Through Any Given Door

1.08 Crazy Quilt

1895 - 1915 • Nellie ~ My grandmother started her crazy quilt in 1895, the same year she started her family. Twenty years later, with the birth of my mother, Noreen Ellen "Babe" Chatfield, she completed them both. During Nellie’s first period of confinement (it was improper for … [Read more...]

1.07 Backstory: My Maternal Grandparents

Dec 26, 1894 • Fruita, Colorado ~  In a ceremony in her parents' home, my grandmother, twenty-one year old Nellie Chamberlin, married Charles Henry Chatfield, a ranching man of twenty-four. Nellie was a no-nonsense Catholic girl and exceedingly religious, but she also had a mind of her … [Read more...]

1.06 Chico and Grandma Chatfield

1940s • Chico, California ~ Every summer Mom took the kids to visit her mother, Nellie Chatfield, who still lived in the two-story house on Boucher Street where my mother grew up. Chico was even hotter than Sonora during the summer, in the 100s every day. To cool off the family took daily … [Read more...]

1.05 Summer Camping

1945 • Pinecrest, California ~ Every summer the family spent a couple of weeks camping in Pinecrest, pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars at night, boating, swimming, and fishing for perch and bluegill all day. Dad came up on weekends. The kids were free as wild finches from dawn until … [Read more...]

1.04 Lucky Strike Girl

1945 • Sonora ~ At five, Betty opened her first business. She admired the ads featuring Lucky Strike girls wearing long gloves, short skirts, high heels, and satin pillbox caps, and particularly applauded the ingenuity of the lacquered trays they carried like a personal shelf supported by … [Read more...]

1.03 A Chicken and a Dog

Mid 1940s • Sonora, California ~ Larry and Carleen went everywhere together. They were a year apart (he was born in 1934, she in '35) with the same dark brown hair and brown eyes. When he was four Larry wore an eye patch, and in first grade, glasses. He had a lazy eye, the only thing ever lazy … [Read more...]

1.02 104 Green Street

1943 • Sonora, California ~ My father first took a job as manager of the Sprouse-Reitz on Washington Street. Mom came in and helped out. She was ten years younger than Dad. Her hair was jet black like her mother’s and grandmother’s, and she wore red lipstick and a wide smile. He was … [Read more...]

1.01 Part I, Faded Snapshots, Sonora

1943 • Sonora, California ~ Emerging from the crown of Highway 49 and a mile from end to end, the town of Sonora is tucked into the foothills and ravines of the Sierra Nevada, the gateway to California’s gold mining region. In the mid 1800s it was a whirlwind of change, a booming and often … [Read more...]