Thursday, January 17, 2019

Memories From A Half Century Ago, January 17, 2019

No one can ever take your memories from you - 
each day is a new beginning, 
make good memories every day.
~Catherine Pulsifer

Last month I shared some memories from 50 years ago when Cindy and I were married. But there were a lot of other memories being made in our family at that time as well. In this post I am including family scenes from half a century ago. It was a wonderful time for our Shepard, Gower and Harris families of San Diego. There was a great amount of family harmony and life was good. The following are four memorable scenes from life in our families back in 1969.

Cindy and me, Mom Maida, Grandmother Nola Gower,
and Russ and Barbara Shepard, in Abilene, Texas, 1969
Newlywed Students. In 1969 Cindy and I were newlywed college students at Abilene Christian. It was a rare but pleasant occurrence when family from San Diego would visit us in what at the time was the faraway land of West Texas. This first picture shows Cindy and me with members of my family when they came to visit us on N.E. 16th Street in Abilene, Texas. This was taken in front of our apartment across the street from Abilene Christian University.

This picture shows Cindy and me on the left looking spry and well dressed. We were all so well dressed that this picture must have been taken on a Sunday. We may have just returned from attending worship at the Minter Lane Church of Christ in Abilene where we attended. On the right in the back are my mother Maida Shepard and my grandmother Nola Gower. In front are my youngest siblings, brother Russell and sister Barbara.

Jerry Clark, Linda Shepard
Lubbock, Texas, 1969
Jerry Clark - Linda Shepard. While Cindy and I were in school in Abilene Texas in 1969, my sister Linda was enjoying her first year of college just a few hours drive up the road at Lubbock Christian University. She and boyfriend Jerry Clark from Albuquerque, N.M. were classmates and were getting to know each other quite well. They would marry in August of 1970 in a happy celebration at the Linda Vista Church of Christ in San Diego. This second memorable scene from 50 years ago shows Linda Shepard and Jerry Clark on a swing in the backyard of Jerry's Grandmother in Whitesboro, Texas.

Joe and Paula Harris. Though Cindy and I lived in Texas where we went to college in 1969, our heart and our home was still in San Diego. This third picture shows Cindy's parents Joe Harris (1922-1999) and Paula Harris (1923-2018) in the Harris home on Burgundy Street in the Allied Gardens community of San Diego. It is the home they purchased in 1957, and is where Cindy and I live today.

Joe and Paula Harris, 
San Diego, California, 1969
In this particular picture Joe is dressed in his ever present business suit, while diligent homemaker Paula is dressed more casually. They were a wonderful couple. As my in-laws for many many years they could not have been more loving and supportive of Cindy and me. 

In this picture, behind Joe and Paula is their fancy new Console: a wonderfully monstrous Television - Radio - Record Player combination, which was state of the art half a century ago. It was advertised as the "Magnificent Magnavox Stereo Theatre" and proudly graced their living room for many years. It was an impressive purchase for 1969, the envy of many.

The Gower Clan on Lynne Street. This final scene I am including today shows my mother's Gower Clan from 50 years ago. My Gower Grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower are in the middle of this picture. This image is from a photo taken in front of their home on Lynne Street in San Diego where they had lived since 1951 when the house was built. It was a common gathering place for our family for nearly the entire second half of the 20th century.

Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower and family
San Diego, 1969
Standing in the center of this picture is a happy and healthy 65 year old Grandma Gower in white hair and glasses, the matriarch of this impressive brood. Sitting in front of her is 69 year old Grandpa Gower whose eyesight was so poor he had a hard time looking at the camera. He would live just another 5 years. In his lap are the first two Gower Great Grandchildren, Shaun Gower and Kerri Shepard, both about a year old. Also in this picture are my Grandparents' three children, Hank (and wife Starlene), Maida (and husband Eugene), and Vicki (and husband John). Also shown here are 9 of the 12 Gower Grandchildren: Hershell (and wife Janet), Jimmie, Gary (and wife Jackie), me, Linda, Darrell, Barbara, Russ and Michael. One of the most remarkable things about this photo is that the face of almost every single one of the 21 people in it can be seen.

Life has changed in many ways for our Gower, Shepard and Harris families in the last 50 years. Children, Grandchildren and even Great Grandchildren have been born. Deaths have occurred. Many have moved away from Southern California. Despite all the changes, the memories remain and the values we shared are still with us. And the need remains to share our life and heritage with the younger ones among us.

Happy Anniversary Kim and Jeff! I can't let January come and go without saying happy anniversary to Jeff and Kim Boyd Clark. Tomorrow, January 18, will be their 12th wedding anniversary. Congratulations and best wishes!

May 2019 be a happy and healthy year for all of you. May the love, joy and memories of family be with you this year and always.
- - -
Steve Shepard

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