Red when we met in October 1958

June 11, 1960 our wedding day. Young and full of hope.

A great smile always!

LIFE WITH MY FIRST LOVE!

Red age 8 and his older brother, Sonny at age 12 in 1946. That guitar was almost as big as Red.

*Note*  Some things are not in the order that they occurred.  This is a long read and it covers a period of 45 years.

In October of 1958 I met my first love, Lynndle (Lynn or Red) Blaylock.  I was 16 and he was 20.  We met on a blind date through mutual friends.  Red came to town one weekend a month for his Air Nat'l Guard meetings.  He lived in San Jose, CA with his parents, while I lived in Fresno, CA with my parents.  We were married in June of 1960 just after I graduated from high school.  Red also went by the name Lynn depending on who you were talking to.

Red was born in Winona, MS in July of 1938 and he grew up around Vicksburg, MS.  He was the middle of three brothers.  Their parents were poor and worked hard for their sons.  They brought music into the boy's lives with older brother, Sonny, and Red playing guitars and singing for church and community groups.  As the younger brother, Carl, became older, he was in the group as well.

I think some of their parents dreams were fulfilled by their son's music in their youthful years.  Sonny went on to become a professional musician and played many clubs in, San Jose, CA, Reno, NV, and Kenai, AL.  He was a great guitar player mastering the steel guitar as well.  Sonny passed away at the age of 51 from lung cancer.

When Red graduated from high school in Vicksburg, MS in 1956, he didn't want to be a burden to his parents and decided to come to California where Sonny lived in search of work.  He had little money and hitched a ride across country with a trucker who was hauling a mobile home to California.  He soon found a job at Western Electric in San Jose, CA.  A few years later his parents and younger brother, Carl, moved to California and landed in San Jose, CA.  His father owned a television and radio repair shop that he operated out of their rental home.

When Red and I married he was working for Westinghouse in Sunnyvale, CA.  He had many jobs in the 43 years of our marriage.  Rear chainman on a survey crew, Assistant Desk Officer and Patrol with Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Dept., Kaiser Permanente Aluminum Plant in Cupertino, CA, new car sales in Yuba City, CA, Security Systems Sales and Installation in Scotts Valley, CA, Monterey, CA and Yuba City, CA along with the Jewel Tea Sales Route in Monterey, CA.  Red was a man of many talents and was well versed in electronics and how they worked.  He even worked for a Temp Agency night shift unloading sacks of potatoes off of railroad box cars for Frito Lay Co.  He was always out there trying his best.

In 1974 we were living in Pacific Grove, CA and Lynn was driving a sales route in the Monterey area for Jewel Tea.  He was the Jewel Tea Man in his delivery truck.  During the time he had the route he increased sales dramatically.  I was driving a school bus for Pacific Grove during that time.  Lynn was thinking about changing jobs but had discovered a mole on his left calf that was changing color and size.  He decided to see a doctor while he still had health insurance with Jewel Tea.  While at the doctor appointment, the doctor explained that the mole must be removed ASAP.  It was removed during surgery along with a larger area around it.  The skin was stitched and pulled together with metal clamps.  The test results were not good.  It was melanoma, the worst kind of skin cancer.  The cancer board at the hospital met once a month to discuss cases.  It was determined they did not get all of the cancer and Lynn needed follow up surgery at UCLA Hospital.  He flew to Los Angeles, CA for the surgery.  I could not go with him due to my job and lack of funds.  The surgery was performed and they removed the lymph nodes in the left groin area for testing.  They took skin from his right thigh to perform a skin graph on the calf where the additional surgery was performed.  Lab results found the cancer had traveled and was in two of the lymph nodes that were removed from the groin area.  Even though I thought the wound and skin graph looked gross, the doctor was pleased and it did heal well.

The original doctor's assessment was Lynn had a 20% - 80% chance of survival, meaning 20% he would survive and 80% he would not survive.  For the next 5 years he traveled to Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, CA once a month.  They would perform tests, a lung tumor gram as well as a liver scan.  He was put in a study group where he was given an experimental drug called The Transfer Factor in the form of an injection every month.  Basically, they were treating him as a well man.  He only had 2 minor skin cancers after that time and they were removed with no follow up required.

