Friday, August 31, 2012

This is a chapter story 1965 page # 1


It was a hot summer in southern California; the air was heavy from the humidity. I wish it would rain. Our apartment is a one bedroom, furnished. We really liked living in Bellflower, California. It is like a small town. We could walk downtown without a care in the world. It is also the best place for showing off your cars on Friday and Saturday night. We drove our 55 Chevy all shinny through town more than ones. We would go to Helen and Grace for ice cream. I loved all the pink, black and torques green. When you opened the door the smell was sweet with chocolate and vanilla. Arney and I were married in August, 1963. We had no idea what the future would bring, only that we loved each other and wanted the life we longed for. But it was not easy, we were so young, and the good stuff didn’t come easy for us. This night had been long for me, it is hot and I am pregnant. Arney must have had the TV on all night keeping up with the news. I could hear a soft sound coming from the living room, and Arney did not come to bed. Watts and the towns around it are on fire, I can see the smoke from our apartment on the second floor. The regular smog we are used to is now mixed with the smoke. It is hard to breath very deep. Sometime during the night I fell asleep. I wake feeling sick to my stomach; I did not want to look at what was happening in Los Angeles. Why would you destroy your own town and each other? Compton & Watts had always been a mix of Negros and whites. When I was growing up it was mostly white, but as people spread out into Orange County, tracks of homes were being built. The homes being built are expensive, and only those making a really good wage could move into most of the areas. Seems that the Negros more or less had some parts of LA all to themselves as time went by. But it had been a mixed race state. We know there are gangs of all colors living in LA, Compton and Watts. No one wanted any problems, at least no one I knew. I get myself a drink of water, it teats like chlorine, I do not like Bellflower water, a bottle of Coca Cola would be nice. Arney is lying on the floor and the front door is open because it is already so hot. No air conditioning, not even a fan. Arney is worried about me and the riots, so we are saying very little to each other. I felt restless. We talked about going to Arney’s Grandma Neely’s in Acton near Palmdale, California but it would be a long drive to the hospital. blood to be checked. Our baby would be born soon, but I had not felt any kicking or movement for almost a month. I stayed in the state of crying…… be continues.

Chapter story 1965 page # 2

Writing my Mother is so hard, and her letters back to me give me hope. It is strange how you can feel all grown up one minute and the next you want your Mama. Arney is wonderful, but I need her also, to many miles are between us. This is the first grandchild and great grandchild for my side of the family. I am going to LA General Hospital because they have the best doctors. My regular doctor has sent me there. But this is not a good time to be going in that direction. Roads are blocked at different places along the freeway; I didn’t go to my last appointment because of the riot, we are told to stay away from different areas…… Since there were no monitoring systems for babies in 1965, there was no way to tell how our baby was doing. The blood testing was to see if I had become toxic. If my blood was becoming bad they could take our baby because there was a threat to my life. Listening each visit for the sound I prayed for, a heartbeat. I must have seen at least 5 different Doctors, sometimes two or three would check me during one visit. Abortions were not legal unless the mother was in danger. I certainly did not want them to take my baby Everyone was on alert as the hours past. All we had to do was look out our window; we could tell that things were getting worse. The news was constant. We were all in shock; this was not in any way normal in this part of the country. We knew that in the south things were bad sometimes, but never did it dawn on us that someday we would know this kind of anger, this rage, even death on the streets.

Strange what comes to mind while I write….We had a black and white TV, I think it was a 19 inch. While so much was going on that was changing our lives in a dramatic way. This was some of the programs we watched.

Arney is a good man, and as my friend would say, a real tall drink of water. Blond, blue eyed, a young man that grew up fast. His childhood was hard; he needed life to get easier. We were strong in who we were but it was not an easy time for us; work is hard to come by. Arney is a Journeyman Cement Mason, and work is slow. It was hard for a lot of people, a generation fighting for rights, and nothing comes easy. Marching for civil rights, gatherings of all kinds for woman’s rights, drugs were flowing like water, and even our music had changed. The love songs, the fun music was changing one song at a time. We were growing up and it was no longer the life we pictured. We needed good leadership, the government was upside down. Our beloved President Kennedy had been killed. We are restless about the war in Vietnam. The draft was ever present on our minds. “Things they are changing.” So many boys and men killed in this war. The body bags were starting to be shown on the TV, and a daily count of deaths became almost too normal. In 1965 some of us were just starting to really understand, there is a war going on; we were asking questions and getting vague answers. This is not the country of my birth. Even long term friends were into drugs, Arney and I wanted no part of this drug seen, not to say that we didn’t drink because we did. As the music play songs of unrest, and the war, “when would the music stop?”

