Owen was an active Boy Scout. Through the years he earned many Merit Badges and qualified for the Eagle Rank. I was invited to his Eagle ceremony in Placentia in the fall of 1939. I had met Owen the spring before at Katy's birthday party. The Eagle ceremony was very inspiring. How proud all the Mothers were when they pinned the Eagle Badge on their sons. I remember how proud Olive and Ernest were. Sometime after that, I don't remember how long (shame on me), I acquired Owen's Eagle Scout ring. I still have that ring.
While living on the ranch they weren't always playing. Kathleen had piano lessons but would never become a concert pianist. Owen had singing lessons but would never become a soloist. He was exposed to the violin. He did play the clarinet in the high school band. Ernest played the violin, fiddle, by ear and could play almost anything from square dance music to Irish tunes. He also sang with the violin and we enjoyed his music. He had a wonderful voice for the Irish melodies. He also played the piano. No lessons!
Owen had an old Model T he could drive around the ranch. He said he held it together with bailing wire, pliers and a screwdriver. That is where he learned his driving skills. When he was allowed to drive to Fullerton Union High School I remember an occasion he used this skill. During the rainy season several of his friends, including me, went riding with him during the lunch hour. He drove up to Hillcrest Park, above the school, where he found mud on the road. There he tried turning the wheel back and forth as we slid around on the muddy road. What fun! He got caught in one big slide but managed to stay on the road. He escaped from that slide and his passengers were subdued on the way back to school. Did he ever tell his mom and dad? Probably not - on purpose anyway.
Bud spent a lot of time hanging around the machine shop with Carson from whom he learned about cars and engines and whatever needed fixing mechanically. Kathleen had a birthday party in May '37. She invited her Girl Scout troop from Fullerton to the Ranch. That was my first visit to the ranch. Owen took us for a ride in his Model T. He decided to cross the wide, shallow river. The car got stuck out in the middle of the river. After spinning the wheels, he saw some friends by the river. They waded out and managed to pull and push the car full of giggling girls back to dry land. They too had fun when they had been riding around as passengers.
We had lots of fun that day exploring around the Ranch. Kathleen was called “Johnny” by her friends. We went to the big white barn that had been used for horses and still had ropes, harnesses, wires, hay and tractors stored there. We swung on the ropes giggling and laughing as we dropped from the upper level to the hay on the lower level. Back at the house we admired the 2 pet skunks, whose names I don't remember. Johnnny claimed they did not spray unless alarmed. We did not alarm them. I remember thinking that Owen was a senior, he was so tall. Imagine my surprise and delight to learn that he was a freshman just like me. H'mmmm' He seemed so mature compared to other boys I knew and he could drive! I found out he had been driving around the ranch for several years. When I found out he was a freshman I dredged up the courage to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance (girl date) since he did not have a driver's license yet, his Mom and Dad drive him to my home in Fullerton and then to the dance. Both parents got to meet for the first time. Little did they know how well acquainted they would become.
To be continued.
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