Chapter 10
The Children

Dan, the oldest, was born August 28, 1944. I had just arrived in Dinjan when I received the telegram. Needless to say Marguerite and I had been exchanging letters almost daily. She had moved in with Frank and Agnes when I left so she and Dan were in good hands and did well. As I wrote earlier he was 16 months old when Grandmother Halicus held him out to me saying, “It’s your father, it’s your father”, while he was yelling his head off.
The Jr. High was a block away and the elementary school was across the street. It was there the Coach interested Dan in gymnastics which he continued to pursue through Junior College where he graduated with the most points ever accumulated in "all around" competition. Before graduation he had started assisting in the coaching of a girls group gymnastic in which a Olympic Gold Medal winner, Cathie Rigby was a member.
Later, when she was competing, Dan brought her home for dinner a time or two. She was a delightful young lady and Dan was her coach at a meet in Japan. She was the highest-scoring U.S. gymnast in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, won the balance beam silver medal at the 1970 World Championships, the U.S. National Gymnastic Champion in 1970 and 1972 and was the first American woman to win a medal in World Gymnastics.
She stared in "Peter Pan" and when it played in San Francisco we were living in Sacramento and drove over to see her. She was still the petit young lady that had dined with us years before in Long Beach.
Dan was invited by the parents to come to New Zeeland and coach a girls team. He was there several months but I don’t remember the details.
He returned home to continue coaching, met and married Linda and lived in Scotts Valley near Santa Cruz. They had two children Kristi and Paul. Paul fathered my first grandchild, Jordan. Dan now lives in Moss Landing, California, just below Santa Cruz. Kristi lives in Hollywood and is a photographer and Paul lives in Santa Cruz and after getting a degree in English Literature at Berkley he is studying for another in law.
Roger was born in 1946 while we lived in a duplex on 15th Street with Ginny and Penn Wilson. Marguerite had met Ginny months before either Penn or I were discharged because they had babies the same age. Penn had been in the Navy and we hit it off together so we decided to use our GI loans and bought and shared the duplex for several years.
Shortly after graduating from high school Roger married a girl we had never met and enlisted in the Army. When he was called up we invited his wife to live with us and when he completed his basic training at Fort Ord, California she joined us to visit him because he was going east for further training. Shortly after returning home she told Marguerite she no longer loved Roger and moved out. We had attempted to have her feel as part of the family and helped her decorate her bedroom but whatever she needed it wasn’t us.
We received infrequent letters but word finally came that he was in Viet Nam. A few days before Christmas were getting ready to go to a party and a telegram was delivered saying he had been wounded and returned to duty. I tore it up and didn’t tell Marguerite. I never understood its purpose.
He was discharged and was working at odd jobs when he announced a friend had a boat and that he and a third friend were going to take it down the coast, through the canal to the east coast. His last phone call was from Caracas, Venezuela. He said they were on the way to Miami.
Then, two months went by before we discovered he was in prison in Cuba. Their path to Miami was the straits between Cuba and Haiti and they had been stopped by a Cuba gunboat and charged as CIA spies, the boat confiscated and each fined $5,000.
Through our Congressman and the Red Cross we were able to send a small package once a year and $25 for necessities. We paid the fine and three years later he was released and flown to Los Angeles.
What a joyful day! The FBI interrogated all of them and they told us that Roger was the only one that wasn’t bitter and was anxious to get on with his life. He said they hadn’t treated them badly and our dentist said the dental work they did was okay. They wouldn’t give him anything in English to read to so he taught himself Spanish.
He needed wheels so the first thing we did was buy him a pick up and he promptly built a camper on the back. He worked painting for us on an apartment plus other jobs he picked up. It wasn’t long until he drove to Mexico City and enrolled in the University and lived with a Mexican family. He was learning Spanish and they would fine him each time he forgot and spoke in English.
He returned to Long Beach, met Teresa and they were married at the Virginia Country Club.
After living briefly in Long Beach and Sacramento they moved to Priest River, Idaho and built a beautiful home next to a National Forest that they expanded as the children came and grew. It has been a joy visiting them and their beautiful setting.
Teresa is a substitute teacher and Roger is a paint contractor and is also skilled working fiberglass repairs on any fiber glass product.
