Taft: The Best of Times
Welcome to all from Taft, my center of the universe for nearly 18
years, and clearly the place where one can experience "the Best of Times." 
Rosalie and I drove up from L.A. this morning and had an interesting trip.
We encountered snow, wind and a major semi-truck accident at the top of the
ridge route....the truck had gone over the side spilling its stuff
everywhere, and the snow was lightly coating the ground right up to the edge
of the road...and then we moved into fog that gave us visibility of about 30
feet.  Visibility finally cleared as we descended down into the San Joaquin
Valley.  Rosalie was a very good driver and  I was calm and happy all the way.

We brought along with us two, count them, TWO, lemon meringue pies, that
Rosalie made last night.  She had an interesting conversation with Larry as he
discovered the pies this morning, and said, "oh, boy, Rosalie, what great
pies!"  She said, "yes, they are, but you are not getting any..."   He was so
disappointed, looked so sad, but Rosalie told me that since Larry never
compliments her cooking, it was "pay back time."  We agreed that if you live
long enough with a person, there is the opportunity to always have a little
pay back time...:-)

When, we arrived in Taft, we went through town briefly, visited the old home
at 404 Van Buren Street, and was saddened to see that it being allowed to run down.

Then, we moved on to Valley Acres, where Joseph, Richard and Orv were all
waiting for us, and Skip was too!  Joseph drove in with his new Izuzu and we
looked it over, then went into the house and ate lunch which Rosalie had
prepared and brought with us.   It was delicious, very good,
excellent...(cause I love Lemon Meringue Pie) and Rosalie really is a great
cook.  Then, we ate the pie...all of it except for three pieces left for
Joseph, Skip and myself tonight, and Skip and Joseph just finished theirs.....

Joseph and I drove around town some this afternoon, visiting the old High
School which is pretty different from the good old days, but very up-to-date,
with excellent teaching facilities and excellent teaching salaries, and
probably still excellent teachers as was true in our day.

We looked for the old gym in which we breathlessly held ourselves tight as we watched Taft DEFEAT Edison High School of Fresno for the Valley Championship in 1953. 
Starting FiveTed Switzler, Don  Zumbro, Charlie Hanna, Ray Herman and Fred Vaughn---and Rollie Gilliam was the 6th man.  Edison High was favored by more than 10 points.  It was a game akin to the drama of the day that Bobby Thompson hit his home run for the New York Giants.  But the gym was no longer there, demolished to make way for another one and now that building has been converted into the district offices.

For us who were there that night we won the championship, the images of the old gym hold pretty tight, however, and it was good just to be on the property. 

On the way home, we passed by the "ice plant," where my  father worked as a
teenager loading ice to people who wanted it for the "ice boxes."  (This was my biological father, who died in 1948).  It is still there, in the same form as it was in 1935, so I took a picture of it for you all to see...:-)

This evening, we sit quietly in the home that we shared with our brothers and
sisters (six total) and our parents, each of whom found in one another a love
to sustain a second marriage for both, (my mother, Claire, remarried Skip Werling in 1952).  Somehow, they found the energy to deal with raising six, at one  time, teenagers.

It is a comforting feeling, and in the back yard, still remain, an orange tree, tangerine and a grapefruit tree, both heavily laden with their fruit and waiting a plucking for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  :-)  In fact, Joseph, just brought in a tangerine and is peeling and eating it now....on top of Lemon Meringue pie..can you believe that?  .:-)

I am going now to get my pie before it disappears.....I'll write again toward
the end of my visit in Taft.  For those of you not in the immediate family,
if you want to know the essence of Taft, see the film,
The Best of Times, starring Kurt Russell, Robin Williams and others.  By the way, the first
person to identify Gerard Despardieu was Mary Ann, and she cleverly noted
that I had put his last name on the photo...so she wins...!!!!!

Bye for now, enjoy your days and nights...

The pictures are of Rosalie, I love her cooking, and then, my brother Richard, my two brothers, Joseph and Orv, the icehouse and my second father, Skip.

Love to all,

Leaving Wisconsin

Taft: The Best of Times

Taft: Out and About

Taft: Memorabilia

Fred, Tom and Sylvia

Joseph and the Dugas'

Crossing the Sierras

Joyce's Home

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