You maybe asking yourself, why would she write this for her blog? History will never tell my story of this time. It would never make the 6:00 news. You can read about how many died, why the riot started. And you may find a few names of leadership but it is not personal. There are thousands of stories that could be told about 1965 during a very hot summer in LA. I hope that after you read this it will give you a deeper understanding of me, or maybe how in the blink of an eye, your life can change and I was changed….sometimes we just need to share.

To be continued…….

Chapter story 1965 page # 3

I decided it would be good to go outside; we needed to get out of the apartment for a while. It was hot and the news was all bad. Then as I am going down the stairs the first pain hits me and I know our baby is coming. I am scared, all I can think of is, “will the baby be alive?” Could there be something terribly wrong with him or her. I wanted a boy, a little person that looked just like his Dad. Or a girl with my brown eyes and blond hair like Arney. I knew that our baby was dead, but I just kept trying to think otherwise. My Grandmother is praying for us, she is so devoted to her Christian walk with God. If she were here with us, she could help me understand why this is happening to us. Arney take me out to his Dads truck. I can see his fear. He wants this baby so much. He touches my belly all the time.

Driving to La everything seemed to be in slow motion. I see and smell the smoke coming from the riots. My heart was beating so fast, my body felt tense. It is so hot; we are more than 20 miles from the Hospital. Different exits were closed; I know Arney was just as scared as I was. Arney when upset sets his jaw, he is so Welch.The pain was coming longer and faster. These are the pains your Mother will never tell you about. We pull into the iterance of the hospital, police cars are everywhere around the hospital. Sirens screaming! We stop as close to the iterance as we could, a man in a white uniform has a wheelchair; he helps me out of the truck and into the chair. It hurts to move, everything is white hot, and the sky is flat with no color. The fires were turning everything gray. No air, I need air.

The door opens to the ER; the smell of blood is overwhelming mixed with the normal smells of the medications. I look into the faces of people that could be dyeing. Is this what war looks like? There is a war going on and I am in its sites. I start to throw up from the smell, the humanity, the pain from my own body. I am put in an area with curtains all around me. No one comes to check me and I have no idea where Arney is, I want my Mama, I want God’s grace, and I want my baby to be born alive and I want to scream for Arney but I can’t scream. I have always found silence in my pain, and hold my breath which is also not good. I don’t know how long I labored behind those curtains. I could hear the yelling, the voices, the moaning and the sirens. People were crying. All of a sudden someone yells code blue and I was taken to the elevator. I remember the lights in the ceiling flashing by as they rolled me down a long hall. I was put in a small room, not an operating room. A nurse assured me that I would be fine. She gave me a shot and left. There I was no one with me, my baby; the pain was all that I could deal with. At some point another girl was brought into this small room. She was ready to have her baby, so a doctor and nurse are working with her. She was yelling out in pain. I heard the baby cry. Then they took her somewhere with her baby. A baby had been born just about 4 feet from my head. It somehow gave me hope, maybe my baby would cry for me.

I had no since of time, the lights overhead were bright. I wanted to turn them off. I do not know how much time had passed when the doctor came in with a nurse. He was older, but when you are 20 everyone is older. I was given a couple of shots in my arm and told to push hard, and soon it was over. A baby boy with blond hair covered in blood was born and he is dead. The cord wrapped his tiny body. I am drugged; crying, laughing, and I do not know how to feel. It is over, the pain is gone from my body, but I am sick, I throw up and I cry more. I get another shot and then they wheel me out into a large area in the same bed where I had given birth to my baby boy just minutes ago. I am drugged; I can hardly open my eyes. There is my Arney waiting, not knowing anything about me or our baby. All we can do is cry. That is all we can do.

