While I had been in the hospital, my family had moved from our home on Hodge Avenue. I am not really sure why but remember being very angry about it. This meant that upon being discharged from the hospital in May, the last couple of weeks of the sixth grade, I had to start attending a different school! I attended there for the next two years, through 7th and 8th grades. Kennedy Elementary School was a single-story building built into the slope of a hill so that there were three levels, each level a bit higher on the hillside. Rather than stairs it had ramps in the hallways,
which were very easy to use with braces on my legs. One memory from that school is singing the following song in the talent show with a group of seven other girls. I BELIEVE – Author unknown I believe for every drop of rain that falls A flower grows, I believe that somewhere in the darkest night A candle glows, I believe for everyone who goes astray, Someone will come to show the way, I believe, I believe. I believe above the storm the smallest prayer Will still be heard, I believe that someone in the great somewhere Hears every word, Every time I hear a newborn baby cry, Or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
Then I know why, I believe. There were dances every month at the school for the seventh and eighth grades. At one dance we had a DJ from a local radio station. There was a drawing that night and I won a coupon for a free pair of shoes at the Nordstrom’s store. Going up onto the stage to receive the coupon, the first thing the DJ said to me, with the microphone turned on was, “What are you doing? Standing in a hole? ” I was very embarrassed, but not so much that I refused to take the coupon! Many years later I was able to make contact via the Internet with girls who had been my friends at that school.
Each one of them remembered me right away when she was told that I had started at the school with braces on my legs. Today the old Kennedy Elementary School building has been turned into an upscale hotel. The classrooms have become guest rooms; there is a restaurant and an elegant “soaking pool”. Three memorable events happened following sixth grade, during the summer of 1955. The first was that our family got its first television. Because I had braces on my legs so that I was somewhat restricted in my activities, my parents thought it would be a nice thing for me to have television.
Not that there was so much to watch in those days! Actually I got around well during the six months that I wore those braces. I even mowed the grass with a push mower! It was great to be out of bed, moving around and doing pretty much anything I wanted to. Ocean Depths – Page 26 – Chapter 3 The second memorable event of that summer was the birth of Troy Lee Berglund, a second half-brother, on July 4, 1955 when Keith was a year old. The boys were born in Portland and Janice’s mother Gloria was the nurse for my mother at the births of both of my brothers.
Since we had only a two-bedroom house, there was a crib in each bedroom. I remember many nights when mother stood beside the crib in my room, trying to quiet a fussy baby so he would go back to sleep and she could return to her own bed. One baby awake could easily wake the other one with his cries. Troy had asthma so there were a number of emergency visits to the hospital for him. I remember him being in an oxygen tent. My parents were advised to make our home as dust free as possible for Troy. Hence we had hard wood or linoleum floors most of the time, vinyl covered furniture and even plastic drapes at the windows.
The third memorable event of that summer happened on a rainy day. I was occupying myself in the basement by digging through an old steamer trunk that mother had kept for as long as I could remember. I came upon a Bible with a black leather cover, gilt edged pages, and dad’s name embossed on the front in gold lettering. I held it with awe, as if I had found a great treasure, which of course I had. I was consumed with a desire to read it. But it was not mine so I put it back into the trunk. It was my plan to ask dad if I could borrow it to read.
It took a couple of days before I got up enough courage! Finally telling him I had found it, I asked if I could borrow it. His reply was that he would not ever need it again, so I could keep it. I was ecstatic! THE FRINGE Every night when I went to bed I read from those wonderful pages! My parents knew I had the Bible and yet, something inside me was afraid to have them know when I was reading it. Whenever I heard someone approaching my bedroom, I would quickly hide the Bible under the covers and pretend to be reading something else. It took me quite a while to stop doing that.
Why did I feel this way? Mother and dad did not attend church. Dad’s parents went regularly, often taking me along, but any mention of us going to church as a family caused tension in the house. Although I was consumed with desire to read the Word of God, “religion” was a topic we all avoided in our house. We no longer lived near Janice so I had no friend as moral support or any bus to take me to church. Because I did not really know what the Bible was about, I did not know how to approach reading it. All summer I skipped around reading in many places.