Many years later he received a letter from Mt. Zion Hospital explaining he needed to get tested for AIDS since the experimental drug Transfer Factor contained blood byproducts.  This was before strict guidelines were in place regarding blood and blood byproducts.  Lynn was tested for AIDS and the results were negative.  Thank the Lord for that.

Early on while living in Santa Cruz, CA and in between jobs, we had to apply through the county for Surplus Food.....this was before Food Stamps.  You would receive big blocks of cheese, butter, bags of rice, bulger, canned meats, oatmeal and powdered milk.  It was not pleasant to have to ask for assistance but we had to survive and had three children to feed.  Sometimes being out of work, it took unemployment checks awhile to arrive.  After applying for a job with Animal Control, Lynn came home and looked very down and sad.  He confided in me that he could not live with himself if he took that job  and had to euthanize animals.  I assured him that he should not take that job and that we would make it and somthing else would come around and it did.  He was a very caring, loving and sensitive man and also the most honest man that I have ever known.  He never lied about anything and could not understand why other people did.  He was good at salesl  He sold Jewel Tea products, security systems, new cars and light bulbs among other things.

After we sold the house in San Jose, we had a nice home built in Scotts Valley, CA.  Before the home was finished we had to rent an old dumpy home that had belonged to the Chief of Police.  We loved the new home and lived in it from 1969 to 1971 when we had to put it up for sale due to finances being strapped again.  We rented a house in Santa Cruz and stayed there for a while.  I was still driving a school bus for Scotts Valley School District.  Lynn was now working for Kaiser Permanente Aluminum Plant in Cupertino, CA and drove the commute daily.  He could never tolerate liars and soon found he needed to find other employment.  He started working for VanGas who also ran Property Guardian Alarm Systems.  He excelled at selling and installing security systems.  The fellows we rented the house from advised us that they were putting the home up for sale which meant we needed to find another place to live.  The church we attended had the parsonage for the preacher on the camp grounds where the church was located.  The preacher did not live in the house as it was quite old and run down.  We were allowed to move in and we installed a heater as the house had none.

We were both always looking for new employment opportunities and I was no longer driving a school bus.  Lynn applied for and gained the job as route sales for Jewel Tea in Monterey.  We moved into a rental in Pacific Grove.  Our landlords were very gracious people.  He taught Russian language at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey.  I went to work for Pacific Grove School District driving another school bus.  Lynn stayed busy with the Jewel Tea route until the medical problem with melanoma appreared and he could no longer do the sales route.

Next stop was working for Duro-Test selling light bulbs in the Marysville-Yuba City area.  Lynn went up ahead of us to find a place for us to live.  He rented a nice home from a gentleman in the Army who was moving back east.  We packed up everything including two dogs and made the long drive from Pacific Grove to Marysville, CA.  We arrived around 1:30 a.m. I was driving the car while Lynn drove the U-Haul truck.  The unbearable heat was a real slap in the face for us since we had been living along the coast where it never got that hot. When selling light bulbs was not the answer, Lynn went to work selling new cars for Wheeler Cadillac Oldsmobile in Yuba City.  That lasted for a while but then the unsavory, lying types of salesmen working there were not what he was used to dealing with and he moved on.

Lynn had made the acquaintance of Roy Noring who owned and operated Noring Electric in Yuba City.  Roy was wanting to branch out into selling and installing security systems and soon Lynn was working part time for Roy.