A nurse is asking us questions about how to handle our baby? She sounds so far away, Arney is taking care of what is to be done I remember the ceiling lights going by as we are heading to the elevator. I am going upstairs to a room. Ones in the ward, I fell asleep. I don’t know when Arney left; he held my hand till I was asleep. To be continued..

Chapter story 1965 page #4

Sometime in the early morning I wake and know that I am not alone. This picture is not the room I was in. In the room I was in there is 5 more beds on the wall across from what is shown here. I hope this gives you an idea of what a ward looks like. There are 9 other girls in this really big room. Where is Arney? I ring for a nurse, but no one comes. I was scared, there are Negro women in this room. I have never felt so white. I will call my bed # 1 because it is next to the big wide door to the hall. I have no recall of their names, but to share this time I want to put a name to the faces and voices I will never forget.
There are 5 beds on one wall and 5 on the other. There is about 4 feet between each bed.

Girls I shared three days with at LA County General Hospital

Bed #2 is Sylvia…… Bed # 5 is Jessie…….. Bed #8 is Fannie

Bed #3 is Lana………. Bed # 6 is Miss Sarah…….. Bed # 9 is Lily

Bed # 4 is Martha………. Bed # 7 is Betty……….. Bed # 10 is Kate

The windows that overlook Los Angeles are floor to ceiling; they have old glass that is distorted. I am on the 8th floor, I could have seen a lot from up here. I didn’t look.

At some point food come, it made me sick to look at it. I hear a small voice, you need to eat girl. I come to know her as Lana in bed #3; she had been hit in the lower back by a cop with a baton. She was looking for her children when she was hurt.. She miscarried her baby.. I hear the girls crying and whispers but nothing directed to me. Lana had tight curls; her eyes were so black and very large. She looked like she could be about 13 but I knew she was older. She was very quiet; really kind of shy…I think it must have been hard to talk to the white girl (ME). Each one of these girls, one by one shared why they were here over the next three days.

I think the nurses were really busy because no one came to help me. I had rang and rang without anyone coming. I could not hold my pee any longer. I knew that I was bleeding, but when I put my feet to the floor, I was shaking and the floor seemed to be coming up. So I stood there for a while hanging onto the bed. Now to take those ten steps to the bathroom. Then as I made my way the blood was falling out of me like water, it was all over the floor. The girls in my ward were ringing for help. I had blood on me, the bathroom, and I felt faint. I needed someone to help me. I could smell my own blood, so I began to dry heave. I do not remember much after the nurse came, only that I wanted the blood off the floor. It was very important to me that the floor must be cleaned. She cleaned me and my bed. Along with a shot and out I went. The next thing I remember is someone wanting me to eat. Then seeing Arney come through the wide door. He held me for a long time. He had driven through some bad parts of Los Angeles, some road blocks made it almost impossible to get here. He had been shot at, his Dads truck now had a hole in it. He could have been killed. The bullet was just inches from his head. He said that he felt the wind of the bullet. I felt like this nightmare would never end. I ask him to stay away from here until time for me to go home. He certainly understood that I was right, but either way would be hard for us.

To be continued…….

Chapter story 1965 page # 5

11th 1965, August,a young black man was pulled over because he was driving recklessly near Watts California. The driver was Augus Marquette Frye age 21year old Negro. His brother Ronald age 22 was a passenger. Frye failed the sobriety test, so he was under arrest. Ronald went to get his mother who was about a block away, so they could
get the car home. The mother came to where her son was and started yelling and making a fuss about the arrest and since it was a hot evening, people were outside…soon there were people gathering around the scene and now Marquette was resisting and a struggle ensued. More police came and without going into all the details, the riots were started. I am in no way blaming anyone, I believe if not for the work of many, this could have been worse than it was. If you would like to know more about the Watts riots, there is information on the web.

Let me introduce myself, I am Mary (Stinnett) Evans, oldest daughter of Loy and Marcella Stinnett born July 12, 1945 in Tulare, California. My sister Sharon and my brother Bret are much younger than me. I have red hair and brown eyes. I am 5ft 4inches. Very thin. I had just turned 18 when we were married. Arney is my guy, my friend and lover. What do you do when your baby is dead, and your world is turned upside down? You endure! But the empty place never goes away.

