December 1, 2004

Happy Birthday Cousin Paula Bard!

Paula Rummelhart in 1973Happy Birthday to my cousin Paula (Rummelhart) Bard, a retired English teacher in McAllen, Texas! I took this picture of Paula when I visited her way back in February of 1973, while I was on the second half of a 15-day cross-country road trip I made with Dave Van Der Griend.

Dave and I were unsuccessfully seeking investors or recruits for Action Industries, a multi-level marketing system that we both were involved with at the time. He had borrowed his roommate's big Ford LTD, and we had taken turns driving that to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to see Dave's relatives there. Despite passing through lots of miserable February winter snow and sleet on our way, we sped from San Diego to Grand Rapids in only 38 hours and 45 minutes!

DMG & Theresa Clay in 1973Following six days in icy Michigan, Dave and I had decided to head south, to thaw out in much-warmer McAllen while I paid surprise visits to some of my mother's relatives, most of whom I hadn't seen since my family vacationed there in 1960! I got to see my Grandfather Rupert C. Rummelhart, Aunt Marie (Rummelhart) Bauer, Uncle Mark and Aunt Donna Rummelhart, Uncle Melvin Rummelhart, and Cousin Paula. One evening during our stay in Texas, Dave and I went down to Reynosa, Mexico, with a group of people, including Paula, her then-fiance and now-husband Charles Bard, and their fellow-teacher friend Theresa Clay, who I ended up kissing with in the soft Mexican moonlight. My Uncle Mark also took us to South Padre Island along the Gulf of Mexico, where this picture of Theresa and I was taken.

After five days in McAllen, Dave and I raced back to San Diego in only 23 hours and 45 minutes! The borrowed Ford's universal joint had been going bad, though, and the drive shaft fell off the car about two miles before we reached home! Our trip thus ended ingloriously with a 2-mile hike and a tow-truck ride!

I went to McAllen again in 1975 to see my Aunt Marie, who was very ill and didn't have long to live. I haven't been back since, and Paula has never visited me in California, so 1975 was the last time we saw each other. We have kept in touch over the years, though, by both snail-mail and e-mail, so Paula still is the cousin I feel I know best!

Paula sent me this message in January:

I'm still happily retired, but have returned to teaching in a way! I'm now an instructor at Michaels Arts and Crafts store here in McAllen. I teach a knitting class once a week and do a knitting demo every Monday. The coolest thing about this is the 25% employee discount I now receive on ALL THE STUFF I buy for my many crafting projects. I haven't had so much fun just for me since I was in college!

Other pursuits include reading all the Cornwell and Evanovich titles I can grab hold of and working at conquering the NYTimes Sunday crosswords. I figure the crosswords get me off the hook for my purely lazy reading tastes. Since ending my career in the English classroom, the desire to read only for pleasure has been overwhelming, and I indulge as often as possible. First year of retirement, I read 54 books just for the pure fun of them. I still have an astounding respect for the classics, but I just can't make myself read them just yet.

Posted at 12:53 PM in Birthdays, DMG's Family