HawaiiA lot smile in the photo, except me and my mom. This is certainly the officer’s group with wives and children. The happiest couple sits together. I am observing, my look is neutral. Sandy smiles, and Bobby tries to smile. It’s at this time the marriage started to definitely break up. My mother was 37, father 38. In 6 years the first separation took place (my father was posted to Laos in 1961-62), then the divorce in 1964/5. From 1965 to 1967 my father was posted to Turkey, and on the airplane to work he met Hanny, his future wife, and offered to light her cigarette.
McLean, single again
I’m guessing that this picture is after about a year after the divorce, after we moved back to McLean, Virginia, and before she met Ralph Jenkins, her second husband. The picture has been touched up by the photographer. I think she had just started work, the first job since her secretary job after high school. As an ex-officer’s wife she landed a job at the Pentagon, with a high security clearance. I was in my last years of high school, and already half-way out of the house. Only Scott and I were left with her in McLean. Four years later (1969) she married again.
Again no smile
So why isn’t she smiling in this picture? Was she unhappy to leave Japan? She was very impressed by Japan artefacts; they stayed with her and she used them in her homes the rest of her life. But maybe she is not happy here because my father and mother were so very different, and the cracks in the relationship are showing. Personally I think so.
I’m not sure why she would keep this picture, she is clearly not happy about something. It’s 1953, she is 35 y.o., she has 3 children. Maybe she didn’t know that the next stop was Hawaii.
Into to Buddism
The 3 Reusche kids in Japan.
a different look
I’m not sure when this two photo was taken. It’s a studio shot, touched up. The studio is Hollywood, and Sandy was born in Los Angeles in 1944. So this could be 1943, her husband has been at pilot’s school since May of 1942. My intuition is that she sees something in her life that she is not very happy about.
This is around mid-1944 and that’s Sandy.
One year old?
Sandy, I guess she is around 1 y.o.
World War II ended 2 September 1945, Bobby was born a couple of years later. Somehow I don’t have photos of Bobby’s birth in 1947. He was born in Nebraska. Soon after his birth dad was sent to Europe for the Berlin airlift (1948-49). It wasn’t too long after Europe that my father was sent to Japan as part of the Korean War. I was born in 1951 and in 1952 we travelled to Japan. The Korean War ending 27 July1953.
So my next picture is in Japan, around 1952. I assume the picture is at the Officer’s Club in Tokyo. Here we have the officers and their wives. I think they had a rather privileged life in Tokyo. It was at the end of the US military occupation of Japan (1945–52) after World War II. My mother is learning this life, exciting after Nebraska, cigarette in her hand, and flirting with the men. It was all part of the officer’s life as I understand it.
At the wedding of Claire, the Rylander sister I never knew. Shirley’s 27, I think little sister Clare is around 22.
Separate from the beginning?
On the left wide of this picture is Phil Storm’s family, on the right side Claire’s family. My mother is on the end. As much as my mother worked for the nuclear family togetherness, she couldn’t keep the extended family in line. I have no idea about Claire’s children.
These two pictures of my mother after she was married show sincerely happy. I don’t remember my mother ever looking this happy, and in fact she hid these pictures from me (I think because in the same album there were pictures of earlier boyfriends she didn’t want “the kids” to see). After her death, seeing these pictures, I began to think differently about her. I remember my mother as a determined woman, determined to see her children succeed, determined to look and act successful.
After her marriage, before my dad started flight training and they started moving, another picture of a mother I really didn’t know.
Now here is a look that I am familiar with, but not quite the one that I know (they are coming later). My mother could not be silenced. She demanded of herself strength, no feminine frailty for her. When she wanted something, she went after it with all her heart. Here she is no angry, perhaps a little sad, but she is definitely thinking hard about something and search for her place. This picture was taken in Yosemite Park.
24 August 1940
I don’t think this is a very good picture. It was obviously touched up by the photo lab. This was the age of beautiful weddings; I can only guess the stress of it all. I have a hard time picturing any interest of my dad for such a wedding. My weddings have been home spun weddings, almost literally. My wedding to Svitlana was on the top of an ancient site, reputed in Ukraine to be a place where energy was focused.
The US was not in the war yet. Although the war began with Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. My father started flight training in May 1942 and received his “wings” about a year later. He was 25 years old and it was World War II.
This picture was taken around the time of her marriage. She is around 21-22 years old here. I see a young lady that has good self-esteem, an open, and honest appearance. What strikes me most about the series of pictures is that she became much harder during her life, and it is this hard mother that I remember the most. But when I see these earlier pictures, she is different.
These pictures are from then end of her single life, she is soon to be married. It is obvious that she formed strong bonds of friendship during this period. And she loved the beach. In later life, she had lots of wrinkles from this period, that amazingly disappeared one year. The miracle of modern medicine.
When I found this picture, I was surprised. I never knew my mother rode horses. Here, this crowd looks in control, riders confident. Much of her life she really didn’t share with me and the other children.
I think this guy was special in her life, but I never heard anything about him.
The childhood home of my mother (but a recent picture).
High School graduation. She went to Hollywood High School, a 30 minute walk from her home.
I’m guess that this the beach at Santa Monica, because it is the closest beach to the Hollywood home of my mother. Her address was 1408 N Orange Grove Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046, 12 miles from the beach.
Becoming the young lady. She liked to drew up.
10 years old
Blond, Swedish blond. None of her children ended up with her blond hair. Usually started that way, and then darkened.
Here on the beach in Los Angeles, hiding behind a friend. She was shy about her body all her life. I don’t think I can remember but one time I saw her in a bra, and never anything less. Fortunately for me, I grew up during the “sexual revolution.” I didn’t end up with any of her shyness or conservative beliefs about a human body. I have always been the biologist, when it comes to nature. Doesn’t matter if it is a tree, or a human. It’s biology.
Hollywood High School. She spent a lot of time on the beach. Too soon to be a female surfer.
Together with her high school friends. Like a lot of high school friendships, they lasted a lifetime. She always looked forward to the few occasions that she could meet up with her old friends. At the same time, she didn’t share much of this with her children. Many of these pictures she hid in a special photo album, that Bob got after her death.
9 years old
I like the bottom picture. I really can’t remember my mother looking so happy.
Shirley and Claire, I’m guessing my mother is around 7-8 and Claire 3-4 y.o. I never was allowed to meet Claire, which is rather bizarre. She was always described as living a life with certain rules, and apparently the Reusche family (or at least some of us), didn’t fit in and were excluded.