Every night I read and every day I thought over what I had read. I was compulsed to keep on reading. I was getting a mixed up picture of God as a judge who punished, then a picture of God loving us and giving Jesus to die for us. Back and forth between the punishment and forgiveness I went. It came through to me loud and clear that God is perfect and I am not. I was overwhelmed with the sense that I could not ever be good enough! As I read in the New Testament about Jesus, I thought constantly about Him. I could not stop being full of a feeling that He was right next to me at all times!
I began to pray hesitantly; awestruck by a growing realization that Jesus had died for me personally! Mixed with that was an agony of guilt as I thought of how sinful I was. Over and over I told God about my sins and asked Him to save me. I cried with grief over my sins and guilt. I thanked Him for Jesus and told Him that I knew Jesus had died for me. I do not know how long I went back and forth between sadness about my guilt and joy that God cared about me, whether it was days or weeks. But a time came when my heart was at peace.
At the young age of 12, I knew without a doubt that God had done something in me, that somehow I was different! This spiritual experience was a thing I could not explain, neither the words nor the understanding were in me to express what had happened. My heart was constantly filled with a great wonder that I had not ever known before. The following chorus of an old song expresses what I was feeling: Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul, – Thank you, Lord, for making me whole; Thank you, Lord, for giving to me – Thy great salvation so rich and free. Author unknown Ocean Depths – Page 27 – Chapter 3
What I had experienced is expressed in the Bible in Hebrews 6 verse 11 which says, “he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. ” This is what had happened to me, I had believed that God exists, that He IS. As evidenced by my constant reading and cries to Him, I had also believed that He would ANSWER me. The idea of a reward was not really a concept in my head. I just had a desperate need for knowledge of Him as a Person. My prayers were cries for Him. I wanted escape from the guilt that I felt as an imperfect person who could not help but sin.
In other words, I could not help but remain imperfect. Who is God? What does He think? What does He think of me? What was I seeking? To find out who God is, for sure. To be free of guilt? To escape punishment? No doubt all of these were in my heart. God is so much more than what we think He is! He is a rewarder! He goes beyond our expectations, to show us His glory and make us His own when we long after Him with our whole beings. God rewarded me then by giving me some knowledge of Himself in the form of a keen awareness of His presence in the world and in my life. I thought about Him constantly!
Thus it was that I began on the REAL journey of my life. A journey with God, a daily process of getting to know Him better all the time as I continued to read the Bible, and a process of growing up in the life of Christ which He had put within me. I have written these comments now, many years later from the perspective of having grown much in understanding of spiritual truths as they are stated in the Bible. This little poem well states my position spiritually at this time. And what shall be the ending? I’ve touched the fringe of what Thou art, And Thou hast begun to show me, Lord,
that is all transcending; I’m standing on the rippling shore; Love’s ocean depths are all before. –Miles J. Stanford (Imag-ination 14 page 31 — emphasis mine) Eventually during continued reading I came across the story in the Gospel of John chapter nine about the man who was born blind. Probably every person who has a chronic medical condition, at some point in life asks, ”Why me? ” I do not remember putting that question into words as a young teen, yet when I came across this story in the New Testament, suddenly my mind vibrated with a discovered answer to my unasked question.
The first three verses of the chapter read: “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? ” Jesus answered, “neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. ” And so they were, because when Jesus healed the man, his life was entirely changed which demonstrated the love and power of God working on the behalf of one unknown man. In the world of that day, I am sure the man was a beggar sitting by the road side, living on the generosity of those who passed by him.
What a hard way to earn a living! In comparison to him, I had so much of this world’s goods, and yet I too had to live with something that was a hardship in its own way. A light went on in my head, here was an answer to a question that had not yet really formed in my young mind. If the works of God could be shown in me, then it was all right with me to have this bone condition! You may ask if I thought I was going to be healed like the blind man. No, that was not a hope I ever entertained. I loved God and was grateful for His love for me, and for the sense of freedom I now had from the guilt of sins.
