Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Sister Paula

It was really great having an older sister. When I was little it was so much fun getting into her makeup, or playing 'Kid' with Helen, which was our way of pretending to be her, or watching her as she brushed her hair and made faces at herself in the mirror as she put on her make up. I loved to ease drop when she had a boy friend over or when she was giggling with her friends. To her I was just a little pest. She had to baby sit Helen and I and get us to bed and tell us stories.

When I turned 12 and started going to mutual, she was nearly 18 and so only had a few months until she was out of Mutual. The first evening I was going to go we were taking a bus to the church. The only change mom had was a dime and ten pennies. Of course Paula took the dime and left me with the ten pennies. As we were walking to the bus she told me not to sit with her and not to embarase her! Since I rode the bus so seldom, I wasn't sure if I should just dump all the pennies in or drop them one by one so the driver could count them. I opted for the latter idea and carefully dropped each penny into the change meter which made a loud ding with each penny. As each coin dropped in, Paula sank deeper into her seat. Poor girl, she should have taken the pennies!

In her mind she thought she had treated me awful as a child. I didn't think so as I idolized her. Once she was married and I was a much less obnoxious 15 years old, she loved having me around and constantly tried to make up to me all the supposed wrongs she had commited against me. She would invite me to her house in San Francisco each week end. Since Daddy worked for the railroad we could ride the train for free so I often got to go and spend the week end with her. When I would visit she would spoil me. She was a great listener and a great counselor. She was also fun and funny and I always felt her love and knew that she loved me. She would tell me that she was always so excited for me to come and then so excited for me to go!

Paula and I were great friends. I still idolize her a bit. When ever I had a problem I would call her and she would have the answers I needed. I still miss being able to call her and tell her my problems. It was great to know someone cared so much.

In my mind Paula will always be my glamorous older sister, after all she was a beauty pageant winner and how many little sisters can say that!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ardie and Helen

Helen and I have always been very close. As children we were inseparable and reading our histories is almost like reading the same story. In our teen years we were just as close as we were in our childhood but, because we moved from 8th ave to 18th and I street when Helen was 13, we attended different Jr.High schools. I finished up at Stanford and Helen went to Sutter Jr. High after a year at Stanford. We were always best friends and we shared everything , even our clothes.

When we were teens we made money babysitting and mowing lawns and I even had a job at a Dime Store. When we bought clothes we shared them since we wore the same size. We couldn't wear each others shoes though, my feet were always two sizes bigger than hers. When she got married we had to devide our wardrobe, it was hard to remember who bought what so we just sorted it out. It felt like I had nothing to wear! I'll bet she felt the same.

We moved again so we both attended Sacramento High School at the same time. Since she was a year and a half behind me in school and because we had different Jr. High friends we weren't as close in High School, at least not at school. We did go together to the Saturday Night Dances and to Firesides and other church activities. Helen was so cute and flirty that she always stole all my boyfriends (or so I thought.) Because of our rivalry mom made a rule that if one of us had dated a boy we had to get the ok from our sister to date the same boy. I seem to remember giving Helen a hard time about giving the ok as I had dated Frank first. I wasn't the least bit interested in him, but it was so seldom that I had any power over her when it came to boys!

Speaking of Helen's flirtiness.... She was impossible to walk down town with. We would have guys in cars whistling and she would wave and smile and guys following us, it didn't bother her. I kept telling her it was dangerous. I would say just don't respond to them, but she could't help it...she just loved flirting! She would make me laugh so hard sometimes with her antics.
I wonder if she told this story what it would sound like?

Helen and I are still very close. We love the same things and enjoy many of the same activities. I just love to be with her and know that she is the best friend anyone ever had and we will always be best friends. Better than best friends, she is my sister!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Things My Mama Taught Me

My mom was my best friend. She taught me the gospel and helped me get my own testimony. I used to curl up in her lap and listen to her sing to me and teach me wonderful things. She told me the Joseph Smith story first before I had even heard it in Primary. She bore her testimony of the restoration of the Gospel to me. She was the one who instilled in me the importance of keeping the commandments. I learned how to pray at her knee. She helped me to understand how to listen for promptings and how important it was to follow them. She taught me about charity by word but more by her example. I have watched her help and counsel her friends and neighbors. I always knew that she would have good advice for me and loving suggestions whether I wanted to hear them or not.

I remember all my life her telling me to never talk about people unkindly or make fun of them. I never heard her gossip or speak ill of others. She was always a friend of the friendless and a shoulder to cry on, not just for her children but for others as well. She taught us at home to settle our differences lovingly. Of course we didn't always heed her advice.

