It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that's simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again, I didn't get things my way! That's been the story of my life, all my life.
I never thought I would get “Old”. I sure didn’t feel old. Up until I couldn’t anymore, I enjoyed my daily mile walks, my dog Maci, Sunday donut runs after church in my favorite place of course, Our Lady of the pines in Pioneer and getting my hair done, I always loved that. Of course, I would be remised if I forgot my favorite thing about the afternoon, my Keystone lights on the deck of my dream home in Pine Grove. I’m still trying to figure out how I got here, but I guess the best way to tell my story is to start from the beginning.
On March 4th, 1930 my parents, older sisters Anne and Francis along with my older brother Glen, celebrated my birth and I was introduced to all as Mary Irene Middleton, the daughter of Hubert “Paul” Middleton and Mary Margret Holland (Middleton).
My Childhood was a whirlwind to say the least and there is a lot not worth mentioning, however there were a few things that I took with me on my life’s journey and those I will defiantly tell you about.
My Aunt Myrtle was my touchstone. She was the definition of a “Mother” after my Mother (Mary) passed away, which unfortunately was right after I was born. We lived in Bend Oregon with my Aunt and I will say these three-words, Love, Nurturing and Safe. Thank Goodness I had this experience it will come in handy in my story…..Stand by.
This is really the best part of me being a child, but all I can do now is talk about what it was like when I was teenager, and by the grace of God we moved to Manteca. I say the grace of God because this little town in 1945 is where I met my husband Richard “Dick” Duran.
Long story short my older sister Francis was courting a boy named Ralph who had recently come home after fighting in WWII. Ralph had a brother named Richard Duran who took an interest in me, Francis’s little sister. So, how every great story starts, Richard had come over to our home and asked me if I would like to go to a football game with Francis and Ralph, AND him. HIM who himself was right out of world WarII and also a Pearl Harbor Survivor. What is a 17-year-old girl to do, you guessed it, I went, and the rest is history. Allow me to explain…..
I married Richard “Dick” Duran On June 30th, 1947 at age 17. Shortly after came our children Ronda Louise Duran and a couple of years later Richard “Stephan” Duran. I was so scared. Richard only Knew what his Mom Margarita Savella Garcia, and his Dad Francisco Duran Neito had taught him, and if we are going to be honest, I was lost.
We had our two babies and still lived in Manteca with “My Mother In-Law” Margarita until Richard was offered a Job at Preston Castle in Ione Ca. at which time was a CYA, California Youth Authority. So, we picked up and moved to Ione Ca. We lived in Preston circle which at the time was a place where “The Preston” families lived.
From then on, we made Ione our home. A few years down the road I started working for CDF, California Department of Forestry as a cook and server for 20 years, and I loved it. Richard and I started to set our sites on building our dream home in Pine Grove Ca. This dream came to fruition in 1977, which also happened to be the year we welcomed our first Grandchild Alysa. Richard and I started looking forward to my retirement which occurred in the 80’s, now its safe to say our new chapter had begun, Chapter 26 to be specific which is what we belonged to with the Pearl Harbor Survivors. Richard and I traveled around the United States in our RV and little red truck reuniting with the Pearl Harbor Survivors from all over, life was good, and life as you know keeps moving forward as we welcomed two more Grandchildren to our world, Rebecca came first and then Raymond.
Our Grandchildren were our world, we enjoyed camping, fishing, pool time at our home and digging in our garden. I really enjoyed entertaining, even though every single time I offered to host I would get overwhelmed and frustrated, but wanted nothing more than for my Family to all be together. Speaking of Grandchildren, what really brought on a new and exciting chapter was the birth of our Great Grandchildren, Maryn Mary came first. Yes, you heard that right she was named after me, followed by her sister Chloe. Both born to Alysa. A few years down the road came Ethan our first Great-Grandson and sweet Lola both born to Rebecca.
Children grow up as they often do and life was moving a bit slower now for Richard and I. We had settled into our routine of daily life in Pine Grove and were more than happy doing so. When Richard got sick and passed away it was time for me to learn how to live alone without the only person I had known since I was 17 years old. Turns out I did a pretty good job of that, I missed him of course, every day but it was kind of dare I say exciting to figure out my own routine. I want to be very clear that the Keystone light on the deck routine not once faltered. Every day at 4 O’clock my Granddaughter Alysa and I would talk on the phone and solve the problems of the world. The problems sometimes big, sometimes small but at least we were solving them, but most of all after all of lives ups and downs what I always tried to convey was what was truly important as we often do toward the end.
My daily mile walks, my dog Maci, Sunday donut runs after church in my favorite place, getting my hair done, my Keystone lights on the deck of my dream home in Pine Grove and most of all the people that I loved and that loved me back.
My Service will be held September 7th at 2:00 PM at 10200 Ca-88 Jackson 95642 Sunset View Cemetery. Everyone who wants to join is welcome.
Please don’t be sad, I am not. I am fine and I am with God.