As luck would have it, our landlord was again being stationed back in California and wanted to move his family back into the house we were renting.  Even though our lease was not up we didn't want to take any legal action to stay in the house.  I was back driving school bus again, this time for Marysville Joint Unified School District.  My route was a rural one that was up in the foothill area.  One of my stops was in Browns Valley and the brother of my student pickup had a trailer on his property that he agreed to rent to us.  It was a 35 foot trailer.  We put most of our things in storage and moved in with 3 teens and 2 dogs.  Lynn had joined the IBEW The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and a summertime job at the California State Fair became available.  Lynn was to take care of all the aging sound and video equipment that was used for the racetrack and also performances on stage by various musical acts.  The pay was $14.32 an hour with lots of overtime.  This was July of 1977. He worked that job during the duration of the State Fair in Sacramento.  Instead of having to commute back and forth, they fixed him a cot in a spare room and he had a microwave and a refrigerator.  Every couple of days, I would go down to Sacramento to the fairgrounds and take Lynn's laundry to the laundrymat to keep him in clean clothes.  Back then, the shows were free and I remember seeing Low Rawls and Jose Feliciano.  The fair ran for about 7 or 8 weeks.  Towards the end of the run, Lynn's boss told him there was an empty trailer behind one of the entertainment stages and to move his things in there.  He would be more comfortable and no one would bother his things.  Imagine Lynn's surprise when he went back to the trailer one night after work to find ALL of his underwear and towels were gone....stolen....and the only group using the trailer was singer and musician CHUCK BERRY!  I had to make an extra trip that week to bring new underwear and towels.  We have laughed about that for years.....Every time we would see Chuck Berry on TV we would holler "Hey where's my underwear and towels".

The job at the State Fair enabled us to have the down payment for a brand new 24 x 60 mobile home that we put in Casa Mia Park in Marysville.  The new mobile home was nice and I got to pick out the colors, etc.  Lynn was still working  for Roy Noring but Roy wanted to retire.  Roy wanted Lynn to take over the alarm sales and installations part of the business and Lynn agreed.  He would basically be self-employed.  Daughter, Lisa, had graduated high school and was off to college in Denver, CO at Colorado Women's College.  We weren't really set up to handle the expense since there had been no saving for a college fund, but we decided to give it our best shot.

While working on an alarm installation in Sacramento for the Filco Stores, Lynn took a bad fall from a ladder.....no one had mentioned there was "dance wax" on the floor.  He was taken to a hospital in Sacramento and I arrived stressed out.  The Filco Store owners were of Arab descent and wanted to help with any financial problems we might encounter.  Lynn had a broken wrist, a nasty gash down to the bone over his eyebrow and had knocked out two teeth.  When I took him home from the hospital he said something was not right with his jaw.  When I took him to the dentist the next day the bad news was that his jaw was broken and the hospital had overlooked that.  He wasn't able to work and we were offered the job as managers of Casa Mia Park.  We decided to take the job even though the pay was very low it did give us  free rent.  I belonged to a union, Operating Engineers, because I worked as a classified employee in the Transportation Dept for the school district.  They paid some of Lynn's doctor bills until they discovered he was self employed and should have had Workman's  Comp.....which he didn't because we could not afford the premiums.  Operating Engineers stopped paying any of his medical charges.  Things got really rough and we were considering having to file for bankruptcy.  After speaking to a lawyer, a lawsuit was filed on Lynn's behalf against Filco Stores.  They had disappeared from the picture immediately and made no effort to help with the medical bills.  We contacted all the debtors regarding the lawsuit and asked if they would wait for payment out of the lawsuit when it was final.  Most said yes, they would work with us but a few would not.  I had already worked out an agreement with the Credit Union where our mortgage was on the mobile home.  The award from the lawsuit when it was settled was based on what we owed to creditors.  It certainly was not a large sum of money and most were paid except for the hold outs.  They turned our debt over to collection agencies.

After her first year in college in Denver, Lisa came home and told us she was joining the Army since she knew we could not afford the college tuition.  She claimed she would finish her education on the Army with their benefits.  That allowed us a little breathing room.

When Lynn was able to work again he had many good customers where he had alarmed their homes and businesses.  One such customer was our lawyer who had an office with his brother and father.  Another was our insurance agent for many years.  Lynn was good at his job and word of mouth was mostly how he obtained customers.  Sutter County was another one of his customers.  He handled their Alarm Board where people with alarm systems were monitored. 

