Vlasta Vyborny Jaques - 2008
Dog Lake 2002
1950 with Beverly and Jeffrey
90th Birthday 5/26/2008

As I recall, our first summer on the farm Pop scraped up some hoes and had us hoe all the weeds along the road entering our property as well as around the house and barn. The ground was clay and so hard that the hoe would just bounce off it if struck at a poor angle. That was the beginning of our outdoor work training. I was not a fast worker as far as getting jobs done was concerned, but I did stick with them until finished.

During my freshman year in high school, girls talked me into joining the Campfire girls, which I did for a couple of years. We met once a week after school, and if Pop couldn't come to town for me, I would have to walk the three-and-a-half miles home. During my junior year, I took a semester of chorus, but didn't get much out of that. The standard academic classes kept me busy, particularly because I was such a slow reader.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher, so I took the necessary college preparatory requirements in high school. During my senior year, I applied to U.C. Berkeley (back then, this was the school to attend). However, it didn't enter my mind as to how I was going to get there. Here is where fate takes over. During the summer when Helen and I were working in Merced, Mom, Lumie and Babe went to Yosemite camping for a few days. While in the campground, Mom made friends with a teacher from Berkeley. Arrangements were made that I would live with the teacher (Mrs. Phelps) and her family of husband plus five offspring (teen-age and early twenties), helping with the cooking and other chores in return for room and board. This I did for a year and a half. When I got tired of the environment, I found a job as a waitress, moved to a room I rented, and then finished school working as a waitress. At first I "learned the trade" in a tearoom which soon went bankrupt; then I was lucky to be hired at The Black Sheep, a well-known restaurant in Berkeley. When I graduated in 1939, I had $125 in a savings account! In those days, the fee for U.C. was $26 a semester, which included medical care!

My meeting Bill is a story in itself. After graduation from Berkeley, Bill started work in the cement plant in 1936, and since Lumie was a sample boy, he met Bill, the chemist, to whom he had to take the samples. When I was home from college for Christmas vacation, Lumie told Bill about a dance we were going to attend, so Bill went there, too, and met the family. We had a few dances and then went our separate ways. In February at my rooming house, I had a phone call, and when I answered, the fellow asked if I could guess who it was. I could only think of one fellow, a Bohemian named Bill whom I had met at a Sokol function some time before this, so my answer was "Bill." I agreed to go on a date with him that evening, and you can imagine my surprise when he wasn't Bill, the Bohemian. We got along well on our first date, and that was the beginning of our romance. Bill would come to Berkeley one Saturday a month, take me to a movie, a play or a dance, and then go on to Daly City where he spent the night and the next day with his folks.

During the summer after my junior year of college, I was able to get a waitress job at Camp Curry Grill in Yosemite and enjoyed a wonderful summer there. By the time I was in my senior year, Bill and I knew we would get married soon, and since school districts didn't hire married teachers, I would have to change my profession. I took two courses during intersession to prepare me for social work, in which field I thought I could get a job. Because of this added school time, Curry couldn't use me, but I was able to get a waitress job at Tuolumne Meadows starting the 4th of July. After the grind of Berkeley life for four years, this summer was a real joy. We waitresses had to serve meals morning, noon, and evening, but had two days off a week to really enjoy the high country. On a few weekends, Bill and some of his friends drove up so we could enjoy short hikes and picnics near the river. In 1939 the road from the valley floor to Tuolumne Meadows was a one-way dirt road with passing spots here and there to pass cars coming from the other direction. On today’s better highway, travel time is about a third of the time it took then.

In the fall of 1939 I was hired by the Social Welfare Department in Merced as a social worker and was trained on the job.

Bill and I were married in Carson City, Nevada on September 2, 1940 and rented an apartment in Merced. Later that year we were able to purchase a lot on 27th street at a very good price and had a house built on it. When Bill was about to be drafted, he applied for and got his Ensign commission in the Navy. Consequently we sold the house and put our furniture in storage. Even though the Navy frowned on it, I went with him to Hanover, New Hampshire where he took his indoctrination course at Dartmouth. When he was sent to Nicaragua, I returned to San Francisco to work for the American Red Cross doing social work. For a while I lived with his parents, but soon Helen took a job in San Francisco and we rented an apartment together.

After Bill returned from the war, I stopped work to become a mother with Beverly being born in 1945 and Jeffrey in 1947. After the children were in school, I returned to work and changed jobs whenever Bill’s employment required a move.

In 1977, when Bill retired, we moved to the Villages, a development for retired people, where I learned to play golf so I could enjoy going on golfing trips with Bill and friends. Unfortunately, Bill passed away January 10, 1993 as a result of lung cancer. The Villages is a wonderful place for a widow as we have a security gate and can feel free to walk around the grounds daytime or evenings. In my spare time, I volunteer at our Villages library preparing donated audio and video tapes for use by residents. I also spend an afternoon a week at the local History Museum, clerking in the gift shop. Bridge, tile rummy, and traveling are my other interests. With Beverly living just an hour’s drive from here, it is easy to keep up with family visitations.