A photo to honor my parents

I found this assortment of drawings in an envelope stamped “first class,” and I immediately recognized them as an architect’s “sketches on a napkin,” the floor plan of the main house my dad built along the waterfront north of Seattle.  Included in the envelope is a wedding invitation to my parent’s wedding.
(I wish I could figure out how to rotate photos in wordpress, the photo editor does not work.)20190217_1339161151053789.jpg

This is my favorite find of the box, the imagination of a man hopefully preparing for a family, a side of my father I could only imagine before.

This is the house, the first one I remember as a toddler, the house of the wicker horse, a white cat strolling along the walkway outside the large windows, of black and banana slugs bigger than my palm on the path down the slope around the stilts to the dry dirt underneath.

Here is his small portfolio, with only a few projects in a life cut short.  He was good at figuring out intersections of joists and beams, completing the whole project on his own from start to finish as Architect, Drafter, and Carpenter.

I find it interesting how he was essentially self-employed, and so he represented himself as both customer and client with the use of his initials as the client, but his first name Bill as the architect.
Real life interrupted his plans, as his wife, my mom, complained the house was cold. The steep slope blocked the sunrise until noon and the uninsulated windows faced the gray ocean. She succumbed to postpartum depression before the syndrome had a name, and my first memories of her were visiting her in mental hospital strapped to a gurney.

This job he did for this customer was printed in the Seattle newspaper. I am pretty sure these were the seeds planted for my appeal of the art of stained glass.

So many envelopes in this box

and my parent’s memories spill out.  It feel ironic me spending so much time with theirs, while I don’t keep scraps of mine anymore, minimizing my own life to the essentials.

A trip to Mexico…

And these odd people.  I can only guess these are at some sort of institution, my mom is a young woman on a swing.  (I wish I could figure out how to rotate photos in wordpress, the photo editor does not work.)

The Coast Guard registration for houseboat in Seattle my dad fixed up with his best friend, where they lived as bachelors, and where my mom met him.

Two postcards from New Zealand!

I never had a clue he went there.  I wonder why my mom didn’t tell me?  It would have been nice to see the note at the end, and know he was thinking of my brother and I after all.

A postcard from the VW dealer.  He liked to work on cars, and owned a series of VW Beetles. The first was an early 60’s Black one, then a green one, then a new white one.  His work truck was a gray ’52 Dodge and our family car was always a beetle, then he had the 36 Alvis, a 45 MG, and a 64 Honda Convertible.   He sold them all to Harrah’s Car Collection.

A sketch of the a house, flight from Houston to San Francisco? Charge to NASA phase III?  This is highly curious.

Here’s the paperwork for the Alvis, purchase, to repairs, to auction. I wonder if they still have the 3 pound credit?  Might be worth another phone call just for grins….

Mom was RH neg.

They were married two days after my dad’s birthday.

Lol, she kept a mother’s day card from me.

Here’s her Art School Transcript.  I guess they needed it to apply to move to NZ.

And here’s the application to move to NZ.  It is reassuring to know that we were all going, since I once overheard an argument between them.  “It’s either the kids or me,” he told her.  I thought he was expecting her to leave us behind. Maybe she changed his mind?
Seeing this, and reading the postcards, now I really don’t have a clue what he could have meant.

Some samples of what he worked on.

Capernaum, Chaos, and Heaven

you are what you watch

The lights went dim and the screen lit up with “You Are What You Watch.”
I was instantly relieved, thinking, I’m not the only one here with identity/reality issues at the movies.

This on my husband and I’s Valentines Day night out, which we dont really “do” because “Every day is Valentine’s Day,” he likes to say after we’ve made it past our 10th anniversary.  Our morning was spent eating breakfast and watching Echart Tolle videos, which reminded us of listening to the Power of Now audio books during our first travels. This modern guru does have a way of finding a sense of calm which became an oasis for our two opposite converging personalities in our new marriage, but I couldn’t help but disagree on some subtle points. In some internal states of mind like TBI, suffering is hardwired.  In some external states of this world, like the slums of Beirut, suffering is inescapable and not just a state of mind.