Back in 1971 Juan Corona was a farm labor contractor in the Yuba City area and he killed many of his farm laborers with a machete and buried them along the Feather River area.  He was caught and at trial was found guilty.  Many years later, around 1980 he had a retrial (I don't recall the reason).  Lynn was called upon by the Sutter County Sheriff's Department to install an alarm on the secret building where the evidence for the retrial was being held.  Lynn installed the alarm and both our sons, had been helping their dad  for quite some time and they were with him on this job.  The trial was moved to another city in the Bay Area and Lynn and the boys had to reinstall the alarm in a new town at another secret building.  Juan Corona was tried and convicted again.  Lynn handled the Alarm Board for Sutter County for many years including after we had moved to Sacramento.

The trailer park manager job was not the greatest and we had some real bums for residents.  On several occasions Lynn was assaulted by drunks that required stitches to his head.  I was never far behind to help.  I wasn't hurt but I opened up a can of "Whup Ass" on more than one deadbeat.

In June of 1982 I hung up my bus driving keys for good.  The kids had gotten very disrespectful and I was tired of the attitudes.  As 1982 progressed we concentrated more on learning the mobile home park management business.  The owners of Casa Mia were afraid to send us to any industry seminars since we might end up smarter than them.  As 1983 rolled in we were both becoming restless.  The park owners wanted to cut our meager pay and wanted us to rent our home out and move into the park clubhouse.  Rentals were not allowed so that was not going to be a good move.  The clubhouse needed tons of work to be livable so that option was out as well.  We started looking for better employment and answered many ads for mobile home park managers.  We answered the call for a mobile home park manager team at a 211 space park in Sacramento, CA.  We met with the elderly managers and then were asked to come back the following week to meet with the park owners.

We accepted the job and started work May 1, 1983.  The salary was $1,000.00 a month split between us, meaning we each got $500.00 before taxes.  They provided us with a two bedroom, 2 bath smaller mobile home for free and our utilities were free.  The park was a split park with an adult section and a family section.  The former managers were old and went into their house at 5 p.m. and were too afraid to come out after dark.  The park had many problems with teenagers and when we started to enforce the rules the parents of the troublemakers had a petition up to get rid of us the first month we were there.  They found out quick enough that we were there to stay!

Over the years legistlation and laws changed and we could no longer have a split park and in August of 1988 we became "Housing for Older Persons - 55 and older".  Anyone already there but under that age was grandfathered in.  We endured 8 different HUD Complaints by persons who wanted us to still sell to families.  It was a very challenging time.

March of 1987 proved to be the most challenging time of all with a group of problem tenants.  The situation became like an armed camp.....those for management and those against management.  We had experienced poor service on many occasions from the Sacramento Sheriff's Dept.  One afternoon all hell broke loose when two deputies showed up to serve a restraining order against a couple of the good residents.  They asked Lynn where the home was and then ignored his question about what was happening.  One deputy had a temper with a very short fuse.  He walked back to Lynn and raised his hand as if to strike Lynn.  Lynn put his hand up to deflect the officer's hand and he was told immediately that he was "under arrest".  I was devastated as I watched the whole scenario.  Lynn had been a deputy and knew if they said you were under arrest to comply.  The charges were assault and battery on a police officer.  One of the deputies was 6' 4" and weighed 240 pounds.  No such behavior happened.  I remained calm and asked the Sgt. the name of the deputy who took my husband away in the patrol car.  He was extremely rude and told me that all of his men wore name tags and since I was not a lawyer, he didn't have to tell me anything.  So the saga began.  This happened in the afternoon and I called my boss who said, we have to get him out of jail ASAP.  He was released on his own OR around midnight.  The next morning we saw a lawyer recommended by our lawyer friend in Marysville.  While we were visiting with the lawyer our maintenance man called to tell us that one of the local TV stations was in the park and talking to a couple from the bad group.  Yes, we were on the 10 p.m. local news that evening.  Everything was fast getting out of hand.  This was in early March of 1987 and Lynn went to trial in August of 1987.  He pleaded not guilty and the trial lasted 6 days with an acquittal.  The stress we were under was ridiculous.  In fact it took a toll on me and I spent the next year in therapy on a stress related Workman's Comp claim.  I finally got back to my old self but it was a struggle.  Again we proved to the bad guys that we were tough and planned to stay.  Lynn and I were always a team and everyone knew it. 

