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Odyssey in Love
An Adventure in the Way, the Truth, and the Life
By Robert A. Young
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Robert A. Young
All rights reserved.
Background: 1966 to 1974
Our adventure began officially on June 15, 1966 in Saint Mary's Catholic Church, Richardton, North Dakota when we received the Sacrament of Matrimony.
After consummating our marriage contract we left North Dakota and headed for Helena, Montana, where Bob had a summer job with the US Forest Service and Mary had classes she needed to complete for her Bachelors degree. We drove our 1965 green Volkswagen "bug", loaded with all our earthly belongs, on our honeymoon through Yellowstone National Park along the way.
That fall we moved to Willow Creek, Montana, a town about 40 miles from Bozeman. I commuted to college at Montana State University in Bozeman to work on my Master's Degree in Math. Mary started teaching first grade in Willow Creek.
Early in 1967 Mary discovered that she was "with child." She resigned from her teaching position and we moved into an apartment in Bozeman.
Christie Lea Young was born in Bozeman on April 30, 1967. She was beautiful, of course!
I graduated with my Master's degree in Math and joined IBM in June of 1967. We moved to Great Falls, Montana where I was a "Systems Engineer", working with IBM customers to help them install and use their computers. Mary worked part-time as a kindergarten teacher.
Mary sent out personalized Christmas cards in December, along with our first Christmas picture!
In 1968 we bought our first house. It was beautiful! We paid $15,500 for the house complete with furniture. The prior owner was returning to college to get an advanced degree. The house was located at 820 53rd Street South. It had 850 square feet of space, which included two small bedrooms and one bathroom. It did have a full unfinished basement and a large fenced back yard.
Angela Therese Young was born on January 29, 1970. We were shocked when she arrived with blond hair!
We had some excitement immediately after Angela's birth. I was planning to leave Christie at a neighbor's house while I went to visit Mary and Angela in the hospital. As I crossed the street holding Christie, I slipped on some ice and fell. It turns out I broke my ankle and they had to take me to the hospital. Needless to say, Mary was somewhat surprised when I called her and said I couldn't come to her room since I was in bed on the floor below.
Meanwhile, Mary's mom, Eleanor, traveled from North Dakota to help. A couple of days after the falling accident, she noticed Christie moving gingerly. It turns out she had a broken collarbone!
Our second annual Christmas picture was taken in December of that year and shows the two sisters.
Nichole Noreen Young was born on June 9, 1971. Her arrival experience left Mary and me breathless! Since we had delivered two babies already, we felt we were very experienced with the entire process. So when Mary said she was having some initial labor pains, I expected that in a few days our new baby would arrive. I promptly went golfing with a friend. Remember, these were the days before the invention of cell phones. My friend and I finished nine holes and decided to stop since the queue for the second nine was too long. Upon arriving home, Mary said, "I think we better go to the hospital."
Upon arriving at the hospital, they took Mary away and I settled in to watch some TV. A few minutes later, they brought me into the labor room area and showed me my new daughter! Wow! I can still remember her large alert eyes staring at me as if I were some strange irresponsible creature from outer space. You should know that, many years later, she still looks at me the same way.
Our Christmas picture for 1971 is included below.
In the spring of 1972 I attended the IBM Systems Research Institute in New York City for three months. That summer I was promoted to Advisory Systems Engineer in Portland, Oregon. Mary and I moved with our three girls, Christie, Angela, and Nichole, into a very nice home in Beaverton. Our Christmas picture of 1972 is included below.
Our new home was located at 15125 NW Oakmont Loop in Beaverton. It was a ranch style home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The location was great. Our back yard abutted a large common green area and pool complex.
Here is a second picture of the house in Beaverton from another angle. Note the large, green, 1971 Buick Estate station wagon that is gracing the driveway. You will hear more about her later as she became a valued member of the Young family.
On May 30, 1973 Heidi Marie Young was born in Beaverton. She didn't have much hair, but what she did have was red! What was going on?
Our Christmas picture for 1973 is shown below. At this time, Mary is continuing to send out personalized Christmas card and letters, but is beginning to fall behind in the process.
On December 5, 1974 Robert Evan Young was born. By this time I was sure that I had some physical anomaly and that all my children were going to be girls. Not so! We had our first boy.
The reason this child was named "Robert", is that Mary and I had decided when we were married that we were not going to name our first boy "Robert" and our first girl "Mary." We agreed that the fifth child would be named Robert or Mary, depending upon the gender of course, and that the next child of the opposite gender would be named accordingly.