When we children would get out of hand and things would overwhelm her she would just walk out of the house to go for a 'walk'. When mama left that way we always knew we had gone too far. We would quickly try to set things right so that when she came back we were all sweet and quiet. I heard from my older siblings that she had a very bad temper when she was a young mother. I never saw that side of her. She would just remove herself if she felt she was losing control.

My mom's advice was always good. I talked to her about everything. I told her when I felt picked on and I told her about my friends and arguments I had with my siblings. She was a good listener. Sometimes she would just ask me what I thought I should do about a certain problem I was telling her about. She would get me to solve my own problems.

One of the greatest heritages we got from our mother was our self esteem. She always loved us and made us feel that she approved of us. She taught us to make our own decisions and she taught us to value each other. Family loyalty was especially stressed. I think that feeling of self worth we Davis's all have in abundance is because of Mama.

I am so grateful for all my mother's teachings and all her love and all her great advice. I will never forget her wonderful laugh! I hope my children will remember me with as much love and gratitude as I remember my Mama!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our Family 1961

Having three kids is the hardest time for a mother, ask anyone with over three kids. All of a sudden they out number you, and as you can see from the photo you can't hold all of them on one lap!

Sandra and Sherry were born only 10 months apart as Sandra was premature. Sherry wasn't walking yet and Jay was 3 and into everything! It was a busy and a happy time. I never wanted to be anything but a mother since I was 4 years old. I was ready, and I loved all the wonderful things about motherhood and I was learning how to cope with the hard parts and tollerate them.

Jay was such a fun and inquisitive three year old. One time I bought him some new argyle socks just like his dads. He loved them so much that he put them 'away' somewhere where neither he nor I could find them. I looked for months and finally gave up. When he was 4 yrs. old I found them. They were in an ironing board cabinet that was built into the wall. Right after we had given him the socks we had put the kitchen table in front of the cabinet to make more room in the kitchen. Of course they didn't fit him anymore and we only had little girls to hand them down to.

Sherry was the sweet quiet baby. She was our 'budda' baby, so chubby and cute. She had little ringlets, and always wore a smile. She was a thumb sucker. She learned to walk when Sandi was 3 months old. That was a relief! Now I only had to carry one baby, but I still had two in diapers. Remember, we didn't have dispossables in those days. Just like twins we had to have two of everything. Two cribs, two highchairs etc.

Sandra was born early and when we brought her home she weighed 5 lbs. Since Jay and Sherry who were no longer tiny, she seemed really small. At first she wouldn't take more that 2 ounces of milk and then 2 hours later she needed more. She woke up in the night forever!!! I'm not kidding, she probably still does! She was still waking me in the night when she was a year old. I finally just stopped getting up and as soon as she was big enough she would get up and raid the fridge! (That was before she was 18 months) We would find crumbs in her bed and pieces of food under her pillow every morning.

There is no greater joy nor any greater sacrifice than being a mother. I love and appreciate all my children and grandchildren for making that sacrifice. I know that they will be forever blessed for doing it. I know, because I have been and continue to be the most blessed of women.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Earning My Way

My first year of College I took a job as a waitress in a little Cafe in Sacramento. There were actually only 2 waitresses, myself and Maria. She was a short latino about a foot shorter than me. Everyone called us Mutt and Jeff. She was a professional waitress, she had been a waitress for about a million years and I was new at the business. I was grateful for her tutilege and we enjoyed each others company.

Several months later, realizing that I needed more money to save for the next semester and pay my expenses I took a job selling Sarah Coventry Jewlery. This was quite ironic as I had never worn jewelery. I found however that I was pretty good at selling and was able to nicely supplement my waitress wages. Of course I was still working on most week-ends playing gigs with my jazz combo.

By the second semester of school I found that something had to go as I was the paid assistant to the drama director and that meant many evenings of rehearsals. Since that brought in a little wages I dropped the waitress job. In a few months an opportunity came up for me to become the assistant to the Art teacher which also paid me some and I took on some modeling for art classes which also paid a little. I have no idea where I found time for homework but I did. I had actually gotten such good grades that I had qualified for a scholarship which had paid for all my tuition for that semester.

Beginning my second year I continued all of those jobs. That is what I was doing when Larry got home from his mission and we got married in November. Every available hour was taken with one of those jobs or the other, (and I was stake drama director in charge of roadshows.)

Larry just tagged along to my rehearsals, and even came to a Sarah Coventry Party once. He sat in on some of my combo rehearsals too, but soon he was busy with his own school and job.

