Sunday, August 2, 2015

Family Photos – Travelin’ Fools

I continue to go through photos, albums, and other family items in order to document things for future generations.  Next up, a family photo album that was stashed away in my parents’ home.  To start from the beginning, click here.
The next pages of the scrapbook show us doing a little traveling.  I guess I never really thought about it then but we were fortunate to have been able to travel as kids.  Most of it was by car but every once in awhile, we found ourselves on an airplane or train.  Here we are during some of our car travels in 1959.

Page 16 - Mission Santa Barbara 1959
Mission Santa Barbara
Big sis at the top, me at the bottom

My husband loves the pictures where I have that sassy look and I think this might be another one of those.  What the heck was I thinking?  And I remember the “pixie” cut – looks like Mom took it to the extreme with my sister’s hair.

Page 16 - On the Trail 1959
On the trail
Me on the left, big sis on the right

Yikes, what is going on here?  It almost looks like we’re in a runaway wagon and I’m trying to rein in the horses.  Wonder if they were real horses or just what this ‘ride’ is all about.  Notice the roller coaster in the background – let’s put on our thinking caps and figure out where we were.  We’ve had some success with that before when we put our heads together.

Page 16 - Andersens 1959
Big sis as Hap-Pea, me as Pea-Wee

I remember we always made stop at Andersen’s Split Pea in Buellton on our way from San Jose to Los Angeles.  Looks like it’s called Pea Soup Andersen’s now.  I don’t recall really liking split pea soup then (love it now) but it looks like we had fun posing for the camera.  How come I had to be Pea-Wee?  And how come I had to stick my whole body through the hole?

I’ve talked ad nauseam about my memories of visiting our grandparents in Fresno but here we are again.

Page 16 - Fresno 1959
Fresno 1959

That’s the back porch of my paternal grandparents’ (Sig and Loraine Levy) home.  I can’t believe our outfits – looks like we were ready to go off to school.  But at least our hair has grown out a little.

This has got to be one of my favorite photos from the album – a nice picture of all of us (sorry, little brother, that you weren’t born yet).  And once again in the backyard of Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Page 17 - Cary Gordon Debi Gerry 1959
Cary, Dad, Me, Mom

Yikes, now it looks like I’m wearing some sort of ‘pearl’ necklace.  I do remember liking to play dress up so I must have carried that over into my everyday wear.  Love the cute little red pants and white tops we’re wearing.

Page 17 - Cary 2nd Grade
Cary – 2nd grade

Oh boy, now we have a close-up of the pixie cut.  Looking mighty fine!

Dad used to love to pose us for Holiday cards and he liked to take several photos to be sure he captured just the right one.  This must have been his attempt at that for our 1959 cards.

Page 17 - Sing Along 1959
Sing Along

That was a pretty good shot, Dad.  I actually look like I’m trying to sing (probably not too well) and Cary looks so angelic.  Cute nighties, too, which I assume were red and white striped.

I sure hope he didn’t use this shot – we look like we have giraffe necks.  But at least we’re both singing!

Page 17 - Sing Along 2 1959

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Family Photos - 1958

I continue to go through photos, albums, and other family items in order to document things for future generations.  Next up, a family photo album that was stashed away in my parents’ home.  To start from the beginning, click here.

1958 was a big year in our family as it was the year we moved into a new house.  Who knew it would be my parents’ home until 2013?  I’m sure Mom & Dad loved getting settled in their new home and making friends with the neighbors, many of whom are still friends of ours today.  The next few pages of the photo album, though, show that it wasn’t all about the new house that year.

My sister started 1st grade at Schallenberger Elementary.

Page 14 - Cary 1st grade
Cary – 1st grader

When I was at Mom’s house in 2013, I took a nostalgic walk through the neighborhood and ended up at the elementary school where we spent so much time.  It looks much different today but it’s nice that it hasn’t been leveled to make way for something else.  The classroom on the left was my 6th grade classroom with Mrs Long as my teacher. 

Schallenberger Elementary
Schallenberger Elementary Classroom

And here we were posing in front of the new house.  And in our fancy dresses and patent leather shoes, no less!

Page 14 - Cary_Debi 1958
Big Sister and Me

I’ll remember that front door and entry way for the rest of my life.  The best part was when you entered the front door the entry way had cool (at least for the 1950’s) rock on the floor which enabled us to use our imagination.  Imagine playing hopscotch inside for hours!  Use your imagination and see if you can see the hopscotch squares in the rock.

Do you see it?
With your left foot – 1, 2, 3….then 4 and 5 with both feet.
You really have to use your imagination after that.

