Happy 80th Birthday, Hap!
Yep, it's hard to believe, but that cute sailor I went out on a blind date with all those many years ago is 80 years old today.
Way back then, he had beautiful nearly black hair, with a curl that always fell on his forehead--and the most gorgeous blue eyes. He reminded me--and others--of a young Frank Sinatra. He could really belt out a tune on the piano--anything that was popular and oh, could he play the Boogie Woogie.
When we met, he couldn't dance, but later, after a few years of marriage, I taught him and soon he could dance far better than I ever could.
The first years of our marriage we weren't always together because of his assignments with the Seabees. I think he loved his time in the Navy as much or more than he loved me or the kids.
We moved a lot at first, Maryland, Virginia--Norfolk and Virginia Beach, on the Navy base at Port Hueneme, with my folks in L.A., our own place in L.A., in Oxnard in an apartment, then a rented house and finally we bought our own home there.
Our only child born out of California was our eldest, Dana, all the rest were born in Hueneme or Oxnard--until we had 5. When Hap wasn't overseas, Vietnam War duty took him away three times, he worked with the Cub Scouts, Indian Guides, Little League with our oldest son--youngest wasn't interested. And of course he helped with the girls Camp Fire Girls groups.
He fixed our cars, built all sorts of things in and around our house, had extra jobs at times in gas stations and playing the piano in local nightclubs. He could just about do anything.
While in the Navy, Hap made Chief--a real highlight in his Naval career.
He also acted in lots of plays in the community theater and was really good at it.
We went on lots of camping trips because we couldn't afford any other type of vacation. We started out tent camping fairly close to home--we had lots of good mountain and beach areas nearby. Once we tent camped clear across country in a VW bus and pulling a little trailer with all our supplies. That experience made us buy a camper.
Hap was Father of the Bride three times, with two of the receptions at our house. Our oldest boy married too and we had his reception at our home too.
Grandchildren joined our family.
Hap retired from the Navy and went to work for Sears.
Then Hap felt like Oxnard was getting too big. Our youngest daughter and husband moved into our house and we moved to Springville and took over a facility for developmentally disabled women--this became our home and our work for nearly 23 years.
More grandchildren arrived.
Eventually three of our children moved to Springville, some with families.
We lost a son to cancer. Hard for all of us--and we knew it was time to retire from the care business. We've taken in grandkids when needed--have one with us now.
When I became more active with the promotion of my writing, Hap helped me with everything, and began traveling with me to conferences and conventions and learned that he really loved it. He made as many if not more friends that I did.
We've had a great time, seen a lot of interesting places, and we have a wonderful and very large family.
We're both slowing down. Flying isn't as easy as it once was. Hap has given me orders that we can only fly to places that we only have to make a couple of plane changes and never again an airport change.
Hap sings in the choir at church and participates wherever he's needed.
Fortunately we do have a couple of our grown kids around to help out if we need them--though Hap is still helping them out just as much.
I think Hap has grown more patient with age and I've gone the opposite direction.
And frankly, I think my husband is even more handsome than he was as that cute sailor. I can honestly say that he's my very best friend.
Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.