It was enough that He cared about me! I felt no need of getting any physical miracle. Ocean Depths – Page 28 – Chapter 3 I HAVE COME FROM THE DARKNESS Marian Wood Chaplin, – Copyright 1964 by Broadman press I have come from the darkness to the light of the Lord; I have come from the night to the day. He has guided my footsteps in the truth of His Word; By His love He has shown me the way. In the light of His presence all temptations depart, And the shadows of doubt are cast aside. With the radiance of sunshine He has entered my heart, Where His Spirit of love abides.
I have come from the darkness to the light, To the light of redemption from sin. O my soul will rejoice in His might, For my Savior dwells within. MIDDLE SCHOOL (From the time mother began dating Dale, I had always called him by his name, as I stated earlier in chapter two, but have referred to him as dad up to this point in order to save on confusion for the reader. ) After mother and Dale were married, I continued to call him Dale. No one encouraged me to call him daddy. They thought I would come to it gradually in my own time as I stopped missing my real father.
In contrast to this, as soon as mother and Dale married, Dale’s mother told me in no uncertain terms that I was to call her and Knute Grandpa and Grandma. Not Mr. and Mrs. Berglund any more! Now it had been almost four years and I was still calling my stepfather Dale by his name! I was used to it that way, never thinking about it and there did not seem to be a problem since no one told me otherwise. Everyone, including mother and Dale appeared to be used to it too. Then one day early in January 1956, just a few weeks after my thirteenth birthday, I answered the telephone. It was a call from my father Vincent Taylor!
It was the first contact he’d made with us ever since he had deserted us in 1950. He wished me a happy birthday telling me that upon my graduation from high school he would give me $1000 for college. After a brief conversation with me, he wanted to speak to my mother. Mother was in the basement putting cloth diapers in the washing machine. (Disposable diapers had not yet been invented. ) She was visibly shocked when I ran down the stairs and told her who was on the phone. She told me to finish putting in the load of diapers. After the call, mother asked me if my father had promised me anything. I told her about the promise of money.
She said that he had never kept promises to her before, so I should not believe that he would do any different for me. I don’t think I ever did believe that he would keep that promise, because he had after all deserted me, which must have broken my heart when I was a child. There was a tension in the house following Vincent’s phone call. After a couple of days my mother took me aside to tell me that it was time for me to stop calling Dale by his name and to begin calling him daddy. It was a very strange feeling for me to do that after such a long time! Why did they decide to make an issue of it after so long?
My only explanation is that they were probably worried the call from my father could result in tearing me away from the family they were building together. That summer in 1956, I was invited on a trip with Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Carl and their daughter, my cousin Gini. Because Gini was an only child and wanted company her age, I had the privilege of going along with them on their vacation! Pulling a small camping trailer behind the car, we camped in Glacier National Park in Montana, and then Waterton Park, Banff, Lake Louise and the Columbia Ice Fields all in the Rocky Mountains of Canada.
It was a wonderful trip! Ocean Depths – Page 29 – Chapter 3 Dad’s employment always involved the operation of heavy equipment. He drove truck, dug swimming pools, operated cranes on dams, and twice he went into business for himself. Both businesses ended in bankruptcy. The first time, he hired out his own truck to carry loads on long distance hauls across the country. That became a problem for him and mother because she had to be alone for long periods working a full time job and leaving us three children with a babysitter. One load that he hauled I remember in particular.
It was a semi trailer full of mustard seeds! Not in containers of any kind, just loose filling the whole trailer about halfway deep. What a sight! During the summer of 1957 following the eighth grade, we moved to a wonderful three-bedroom house. It was a lovely yellow house on a corner lot with large trees bordering the property on two sides. Such large trees meant a lot of leaf raking, which I loved doing, in the autumn of the year. Wonder of wonders, the house came with an upright piano, which I worked at teaching myself to play. What fun!
This was marvelous; I finally had a room of my own! It was a two-story house with two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. The boys and I had our rooms up stairs. While there was no school that summer, I took care of my two little brothers while our parents both worked. It was fun at first but soon became a chore. I remember being mean to them, doing petty things such as grabbing a toy from one of them, pounding on the piano very loudly when it was their naptime, or letting them scream in their cribs for long periods of time.