True fear changes things; I thought people in California were better than this. How could they hurt each other, it is so violent. I never dreamed that we would have friends hiding in trees unable to go home. Not in our towns, not in my lifetime. I had always been afraid of Negro people. I was raised that way. Even when I went to school with them there was a fear factor. They were niggers to the men in my family. Never be in a crowed of them, they run in packs like animals. Stay out of their neighborhood. They are uneducated, welfare and food stamp people, just having babies like rabbits so they could rule the world even though they are lazy. They will steel from you given a chance. Were we bad to Negros? Not in California. That was in the South. Have they all gone nuts! I lived in Compton growing up, it was a beautiful city. Called the hub city to Los Angeles. I loved the down town; I thought the sidewalk was made of gold. There were shinny flecks in the cement, our town is special. What I did not know or maybe just didn’t care about was that Negros are not being treated well in Southern California. Or that Negros were unemployed and unhappy with the way they were treated, I was so busy just living my life with Arney and doing the best we could with very little that I never gave it much thought.

With Arney staying away from the hospital, I was alone. No one would come to this part of the city. And I would not want them too. No one in my ward had a visitor.

During the second evening I felt the milk for my baby coming in. I could only cry silent tears, I knew that I would never forget this time, this place, this great lose. I knew Arney was having the same feelings. The sun was going down when I sat up to see the girls that are sharing this room. It is awful to say, but this was the first time I really looked and really saw them.

Dinner had come and gone without me eating. I drank something sweet, and I hoped it would stay in me. I felt very small in that big room. I wanted to sleep, stay asleep till I could stop thinking. Maybe if I slept long enough the riots would be over. Maybe this is a really bad nightmare and I will wake to find life as it should be. And my baby boy would live.

Suddenly I heard a voice from across the room. It was bed #6 Miss Sarah, she seemed to be older than the rest of us. She had on a pink colored hair thing that covered her hair. Not a hair net, much thicker. What is your name child? I am Mary. You lost your babe? Yes, a baby Boy. I could hardly breathe as I spoke the words. I am Miss Sarah; I do not know where my husband and children are. I miscarried because I was pushed down in the street. Them People walked all over me. Someone brought me here. I saw her tears, and her face was round and beautiful. She had a couple of large bandages on her arms. Bed # 4 Martha chimed in saying, my baby is dead too. No one hurt me, God wanted this baby. It was not a good time for him to be born. My husband is somewhere in this hospital. No one tells me anything. I realized we were all teary eyed. Her words haunted me, maybe this was not a good time to bring a baby into this world. I fell asleep with tears burning my face. Where is God? Martha was thin and her arms seemed very long, she is pretty. Her hair is very short and curled just a little around her face. She could have been just my age. Her voice was tiny and very southern. I think under different circumstances she would be a funny girl, the kind that makes you laugh just being with her.

Morning came with very little said by any of us. When a nurse would show up, everyone had questions. And most of the answers were not good. My heart went out to these wonderful women. None of this was their fault, they were all victims. They had all lost their babies and had no idea if they had a home still standing. The fires had destroyed so much, it was not over yet.

I realized that I knew so little about life or maybe I just was not paying attention. I kept looking at the silent girl in bed #2 next to me. I finally got up enough nerve to ask her what her name is. She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, I am Sylvia. I am a neighbor of Miss Sarah. She shared that she had seen me before in the little labor room. Then I knew she had her baby just a few feet from my head. She shared that the baby was a girl, and that she died. I remembered how I felt when I heard her baby cry. Sylvia had tears falling from her eyes, my husband might be dead, I saw him get shot. Lord, what did I do wrong? She could hardly speak. She was silent most of the time. Sometimes in life there are no words, just feelings. I think she was younger than me, she has a pretty face, and she is very tall, like a model.

I hated when they brought in food. No one cleaned us, or really seemed to care about us. I am sure that there are others just like us. We were not on the maternity floor. I went into the bathroom and cleaned myself the best I could. It felt good to have cold water on my face. My hair was in tangles, I felt old. I wanted to brush my teeth, I want, I want.

To be continued…..

Chaper story 1965 page #6

*I know this is a lot of reading for a blog. We are so used to seeing a wonderful craft or amazing art. Thank you for reading my story.