After that semester I quit all my jobs but the music because I was pregnant and had morning sickness. ( I took my finals as I was running to the bathroom to be sick.) I was grateful that I had been able to put myself thru nearly 2 years of college, and what wonderful experiences I got as I earned my way to my MRS degree!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Three Friends

When I started Jr. High I met my friend Lynn. Because we had been to different Grammar Schools this was the first time we met each other. Lynn was an only child and her parents were really cool. She had a rumpus room in her house with a pinball machine! She was in the orchestra with me. We had a lot of good times together. Lots of times I went over to her house after school. One time her mother signed us up for Charm School at a big department store. Lynn really didn't need it, but I did! We learned many things including how to walk like a lady. Boy did I need that. Between walking like a duck like Grandpa Cram and walking at a speed that wasn't only not lady like, but was unsafe,which I got from my Dad, I really needed help! We also learned how to sit and stand politely. That meant no throwing yourself in the chair and slouching, or crossing your legs, or spreading your legs. Every movement needed to be sloooww, a complete change from my usual 13 year old, boyish, fun loving self! I think the course helped me, I certainly never forgot it.

I also had a friend named Beverly. She loved to come to our house and she and my Dad got along great. They were always joking together. Beverly was usually quiet. She had suffered with Polio as a child and her mouth was pulled to one side. She was very sweet. At my house she was completely herself. One time I told her she should speak up and say when she had an opinion or something was bothering her around other people. She told me 40 years later that those words were very important to her and she eventually learned how to be more assertive.

My third friend in Jr High was Dee. Her real name was Darlo, but she went by Dee. She was outgoing and talented and fun. She had no trouble telling anyone her opinion! We mostly just hung out together at school. I don't think I ever met her family.

All three of my friends will always be special to me. You don't forget friends like they were. Dee and Beverly are gone now but I still get to see Lynn sometimes at school reunions. It is always such a pleasure being with her again. Dee and Beverly and I all got reaquainted in our 40's and stayed friends until they passed on. You don't think about it when you are young, but true friends are friends forever. They are part of who you are, and you will always be part of them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Love Story

I believe in love at first sight. I know because I experienced it. I don't think it happens to everyone, but it happened to me. When I was 13 years old I saw Larry for the first time. He was asked by a bunch of the older girls in our ward to come and be in a play we were doing called "Miss Cherry Blossom". I was waiting for the first rehearsal to start when he walked in the room. It was as if time stood still as he walked into the cultural hall and strolled past me...really slow motion and everything. I just held my breath and stared starry eyed at him. I don't think anyone else noticed, after all I was just 13 and he was 17. My little, barely teenaged heart was taken! I didn't know you could feel that way. I couldn't breathe.

Of course he didn't even notice me, not until the cast party. At the cast party everyone was so excited at our great performance and that they were all running around kissing each other. During the last dance I was watching him...of course I was watching him. He looked across the room at me and our eyes locked. We just started walking toward each other and stopped in the middle of the floor and kissed. That was a real Hollywood moment. I was sure that he would ask me to go home with him or something, but of course he didn't. He just hung around with the older girls the rest of the night.

Since he wasn't in my ward I didn't see much of him for 2 and a half years. The summer I was turning 16 we happened to meet at my friend's company party. It turns out his father worked for the same company. We were at the swimming pool. My friend and I were at one end and Larry and his friend were at the other. Of course I saw him and decided to walk by him and see if I could get his attention. He saw me and instead of just saying hi, which is what I expected, he ran over and grabbed me around the waist and jumped in the pool with me. He thought I would be mad or something, but I just came up smiling and ask him how he was. He asked me if I was going to the dance that night and I said I was. He said to save him a dance.

That started a wonderful summer fling. He was working out of town for 10 days at a time and then he would be home for 4 days. We wrote when he was out of town and saw each other every night when he was home. It was a wonderful time. By the end of the summer I was beginning to feel that it was going too fast for me. After all I was only barely 16. I really think that we were falling in love and the timing was wrong. I felt like I needed to break up with him. He was preparing for a mission and I was feeling overwhelmed. I could have picked a better time though, not on his birthday!

After we broke up I was filled with remorse and wanted to get him back but by then his feelings were hurt ( rightly so) and he was busy getting ready to leave on his mission. During the time he was gone he wrote to me twice and I wrote to him in return, but one of my letters didn't get to him. I was growing up and had finished High School and started College before he came home. While we were dating he had told my grandmother that he wanted to marry me when he got home and would she save me for him. It was so cute. Everytime I would date anyone more than a few times she would remind me that I was waiting for Larry, which I wasn't! She was just doing her job.