And then a couple of random shots with Dad’s comments.

Page 14 - Whee 1958
Wheeee….(that’s me)

Page 14 - Cary on the trigger again 1958
Cary on the trigger again
Me, Mom, Dad - 1958

Not sure where this might be.  Anyone know?

Page 14 - Sober Sides 1958
Sober Sides

It doesn’t look like big sister was quite so sober.

Page 15 - Cary Fall 1958
I love the little coat I have on in this picture.  Wonder what we were thinking about?

Page 15 - Thinkers 1958

Oh no!  Now my sister has started wearing ‘pearls’!  What 6 year old wears ‘pearls’ to the zoo or park? 

Page 15 - Animal Lovers 1958
Animal Lovers

Page 15 - Cary 1958

And the last one is a group shot – something we didn’t see too often as my dad was always the one taking the photos.

Page 15 - What a crew 1958
What a crew

This looks like the den/TV room at my grandparents’ house in Fresno, which would make sense that one of them took the photo.  I remember when the old black and white TV was replaced with a new color TV – boy, that was a huge step up!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Family Photo Album – Birthdays and Presents

I continue to go through photos, albums, and other family items in order to document things for future generations.  Next up, a family photo album that was stashed away in my parents’ home.  To start from the beginning, click here.

For most kids, birthdays mean presents and what kid doesn’t like presents?  But in our family, it also meant pictures.  I think it’s been pretty well established that my dad loved to take photos even if, at times, they weren’t the best.  I’m sure happy he documented us growing up!

The next page it titled Cary is six, First party in new home

Page 12 - Cary is six group

My big sister is right in the middle behind the girl with blonde hair.  I’m not sure but that just might be me sitting next to the blonde.  I just love the way the little girls were all in their fancy dresses to go to a birthday party.  It was a big outing in 1958!  I have no idea who any of these kids are but maybe my sister will know one or two of them.

Another shot.  It’s fun to see our house right after we moved in and sold 55 years later after my mother’s death in 2013.  Most people wouldn’t notice the difference but for those who have been in the house, notice the sliding glass door out to the backyard on the left which was later converted into a step down into a great room.

Page 12 - Cary is six group 2


Page 12 - Cary is six presents

Turn it around so we can see what you got!

I don’t remember my mother ever baking our birthday cakes but I do remember some pretty cute ones.  Look at this doll cake.

Page 12 - Cary is six cake

And the birthday girl at the table.  Oh, oh, oh – I recognize the girl right in front of the doll cake but I can’t come up with her name.

Page 12 - Cary is six at table

My family will appreciate the hutch in the background – look how clean it is!  Again, proof that my parents didn’t spend a lot of time updating their house is the picture I took a few weeks after my mom passed away.  We left the house just like she’d left it when she went into the hospital and a few weeks after we’d left, we came back to start the arduous task of cleaning out the house.  I don’t know why but something told me to go around the house and snap a photo of some of the rooms before we started tearing it apart.  And here’s the same hutch frozen in time.

Next was my birthday about 8 months later!

Page 13 - Queen Deb is 4
Queen Deb is 4

Pay attention to the white bench I’m sitting on.  More on that in a minute.

Page 13 - And Deb gets more
And she gets more and more

Oh shoot, I can’t make out what that gift is.  And, sadly, I have no idea who any of these girls are.  The one to my right could be Merle Axelrad.  We were friends early in elementary school, which I hadn’t started yet, and went to Temple together.

I guess I can never complain that I didn’t get presents even though my birthday is 11 days before Christmas and, often times, right smack dab in the middle of Chanukah.  I can’t tell what this is – maybe it’s just the ribbon and bow?

Page 13 - More presents

And my sister finally jumped into the act.

Page 13 - More presents with Cary

Back to the white bench I was sitting on above.  I remember that bench was always on our front porch and over the years we used it for many pictures.  Check out my daughter in 1976 all dressed up for Halloween – little devil!

My beautiful picture

And the following year it got a little spookier.

My beautiful picture

When we were splitting up things while we were cleaning out the house, my sister’s daughter wanted nothing more than to take that bench home as it held sweet memories for her of visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  And last month when I visited my sister, the bench was on her front porch.  Wonder how many more kids will sit on that bench and pose for a picture?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Family Photos – Mother’s Day and Fun

I continue to go through photos, albums, and other family items in order to document things for future generations.  Next up, a family photo album that was stashed away in my parents’ home.  To start from the beginning, click here.