With no TV or even a book to read, the hours were long. Since I was next to the wide door, I could lay and watch others being wheeled down the hall. I could smell the ether. I felt close to these girls, it had become our own little world. Each having a life, and when they shared I found myself wanting to know more. These women could be my friends. I didn’t say much, I was grateful to listen. I know that me being in Bed # 1 was hard for them. If I were gone they would talk more, say more about what was going on outside these walls. Deep in my own thoughts when Bed # 7 said, call me Betty. I know my husband is down stairs with bullet holes in him. God only knows where my kids are. I want out of this miserable building, I might just get out of this bed and leave tonight. She asks for a newspaper every time a nurse came by. No one had the time or desires to find her a newspaper. This was a day of talking to each other. Not in whispers with only the girl next to you. Bed # 9 Lily was so black she almost looked blue. She had some kind of beads in her hair, very lovely girl. She asks us where we all lived. And one by one we shared where we came from. Bed # 10 Kate was from Compton over by the Sears store. She had her hair parted down the middle and on each side of her head was a bun of black hair. She seemed to have lost a few of her front teeth. I shared that I worked at that Sears in the Christmas season. I thought about my Dad, who loved their big blocks of chocolate. Then Bed # 8 Fannie spoke, saying she was pushed down a flight of stairs by her husband. She said that she hoped someone had killed him dead. I hope my kids are with their grammie…I live in Watts, or what is left of it. She was really beautiful, her teeth were so white against her really dark skin. She had a high ponytail with a yellow ribbon tied in a small bow. She could be really funny….she made some really funny remarks about the nurses; it did bring a giggle now and then.

One of the funniest things was watching each other walk to the bathroom. The pads we wore were the size of a loaf of bread…they went why up our back and front. We all looked like Zombie’s going to the bathroom or maybe a bow legged cowboy. We all thought it was so funny and found ourselves giggling at each other as we made our way back and forth. Silly things were a great brake, sometimes our silence was so loud. Some of us were starving while others could not eat…I never saw oatmeal that looked like gray paste. The toast is hard as a rock; I had to tear it with my teeth. I gave mine to anyone that would take it. If you didn’t eat or poop, you couldn’t go home. I ate only what I just had too. So I shared what I could not eat. I hadn’t smoked the whole time I was pregnant, and the smell of coffee make me sick. I ate very little during the months of my pregnancy, but I craved lemons, I wanted them day and night. Poor Arney had to go out late at night a few times searching for lemons. I ate them like candy. Right this minute I could kill for a cigarette and a cup of really hot coffee with a lot of sugar and cream. Which brings me to Fannie; it was late at night when I realized Bed #8 Fannie had the glow of a cigarette coming from her bed. She had been very friendly to everyone. Sometimes I thought she was content to be here, she was safe. Fannie, I whispered, do you have one of those cigs to share with me? She whispered back, come and get it, but don’t let the nurse see it. I climbed out of bed, looking like the hunch back of Nostradamus with a loaf of bread between my legs, but I would have walked a mile for that cigarette. I smoked it, and it was so good. Sad to say I would be smoking when I got home. Some of us were cold and others were hot, I thought my feet would fall off they were so cold and others were fanning themselves like they were in an oven. We had gotten pretty comfortable with each other. Of course some of us were quiet. Everyone had a good laugh when I ask for a HOT cup of coffee with lots of sugar and cream. The gal that delivered the meals looked at me like I had two heads…so much for anything but old cold coffee. The milk was really warm. With so much time laying in this horrible bed, you hear all the complaining, and there in the dark with 9 women, there was no color; we were just doing the best we could. I no longer felt the fear that came in this room with me. To me they had become my black angels. The lights were always on in the hall. So it was never really dark in the big room. I found comfort in the light; it lighted the path out of here.

