1967 began with no hint of the momentus changes that our family would go through that year.
My sisters and I were engrossed in our lives in Livermore, California. Linda and Patty were already married; Linda had married her high school sweetheart Bob about a year after she had graduated from Livermore High, and Patty had married Rick, who couldn't be said to be her high school sweetheart, just someone she had dated for the past several months. She had always dated guys with fresh faces and crew cuts, like her steady boyfriend Dave Grubbs. But Rick was sullen, with a surliness in his face not unlike James Dean.
One day in the beginning of that year, I walked in on Mom and Patty in the kitchen. Mom was altering some pants that Patty was modeling, she was adding a large square of satin as a front panel, as a way to make them larger, expandable. What are you doing, I asked? Patty is going to have a baby, Mom said, pins in her mouth. Patty looked at me, smiling, expectant, waiting to see what kind of reaction her ten year old sister would have to such news. I didn't know what to say, so I turned and left, trying to act as if I heard this kind of news every day.
Becky and I were the two left at home with Hal and Mom. We were still enamored with the Beatles, and spent most of our days when not in school fantasizing about how life would be if Paul and George were our boyfriends. Paul - mine, and George - Becky's. Both Becky and I concocted elaborate scenarios in which for one reason or another, the Fab Four showed up at our door on Olivina Street, needing a place to stay and of course girlfriends.
We bought the albums - Yesterday and Today, Help, Revolver, and my favorite, Rubber Sould - and played them in the few minutes we had after Mom and Hal had left for the day, we put them on Hal's Hi Fi and felt delicious listening to those rich melodies fill the house.
We lived in some semblance of normalcy on Olivina. I still didn't speak to Hal much, and he reciprocated. There was a cloud of tense civility in the house. He tried to get me interested in various activities that he thought might help; he gave me a stamp collection starter kit one birthday. I wanted to like him. I found him interesting, his life exotic. He represented adventure, a life beyond Livermore. Still, my older sisters couldn't stand him for reasons that I still could not understand.
That spring Mom pulled me into the kitchen to give me some news. Hal had left the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory the year before and was now working for Trans International Airlines out the of glamerous new Oakland airport. He was a maintenance director, whatever that was. I didn't understand what he did, it sounded important, at least.
Hal was being transfered to Germany, Mom told us. I looked at her, not quite comprehending what she was telling me.
We're moving to Germany, she said.