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
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
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
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