Sylvia and Miss Sarah live in Compton. Martha comes from Watts/ Betty is from Long Beach. Betty and her family were in their car driving to get family. Her parents lived in Watts. They were pulled over by the police when all hell broke out. Betty said she doesn’t remember much since she was knocked out. She woke here in the hospital and was told she lost her baby. She shared that she had a bump the size of an egg on the back of her head. Betty is not very pretty until she starts to talk. She had a large head, and her hair seemed to have a mind of its own. Very large lips. She could spin out a story so fast. Lynn in Bed # 3 asked me why I am in this hospital? Bellflower is a long way from here. I was coming to the clinic to have blood taken ones a week. Lynn shared that she had been hit and fell on something hard. You could see her pain with each word. I was looking for my kids; I don’t know where they are. I hope my husband found them.Bed #3 Lynn had light skin and small features, her hair was not fuzzy, it was long and very pretty. But when you heard her voice you knew she was a negro girl. It was hard to think about what each girl had gone through. What would happen to them when they left this room? What would they find when they got home, or would there be a home waiting for them? What if her kids were killed????? So much to think about.

Bed # 5 is Jessie. I wish you would all just shut up and let me sleep. For the record, I am from Compton. Then she turned over toward the window. My first look at Jessie was a little shocking; she kind of looked like a man. She was a big boned girl. She had a red streak of hair pulled up on top of her head. Her earrings were large, and they pulled her ear lobe down.

It was mid-day when a Negro man came to the entry of the big open doors to our room. He looked like a homeless person. He was dirty, his clothes were torn. His hat was full of holes. He had a newspaper folded in his hand. Miss. Sarah asks if she could look at it? He stepped into the room but when he saw me he went instantly into a rage. It’s your fault; he yelled it over and over. He came toward me yelling ugly words; I had no place to go. He was close enough to hit me when all the girls were yelling back at him to get his silly ass out of here. This child has nothing to do with you. He looked at me like I was the devil, dropped the paper and backed out the door, still yelling it’s your fault! Something happened in those few seconds that changed me forever. The girls were saying that ole bastard, what rock did he come out from under? “Kicking his ass would have made my day.” Then Lynn saw the newspaper on the floor. She got up and put it on her bed. Some of the girls gathered around to see what it said. It is today’s paper Jessie said, Could someone read this, I lost my glasses. Miss Sarah started to read it out load. The headlines said that the National Guard has been called in. The police are not getting control of looters and the fires are overwhelming and spreading, Negros on the move, heading to other towns. I stopped listening.

To be continued……..

Chapter story 1965 page #7

I had a lot of time to think, was I put here to wake up to what is going on around us. It is so easy to get into ourselves, living but not really being a part of the big picture. This was a really hard way to get the message. Listening to these girls telling their stories was not easy. They are telling me, we are here; we have all the same feelings as you do. I had understood the civil rights movement. But it was not personal until now. Maybe I did feel superior to them. If you are treated like you do not exist, then how do you feel? In my mind, I think they are agree, and sometimes that causes people to feel like victims, now there is a reason to fight. They had so little, what did they have to loose. What did they see and feel when they looked at me? Where is our heart if all we see is the color of skin? I heard them cry, giggle, talk in words I understood, I saw the worry and the tears, and they saw mine. They cared about me, and that was a beautiful thing. In many ways they looked after me each day, even to the point of telling the nurses things that I had not shared about my health, and I hope that I helped them. Over the years, I wondered if they remembered this little bit of a girl that for just a short time shared in the hot days of summer so close to the fire.
When Arney came to get me, I was so glad to be leaving this hospital. Also an empty feeling rushed over me; one by one we had said our goodbyes. We were all going home that day. I was going home to heal with my husband and family. What would each of these girls find when they returned home, would they still have a home. Their story would be very different from mine after the 6 days in August 1965.

I don’t remember much about the drive home, just feelings rushing through my mind. I looked back at that big hospital; it was so large and really beautiful. I never went back there, and if we drove by it I would try not to see it. I had left my baby there. I was no longer a child.