It looks like Mother’s Day, May, 11, 1958 was spent in Fresno.  Knowing how much my dad liked attending the Modesto Relays, I’m guessing that he had another motive for planning a trip to Fresno that particular weekend.  Very smart, when you think about it.  “Mother, I’d love to spend Mother’s Day with you” when in the back of his mind he was probably thinking “Score, I can be a good son AND attend the track meet”.  A quick google search brought me to the Wikipedia page for the Modesto Relays, now known as the California Invitational Relays, which is an annual track and field event typically held the second weekend of May.  Smart man, my dad.

I used to dress my girls alike when we’d go somewhere with lots of people as I felt it was easier to remember just one outfit as I was scanning the crowd.  I guess I got that from my mom.  We were stylin’!

Page 10 - Mothers Day 1958_GerryLevy_GordonLevy_LoraineLevy_CaryLevy_DebiLevy
Mother’s Day 1958
Geraldine Martin Levy, Gordon Levy, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy
Carolyn Levy, Deborah Levy

The look on my face below cracks me up.  Was I thinking “no matter what you do or say I’m not going to smile”?

Page 10 - Mothers Day 1958_GordonLevy_DebiLevy_CaryLevy_GerryLevy
Mother’s Day 1958
Gordon Levy, Deborah Levy, Carolyn Levy, Geraldine Martin Levy

Page 10 - Mothers Day 1958_GordonLevy_CaryLevy
Mother’s Day 1958
Gordon Levy, Carolyn Levy

I remember playing with those yard games – what fun! 

Page 10 - Mothers Day 1958_SigLevy_LoraineLevy_DebiLevy_CaryLevy
Mother’s Day 1958
Sig Levy, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy
Deborah Levy, Carolyn Levy

This is pretty much how my grandparents always dressed – Sig in a suit and Loraine always, always in a dress.  And this was in the backyard of their home.  I wish I could remember them in some other type of clothing as this looks so uncomfortable.

And later that year, it looks like we visited Yosemite and played in the snow.  As a family growing up in San Jose (= no snow), this must have been a pretty exciting time for two little girls.

Page 11 - Yosemite 1958 DebiLevy_GerryLevy_CaryLevy
Yosemite Snow 1958
Deborah Levy, Geraldine Martin Levy, Carolyn Levy

Wow, that’s a lot of snow! 

Page 11 - Yosemite 1958 CaryLevy
Yosemite Snow 1958
Carolyn Levy

And at some point in 1958, we went to Family Camp.  I wrote a bit about Family Camp here

Page 11 - Miss America Debbie Family Camp 1958
Family Camp 1958
Miss America Debbie

Looks like it was crazy hat night.  I wonder who made my hat?

Page 11 - Christian Dior Creations Family Camp 1958 - CaryLevy_DebiLevy_unknown
Family Camp 1958
Carolyn Levy, Deborah Levy, and ?????

Those are some pretty crazy hats!  But who is the mystery person on the right?  Anyone, anyone?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Memories of Dad

Today is Father’s Day.  What to many is a day of celebrating dad, for others it is a time to remember and miss dad.  This is the 10th (I can’t believe it!) Father’s Day without my dad and I miss him as much today as I did on that first Father’s Day.  But what saddens me the most is that as time marches on, the memories seem to become more faded.  So in order to preserve as many memories as possible, here’s a little about my dad, Gordon Levy.

My beautiful picture

In 1982, my dad was awarded the Legacy Medal, an award given annually by the San Jose Hospital Foundation.  How exciting to drive down the street in San Jose and see my dad smiling down at me.  I like to think things haven’t changed all that much now.

Gordon Legacy Medal 1982
Gordon F. Levy
1982 Legacy Medal Award winner

My dad never met a person who didn’t quickly become his friend.  He loved to be around people and would often exclaim “let’s go where the PEOPLE are”.  He’d find joy in visiting with his seat mate on an airplane and by the time he landed, he knew pretty much everything about them – their name, where they lived, why they were going wherever they were going and, often times, he’d even have their phone number.  I think his great grandson has a bit of Gordy in him when he announced “strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet”.  Ah, dear boy, your great grandfather would have loved to hear you say that!

My beautiful picture
Dad and his new friends

My dad loved to take pictures.  His photography wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but boy did he have fun with it (as evidenced by the thousands of slides which have now been scanned).  I can’t remember ever going anywhere noteworthy with him when he didn’t have a camera (or three) around his neck and we’d have to stop so he could take one shot or another.  Since Dad was the photographer, there didn’t seem to be too many photos of him but after going through the slides, I’ve learned that he must have shared the camera with someone so he could be in at least a few photos.  Thanks for that, Dad!

