, and Santa Barbara. I had no particular ambitions about college besides going to one or another, so I applied to the closest school to Vandenburg, UCSB, and one of the Arizona schools. We didn't hear back from UCSB for the longest time, so I finally called them. What's the problem, the lady said, of course you got in, everybody with such and such a grade average and a resident of California gets in. Not like today!
I had a wonderful time at UCSB. It was a very special time. The school was just 3000 students, so it felt much less overwhelming than such places do today. The grounds and buildings had been some kind of military camp and my dorm, Pine, was an old barracks. They were just building new dorms, but lots of us were in the old buildings.
I had turned into a little rebel since the 10th grade. At the 11th grade I had became an angry young man and even though their presence was not prominate in military schools, I was a budding beatnik. At UCSB, this could really flower. I immediately found like minded people to hang out with. One of these, Steve, was right next to my room in Pine Hall. This group of people would remain as the ones I feel closest to all my life, even though I no longer see most of them. I think we all felt that those were very powerful friendships.
In those days in every "land grant college", which UC was, the men had to take ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Course), which was: dress up in uniform, march around the playing fields, learn to field strip an M1, and bunch of other similar trash. To take ROTC, you had to sign a loyalty oath to America. Just about this time, faculty at some of the campuses had objected to having to also sign a loyalty oath to teach and this had turned into quite a movement, one I and my friends were happy to join. We refused to sign. There were long talks with the Dean of Men and my Father came down to help talk "sense" into me, but it came down to being in school or not, no other choices, so I did eventually sign, which I don't regret. We made our statement. In a few years, they changed the system so that every man did not have to take ROTC. I pretty much hated ROTC and failed the course. Steve aced it. A few years later, as the Vietman war cranked up, two of my friends became Conscientious Objectors and I was just never drafted, but I did have draft card. I think I wasn't a CO because there were only a few ways to qualify, the main one being religious, and I didn't have the religious history or culture to back it up. But I was a CO in spirit.
The classes at UCSB were good, I guess, but hard. There wasn't anything I could just sail through. Especially Math. It was a shock to not be at the top of the math class and to have to work hard just to keep up. This wasn't helped by my not being as focused on the classwork as I was on the people and culture of school which I loved. My friends and I spent hours singing folk songs and hanging out together. Steve was a great banjo player.
We got in trouble later for sleeping on the beach. Bad boys and girls. UCSB was great, but the administration was back in the dark ages in some respects.
Not being into classes got to me in the second semester and I had to drop out. I went back to Vandenburg, tail between my legs, and looked for work, of which there wasn't any. I was saved, however, in short order by being called back to Santa Barbara by two friends who needed help building a boat. They had the mistaken idea that I knew something about carpentry. Their idea was to take this 30' hull that they had been given by a boat builder there, turn it into a trimaran and sail to Tahiti. The main instigator, Beau, was a wonderful craftsman and he had built other boats. He was a biology student at UCSB. The other member of the crew was Frank, a premed student at UCSB. That summer we stayed in a cabin in the hills above Santa Barbara and worked on the boat. The cabin was about half way up the hills and often the morning fog would reach just below us so we could look out over the tops of the clouds as if we were in some magic land. That was a wonderful summer. And even though I wasn't in school, I was still in Santa Barbara and spending time with my friends. Not being any good at carpentry, which soon proved itself out, I went to work as a laborer to make some money for the project. That worked. Frank and Beau kept working on the boat and I worked on many different building projects around the area: road building, house construction, whatever came down to the union hall. Eventually I came to see that I was not really likely to enjoy being at sea for any period and I pulled out of the project. Later Frank quit too, and Beau finished the boat by himself. He married and they did sail off on it to Mexico. They came back, he went off to build another boat, and the original boat ended up in Moss Landing Harbor with a bad case of dry rot. I found it by accident after I had moved to Santa Cruz many years later. It was too far gone to save, unfortunately, but I'm sorry now I didn't try harder. I ran across Beau one more time, by chance, building a boat in the hills of Santa Cruz, before he disappeared for what passes at this point for ever.
I went back to school at UCSB.
1962 - FAR moved to Stanford. Goes to Stanford Elementary School
July 1964 - BW married LW
Sept 1964 - June 1965 - BW attended Santa Barbara City College for a year
(BW) When Dad was transferred from Vandenburg AFB to Columbus, Ohio, I became a nonresident of California. In those days the nonresident tuition was nothing compared to today, but like today it was a lot more than resident. The nonresident tuition at the local junior college was what the regular tuition was at the University. I was in my second year, so I just transferred over to the junior college. UCSC was hard. I was swimming pretty hard, and just holding my head above water. And pretty distracted at that. The junior college was like high school, a bit of vacation in comparison. When I finally graduated in 1961 from San Diego State, I had a B plus average. That was largely as a result of having gone to various schools whose standards were well below those of UCSB, including Santa Barbara City College. But school is what you make of it. There was no advantage for me to going to a school with high standards, per se. What I got out of UCSB was from the people and the location, not, for the most part, from the classes.
? 1965 - FR's Grandfather Max Ritson dies
March 7, 1965 - Eran Michael W. born in Santa Barbara, Ca.
Sept 1965 - BW went back to UCSB
Sept 1965 - FR goes to Terman Jr. High School, Palo Alto
March 1966 - May 1967 - BW worked part time for EG&G in Goleta as mail clerk and custodian ($2.00/hr!)
