Sunday, April 3, 2016

C is for Coast Guard

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge for genealogy bloggers.

When my husband joined the Coast Guard in 1970, we thought he was the first in his family to do so.  Many years later, when his father died in 2004, we discovered in some family papers he had, that this was not the case.

My husband's father and grandfather had also served in the Coast Guard, as temporaries during World War II.  They were port security personnel, patrolling the port of Jacksonville.  It is rather indicative of my father-in-law's lack of communication with his son that he never mentioned that he had been in the Coast Guard.

So, rather than being the first, my husband was part of a three-generation tradition in the family!

But the story does not end there.

While he was in the Coast Guard, one of his duty stations was in St. Petersburg, Florida.  He did a variety of things, as everyone in the Coast Guard is called upon to do.  He inspected a nuclear plant.  He was in charge of safety and security for sailboat races.  He was the local command's liaison with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a civilian organization dedicated to providing help and support to the Coast Guard through public instruction in boating safety, courtesy examinations of pleasure craft, search and rescue, patrols, and in other ways.

I saw how much fun he was having, and decided I wanted to be part of it, too.  Due to some misunderstandings, it wasn't until we were back in Jacksonville, after my husband had transferred from active duty to the Coast Guard Reserve, that I managed to enlist in the Coast Guard Reserve.  I took the oath on 3 February 1976, entering as a yeoman third class.  During my years in the CGR, I went from yeoman third class to a commission, as a lieutenant junior grade.  I had to stand down before I made lieutenant, because I had developed osteoarthritis and could no longer carry out my duties. 

And before that, he and I had also joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary!  We had a 17-foot open runabout, a beautiful little boat with a lot of get-up-and-go.  We did search and rescue and patrols in that boat, and had a great deal of fun in doing so.

We definitely are a Coast Guard family.

B is for Beach

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge for Genealogy Bloggers.

I live in Florida, which means there are beaches within driving distance (30 to 50 miles).  I grew up accustomed to going to the beach in the summer, with family or friends.  My sister and brother did, too.  One day, my sister got into some belated trouble for that.

My mother was a widow, and we moved back to Jacksonville from California after my father died, so my mother could be near her mom and sister.  We had a 1951 Packard.  My sister would borrow the car from time to time for excursions with her friends.  When she went to the beach, my mother told her not to drive the car on the beach, because that leads to corrosion.  Salt water is not good for cars, and the sand at the beach was full of salt water.

One day my sister took her friends to the beach.  She had taken some pictures there that day.  A week or so later, she went to the drug store to pick up her pictures, and brought them home.  Without thinking, she showed the pictures to Mom.  There was the Packard, sitting right on the hard-packed wet beach sand.

My sister was grounded.

I learned that lesson.  When my friends and I went to the beach in my Mom's car, by that time a 1965 Plymouth Valiant, I parked in the parking lot and we walked down to the beach!  I got into the habit over a couple summers of taking two friends, Sharon and Sandy, to the beach in Mom's car.  We had a great time, talking all the while, during the ride to the beach, at the beach, and coming home from the beach. 

I was a member of our church's Episcopal Young Churchmen youth group.  One afternoon, we had a beach party.  My best friend Ellen and I were sitting on a towel on the beach, having a great time.  A seagull flew overhead and opened the bomb bay doors.  "Eww!" we screamed, as we scrambled to the water to wash ourselves off.  That was one of the less pleasant beach moments I had.

Another unpleasant beach moment was sunburn.  That was in the days before sunscreen, when the habit was to slather oneself with sun tan oil, which actually exacerbated the burn.  I learned how painful sunburn could be, and peeling was unpleasant, too.

The last time I went to the beach was with my husband.  He was a computer programmer in civil service, working for the Navy Department at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.  There was a weekend conference he was going to attend at Naval Station Mayport, which is about a 100-mile round trip from where we live.  I suggested that, rather than make that 100-mile round trip both days, he just stay at the Navy Lodge out there.  I also suggested that he take me along.  I could amuse myself during the times he was in the conference, and we could spend the rest of the time together.  He thought that was a fine idea.

It was fun.  I took a book to read while he was in the conference.  However, there was one aspect of the trip that was decidedly unpleasant for me.  I do not like a too-hard mattress.  He loves his mattress to be hard.  The mattress at the Navy Lodge must have been inspired by the soldiers' accommodations at the Castillo de San Marcos, the ancient coquina fortress in St. Augustine, Florida.  That "bed" in the fort is a replica, and it is literally a wooden table.  That's how hard that mattress felt to me.  I slept sitting up in the easy chair in the room.

But the most pleasant part of the trip was an evening walk on the beach.  It was downright romantic.

A is for Arden

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge for genealogy bloggers.  I'm catching up today, because I got a little bit of a late start on this.  This is a Facebook group, so you'll have to log in to Facebook to find out more about it, if you'd like to.

Arden is a name that has been in my extended paternal family for four generations now.  My father was the first.  His parents, Walter Heatherington Packard and Elizabeth Jane (Reynolds) Packard could not decide on a name, as the story goes.  Walter put on the birth certificate "Walter Heatherington Packard, Jr." but grandma Elizabeth ("Betty") put her foot down.  One Walter Heatherington Packard in the family was quite enough, she said.  They could not come to an agreement on a name, so for the interim, they did agree to put Arden on the birth certificate.  They chose that name as a stopgap, because grandfather Walter worked as the supervisor at the Arden Dairy in Los Angeles at the time.

They never did come up with another name, so my father was Arden Packard.  He had no middle name, probably because that, too, had been set aside for a while during the time grandma and grandpa Packard were supposed to be agreeing on a name!

My brother was Arden Packard II, but was called "Ned."  That nickname came from a Naval Academy classmate of my father's who was killed at Pearl Harbor, Edward Worthington, who was called "Ned."  My brother died in 1996.

Various grandchildren and now great-grandchildren in the family have Arden either as a given name or a middle name, preserving the legacy of my father, who died in 1954.  One of these new little Ardens is a girl, and the name fits for both girls and boys.  I have to say that it touches me that my cousins and others in the family have seen fit to preserve that legacy, my father and brother apparently having made quite an impression on them.