One of the things I loved about dating Larry was his love for the scriptures. He asked me when we first started dating if I had read the Book of Mormon. Of course I hadn't, but because of him I started. He loved to work on Genealogy with me. He was always such a good example to me. I am so glad that I was in that play when I was 13, and that that handsome 17 year old finally decided to notice me. I do believe in love at first sight, it worked for me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dramatic Experiences

In my High School years besides being in the Orchestra I was in the Drama Club and took Drama classes. I had the opportunity of being in the senior play. I remember that I was really excited to try out. We had to prepare and sing a solo. At the time my dad was in a community theater and they were performing a musical. I learned one of the songs from his show and sang it accapella for the tryout. I was very nervous. I tried out for a supporting part but I got the lead! I don't think anyone was ever as shocked as I was. I thought only really popular girls got lead parts. I think I may have gotten the part because my drama teacher knew my dad in the theater groups he was in.

Although I was far from popular in Jr High I had come a long way from Grammar school. I had my friends and the orchestra kids were my group. I was also on the newspaper staff and in several clubs. In High School I was still sort of unknown in a school so large that my graduating class was 615 students. I was well accepted by my group and as I was once again on the newspaper staff some people had heard of me. However, I would never have expected to be able to have a lead role in the senior play.

I found out that as much as I loved acting I certainly wasn't star material. I worked very hard and although I learned my lines well and was able to follow direction I realized that I wasn't a natural performer on stage. I had a good director and he pulled me through and I was able to do well enough that the play was a success. I enjoyed every minute of it and found that what I really liked was the directing part of the theater.

When I entered college at Sacramento City College in the fall of 1956 I made Drama my major and began studying Theater. I soon became the asst. to the director and was given opportunity to direct several plays. Everything about directing was fun and I loved being in charge. I learned so much about the front of the stage and the back of the stage. I was able to build sets, be in charge of costuming, do make-up, handle lighting and many other jobs too numerous to mention. I had a wonderful director who taught me so much about how to get the performance I needed from each actor.

Being involve in Drama helped me in my self confidence and showed me that even a little girl from 8th avenue can be somebody. I was able to go on to direct many roadshows and plays in the church over the years. I loved the magic of telling a story with people as the characters.

The photo at the top was published in the Sacramento Bee.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Ranch

When I was 17 I graduated from High School. I had not given a thought to what I would do after graduating. One of my teachers told me about a job working on a Dude Ranch in the Shasta mountains for the summer. I wrote a letter and applied for the job. I was so excited when I got the job. I had never been away from home before and I was really excited. My dad drove me up to the Ranch on the day they told me to come. His last words to me as I got ready to get out of the car were, "Ardie, I don't want you to give up on this job. You've made your decision so there is no quitting in the middle. You see it through." He gave me a hug and drove away down the dusty lane. I had a lot of respect for my Dad and I took it seriously when he gave me his advice.

I started the job and began to make friends and learn what my jobs were. It was a working cattle ranch and of course a guest ranch too. My job was cleaning cabins, cooking, laundry, cleaning up the kitchen after meals, which included mopping a huge dinning room floor, and anything else that Mr. or Mrs. Scott could think up for me and the other girls who were working that summer. The boys helped as ranch hands and were expected to do all the heavy jobs. They helped to brand and round up the cattle, take out pack trains for fishing expeditions, and saddle all the horses and lead rides for the summer guests. As time went on we girls got a chance to help with the horses and I even got to watch a branding once. I even got to learn to ride a horse and was able to go riding anytime I was on free time.

The work was hard and it soon became apparent that I was being singled out for all the hardest jobs. Even the other girls noticed it and questioned the Scotts on why I was being picked on. They explained that their son had married a Mormon and they were using me to bother her. They used the dinner table every night to heap assignments on me and persecute me about my religion. They said they were not going to pay me as much as the other members of the crew since I was giving a tenth to my church. They teased me about everything having to do with my church especially when their son and his wife were there.