1966 - Fern gets her Masters Degree from UT in Education
Summer 1967 - BW moved to Texas with Eran to live with Fern and Dave in Austin
(BW) We lived in an apartment in Austin on Town Lake. Mother and Dad had bought their 80 acres south of town and he was spending most of his time in a trailer down there building things, like horse stalls. The apartment was really too small for us all. I shared a room with Eran, who was about 2, and when Dave was there, it was full house. Mother was busy with teaching and getting her Doctorate at UT.
Sept 1967 - FR goes to Henry M. Gunn Sr. High School.
1967- FR takes trips to Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, France, and Sicily.
Fall 1967 - BW attended Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos, Texas, for one semester
(BW) University of Texas would not admit me on the spur of the moment because my transcript from UC had some kind of provisional label on it, that was out of date, but a problem anyway. In Austin, an alternative to UT was Southwest Texas State. They let me in with no problem so I spent a semester there before I could get into UT. While Eran was little, I was interested in education, so my minor at that time was education. Southwest Texas State was a teachers college. That fit, if nothing else. Like any self respecting hippy, I had long curls in California. I cut those when I moved to Texas, but didn't manage to really disguise myself and I never made it into the Texan hearts. I would characterize myself in Texas as being as much as anything an alien from a different planet. Not completely unpleasant, but alienated.
Spring 1968 - BW attended University of Texas, Austin, for one semester
UT was interesting, but I was still an alien. I needed to get back to my own planet, California, and my wife, Lori, who was in San Diego at the time.
Fall 1968 - BW moved to San Diego with Eran (876 Diamond St., Pacific Beach)
L's mother had a house in La Jolla. Eran and I stayed with her while we got settled in our own little place just south of La Jolla in Pacific Beach, just a few blocks up from the beach.
Fall 1968 - Eran goes to Gillespie Cottage (sp?) Nursery School in La Jolla
1968/69 - BW attended San Diego State
(BW) I had to take very few required courses at San Diego because I had lots of credits from all the other schools I had been to, just to be there for a year to graduate. So, I took lots of science courses that a math major normally didn't take, like geography, biology, astronomy, etc. I also had some math to take, but I had already taken most of what they required for the degree. I was, of course, supporting myself and Eran, so needed money. The school gave me a job as tutor in the math lab and contributed otherwise when things got tough. I took up a window washing business as the main way to pay the bills. My good friend, John, had had a window washing business and he gave me his station wagon and equipment when he was sent off to jail on a trumped up drug charge. I was not as successful as he had been, but it was interesting. My sister-in-law said it looked like it was a front for something. Too bad it wasn't.
1969- FR goes to England for a year, attends Camden School for Girls
June 1969 - BW graduates from San Diego State with BA in Math
I went to the counselors at school to ask for help to find a job after graduation. I was looking for something environmental. Their advice was: no problem. Just tell them who you are and what you have done. Fantasy.
Summer 1969 - BW, LW, and Eran move to Santa Cruz
(BW) Dad and Mother gave me a new Maverick for graduation. They cost $2,000 new in those days. We went to Austin to pick it up, of course, and suffered under the heat of the summer.
Back in California, we left San Diego and drove up and down the coast looking for work. Complete waste of time; there was no work that I could find, regardless of what the counselors had thought. But we camped and saw some of the good places of California, like Pairarie Creek Redwoods. Some friends had given us the names of people in Santa Cruz, so after not being able to find anything in San Francisco, we dropped down to there. A woman we didn't know or have an introduction to just offered us her apartment to live in, which we accepted. Even though it was a difficult time for employment those days, I found a job right away through the employment dept, delivering furniture for a furniture store, and we rented a small house. Santa Cruz was very welcoming.
Sept 9, 1969 - Dave Williams (BW's grandfather) dies in Texas
Oct. 1969 - BW begins work at UCSC Science Library
(BW) The people we had been introduced to were trying to run a community school. One of them, Charles, worked at the UCSC Library and was watching out for jobs for us. When an opening came up in the library he let us know and I applied to a position as Library Assistant at the Science Library, which was the only branch of the University Library and had just opened that summer. They liked me because I had: a BA, a math background, and had taken lots of science courses. They also thought I knew something about libraries, but I'm not so sure that was true. Mother did, but what did I know? Not much. There were three full time staff; Len, the head and only professional position, Elise, a Library Assistant, and me. Besides us there were several student assistants. I loved the work. And I loved being at UCSC. In those days UCSC had about 3000 students and although they had been building some new buildings, most of the prime land was still open and unbuilt on. It is still a beautiful campus today, but then it was new. Going to work every day was like going to a national park. Elise had run a library for Chevron near San Francisco. She had high standards and she knew how to do everything in the library, the old way, which she taught me. I taught her how to tie a square knot. Len was, I think, the best boss I ever had. Although a Leo, he was considerate and always willing to listen to my ideas, no matter how weird. He ran the library in a very collegial way. He finally wanted to get out of management, I guess, and changed to another job, science collection development, at the main library. When he left, the Science Library lost a leader with exceptional natural talent and became an organization that reflected the more usual dumb leadership for many years. He was killed a few years later on his way to Yosemite with his wife. The library grew. We eventually built up a reference department of a couple of wonderful people who were a privilege and a pleasure to work with. We hired several full time people to work in the circulation department, and we had a set of student assistants. I became in charge of the circulation department, then was moved to reference. I was a very good reference person. The work suited my broad background in the sciences and my interests in different things and I loved helping people. It's apocryphal in libraries that patrons of the reference desk do not know how to ask for help. A good reference librarian is part mind reader and intuitively knows what the patron needs. I was good at that.
? 1969- BW, LW and Eran move to 230 Surfside, SC
Continued as Biography 1970 - Present