This movie was so foreign, the culture so extremely different, I was relieved not to see a hint of myself in it. Except in the beginning, where the scene opened high above a group of ruffian boys getting into mischief, reminding me of doing the same as a tomboy at a similar age.  A memory percolated up of hurling snowballs up from an embankment by a road so that they landed in a perfect arc onto passing windshields. And since this was California and snow melted within hours, the snowballs soon became mud balls coated with a thin shell of snow, which impacted in a more thrilling brown splat.  That game ended with a furious driver squealing his brakes and running down the slope to discover us, then chase us through the wooded ravine yelling epithets.  In the movie, the camera swooped down to people level, becoming the boy’s Game of War played with stick rifles.  This was also the same in my childhood, during the time of the draft, except I knew the boys were practicing for real where for me I knew I was just a girl and it was just play.

The boy Zain’s exceptional precociousness soon became apparent, where he knew more about his sister’s menstruation cycle than she did, doing whatever he could in order to protect her, and this is where the similarities ended.  This boy cared about his sister, where my brother choked me until he could see resignation in my eyes, wrestled my arm behind my back until I said uncle, or dismembered and decapitated my dolls in the name of sibling rivalry.    When my cycle came, my mom gave me a few dollars and told me to go get some pads, so I set off on my bike to 7-11 and that was that.  I was touched by how much Zain cared for his sister.  Where did he learn how to be a compassionate human being, since it was obviously not his parents?  It must have been hardwired from birth, which gave me hope as I recalled the Gnostic verse where the world is saved by the child, but I can’t recall which book or verse right now.  He was so precociously responsible as a 12yr old boy, stealing pads for his sister, washing her underwear, or taking a bottle from a cared-for baby to feed his new brother.  Another Gnostic Jesus quote came to mind, how is it possible such beauty could arise from such a shithole.  Yes, he actually said that, in the books the proud Romans destroyed before killing the Christian women who wrote them.

Studying the poster after the movie, I was still soaking in the experience while my man said, “This is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.”
“Yes, I totally agree…. The boy Zain, where did they find him? What phenomenal casting. Was he even acting? or was he playing himself?  Was that his story?  And that baby…. ” We smiled and laughed about that perfect baby.

On the way home, we looked up more information, finding an interview from the woman who directed the movie.  She said Capernaum means Chaos, and also Heaven.  She also said they found Zain as a Syrian refugee, living in conditions even worse than the movie.  Even worse. Intelligent as he was with no education, he didn’t even know how to sign his name, which made his acting ability to portray those conditions that much more exceptional, he wasn’t acting.  It was in being chosen for the movie that he was able to get his ID papers and become a “Human Being.”  This also reminded me of another Gnostic verse quoting Jesus, where only few are chosen, but I can’t remember which exact one or book right now.  The director was also careful to point out that even though seriously challenged in life, Zain came from very loving and responsible parents.  Everything made much more sense after that.

“You think your childhood was difficult, it was nothing like that.”
“I totally agree.  Remember those Eckart Tolle videos we were watching this morning? He was talking about suffering as a denial of the moment, and when the audience was laughing, I thought, what a first-world perspective.  Anyone who would laugh has no idea.”

More Mysteries about New Zealand

My brain is fried from this afternoon’s mathy 5th dimensional study. Not too fond of math, so I was looking forward to opening my dad’s memento box again. Here are some travel brochures, I heard my dad loved traveling to Mexico, enough to get a case of Montezuma’s Revenge. Also some old maps of Alaska, where my mom and dad first lived after they got married.

Then I pulled out a neatly organized packet of travel brochures to New Zealand.

Here’s a NZ driver’s license issued in 1973; I would have been 8. I remember living in a small Mid-California town during that time of my life, and from that small town we lived in, my dad would set off on long driving trips for weeks at a time. I remember one time in particular after he had set off in his british green 1936 Alvis. Returning weeks later, he said he had driven all the way to Maine and back. This impressed me tremendously since I was reading Stuart Little at the time.
I had no idea he and the car actually went to NZ though. It seems he had a double life, Why would he need to get the license issued from all the way over in Philadelphia, PA?

He had such a careful signature… mine is just a scribble.

A travel guide…, but I don’t see any notes

His passport!!

At least now I know his birthday. Hmmmm, his height is listed way wrong- his height was 6’3″, not 6’0″.

Ok, so he was there Feb 5…

What’s this note in the corner of this map about? Curiouser and Curiouser….
1900 So. Africa
15 Houses (somme)

A motor vehicle guide. They drive on the left side of the road, so his British car would have blended right in…

New Zealand Today, as it was 40 years ago.

No notes on this map, and nothing circled or anything.

I guess he was applying for an architect position? Definitely planning to stay a while, not just visit.

Yup, this is how a person used to apply for a job, search through the classified ads. Maybe he had a reference?

Official NZ Fact Sheets, on various topics.