In August I was allowed to use all my saved up time off to help lead a pack train high into the mountains to a lake to take some business men on a 5 day fishing excursion. I helped pack the mules, saddle the horses, and at times I was lead. It was very exciting to me, and the hardest work I had ever done. On our way down the mountain heading back to the ranch we were hit by a drenching rainstorm. I had to help get camp set up and unpack the mules. That morning I had awakened with a very bad sore throat and fever. By the next morning I was so sick that I didn't remember anything about our trip down the mountain. When we got back to the ranch The girls I worked with put me to bed, gave me some medicine for fever and reported to the Scotts that I was extremely ill. The next morning I was ordered to report to work. I was still delerious. I remember that I was on my way to 'hang' the laundry. What we did was throw the wet clothes over barbed wire fences to dry it. I guess I fainted because they found me lying in a small ditch next to the fence. I was allowed to go to my bed but was told to be back to work the next morning. This was part of the persecution I suffered while working that summer.

After I got better the Scotts threatened to send me home but the other hands said if I had to go they would go too. The Scotts had to keep me or lose their whole crew, guys and girls. I never thought to call my dad to come and get me, he had told me it wouldn't be easy and so I stuck it out. When he found out what I had been through he said he didn't mean for me to have to go through anything like that. We were on our way home when I told him and it was hard for me to keep him from going back and giving them a piece of his mind.

I learned so much that summer. I learned how to really work, and I made some wonderful friends. I learned how to ride a horse, saddle a horse or mule,and I learned how to endure persecution. It was worth it. I cherish the experience.
It's true I did get paid less, but I still had enough to pay for my first semester of college. I had grown up enough to know that I could certainly do college If I could survive a summer on a dude ranch.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Arden's Archives

It has been a long time since I posted anything on my blog, so I thought I should stop being a slacker and make an entry. This one goes back a long way in my life to my teenaged years. Here goes...

When I was in Junior High School I decided to take an instrument and I chose the cello. There are probably other reasons for choosing the cello, but the main reason was that I would not have to purchase or rent a cello as the school would furnish the larger intruments. Another reason was that I had an alto voice. You are wondering what that had to do with it so I will tell you. Many evenings my dad would sit us all in front of the radio and listen to classical music. He would have us sing the parts of the different instruments. Since I had an Alto voice I got to do the lower ranged instruments. I loved the sound of the cello and I got so I could hear that part best. Hence I chose to play the cello.

I remember one of our school concerts where my parents came to see our performance. I was so excited that my dad was watching that I got nervous and dropped my bow. Of course he wouldn't let me forget it and when he told about going to see me play he would make a big deal about how I was the only one in the orchestra that dropped her bow. (I probably wasn't the only one as this was a Junior High performance.)

Several months went by, maybe even a whole semester and I was still last Chair in the Cello section. The Orchestra director at my school suggested that I try the Bass Viol to see if I liked it better and hoping, I expect, that I would do better with the Bass. He was right! I loved the bass and had a much better apptitude for it. I was soon moving up the ranks and by the end of the school year I was about equal with the first chair and we were back and forth for a while on who was first. With the bass I actually practiced! I would stay after school in the music room and saw away learning all the music and thoroughly enjoying it.

By the time I was in High School I was consistently first chair and was chosen for All City Orchestra. I really enjoyed being in the Orchestra with students from schools all over the city. I loved classical music and still do. During my High School years I got to usher at many different musical performances at the Memorial Auditorium with my Dad.

At the end of my senior year a trumpet player in the orchestra asked me if I could play Jazz. I told him I had never done it but I bet I could. He invited me to play in his trio and thus began my Jazz career. We played for many dances and parties on the week ends. I even sang sometimes. When I started college I formed my own group and enjoyed playing most week ends. It was nice being the leader as I got a little bigger cut of the money we earned. I continued to play and became a member of the musicians union while I was in college. My 'career' ended after I was married and had a few kids.

I don't think I was ever what I would consider 'good' but I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends. I continued playing in school orchestras thru my college years and enjoyed Symphony Orchestras as well as the Jazz music.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I know if I had any following I have probably lost you with my absence from blogging. I am in Arizona helping Uncle Jack and Aunt Helen while Jack goes through Chemo. Helen fell last week and so now we have two patients. She is recovering from a broken thumb, a sprained wrist and a compressed disc injury to her back. The back is the most painful, but she is feeling some better. She should be back up to speed by the time Jack has his next treatment in a week.

As usual Larry is making the most of his time by repairing things. He fixed a broken pipe in the sprinkler system, put in a new control box and fixed a half dozen or more of sprinkler heads and bubblers. He is going to paint the bathroom tomorrow.

Helen and I have been working on her budget and getting her in a financial position so she has been able to stop cleaning offices and just concentrate on getting Jack better. I hope I will have time to at least do a few more entrys here before we go home in a month. I will try. I am being reminded daily of many childhood memories as Helen and I talk. I will try to put something together soon. Meanwhile just know that I am here and wishing I could be writing more.