In 1988, Lynn was having a hard time doing some of the manual labor and he went to the walk in clinic close by.  The doctor immediately sent us to the hospital where Lynn would undergo an angiogram and angioplasty on his heart.  I now feel that was the beginning of the count down to the end.

We kept working away including the first four years on the job with no assistants or help and no chance to take a vacation.  Time kept moving on and in early March of 1996, Lynn suffered a heart attack at home.  During the next 4 days he was at 3 different hospitals.  Kaiser did not do heart procedures at that time.  He was transferred to Sutter General for another angioplasty and this time 5 way heart bypass surgery.  Changes in diet and exercise were in order and I was very frightened for the outcome.  Lynn was always a trooper and he bounced back in good time.  We continued our journey together of cleaning up the park, selling park owned homes and filling empty spaces.  In 1997 the park owners purchased the larger home next door to ours and allowed us to remodel and paint and move in.  This home suited us much better.  We were featured in 3 different 30 second video spots for advertising the park on the noon news on local televison.

In September of 1996 I lost my mother at age 82 and in March of 1997, Lynn lost his younger brother Carl at age 54 from adult lukemia.  Lynn's mother was still living and we purchased a mobile home for her in the park, fixed it up and moved her in.

In 1999 Lynn saw his doctor at Kaiser and requested a PSA test for the prostate.  Since he never heard back we thought all was well.  In 2000 when Lynn returned to the same doctor and asked about the test, the doctor looked it up and immediately took another test and made an appointment for Lynn to see a  urologist.  Unfortunately, the first test number was 18 and the second test was 28, so we had missed out on a whole year of treatment.  Lynn now had prostate cancer!  He was not a candidate for prostate surgery because of his heart condition so it was decided he would undergo 8 weeks of radiation treatment.  The year 2000 was also the year Lynn won a 7 day trip to Maui, hotel and air fare included.  This was at our annual Park owners and Managers convention in Las Vegas.  He beat out over 800 other attendees for that trip.  That was about the best thing that happened for us in 2000.

We took the trip to Maui in the spring of 2001 and enjoyed it beyond words.  He had his radiation treatment in 2001 as well.  His digestive system was never the same after that.  We went to Maui again for a few days in 2002 in the spring and while there we purchased a Timeshare.  In November of 2001 we made a trip to Vicksburg, MS to Lynn's 45th high school reunion.  He had never attended any of his reunions and he was so happy to see all his classmates again.

In 2002 our park owners wanted to purchase another park and sent us out scouting to look at several parks including one up in Jackson, CA.  The park we thought was a real steal was in South Sacramento and we encouraged the owners to come and check it out.  They did and ended up purchasing the park.  Lynn and I were asked to get it set up like our park with the computer billing and all that went with that.  We both worked ourselves to the point of exhaustion to get things running smoothly while keeping our own park operating as well.

In November of 2002, our younest son, Scott, was retiring from the Navy after 22 years and we were able to attend his retirement ceremony in Norfolk, VA along with our daughter, Lisa.  I am so pleased we were there with our son, since this would be the last time he saw his father.

The year 2003 was now upon us and this marked our 20th year of managing the park together.  We had made many improvements including a total renovation of the clubhouse including new furniture.  We were still working hard between the two parks since there had been new managers hired at the other park.

