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.