A sort of resentment was rumbling around inside of me because of having to take care of them all day. Looking back now, I think it must have been a huge adjustment from being an only child to having two little brothers. Ulysses S. Grant, a four-year high school, at NE 33rd and Broadway was where I began the ninth grade in Portland. I remember riding the city bus and then walking across a park to the campus. But I have no other memories of that school, which I attended for only three months. It was while living in this house that I remember having to keep track of whether I could read through my urine!
Sometime along this period of years, medical science had discovered that in my medical condition, the kidneys do not do what they are supposed to in regard to phosphorous, which is used in bone building. As a way of tracking the loss of phosphorous leaking from my kidneys, instead of being absorbed by them, I was to collect the first urine of the morning in a glass jar. Then hold a paper about the size of a 3×5 card on one side of the jar, look through the jar from the other side and try to read what was on the paper.
The printing was in several sizes and I was to write down which size print I could read each day. The more cloudy the urine, the less legible the print, the more phosphorous was leaking through the kidneys and being lost in the urine output. This information was written down daily and then taken with me to the next clinic appointment at Shriner’s. My daily dosage of vitamin D was then altered based on the results of these reading tests. This way of testing did not last long for me because the family decided to move again. This time a really big move, all the way to southern California!
At first the plan was that once we were settled there, I would begin clinic visits at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. But somehow life got busy and we never did start going to the clinic at UCLA. Consequently I was out of the medical “loop” for about seven years. Our move, which took place during the Christmas break from school, meant that we were separated from the large extended family that I had enjoyed for the past six and a half years. I consoled myself with thoughts of being close to mother’s two sisters, Evelyn and Harriet, and going to school with my cousin Gini.
We drove from Portland, Oregon in a two-door sedan, the two little boys and I, and a bird in a cage all in the back seat together. It seems like we also had a cat, not in a cage, but I could be wrong about that. I especially remember the bump, bump, bump of the tires on cracks in the cement highway in California. Ocean Depths – Page 30 – Chapter 3 We moved into a rental house in La Canada, which is a suburb of Los Angeles in the foothills on the north side of the city. I was quite excited about living there because I would be able to attend the same school as my cousin Gini.
However, for reasons I do not remember, we only lived in that house a week. We moved to the next small suburb called La Crescenta, to another rental house and different school district. It was common then, as it is today, for the foothills north of Los Angeles to burn annually in wildfires. We were close enough to sit outside in the yard watching planes and helicopters dropping chemicals on the fires. It was interesting to watch the glow of the flames on the hillsides in the darkness of a hot summer evening. Houses were not built as high up into the hills as they are today.
I think it was rare at that time for any homes to be in real danger. HIGH SCHOOL In Portland, I had been in a four-year high school, but now in California the high school was only three years, so I had to do the second half of 9th grade at a junior high school, it felt a bit like being demoted! However, it was nice that the school was just across the street from the first house we rented in La Crescenta. Over the next four years, I can remember living in six houses. However, all were in the same school district, so I was able to continue through the high school years with my new friends.
A few memories of that time include buying Aunt Evelyn a baby duckling one year when her birthday fell on Easter Sunday. I loved going to the feed and seed store and could not resist the ducklings! I got one for 50 cents and took it home to keep overnight until her birthday party the next day. I fixed a shoe box for it to sleep in for that night, but it made “poor baby duck” sounds that kept me awake. I finally put the little one into the pocket of my pajamas and the two of us slept just fine all night! It turned out as the “duck” grew that it became a lovely white goose!
It followed Evelyn around all the time, and kept her yard free of all bugs, but also made a terrible mess all over the yard with its droppings. The solution was to take the goose to Forest Lawn, a huge cemetery where there were many ponds, gardens and other goose friends to live among. At one of the several houses that we had, I remember we purchased a small electric organ, with two keyboard levels and an octave of foot pedals. Ten free lessons came with the purchase, which I took advantage of. I tried to keep on learning by myself, but after a time the organ disappeared.
The reason why that happened is among the many things I seem to have forgotten. During these years, mother and dad separated for a very brief time. The only reason I remember for this was dad’s frequent drinking. He never lost a job or was violent when drunk. It is probable that there were other marital problems that I was not aware of. During those four years I attended a small Covenant church because it was within walking distance of one of our houses. After we moved outside of walking distance, people in the church picked me up so I could attend. Once I got my drivers license, I was able to use the car on most Sunday mornings.