My weight had always been a problem and I was finally going to have a chance to have gastric bypass surgery through Kaiser.  It was now Wednesday, October 29, 2003, and we were scheduled to fly to San Diego for the day for three doctor appointments for me.  Kaiser was sending me to Scripps Memorial in San Diego for the surgery since they did not have facilities in Sacramento.  The day was very long going from one appointment to the next and flying back home the same day.  When I awoke the next morning, Thursday, October 30th, Lynn told me not to panic but he was having some chest pains and he wanted me to drive him to the emergency room at Kaiser.  Naturally, I went into panic mode and got ready and drove him to the hospital.  They took him in right away and we were there all day long.  About 6 p.m. they said they were going to keep him overnight to perform more tests the next day.  He finally got into a room around 7 p.m. and he told me to go home and rest.  One of our bosses was scheduled to come up the following Monday.  I had no idea when I kissed him goodbye that would be the last time I would see him alive.  The next day he told me they were going to do another angioplasty and for me not to worry or come to the hospital.  They transferred him to Mercy General down town and he told me everything would be fine and to stay at the office since I would be busy with the preparations for our boss to arrive in a couple of days.  He called me that afternoon to tell me he was filling out an Advance Directive form for the hosptial I was surprised to hear that.  He told me they were going to run the test around 5 p.m.  I was concerned when he called me at 5:30 p.m. and was not in surgery yet.  They came for him as he was talking to me and we said goodbye.  When I had heard nothing by 8:30 p.m. I called.  The nurse said they had put 2 stents in his heart and would be taking him back to his room and could I call back a little later.  At around 9:30 p.m. I called again and this time the nurse said he was uncomfortable and they were taking him to ICU.  At no time had they asked me to come to the hospital.  Around 10:15 p.m. the nurse called me.  She told me the doctor was thinking about taking him back into surgery  because they thought he might be having a heart attack.  I told her I was coming to the hospital and she told me to have someone drive me.  My only thought was to get to the hospital as fast as I could.  I could not locate my son who worked for me.  I got to the hospital at 11 p.m.  I had to go see security to get a name tag to be let in and then find where I needed to go.  I had to call from the phone in the hall to announce that I had arrived.  The nurse asked where I was and I told her out here in the hall.

The moment she walked through the door I knew it was bad news.  She told me that they had taken Lynn back to his room and he was in a lot of pain, he had a heart attack and they worked on him for 30 minutes but it was no use he didn't make it.  Time of death was 11 p.m.  and this was Friday, October 31, 2003.....Halloween night.  This would be the worst night of my entire life with many more sad days ahead.

The nurse and a male nurse were upset that I was there by myself.  The doctor came out to talk to me......I had no idea who he was.  He told me what they had done and what had happened.  I told them I wanted to see Lynn and they took me back to the room.  I kept telling the male nurse that I should have been there.  He told me that Lynn was thinking of me and that he said, "my wife" and the nurse told him I was at home and Lynn said, "Oh yes".  The Chaplain came in and talked to me and told me to stay as long as I wanted.  When I was ready to leave he walked me out to my car and I put the bag with Lynn's clothing and shoes in the trunk of the car and drove away.  I was numb and in shock.....what was I going to do now?  After 43 years of marriage it all ended abruptly with no warning.  Lynn's wishes were cremation and no services.  The following spring we took his ashes to Bodega Bay along the coast where we used to vacation.  A US Coast Guard cutter took his ashes to sea as I, along with 2 of my children, watched from the shore.  Life would never be the same without the wonderful southern boy I fell in love with so many years earlier.  Lynn never felt like he was going to live to be that old and he always told me..."If something happens to me I want you to get on with your life and find someone else" I never liked hearing him say that.  Lynn was 65 years old when he passed away.  We all think we are going to live forever when we are younger and its best we don't know what is in store for us.  Lynn had some tremendous health challenges with two kinds of cancer and serious heart problems but he never gave into pity for himself.  He was a fighter and gave his all.  He was truly one of a kind and no could ever take his place.

The following day I had to visit his mother and tell her the sad news about Lynn.  She knew she had out lived her husband and all three of her sons.  It was up to me to continue watching over her.  She passed away on November 11, 2004, at the age of 91 after a very short bout with liver cancer.

I attended group grief support meetings plus one on one therapy for many months until I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel knowing I had brought myself back into the world of the living.  Life can always bring a new challenge when you least expect it.