Our Christmas picture for 1974 is below. Since the face of Robert was difficult to see in the group picture, I cut out his face from another picture and glued it in the lower right hand corner. This is before the capability to do this existed with electronic photos and sophisticated software.
Mary asked me to write a few words in the Christmas letter this year so please forgive the typing—I don't know how to write!
It has been an exciting year for the YOUNG'S! I accepted a promotion to a new job in San Francisco on Friday, June 13th. The new job is very challenging since in my area of responsibility we are doing worse than anywhere else in the United States. The fellow that had the job before me became frustrated and quit after two years. I am convinced that with dedication and hard work I will be able to maintain our record.
Our exodus from Portland was delayed somewhat when the sale of our house was held up after a water leak developed under the driveway. We were able to get this fixed for a couple of hundred dollars less than we expected. Then on closing day the fellow that was buying the house indicated he wanted out of the deal since he expected to get a job offer in another city. Fortunately for us his job offer fell through and he bought our house after all.
I'm certain that getting a man to the moon is no more complicated than moving a family of seven. Each pit stop was identified in advance as we drove from Portland to San Francisco in two days, limping from rest room to rest room. The kids were good considering the 100 degree heat.
Upon arriving in California we stayed in a motel for three weeks until our house deal closed. We ate in cafes frequently at first. Then Robert, my son, decided that mealtime was a convenient time to have a bowel movement. In one case we had to carry the high chair with him in it into the restroom for Mary to clean. After a few incidents we were able to reduce our meal expenses by cooking in the motel kitchenette.
We moved into our new home in time to celebrate my birthday. On the way to the store to get mousetraps Mary and Heidi were in an accident with the 1965 Green Volkswagen. They were both really shook up and Mary had to have several stitches in her cheek. We are all so grateful that no one was seriously hurt. Even Mary's scar is not visible when she is seated.
My faithful car did not fare so well, however. With 107,000 miles on her sturdy engine she is now traveling that great highway in the sky. One can only conjecture about the additional contributions she may have made had her life not been so violently snuffed out.
It was shortly after the car accident that Christie broke her arm. Luckily it was her right arm since she is left-handed. She broke two bones in the same arm last year.
We are really thankful the doctor did such a good job sewing up Angela's chin after she fell and hit it. The doc only needed seven stitches. He says her scar may not be too bad.
Nichole's scar on her chin is healing well. It is more under her chin and not very noticeable. She had to have eight stitches after hitting the side of the swimming pool in Portland earlier this summer.
It only took about two weeks to repair the Buick after my accident. The other two cars weren't so lucky. The first one I hit was totaled and the second one had about $1,500 damage—same as mine. I don't think any of the four people that were injured are seriously hurt although a couple of them were shaken up pretty badly. I have to go to court soon as they want to give me a citation. I'm pleased that my insurance company has been so responsive.
Mary hasn't had to get her hands in any dishwater lately. The doctor keeps putting acid on her warts to remove them and I guess water washes away the acid. This is good because it gives Christie and Angela a chance to do some housework.
I have really been able to keep up on the news since we've moved. The two and one-half hours I spend commuting every day allows me time to read both the morning and evening papers. Although I used to get sick when I read while riding in a moving vehicle, that doesn't seem to be a problem anymore. Perhaps it's because now I usually read while in a standing position.
The fellow that is repairing our furniture is doing a pretty good job. Almost everything was damaged during the move. The most damage was done to the beautiful new bedroom set we bought the day before we left Portland.
Our new house has some really neat features: air conditioning, large yard, and built in lawn sprinklers with automatic timers. Fortunately our electric bill has not been that high because we disconnected the air conditioning after we all caught colds. At first we had a lot of lawn and shrubbery clippings that we had to pay to get removed. Then the lawn caught a fungus disease from too much water and died so now we don't water it and have a lot fewer clippings to worry about. It seems as if problems just take care of themselves.
Of course the cost of living in California is much higher than Oregon. The taxes on our new home are about the same as my entire house payment, including taxes, in Portland. We are really lucky, though. With all the interest and property taxes I'm paying plus the losses I've had in the stock market, I will be able to pay my income tax with green stamps this year.
Mary and I are really excited about the prospect of someone drilling for oil on some mineral acres we own in North Dakota. A company has leased these mineral rights and is paying us 1/4 of 5/160 of $160 per year ($1.25) on a five year lease for the right to drill on our land. If they find oil on the land, we will get 1/4 of 5/160 of 1/8 of what they find. I think the $12 it cost me to have all the legal papers notarized could be offset by the potential gain if we strike oil. With a little luck I'll get at least one oil change for my lawnmower.
