Through Any Given Door

1.61 Larry’s Diary, May 1950


Carleen, at fourteen, stepped into our mother’s shoes during the periods when Mom was gone. It was expected and she didn’t think much about it, she simply did it. When she went anywhere she took me with her. On her way to school she dropped me off at Mrs. Evans, then picked me up on her way home. Dad hired Ima Deaton (nineteen-year-old Betty Imogene “Ima” Deaton) to help with the younger girls and the house, but when summers came, Carleen took over. Betty and Claudia were now old enough to be pressed into service, and when Carleen could catch them, she dragged them downstairs by their ankles and beat them with a wet washcloth to make them help her cook and clean and take care of me.

Hard-boiled eggs were Carleen’s specialty, and she thought they were perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She made deviled eggs, chopped egg and olive sandwiches, egg and noodle casseroles. The only times they weren’t perfect was when she put them on to boil at night for the next day, forgot about them and went to bed. The pan boiled dry and the eggs, exploding all over the kitchen walls and ceiling, filled the house with the stink of sulfur. After three or four times, Dad laid down the law.

“That’s it! No more cooking hard-boiled eggs at night!” He was tired of scraping the ceiling.

Mother was gone for a short while; on May 25 she reappears in Larry’s diary and is mentioned a number of times thereafter.

1950 • Larry’s diary (age 16)
May 1  Went to San Francisco with Dad. Got new mouthpiece at Coast Wholesale. Got controls at Columbia on buying trip for store. Missed day of school
May 2  New mouthpiece a little big. Using old one for concert and solo. Dad hired Ima to stay in home to take care of my little sisters. Taught her how to play Canasta. Got A- in band. Polished bell.
May 3  Played my first music solo in public. Brass choir played for Lions club. Got a $55 gaberdine suit
May 4  Tuolumne County Orchestra spring concert. Wore new suit first time. Stockton musicians came up. Hung up poster and programs on wall.
May 5  Got up at 3:15 and went to San Jose with band and Brass Choir for music festival. Got two excellent ratings, one for my solo and 1 for Brass Choir

Brass choir and band performance, 1950 SUHS; Larry far right with sousaphone

Instrumental music soloists, SUHS 1950; Larry is front row, far right

May 6  Stayed overnight at the Days. Spent all day watching other soloist and groups play. Wore my medals. Got name on programs.
May 7  Met Dick Miller in Business Department in San Jose. We rode back together till we got to Manteca, from there we hitchhiked home. Got cherries.
May 8  Got certificate from Max. New bass player named Lepape. Ima keeping things in my room.
May 9  Saw show The Inspector General with Danny Kaye. Beat Livingston 6-1 in baseball. Senior English test
May 10  Put my name in for Commissioner of Publications. Ima put lock on both doors, inside and out. Beat Ima at Canasta
May 11  Went to last Tuolumne County Orchestra rehearsal this year. Saw rehearsal of Senior play. First day of fair, didn’t go yet
May 12  Had the Kiddie rodeo parade. Band wore band pants and white shirts sleeves rolled up twice. Jake came to my room.
May 13  Big “Days of Gold” Rodeo parade. Lodi High School took first prize. Went to fair and carnival. Went on airplane ride with Bruce Loving. Played horses
May 14  Last day of fair. Missed Rodeo
May 15  Got solos from Pressey. Bought blue swimsuit at Calverts.
May 16  Went on Wildcat picnic. Went swimming, played ball, I was pitcher.
May 17  Brass Choir played in assembly
May 18  Played my solo at the El Nido. Made election rosters. Mothers tea held today.
May 19  Played tuba solo for FFA (Future Farmers of America) convention in spring concert. Hung up posters, made campaign speech today
May 20  Made up sign for bell of my horn saying “Put out last Wildcat #15.” Helped hang signs up for Dwain McDonald.
May 21  Played at Angels Camp the frog jump with the Tuolumne County Band. Hard time getting home. Saw sideshow. Got sign on horn.
May 22  Brass choir made some recordings of “Montana” and “Wayfarer”. Got 5th highest in Business Law.
May 23  Election day. I won over Helen Revenski. Went to show with Mick and Alan.
May 24  Shirley Denton stayed overnight. Got B in final test.

Mom and Grandma

May 25  Awards assembly, received my block lyre for 30 credits of music. Mom left for Chico to visit her mother. Asked Joan Hitzman to Prom, phoned no
May 26  Went to the Junior-Senior Prom with Shirley Christenson. Theme was Candyland, had a good time. Gardenia corsage
May 27  Charlie and Velma came up. Stayed in my room. Mom got back from Chico. First day of fishing.
May 28  Saw show Dear Wife with Ima. Charlie and Velma left. They took some pictures of me in my suit and uniform, 2 medals and horn. Showed movies.
May 29  Slept till noon. Washed out horn thoroughly and talked with Mr. Pressey. Asked Dad about P.M.C. (Pacific Music Camp in Stockton) and new horn.
May 30  Went swimming at Columbia pool. First time this year. Learned how to dive from Don S., Ima, Mom and kids took me
May 31  Back to school. Band played for scholarship assembly

to be continued…

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Barbara Jacobsen says:

    It looks like you all found a way to survive and continue on with your lives. Your dad was the anchor, seems to me. Larry looks so proud in his suit and giant horn!

  2. This one not so sad except for the wet wash cloth.

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