July 8, 1976


July 8, 1976

Inga and me
Inga and me 

In the summer of ’76 I was pregnant, so we had to move out of our first apartment, within walking distance of USC (no babies allowed).  To call our second apartment “gorgeous” is a gross exaggeration.  It looked like every other apartment in the 70s.  Outdoor stairs led to five or six apartments, ours included, on the second floor.  Even though it was long ago and we lived there for only two years, I remember it in vivid detail.

Pregnant in our Windsor Rd. apartment
Pregnant in our Windsor Rd. apartment

I pity Los Angeles millennials – well, anybody who wants to rent in LA.  One hundred and seventy-five dollars seemed like a fortune to us (our previous rent was $125) but it was do-able, even though John earned about $200 a week as a part-time law clerk (he was a full-time law student at USC).  Imagine a couple renting a 2-bedroom LA apartment today on one partner’s part-time salary.

John in those days
John in those days

What we didn’t know was that we were within walking distance of Angelo Bueno’s auto upholstery shop – you know, the one where the Hillside Stranglers tortured and killed all those women with long brunette hair. One of the victims was abducted from the small hospital at the end of our block. The murders hadn’t started when we moved in, but it wasn’t long – October 1977 to be specific – and they lasted until February 78 (we moved out in the summer of 78).  As the bodies piled up in Glendale and La Crescenta hillsides, it made for some jumpy times.

Directly outside our Windsor Rd. apartment with CD, '78
Directly outside our Windsor Rd. apartment with CD, ’78

As for Inga, she lived a long and happy life with my parents in San Diego. I think she liked having a house and a yard to play in (as opposed to our apartment) plus my sister Joyce’s dog, Kuala, as a companion.  My parents never particularly wanted dogs, but they fell in love with our dogs once they got to know them, and we all cried when Inga (and later Kuala) crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

July 8, 1970


Let’s just say, I don’t have piles of “Employee of the Month” awards hoarded in a drawer – for starters I was rarely employed for a full month. Outside of academia, I was successfully challenged by the concept of a work ethic. I tried to get the hang of it, kind of, but I am what I am, I can’t deny it. I’ve got a real affinity for sloth.  My mother complained I was lazy and inept about helping her with housework. (An effective combination. It was easier to do the dishes herself than enlist me.)  Exasperated, she warned me to get rich because I’d need a maid. She intended it as a threat but I heard a swell idea.

Get Rich, you will need a maid!

During my high school and college years, I worked at various part-time jobs. Bulletin-folder for my father. Neighborhood babysitter. Corn dog cashier at the Santa Clara County Fair, salesclerk at San Jose State bookstore and UCLA bookstore – perfect, except when I had to wait on customers.  Paper slicer for two days. UCLA Med Center OB/Gyn ward clerk. Typist at the naval base on Coronado Island.

Been There Done That

When I graduated, I figured my days of dead end jobs were behind me. I was eager to launch myself into a fun career like Mary Tyler Moore did on her show. Something in the entertainment business with a warm family atmosphere and witty supporting characters like Mr. Grant and Murray.

At my first employment agency interview, I took a typing test and dazzled the room. (I was not Outstanding Typist of the Year at Wilcox High for nothing.)

TypingI’ll never forget what my recruiter said next.

“Honey, if you learn shorthand, you can rule the world.”

Hmm, a lack of shorthand didn’t hurt Mary Richards. Why is it a problem for me? In a moment of clarity, the illusion of living Mary Richard’s life dissolves. I face a future as a secretary in a coma-inducing office devoid of wise-cracking curmudgeons.

I know what I have to do. There’s just one place I function slightly better than average instead of below the mean and I can stay there forever if necessary. Grad School, here I come!