Mary and I still consider our marriage a ball! This feeling is particularly heightened on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during our scheduled nap time when we have a chance to contemplate the fun of married life.
Merry Christmas! May Peace and Happiness be yours in 1976.
Bob, Mary, and family
Below is a picture of our new home at 826 Glen Road, Danville, California. It had five bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and a three car garage!
Here is another view of our California home. The home, including the garage, was 100 feet long! With the used brick as a façade all along the front, it was very impressive looking. Mary and I couldn't believe that we were living in such a ritzy place.
Another year has passed and Mary has again asked me to write a few words in the Christmas letter.
This year was somewhat uneventful for the YOUNG'S! After moving to Danville last year, life has settled into a pretty relaxing routine.
We went to Los Angeles and Disneyland this year for our vacation. We stayed with Toni and Dave, Mary's sister and her family, for a week. During our stay we visited Disneyland twice, once with our five kids and Toni with her four kids, and once with our four oldest kids. We saw and rode everything! God bless you Walt Disney! We decided that Toni deserved a break for putting up with 7 extra people for a week so Mary and I took the nine kids to the San Diego zoo and a quick trip into Mexico. We also went swimming with the kids one day. The kids all agreed: they really had a fun, relaxing vacation this year.
One person that was injured in my car accident last year is suing me for $50,000. My insurance company has been reluctant to pay for his medical bills. They can't understand how a whiplash could cause him to need an operation to remove cysts on his bladder.
Our chandelier in the kitchen went on the blink this summer. After eating in the dark for several months I decided to call an electrician. After waiting for six more weeks I decided to fix it myself so I took it all apart twice and rechecked all the wiring and the connections. Then Mary suggested that we check the bulbs and we discovered that four of the five bulbs were burned out. Mary feels she is pretty lucky to have a husband that can fix things around the house. We also wallpapered our bedroom and the utility room. We ran out of paper twice in the bedroom and once in the utility room.
Mary and I are teaching a method of natural birth control in a family planning class. We really enjoy it. We became involved in this shortly before she became pregnant. She is due in May of next year. We are looking forward to number "6".
The kids have really taken an interest in reading and other activities lately. I noticed the change shortly after Robert tipped over the color TV and shattered the picture tube.
Fortunately this year my house taxes went up 30% again. By keeping pace with my increases in income, the additional deduction will allow me to keep my income tax down again this year.
In October I was promoted to systems engineering manager with IBM in Oakland. The commute is much better now: 20 miles and 30 minutes. This is about half of what it was traveling to downtown San Francisco. I cannot use public transportation to get to my new job however, so Mary and I decided to replace the Volkswagen she destroyed last year with a new car. It's always difficult to handle additional payments, but Mary is very frugal and we have found, for example, that a significant amount of money can be saved by having the kids pass on their shoes from one to another as they grow older. We keep all their used shoes in a big box and anytime someone needs a different pair, there's just no problem finding one. I really enjoy driving my Mercedes to work—it handles so nice. It makes so much noise when it starts (diesel) the kids call it "Dad's tractor."
I traveled to Connecticut for a one week class in November. What I thought was side effects from my swine flu shot turned out to be a bleeding ulcer. By the time I realized something was wrong and went to the hospital, I had lost about half my blood. After pumping eleven pints of blood into me and starving me to stop the bleeding, I recovered quite rapidly. I'm sure everyone's prayers helped. In fact, several people continued praying even after I healed so now I have the body of an 18-year-old. IBM flew Mary out to be with me in the hospital and flew her mom from North Dakota to California to babysit our kids. While in the hospital I panicked when I realized our plans for a large family was jeopardized. They had been giving me "sterile water" for four days. Fortunately for me the electricity went out briefly while I was in the hospital which allowed me to have a pleasant bowel movement. The refrigerator in which the bed pans were kept was inoperative for some time. The hospital where I stayed was unusual in that a high percentage of nurses there had apparently failed their course in "rectal thermometer insertion." I wonder if they would try to thread a needle with their eyes closed. I became very jumpy after several misses. I watched the janitor nearly have a heart attack. One afternoon when Mary was visiting, she decided to take a little nap on the floor. I guess finding a body laying on the floor in a hospital would be a little disconcerting.
We went to a Christmas party last night. Mary had bought a new dress and we were really excited. We ended up getting there about 45 minutes late because we had a little trouble finding the home of a new babysitter. It turns out we were eight days early. Needless to say the hosts were a little surprised to see us.
Excerpted from Odyssey in Love by Robert A. Young. Copyright © 2013 by Robert A. Young. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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