The church had a small youth group, so small that the four of us teenagers voted ourselves in as “officers” all the time! Singing in a choir for the first time was a great joy to me. My first and only opportunity to attend church camp came during my junior year of high school. Since La Crescenta had no high school of its own at the time, students were bussed south to the city of Glendale where we attended Herbert Hoover High School, a three year school. It was during my junior year at Hoover that I became involved in the Youth For Christ Club (YFC), which met on the campus.
There I met the people who I now remember as my high school friends. Most of us in the Club attended the YFC rallies held every Saturday evening at The Church of the Open Door (COD) in downtown Los Angeles. COD was a huge church, seating 4,000 people and it was packed every Saturday evening for the rallies! What an exciting time, seeing so many young people worshipping the Lord together! Ocean Depths – Page 31 – Chapter 3 That year was one of changes in the way I viewed my social activities. As a young Christian, I felt that what I did for fun should be in alignment with what I believed.
Now, later in life, I still believe this to be a good principal. My main interests at the time were YFC, going to church, the friends I had made there, and the study of the Bible that I loved to read. So it was that I came to a decision to “give up” some activities. I no longer went to any school dances, which was not really a sacrifice because I was not often asked to dance, nor had I learned to dance very well. Among my Christian friends, I was accepted for who I was. It seemed that all of us were comfortable in our social activities, club meetings, and Bible studies.
There was a camaraderie and acceptance among us, something that all people long for in their lives. I did not feel that I was missing anything by not going to school dances. On the contrary, I felt very much included and accepted. During most of my junior year I dated a boy named Del, who was also active in YFC. But there came a time during the second semester that Del suddenly broke up with me. I was heart broken, but recovered pretty quickly. It was not very long before he had another girlfriend and they married after graduation the next year.
The teen years are a time when a person thinks about life and values, about the kind of person one wants to be, about what one believes and about one’s own mortality. One morning I distinctly remember saying to mother during breakfast that, “whenever we leave to go some place, we should give each other hugs and kisses, because we don’t know if we will die that day and never see each other again”. Mother was horrified! “Don’t even think such things, Gale! ” was her response. But it was a thought that stayed in my mind for a long time even if I did not mention it again.
It was to become all too true in later years in my life and the lives of those I loved. Death is a thing that comes to us all, often sooner than later. It is something we should talk about. Not talking about it does not prevent it from happening, nor does talking about it make it happen. After my junior year of high school and during the summer of 1960, I had the wonderful experience of making another trip with Aunt Evelyn, Uncle Carl and cousin Gini. We drove the old Route 66 from Los Angeles along what is now I-40 through Arizona, New Mexico and the Texas panhandle, where we saw fireflies for the first time.
At Oklahoma City Route 66 turned north heading for Chicago. Leaving Route 66 we continued east on the highway that is now I-40 all the way to Knoxville, Tennessee. From there our route was north to Washington D. C. through North Carolina and Virginia. What a wonderful opportunity they gave me to see our great country! It was while in our nation’s capitol that I had my first bad experience with the new style of high-heeled shoes, I think they were called “slings”. They were open toed slip-ons with no straps, just elastic in the arch, which caused them to make a slapping sound as you walked.
While visiting the Capital Building, my foot slipped coming down some marble stairs. My knees buckled under me so that I slid down a number of steps on my shins. I was able to stop myself by grabbing the spindle bars of the railing. I was quite shaken, but other than some bruises on my shins, very fortunate not to have been hurt! We visited the Washington Monument, where Gini and I ran down the stairs after taking the elevator to the top; the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery where I was
especially taken with the statue of the flag raising on Iwo Jima, the White House, the Ford Theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot, and the house across the street where he died. Evelyn Carl Gini & MeOcean Depths – Page 32 – Chapter 3 From there we traveled on to New York City, where we visited an automat, a new kind of eatery, which was quite a novelty at the time. It was nothing but a room with tables, chairs and vending machines full of sandwiches, candy bars and sodas! We went up in the Statue of Liberty as far as the crown, the arm being closed off to visitors.
