We finally arrived in Los Angeles and Danny DeGraw and his Mother met us at the train station. She took us to her home in Hawthorn. It was just a couple of days before the New Year so we went to the Stake Young Adult Singles New Years Eve Party. As soon as we could, we started looking for an apartment. We didn’t have any furniture so we were looking for furnished apartments. We finally found something that we thought was wonderful. The apartment complex even had a pool. But since it was winter the pool was not open. Then we started looking for jobs. We read the paper and tried to find things like receptionists. We really had no job skills. Tauna had worked as a waitress at Zion and I had cleaned cabins and worked in the snack shop. After we had been there just a few weeks Tauna’s sister asked if she could come and stay with us while she went to some Doctor appointments. She was having some serious problems with her eyes and the Lions Club in Cedar City sponsored her to see some specialist in LA. So we soon had another roommate. Things were starting to get a little tense. Neither one of us had found a job and money was starting to get short.
I finally went to a private employment agency and they sent me on a few interviews and one was with a drug company that had a warehouse and shipped prescription drugs all over the west. I was hired to stand all day in front of a long tub full of IBM punch cards. Each card represented a different drug. I would get the order and pull the cards for that order and send it back to the punch card room and they would run the cards through the punch card reader and print up the order to send back to the warehouse. It was challenging and fun to have a real job. One of the girls that worked there lived close to me and agreed to pick me up for work. I found out that the bus does not go everywhere. It did not go were I needed to go to get to work. So I had a way to work and then another girl asked me if I would like to met her boy friends brother. He had a Masters Degree from UCLA and was a CPA. He was working for a large accounting firm. And he was tall. How could I say no. His name was Wes Harder and he called me and made a date. I think we went to a movie the first time. He was taller than me and he had dark hair and he was pretty good looking; not too good looking to intimidate me but nice to look at. We seemed to get along very well. He started coming around on a regular basis. Tauna finally got a job and we were finally able to make the rent and buy food. Life seemed to be clicking along pretty well. After I had worked for about three months I qualified for some medical insurance and I went to a Dentist and he told me I needed to have my wisdom teeth out. Wes picked me up and took me. He was becoming quite an important part of my life.
Tauna was seeing quite bit of Danny DeGraw. We would go to the local Singles Ward but since neither one of us had transportation it was getting kind of hard to get to Church. Wards are not on every other corner in Los Angeles. Wes was not a member of the Church and he did not know very much about Mormons. He had some preconceived ideas and I tried to talk to him about it. He agreed to talk to the Missionaries but after that he was not very receptive. On the next visit he brought a bunch of anti Mormon books and the missionaries tried to talk to him but his mind was closed. He stilled liked me and his parents liked me. I Went with him to the Church that he said he went to. But no one seemed to know him and thinking about it now I realize he did not really belong to a Church the way I did. He was not ready to open his heart.
He had told me that he loved me and I figured I was in love too. No one had ever said that they loved me. I was so vulnerable. I was so hungry to be in love and get married and start a family. I had the romanticised idea that if we got married he would see how wonderful the church was and would embrace it and gain a testimony. I now know that was foolish and not the way things happen in the real world.
Jim and I went to the George Strait Concert Friday July 17th at the USANA Amphitheater. It is a very well planned venue. The seats are comfortable and there is good leg room. We had good seats not too far back from the stage we could see the performers without having to use binoculars or relying on the large screen at the back of the stage. The first performer came and did her set for about 30 minutes then they changed the set for Blake Shelton, we love Blake Shelton by the way. Then the set was set up for George Strait. Up until that time the other audience members around us we pretty well behaved. When George came out everyone stood up to welcome him to the stage. Then a large majority sat down because they had a seat to sit in. But unfortunately for Jim and I the people directly in front of us and two rows in front of us did not sit down. OK that’s alright for one or two songs then the kids right in front of us sat down. But the couple two rows in front of us stood up the whole night.They completely blocked my view of the stage. I could see the large screen but I wanted to see George himself not the TV. Besides you feel like your sitting in a cave. Why am I so afraid to ask people to sit down. What makes people think they can enjoy a concert better if they stand all night? Why did they buy a ticket that includes a seat if they wanted to stand all night? Would these same people stand up in the middle of a movie theater? I think not. I am putting all these inconsiderate people on notice I will not be silent. I will not put up with it again. We paid good money to see our favorite performers and I am tired of looking at someone else’s back.
Let’s go back to 1966. OK, California. Whatever possessed us?
Tauna and I got it into our heads that we needed to take a break from school. Neither one of us felt like we knew what we wanted to do. What was school going to do for us. I personally could not think of anything that continuing in college would do for me that just getting a good job could not do. I was having the same feelings that I felt when I wanted to leave home and go to Wyoming. I thought all I needed was a change of scene and new opportunities. I felt stifled in Cedar City. I wanted new horizons.
Tauna had made friends with two brothers from California and one of the brothers was on a mission and due to come home in the next year. She really liked him and had been writing to him. So we figured that the best thing to do would be to go to California and be there when he returned. My parents were not in favor of the scheme but I guess they decided that I needed to make this choice myself. I had saved some money from my summer job and we figured we had enough to get us set up with an apartment and food until we could get jobs. We had confidence that we would find jobs and be self supporting within a couple of months. Tauna wrote to her friends Mother and she agreed to pick us up from the train and let us stay at her house until we could find an apartment. We thought we would be able to take the bus anywhere we wanted to go in Las Angeles. We made a lot of assumptions about how we were going to get around and how we were going to live and eat and work. Welcome to the real World.
I had talked Tauna into coming to live at our house so she could save money by not living in the dorms. It was really fun to have her there. I felt like she was the first real friend I had ever had. We seemed to like everything the same and we did everything together. I think she really kind of liked my brother Doug but he would not give her the time of day. I remember her saying to me as we were going to bed. “Barbara talk to me so that I can go to sleep.” So we would talk until we were asleep. Then her sister needed her to come and stay with her for a time. So she left and I continued to make our plans and arrangements to go to California.
We thought it would be romantic to take the train. So I bought the tickets and we were scheduled to go three days before the first of the year. In order to get the train we had to go to Minersville which is about 40 miles northwest of Cedar City. Then the train did not come until about 11pm. OK, remember this is in the winter and Minersville is a very small town out in the middle on nowhere. But I digress. We had Christmas and a lot of the presents I got were for my California adventure. I think Kathy and Jim and their two little girls came for the day and we had a nice family time.
Then it was getting close to time. I had not heard from Tauna for a few weeks and I was getting a little nervous that she might not show up. But as arranged she came and we made our final preparations to go. My Dad drove us to Minnersville and it was snowing and cold. When we got there the train was delayed and it was not scheduled to arrive for several more hours. My Dad unloaded us and left us in the train station to wait for our ride. Then he was gone and there we were sitting in this little train station that was not very warm and it was snowing and we had hours to wait. But surprise, who should show up but this boy we had known from Zions. I don’t remember how we happened to hook up with him but he saw us and he took us for a ride around Minnersville. We got back to the station in time for the train and then we were finally on our way to California. I had never been on a train and it was mesmerizing to look out the window. At one point I remember seeing a Christmas tree all lit up sitting out in the middle of a field. It looked very lonely. We were able to sleep a little and then we were passing through Las Vegas. And then on to California.