Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Saturday, November 19, 2016

When I'm 64 - Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Beatles are the most amazing musicians from our era. Watching them on the Ed Sullivan show when I was a child was mesmerizing. They were unlike any other rock artists we had seen before. Unique hair, fun personalities, and awesome music that stuck in our brains characterized this foursome who were so foreign to us, yet so human.

Who knew then that their catchy tune "When I'm 64" would catch up with me. Today I turn 64. My life is and has been wonderful. The lyrics are more meaningful today than they were in my youth. Now I have the experience of life and it's 52 years after I first heard the Beatles sing. Wow. Unbelievable. And I don't feel a day over 30. 

Here are highlights of my life over the years:

I was born in Michigan and lived the first three years of my life there. I don't remember any of it except meeting my maternal grandfather. My mother must have made a big deal of it because her parents were divorced and she wanted me to meet my grandfather before we moved to California. All I remember is walking in a park with him.

I'm about age two here - photo
taken in Michigan.
I don't remember our move to California. My dad drove a moving van and his mother traveled with him. Mom took my sister and I, ages 3 and 18 months, on a prop plane from Michigan to California. She was also pregnant at the time with my younger brother. I don't know how she did it. It was a big adventure for these two young parents to move away from family in Michigan. However, my dad's brother lived in southern California so at least we had some relatives there.

We grew up in a middle class neighborhood in new tract housing which was all the rage in California at the time. My dad was a handyman so he built a front porch on our house as well as a concrete patio in the back yard. We always had animals: dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, mice, rats throughout our childhood. 

Mom and dad were both active and we went hiking and walking a lot. They loved the outdoors and took us camping in a rented travel trailer. We spent a lot of time in the mountains. Mom loved to paint and dad would take us fishing. Life was an adventure. It still is to this day.

In the 60s, southern California was booming. Traffic was horrible and the smog was nasty. I remember being on the track team in middle school and running sprints. The smog was so bad, my lungs hurt after I ran. Mom and Dad made the decision to move us to Oregon to get away from the rat race. 

In my opinion that was the best thing they did for us growing up. We lived on a five-acre farm in the country where we put in a huge vegetable garden, raised chickens, turkey and sheep for our own consumption, had wild blackberries growing on our back fence, and we had Black walnut and apple trees as well. We learned how to can, make jam and syrup, and collect eggs from our hens. The people were more down to earth in Oregon and I loved it there. (In fact, I lived there over 35 years and that's where I met Bob.)

A year after high school (which I spent working at White Stag in Portland), I was accepted at a small college in southern California. I made lots and lots of friends in my 2-1/2 years there, got married (it lasted 18 months) then returned to Oregon with my friend, Russell, and got divorced from my husband. 

Russell and I lived together in Klamath Falls where I did medical transcription and he wrote, and was a commercial window washer. Sometimes I helped him wash windows. 

We moved back to southern California where he took a job with a friend who had a window washing business. I did medical transcription at Huntington Memorial Hospital. Michael was born in August 1979 and a couple of months later we moved to Portland, Oregon, where my family lives. Russell and I divorced in 1981. We had joint custody of Michael and an amicable split. 

I swore off men for two years and then started dating again. That's when I met Bob who is my soul mate. He moved in after a week, we bought a house together after a month, and got married seven years later. Bob's son, Randall, is three years older than Michael. 

Through the years, we took the boys camping, hiking to waterfalls and swimming in pools at waterfalls. We love to travel and took the kids to Disney World for Christmas one year which included a cruise on the Big Red Boat. 

Bob had grown up in Hawaii and his family lived there when we first met. Thirty years ago we bought a timeshare in Kona, Hawaii and we have taken many vacations there over the years.

Throughout our years together, Bob and I have had this thing where one of us writes "kidnap" on the calendar and doesn't tell the other one where we're going. We try to keep it a surprise and just tell the other person what to pack. We've been to Bed & Breakfasts and gone on trips or maybe just to a concert. It keeps the romance and mystery alive.

Hiking, walking and being in nature is essential to me, so we have spent lots of time hiking in mountains and going to waterfalls. We also used to downhill ski, but I am allergic to cold and could only last a couple of hours on the slopes. I had to take breaks in the lodge to get hot chocolate and a warm meal before I could go back out. 

At the top of the list of fun things we do together is travel. Our favorite place in the world so far is the Canadian Rockies. The scenery is so dramatic, the waterfalls so powerful, and the history of the railroad through the Rockies is fascinating. Plus the wildlife is awesome!

For my 60th birthday, Bob took me where I had always wanted to go...Australia. My oh my, what a wonderland. We hiked and hiked to waterfalls in the Blue Mountains, Waterfall Way and the Southern Highlands. 

We saw kangaroos everywhere, found wild koalas in the trees, saw an echidna and a wombat, drove the Great Ocean Road, and traveled to Canberra, the capital of Australia. 

Koala with baby

Koala with baby
The birds were so exotic and colorful. We went to one forest at night to see glow-worms that live in the forest.  

We fell in love with Sydney and walked all over, went on a daytime walking tour and a nighttime walking tour. The one-month vacation was epic. 

Of course, full-time RVing has been fun and I wouldn't trade our time in the 5th wheel for anything. Even though we have stopped to work for a few years, we do still take two-to-six-week vacations from time to time.

All the good in my life has far outweighed the bad and I feel very fortunate to have been raised by wonderful parents and finally found Bob to share life with. Well, actually, he found me through a personal ad in a newspaper. (This was before the internet, people.)

So I'm sure I know the answer to the question posed in this Beatles song...

"When I'm Sixty Four"

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?
Written by Paul McCartney, credited to Lennon-McCartney.



  1. Good one:)Nice to know more information. You look so cute:)

  2. Happy Birthday and hope you have many more.
    Life is an adventure and it varies for all of us. Some may be plagued with hardships while others are like a Fairy Tale. In the end they are what make us who we are.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. Great read, Susan... you're on the way to writing your memoirs. Happy 64th my friend... wishing you and Bob many more "kidnappings..."

  4. Happy Birthday! Great recap of your life.

  5. Happy Birthday! What a great story....and she lived happily ever after.


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