That’s all I remember of NYC! From there we went into Connecticut and Massachusetts visiting relatives, seeing historic sights such as Plymouth Rock, the towns of Lexington and Concord where the Revolutionary War began when the “shot heard around the world” was fired on April 19, 1775, and the Toll House of cookie fame. In Boston we visited the old historic downtown area where some streets were still cobbles. I wore my silly sling shoes again and held up traffic on a busy street when one of my heels got caught in the cobbles so that I walked out of the shoe and had to turn back to get it!
On our return trip to the west we stopped at the mighty, awe inspiring Niagara Falls. Leaving that area, we had our first experience driving the New York-Chicago Toll Road system, also called the Expressway or Turnpike. This early system now includes portions of Interstates 70, 80 and 90 as well as other highways. One of our suitcases, which were tied on the top of the station wagon, was suddenly forced open by the wind as we drove. Gini and I were laying in the back reading and looked up to see clothes sailing through the air behind the car! Uncle Carl stopped and risked his life running all over the highway collecting our underwear!
It really was quite funny, at least to us girls! Our route on I-70 took us to the top of the Continental Divide in Colorado, where Gini and I played in patches of snow in July. Quite an exciting thing for two southern California girls! I could not know that day that in later years this location would become a special place for our family. The Eisenhower Tunnel at Loveland Pass did not yet exist to make crossing the mountains easier. Nor did the city of Vail, CO exist, although there was a highway through the Vail valley, there was not any civilization there yet.
Construction on the town of Vail began two years later. All the moving around that our family did over the years, meant a person changed jobs fairly often. In those days when filling out an application for a job, you often had to list all the places you had lived and worked over the past ten years. (It was still true at that time, that most people in this country did not move around as often as they do now-a-days. ) In order to be able to give that much information, mother kept a running list of the addresses of places where we had lived.
Compiling my own list based on mother’s, and including the times I was hospitalized as separate addresses for me, there had been at least 30 different addresses by the time I got married! I actually remember many of these residences. Isn’t that strange, to remember houses, but not neighbors or friends? A small thing happened one morning in twelfth grade that stands out in my memory like a neon sign. Getting ready for school I wanted to wear a particular necklace that day but was unable to find it. I looked everywhere until becoming so frustrated that I was nearly in tears.
Deciding that it was a lost cause for that day, I prayed asking God to help me find it later. As I gathered my books for school, I pulled up the couch cushions a second time on an impulse, and there was the necklace! I had looked there before without finding it, so it seemed like God had directed me in finding it after I had prayed. It had become practice of mine to speak to God often about little things as they occur. Answers do not always come, in fact most of the time there is no answer, but what was driven home in my mind again that day, was that God is listening to me and is interested in every thing in my life.
He is aware of my frustrations, disappointments and short temper yet does not hold it against me. Over the years since that time, I have come to understand from the Scripture that what Jesus Christ did on the cross to save me has made me acceptable to God once and for all. I learned a very practical lesson that day about God’s closeness to me in the small details of daily life. His love remains the same always! It causes me to love Him in return. Because God was not discussed in our home, I had to learn of Him on my own, in church and at Youth For Christ.
Some of the concepts in my thinking would need correcting and alteration over the years as I grew in my understanding of just what God has said in His Word and how it applies in life. We grow spiritually, how exciting! Ocean Depths – Page 33 – Chapter 3 In November 1960 during my senior year of high school, dad and mother separated for the second time. Mother, the boys and I moved into a small apartment in Glendale near my high school. We lived there only about a month. Dad was over to visit us frequently, often staying the night. By Christmas my parents had decided to live together again.
That was all right with me but, in addition they decided they had to move back to Washington State! Dad was unemployed at the time and the Navy Yard in Bremerton, WA was hiring. Since this was my last year in high school, making a move back to Washington State was out of the question as far as I was concerned! The whole idea of a move was a very upsetting shock for me. I hated the idea and argued with my parents against it. I refused to go with the family. Mother was horrified! The family was in an uproar! So far I had managed to have two and a half years of California’s three years of high school at the same school. I wanted despe