John and Clea met when they were going to Madison High School, in Rexburg, Idaho. At first, Mom didn't like Dad, because "he was just so irritating--like he is now" and he just bugged her. Her best friend, Della, had a typing class with Dad. He sat in front of her and would lean back and "stretch" far enough to hit her typewriter carriage, which caused her to goof up her typing test. Since it had to be perfect, she had to stay after the lunch bell rang to redo her paper. No wonder Mom wasn't immediately enamored with him!
A group of Mom's friends wanted to go out with them and pair up with Dad, but she didn't want him to be part of the group. When they got to her house to pick her up, she didn't want to go. Her brother, Ralph, said, "I'll get rid of him!" He would have, but Mom just went out and told them that she wasn't going. Obviously, Dad persevered. Later, she did go with the group-mostly because she wanted to be with the other kids. Their first date was November 21, 1947. (She remembered that date with no hesitation!) They went to a school dance with three other couples. Sounds like a fun time, but she didn't even danced once with her date! (Dad has never been a big fan of dancing.) That didn't stop her, and she ended up dancing with several other guys! Must have been a success in spite of not dancing together. They continued to date and she decided that "Jack" wasn't so bad after all.
At a time when Aunt Reva was going through her second divorce, Mom's mother said, "I wonder if I will ever get a son-in-law that I can be proud of." Mom asked her mother to tell her who she would be proud of, and she would see if she could get him. Her mother said, "If you marry Jack, I will be happy." Her mother passed away in August of 1948, when Mom was 16. She must have looked down on her daughter who did make her happy and gave her the son-in-law that she was proud of!
Mom and Dad continued dating through high school. They enjoyed going over to Dad's house with their friends after a night out. Mom remembers how impressed she was that they always had soda for the kids at Dad's house-something she never had at her house. They have some fun stories about the jokes that Mom's brothers would play on Dad when he came to pick her up. Always jokesters, they definitely fit in well with him!
Dad managed to graduate in 1948. He wasn't the most stellar student, but he was great at goofing off and having fun! Mom remembers when they read his senior class "will", where each senior would "leave" something as they graduated. When Jack Taylor's name was read, they said, "Jack Taylor's not sure he's leaving"! He did graduate, and he even left something at the school: his and his sweetheart's initials were carved in the blackboard tray!
After high school, Dad decided to join the Army in 1949 and served for one year. During that time, he was called home when his mother died, on December 1, 1949. How ironic that they were dating at the times when each of them lost their mothers. Dad was released from the Army in February of 1950. When he returned, they were engaged, but no date for the wedding was set. Dad gave Mom her ring in May of 1950, on the day of her high school graduation. He gave it to her before the graduation ceremony, so she could show off her ring and tell all of their friends! The seniors were lined up in alphabetical order and her girlfriends would run back and forth to the "B" section to see Mom's ring.
One day in August, Mom was in a store in Rexburg, with Dad's sister, Grace. That was the day she overheard a comment made by someone in the store who said, "Isn't that something that Jack got called back into the service!" Because of the outbreak of the Korean War, Dad received orders to be called back into the Reserves. He just hadn't broken the news to her yet. At that point, plans were rapidly made for a wedding before he had to leave. They were married on September 1, 1950.
A small wedding ceremony was held in Mom's home in Archer, Idaho, with mostly just immediate family attending. Dad's best man was Aunt Zara's brother, Claude, and Mom's maid of honor was her best friend, Della. After the wedding, they held a dance/reception in the Archer school gym, for all of their friends. That was the place for receptions at that time!
They spent their honeymoon in Yellowstone Park, before Dad reported to Ford Ord. He was then sent to Camp Cooke Army Base (now Vandenburg Air Force Base) in Lompoc, California. Mom joined him there, where they lived in a tiny trailer for about 16 months. Dad worked at the Post Quarter Master, where they gave out all of the supplies and uniforms to the men that were called into duty. Mom remembers when they called all of the 40th Division from California, which included older guys with families. It was a very sad experience seeing the families have to say good-bye. Linda was born on May 31, and the Army hospital kept them both there for 10 days!
After getting out of the service, they moved back up to Rexburg and lived with Grandpa Taylor. Dad went back to work at his old job for Graham's Furniture, where his weekly paycheck was $47.97. He knew that wasn't going to work and decided to see if he could find something better in California. He immediately got a job at Lockheed, for double the salary he had been making in Idaho, and later started college. It's very likely that he still has that first pay stub, as he has saved every stub from all of his paychecks through the years! Dad was thrilled to write to his father and tell him about it, and his dad was so excited to go into Graham's and tell them about his son's good fortune! Mom and Linda soon took the train (complete with sleeping accommodations) and arrived in California on Mother's Day. In California, he continued using his real name, John, as he had started doing in the Army. He is still "Jack" to family and friends from Idaho, but to everyone else, he is "John".
For about a year, they lived in another little trailer, in the trailer park in Sunland. Dad worked swing shift. They could see the drive-in movie theater from there and even sometimes hear it, so that kept Mom entertained while he worked at night. (Funny that they ended up raising their family in a house so close to that trailer park and drive-in!) In 1953, when they were expecting Johnny, they bought and moved into their first house on Jardine, in Sunland. The cost of that house was a whopping $6,500, and their house payment was $75.00 per month. Paula was born there, and they again bought a bigger house in Sunland, when they were expecting Steven, in 1959.
John and Linda remember going to the site of the house as it was being built. They got to walk around it, even when the ground was just framed, and knew which bedroom would be theirs. They moved into their new house on Langmuir in April of 1959, as Johnny had his sixth birthday. It was the first store-bought birthday cake that we ever had in our house-and maybe the only one! The price of that house was $17,500 with a monthly payment of $95.00. They worried and wondered what they had done by paying that much for a house and getting into a higher house payment! ($20 just isn't what is use to be!) Aunt Reva was so worried that they had made a huge mistake.
That financial worry became a reality when Steven was born with his club feet just one month later, on May 29. They were hit with the realization that there would be years of medical bills ahead! At that time, their insurance didn't cover congenital problems, only medical conditions that occurred after a baby was born! They would never have bought this house if they had known. Mom says that is when they began their "poverty". We were excited, happy kids with a new house and baby brother--totally oblivious to all of this concern.
Steven was put into casts when he was only three days old. One little girl at church felt so bad and said, "Look at that poor baby. He broke both of his legs!" Somehow, Mom and Dad made sure that Steven got the best of care. We all remember the years of corrective shoes and braces. But never was he treated any differently. All of us--and especially Steven-soon knew that nothing could stop him from doing what every other kid did (and then some)!
We spent some 17 years growing up on Langmuir Ave., and what a storybook childhood it was. Our family enjoyed a very good and a happy life. We have so many memories and stories from our time there. Moving to Palmdale with Paula and Steven was a difficult thing, after so many years. Although they were not happy about the move, life has turned out to be very good there, also.