How I met your mother

 I met Patty on a blind date.   I had mustered out of the Navy in June in Long Beach and bought a ’55 Ford and drove home.  I went to work for Bob Moody, my brother-in-law, moving houses.  I lived with Bob and Millie at their house at 1953 Riverview St. in Eugene.  I was having a great time since I idolized Bob and Millie and they had a great home with a daylight basement on the backside of Hendricks Park hill. 

 My friend, Dave Wildt, fixed me up with blind dates and Patty was one of them.  Dave’s family and Patty’s family had known each other for years, since the mill closed in Vernonia I think.  Anyway, to their way of thinking, Dave and Patty were a natural fit.  Dave and Patty didn’t see it that way and Dave started seeing Patty’s best friend, LaDonna Wyant.  So then Dave and Donna started trying to fix me up.  First they tried Phyllis but we didn’t hit it off very well.  We only had one date.  Then they fixed me up with Patty but we had to cancel our date because my dad died about that time.  He died in August of 1962 at the age of 70 at the same hospital I was born, Sacred Heart in Eugene.  The same place he was injured ten years before while working on an expansion of facilities. 

 It was several weeks later that Dave and Donna finally arranged for Patty and I to go out on a double date with them.  I picked Patty up at her home on Kathryn Avenue in Springfield and we started off with dinner at a Chinese restaurant in downtown Eugene.  I think Patty was self-conscious because Donna had told her that I remarked on how much Phyllis, my previous blind date, ate.  Anyway, I believe we went to a movie and then we dropped Donna and Dave off and I took Patty home.  On the way to her home I arranged to stop at the Springfield airport and tried to get to second base but was only mildly successful.  Anyway I figured I had blown it so I was a little surprised when Patty called me up a few days later to tell me that she was going to the Oregon State Fair in Salem.  Of course, I immediately asked if I could take her and we were pretty much inseparable from then on.

 It was a pretty difficult romance since Patty was working at three jobs at the time; the cannery was her day job, the Arctic Circle at night and she worked at a car wash on the weekends.  Meanwhile, I was getting up at 5 or 6 AM and moving houses all day which was extremely hard work.  At night I would park at the Arctic Circle and take Patty home when it closed.  Patty moved out of her parent’s home and in with her brother, Freddy, and we would park out in front of his house for a time every night since that was the only time we had to see each other.  More than once I fell asleep on my way home and once woke to find myself in a ditch on Riverview Street

When we did find time to go on a date it was frequently to the drive-in movie in Glenwood near what used to be the Holland Market.  One time, on the way to the movie, I pulled into the Holland Market and ran inside to get some apples and snacks and when I got back to the car I started putting on my work jacket.  Patty asked me what I was doing and I explained that I was going to get into the trunk so Patty could drive in and we’d only have to pay for one.  Patty said to go ahead but she was going to pay for two and tell the attendant that I was in the trunk.  I guess we both should have known what we were getting into from that episode.  We often fell asleep on our dates since we were so tired and once we woke to find that we were the only ones left in the drive-in. 

 Another time Millie and Bob took us to the Laurelwood Golf Course Clubhouse and we had a steak dinner with drinks afterward.  Bob and Millie were friends with the manager and he showed us special consideration.  I remember that he could recite most of Robert Service’s poems from memory and that made him special because Robert Service was a favorite of my dad.  We had a really good time and when we got home to Riverview Street, Bob and Millie went to bed and left us sitting on the couch.  Well, what with the drinks I’d had, (I think Patty had a sip or two of Kaluha) and our natural state of constant exhaustion, we fell asleep and never woke until about 7 in the morning. 

 The minute I woke I knew we were in big trouble!  I called out to Millie and told her that we’d fallen asleep and she went bonkers.  She called back that Patty’s folks had probably called the police and that I’d really messed up this time.  I said that I was just glad that mom hadn’t come home last night and seen us asleep together on the couch (mom stayed in the guest bedroom when she wasn’t at her home in Waldport).  At that, I heard mom call from the bedroom, “I saw you!”  I don’t know why she didn’t wake us up. 

 Patty and I jumped in the car and I took her to her brother’s home.  I went in and was explaining to Freddy what had happened and I remember he was smirking at me when Patty’s mom arrived.  I kind of melted into the drapes by the living room window and Opie stormed in and took one look at Patty in her high heels and evening dress and demanded to know why she was dressed like that at this time of the morning.  I guess I must have blacked out then because I don’t remember much more about that morning. 

 By December of that year, Patty and I had decided to get married and, being the practical fellow that I am, I wanted to do it before the end of the year so I could get the tax deduction.  Patty’s dad, Joe, said he was going to claim Patty for the year.  I said to go ahead but I was going to do it legally.  Patty was upset because she said neither one of us should be claiming her as she paid her own way.  I guess Patty has always been an IRS agent at heart. 

 Bob was always telling Patty about how he was going to finish the daylight basement into an apartment for us and he made it sound really great.  It was really nice with picture windows all across the front and its own driveway and entrance from the street below.  Also, it had a couple of acres of field and an open fence at the bottom.  We never got to live in that apartment because the house-moving business, always a boom or bust business, was going through some bad times then.  So, just before we got married, I went to work for Georgia Pacific at their sawmill and I was stacking lumber and loading boxcars just like Patty’s dad did for Weyerhauser across town.  We rented a second-floor apartment on the corner of 10th and Lawrence just a couple of blocks from Sears where Patty was now working. 

The Union was after me to join since the sawmill was a closed-shop but I didn’t want to because I knew they’d go on strike and I’d be out of work.  I finally relented and paid my money to join and they promptly went on strike.  My brother-in-law, Don Redfield, was the Superintendant of Ponds at Georgia Pacific and he got me a job at the plywood plant pulling off the chain and grading plywood.  I worked swing shift for $2.13 an hour and I totally hated that job.  I would dread coming back the next night while still at work.  I finally went down and talked to the Navy recruiter and asked what kind of a deal I could get,  He said no deal but I could come back as a Petty Officer 2 just like I was when I left.  I didn’t want to do that because I was in a specialty that was always at sea.  So, I talked to the Air Force and agreed to take a reduction in rank for a guarantee of an electronics school. 

 I got a promise of Ground Radio Repairman and an assignment to Keesler AFB for Technical Training School.  I was planning on leaving Patty with Millie and Bob until I could send for her but Millie convinced us that we should go together and she was very right.  We left in my push-button ’57 Dodge Royal for Biloxi, Mississippi and started what, so far, has been an almost 50 year adventure together.  I was pulling slivers from my belly for months after I left the plywood plant and I always felt that I did the right thing in joining the Air Force and in taking Patty with me every step of the way.   


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One Comment on “How I met your mother”

  1. […] How I met your mother  January 24, […]

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