In the picture at right, the children are in the bottom row left to right, Jessica, Garrett, Megan and, above, Dylan and Tyler. (See Chapter 1, about Megan.)
Garrett works in computer programs and just married, Jessica is a trained chief and lives in Seattle, Dylan is a carpenter and Tyler graduates from High School this year and they have both been working with their Dad.
Peggy was born in 1948 and was 13 when she passed away. This photo was taken a week before she went to the hospital. She loved her school and other than the usual sibling disputes and quarrels she was a lovely daughter and sister. Her teachers praised her.
It was hard on Marguerite but she never let it effect her performance as a mother and wife. Our friends and wonderful neighbors and their children were there for us at all times. Marguerite is interred next to her in the Catholic cemetery in Long Beach.
Mike was born August 11, 1951. Penn Wilson, who owned the other half of the duplex, had obtained a job in San Diego so we sold the duplex and rented a house in Belmont Heights. We had needed more space with the addition of Mike and that sufficed until we bought a home in a new subdivision in east Long Beach a few blocks from the San Diego freeway.
This photo was taken in their home in Halifax, Nov Scotia, Canada. Shown with Mike are Molly and his son Andrew.
He was a surfer and in high school he started making surf boards in our garage. When he obtained an order he would buy the blank, shape it, embed his logo and apply the fiber glass coating. It was the first step in a successful career in business.
Finishing high school he played the sixties role and bummed around the States and Mexico. He finally called from back east and asked for airfare to come home and enrolled at CSU Santa Barbara and two years later transferred to UC Berkley where he and Pamela became a couple.
He had studied Japanese and when he graduated he obtained a job teaching English in Japan while he continued studying their language. Pamela and Andrew went with him. The next step was a distinguished college in international trade in Phoenix followed by a position in the international trade division of a bank.
That led to a company manufacturing fiberglass showers and bathtubs who wanted to expand into Canada. They moved to Toronto and Mike handled the prep work necessary to obtain Canadian approval but soon quit because, in spite of being a multimillion dollar company they hadn’t acquired computers and their quality control was extremely poor.
He was searching for a product he could develop and found a patented device that could be adjusted to a person’s weight. The elderly could sit on it and when they wanted to stand up it would give the necessary assist. The owner of the patent didn’t know how to develop and market so Michael cut a deal where he obtained the patent and the owner receives royalties. From that start he built "Uplift Technologies Inc." into a substantial company with multiple products located in Halifax where he lives. Competition forces him to have his products made overseas but he assembles, markets and ships them from Halifax. You can view the products on his web site
They were living in Canada when Andrew was born and he is now studying for a degree in business while he manages an apartment building in Halifax. Prior to that he attended diving school and became a deep sea diver and welder off of oil platforms. It is difficult, dangerous and exhausting so he obviously decided there were better and more interesting ways to make a living and a life.
Michael visits when he has business meetings or a trade show in the west, renting an apartment on the beach and a surf board. He starts each day by surfing. He also surfs in Halifax with three different weight full body suits including shoes, gloves and head cover but there are only a few places to surf and there is no way to know whether the surf will be adequate or over adequate. Unfortunately they do not have beaches as we know them.
Molly handles the advertising for a Zen Buddhist magazine and when she is able, she comes along with Mike but doesn’t bother with a surf board.
My step children from the marriage to Caroline Cook are in the bottom row left to right are Keri, Christopher and Lisa Farthing. In the back row Caroline, Stephaney and Todd hiding behind Chris. More about Lisa later with the information on other Farthings.
Keri worked her way through college and graduated from Harvard having majored in drama and theatre. Stephanie married, has three children and manages a restaurant of a major hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Todd has a degree from Texas A & M and is with the Military Police in Iraq after transferring from the Medical Corps. When he was based in Germany he married Trish, a German lady and they have three children.
Chris graduated with a degree in Political Science and was on the staff of a corrupt Congressman who he left as soon as he became aware of some of the games. His next step was with the NFL players union that monitored all players' injuries and he decided to go back and get a degree in law. He was in his second year when it was discovered that he had a tumor in his pituitary gland and after two surgeries and the terrible headaches that remain for years he has never been the person he was. A heartbreaking waste of an outstanding young man.

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© 2011 Oliver W. Speraw