My Parents and siblings lived in Placerville, California. It was about a 500 mile drive to LA. As I recall my Mother carried a hammer under the seat of the car. She knew she was going into a bad situation, but a hammer? Knowing my Mama, she could have done some damage. It was dangerous for them to come into this awful mess. August 14th, 1965….. by 1 a.m. there were around 100 fire brigades in the areas, trying to put out fires started by rioters. Over 3,000 national guardsmen had joined the police by this time in trying to maintain order on the streets. Mama came in with the Sacramento National Guard. By midnight there were around 13,900 guardsmen in the area…. My sister Sharon has her own story about this time in our life. Sharon and my brother Bret were little kids… Sharon wrote… Mom, Bret and I drove to see you and were surrounded by the National Guard, they told Mom to stay in the middle of them, so they could protect us from the bullets. Bret and I had to lie down in the seats. I know we were at your house the day Arney brought you home and carried you up the stairs to your apartment. I remember seeing the helicopters just a few blocks over and the fires and smoke. Lots of noise. And standing on the walkway in front of your apartment and seeing the war in the next neighborhood and being very frightened. Sure brings back memories. A sad time in our lives. Arney called us in the middle of the night, I don't know what day it was but Mom and Dad were sleeping and I couldn't wake either one of them up to answer the phone. So Arney talked to me and I told him I would have Mom call as soon as I could wake her. Next thing I knew, Mom, Bret and I were in the car headed to L.A. A long trip and we were in a hurry, I think we only stopped long enough to get gas. By evening we were driving up the Grape Vine, and it was very dark. The National Guard had surrounded our vehicle and drove in with us, protecting us from flying bullets. It was so frightening. Bret and I lay down in the seats of the car just in case one of those bullets made it thru to our car. I don't remember if we went straight to the hospital or to the apartment. But we were there when Arney brought you home and carried you up those stairs. I don't know how long we stayed with you but it was very upsetting to see the smoke and fires, helicopters and fire trucks, knowing that it could come just another block or two and we would be in the middle of it all. Suitcases were packed for a hasty retreat. I don't remember going home; I just remember not wanting to leave you and Arney there. I love you

Thank you Sharon, as you must know it brought tears reading your words and remembering that you were 13 and so grown up. And our Bret had just turned 7 years old.

Big hugs!!!!

I was so glad to see my mama, my sister and brother. I melted into my mother’s arms. Just to see their faces was so healing. We had all lost this baby boy; he would always be a part of us. They were in real danger coming here. Mama and Arney had talked about going up to grandma Neely’s when I got home if things had not gotten better. Lynwood was being taken over, and that was to close.

By night fall the National Guard had a show of power and things changed very fast. But the smoke and unrest hung on in little pockets. They did not want to stop fighting, but soon even that had stopped.

Arney needed my Mother; he had no support from his family. No one came to be with him except my Mama, Sharon and Bret. Arney’s branch of our family lived in other parts of Los Angeles County. Sometimes you just have to get over it. We watched the news and things were calming down, we knew that soon Mama would have to go home. Dad would be waiting for his family. Mama took all that we had bought or made for the baby. I needed these reminders to be gone because everything upset me to the point of being ill. Arney played with Bret. Mama, Sharon and I spent most of the time in my bedroom. So much healing went on for Arney and me in the days they were with us. I could hardly bear the thought that they would go home. Saying good bye was so hard, stay with me, don’t go ran through my head over and over, but as they pulled away, I wanted to go with them. Arney had his arms around me as I cried uncontrollable. Crying for my baby boy that I never would know, but have always loved. Crying for the man who loved me unconditionally. My heart was broken for us all, so much had happened in one short summer.

As time went by, we grew not only as a couple, but we had established a good life, one we were proud of. But the missing part was we wanted a child to love. 4 different doctors had told us that because I only had one or two periods a year, they could not give me a good outcome for having a baby. And the treatments could cause multiple births and often they did not live. One morning before the sun came up we found ourselves talking about adoption. This would not be a easy journey, but one we were excited to take.

In 1968 we adopted Trevor Lee Evans at 18 days old from Children home Society of Long Beach, California. We were in love with him from the moment we held him, probably before. My parents along with my sister and brother moved to southern California to be near us. When Trevor was 81/2 months old I gave birth to Steven Cory Evans. He was our miracle baby since I had no idea I was pregnant. I found out there was a baby when I was six months along. I was busy and he was hiding out. When Cory was 21/2 years old I gave birth to Jennifer Anne Evans. The little girl my husband had to have…a bottle of wine and thee! Each a blessing. “My cup runith over.”

Thank you for taking this journey with me. We all have stories; most will never be told in the way that I have. But no less important to each of our lives. Your comments have been so special; it made me want to continue writing. A very special thanks to my

Sister Sharon who continues to support me in many life changing times. I love you too, Sis