"To a father growing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter."
In June, 1972, my life changed forever when my twin daughters, Pride and Joy, were born. Those aren’t their real names but they might as well be. From the small assemblies of flesh weighing just 3# 12 oz. and 4# 6 oz., they have blossomed into a constant source of pride and joy to me. I have enjoyed the journey from infancy and childhood to adolescence and on to adulthood. I am proud of who are they are, where they are from, and who they have become. Here are some reflections by development stage. Enjoy meeting my daughters Pride & Joy!
Bridie and Buffy were always quite considerate even as children. In fact, they were born on my day off! How considerate can one be? Their birth was premature and sudden. In fact the trip to the hospital became the model for the chase scene in “The French Connection”, a hit movie at the time. Somehow we made it safely and the twins were born within minutes of entering the delivery room. Sorry Mom, no time to prep.
When it was over and everyone was back in the room, their mother told me to be sure to bring her a toothbrush and toothpaste since we had no time to pack for the trip to the hospital. Instead, I thought it would be a great idea to go to the store and shop for the outfits the twins would be wearing home once they were released. Dorothy was not amused and I found myself making a quick stop to the local drug store.
California state law dictated that babies must weigh 5# to be released from the hospital. I set up a daily log by the phone with two columns, one for Bridie’s weight, and one for Buffy’s weight. A daily call to the hospital at 10:00 a.m. would reveal the results of the daily weighing. A one or two ounce daily gain was celebrated while the occasional loss of an ounce resulted in the gnashing of teeth.
Bridie and Buffy’s formal education began at just two years old at Alouette Preschool & Day Care in Santa Monica, California. Here they were nurtured by a caring staff and learned the basics including a little French.
After a few moves the family settled in Claremont, California. It was a wonderful home and we spent many happy years there until Bridie and Buffy left for college and later the death of their mother. During that time Bridie and Buffy completed their primary education at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School. There they impressed their teachers and classmates alike. Many friendships were established at OLA which are still active to this day. The night of graduation from 8th grade might as well have been named the “Bridie and Buffy Show”. There were many awards that night culminating in Valedictorian for Bridie and Salutatorian for Buffy. This by far was one of the proudest nights of my life. I still recall the experience from time to time with the fondest of memories.
And then it was on to Claremont High School. It was during this period that Bridie and Buffy transformed from childhood to adulthood. There were some bumps in the road but overall it went well. I taught them to drive and their mother taught them about “life”. The “really big deals” were their surprise 16th birthday party and the mystery celebration of their graduation. Of course they graduated in the top 10% of their class. Haven’t you been paying attention?
On the night of their surprise party, we had dinner at the Pomona Valley Mining Company. Over dinner we discussed going shopping for a used car afterward. There was nothing suspicious so far. We had been casually shopping for some time. We were looking for something inexpensive for transportation to school. After dinner we drove to the Toyota dealer. Little did Bridie and Buffy know that their parents had planned quite a surprise for them. Per the pre-arranged plan, the sales manager took us around the corner of the building to look at a car he felt might be right for our needs. And then Bridie and Buffy saw “Skippy” for the first time. Skippy was a brand new red Toyota Tercel! There were balloons and tears of joy everywhere.
But that’s not all. Their mother drove my car home and I accompanied the twins home amid all the balloons in the back seat. I can’t recall how we arranged it (perhaps a key under the mat) but when we got home and opened the door, their friends shouted “Surprise!” And thus began the party of a lifetime that went all night. This was the pinnacle of one of my fondest memories of Bridie and Buffy’s youth.
At Claremont High, there was a tradition that no one would know where the graduation party was being held until after the graduation ceremony. Per tradition, we cued up in our car after the ceremony and patiently waited to get our “package”. Inside would be revealed the location of the party. I believe this was for the purpose of denying kids the opportunity of pre-stashing liquor or worse in the bushes of the hotel property. Anyway, after dropping them off we went on home and the girls partied late into the night. The school had prearranged bus transportation back to the school. This was a very special occasion and one of the milestones toward adulthood.
Following graduation, Bridie and Buffy wanted to go with some friends to San Diego for a celebration weekend. This was to be the first time our girls would be away from the nest totally on their own in their own car and stay in their own rooms. It was scary but we did it anyway. I understand that a good time was had by all and I only gained a few gray hairs worrying about them.
The next step was college. Bridie and Buffy researched many schools of interest to them. They applied for six and were accepted by six. Next, their mother took them on campus tours to narrow the field. The winner was University of California in San Diego. UCSD is a huge seaside campus with five different colleges in one. Bridie and Buffy chose Third College as their new home.
At the orientation for parents, we were warned that with the quarter system (as opposed to the semester system) we should be aware that if our child got sick or fell in love it might take more than four years to finish. Luckily our children were geniuses and graduated in four. It’s a good thing because their parents earned too much money to qualify for most financial assistance programs. I was able to use some stock options from Thrifty Drug to pay for the first two years and then a 2nd mortgage and student loans for the second two years. We did it and were very proud of ourselves!
Now it was time to get to work. Bridie went to work for a public relations agency in San Diego. She was there for several years and helped the owner grow the business. In time, Bridie would go on to open her own agency which she calls Shortfuse Marketing (www.shortfusemarketing.com). Her client list is growing and she is doing well. Bridie married Jeff Palitz, a former classmate and friend, and they have two beautiful and intelligent children, Meghan and Jack. Jeff is a licensed marriage and family therapist with his own private practice. His website is www.eastlakecounseling.com.
Meghan competes on her high school Academic League team and enjoys singing with the choir and playing ukulele. Jackson loves to read, show off his math skills and is a talented artist who continues to wow friends and family with his latest creations. It is a joy watching this young family as they make their journey in life, overcoming the challenges and mastering their skills.
Buffy took a different path, that of education. She went to work as an English teacher at the Balboa City School, a college preparatory K-12 school close to Balboa Park in San Diego. Here kids can grow in a private school with small class sizes as they prepare for college. While working at Balboa, Buffy went on to earn her master’s degree. After working at Balboa for twenty years, Buffy felt it was time for a change. She worked as an Education Specialist for a couple of years at e3 Civic High, an innovative charter school located in the beautiful downtown San Diego Public Library. It was there, where she spent most of her time helping students who were struggling in their math classes, that Buffy rediscovered her own love of the topic. She spent a year taking math courses, re-honing some of her lost skills, and earning her Subject Matter Authorization in Introductory Math, which ultimately landed her a job with Grossmont Union High School District in El Cajon. She now teaches special education math courses to students at Chaparral High School, a small continuation school that helps struggling students who have not made it at traditional campuses. She feels at home at her new setting and loves working with her students and co-workers each day. In 2016, Buffy married her husband Daniel Flores. Dan has worked in public relations for a couple of decades, where he crossed paths with Bridie many times before Buffy met him! Now he is taking his PR experience to the next level as graphic designer. His love of art is something he and his nephew Jack get to share! Change is good! It’s also pretty cool that Buffy gets to be an aunt to Meghan and Jack!