By looking at the tree in this photo, I’d guess he was in Monterey or Carmel or somewhere near there.  Mom and Dad always went to the Bing Crosby golf tournament (now AT&T Pro-Am) in Pebble Beach every year so maybe this was during one of their excursions.  Note the cameras hanging around his neck. 

My beautiful picture
Looks like he’s checking his phone!

The photo above also reminds me that Dad loved to wear hats.  He was a stock broker for most of his career and off he’d go every day to work dressed to the nines in his suit and matching hat.  After his death, we donated all of those hats (remember, he never threw anything away) to the community theater group in the area.

Dad was a devoted and faithful Rotarian.  I remember the annual Father/Daughter luncheon where we’d get dressed up and go to the weekly Rotary meeting with Dad.  What a thrill it was in 1966 when Dad was the President of the San Jose Rotary – we were the guests of honor!  One of his proudest achievements in his life was his perfect attendance record for 51 years – if we were on vacation we always had to find a Rotary meeting so Dad wouldn’t miss a meeting.  And it looks like he found one here!

My beautiful picture

Dad loved to have fun and was always game to try new things, even if it involved riding an elephant!

My beautiful picture
Note the camera around his neck

Mom and Dad loved to travel.  And boy did Dad love to take photos of anything possible in whatever city of country they were in (did I mention Dad loved to take photos?).  When we went through the slides so that we could scan them, we found hundreds of photos of landscape, scenery, and buildings which, for the most part, we couldn’t identify so out they went.  But it looks like Dad might have given his camera to a passerby to snap this photo.

My beautiful picture
He didn’t give up the camera case, though!

Dad took a decade long break from the rigors of the stock market and worked for the San Jose Chamber of Commerce, Visitors and Convention Bureau, in the 1970’s.  It was a perfect job for him because he got to be around people all the time.  And when they traveled, he often times found the local Chamber of Commerce and stopped in to make some new friends.

My beautiful picture
What?  Nothing around his neck?

Mom and Dad spent their entire married life in San Jose, all in the same house after their first 7 years of marriage.  They were both sports fans and became quite friendly with Bruce Jenner, and his wife Chrystie, while he was training at San Jose City College for the 1976 Olympics.  So it was only natural that he’d buy a shirt from the Bruce Jenner Michelob Light Classic, which appears to have been a track and field event in 1982.  Dad was a former track star (Fresno High School and Stanford) so I can imagine he sat through every race of the event. 
  My beautiful picture
Wonder if that shirt would be worth anything today?

Dad was a loving dog owner.  I don’t think I remember a time when they didn’t have at least one dog in the house.  He loved these two little ones as it wasn’t too often he could pick up two of their dogs at the same time.

My beautiful picture
Tinka and Buffy

One thing Dad never wavered from was his devotion to Mom.  They did everything together – bridge, golf, travel, Rotary events, and Stanford sports to name a few.  There are so many pictures of them doing crazy things and all of those memories have now been laid to rest.  But at least we have some photos and our imaginations to try to determine what they were doing at any given moment.

My beautiful picture
They were together for over 60 years and married for 55!

The older Dad got, the more emotional he seemed to get, especially with something that was near and dear to his heart.  I can remember at their 50th anniversary celebration he got a little teary as he stood up and addressed the crowd (really just the family of about 13 people).  He was a great speaker but boy, sometimes it got a little tough for him to get the words out.  I didn’t remember any tears flowing at his Legacy Medal Award dinner but by the looks of this picture, I think there might have been a few.

My beautiful picture

Dad wasn’t just a great Dad but he was also a loving Grandpa and had a few years of being a Great Grandpa.  All of us have so many “Gordyisms” which remind us of him constantly.  He waited patiently for the big game to come on TV only to fall asleep once it started, his anxiety at getting to Fred Meyer when he’d come for a visit so he could get some tooth powder, his headphones during critical games so he always knew the score, his exclamation when his grandchildren would arrive at the door of “what are these KIDS doing here?”, to so many more which will forever be etched in our minds.  And as the little ones grow older, even they know some of his best one liners.  He sure would love to hear everyone mimic him.

My beautiful picture
“What are these KIDS doing here”
Nice curlers, girls

And that’s enough about my dad today because it’s getting a bit dusty at this computer.  I guess the emotional gene didn’t stop with Dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  We all miss you and love you – well we do!

Gordon Levy c 2005
Gordon Levy
c. 2005