Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Seal and Navy Dolphins

Weekend in San Diego

We had a fun couple of days in San Diego visiting Amber. Friday was a day at Sea World. Haven't been there for a long time and it was a nice cool day visiting Shamu and the shows. We stayed until closing to see the nighttime shows that are different from the shows during the day. It seems like the various "Shamus" have grown considerably since we were there last. The sea lion show is always my favorite as they spoof the other shows and the sea lions are always good for a laugh.

The main plan for Saturday was a ride on "The Seal" which is the boat/touring bus tour that takes off from Seaport Village. Amber, her roommates Chris and Ben, along with Ben's parents from Denver, joined us for the tour. We were hoping to get a good view of the Navy Marine Mammal Training Facility where they work. Since it is on a restricted base, the Seal Tour afforded us our best chance to get a look at where they spend their work days.

The boat ride is really fun and you pick up a lot of good information about the history of San Diego. I didn't know that the historic Charles Lindberg plane, the "Spirit of St. Louis" was actually built and tested in San Diego. We went by where it was built, which was used to be a tuna cannery. The land part of the tour is nice and breezy as the guide described the history of the San Diego bay area.

We lucked out and actually got to see some of the dolphins Amber works with. As we went by the Marine Mammal Training Facility some of the trainers working Saturday were out there with the dolphins. We were so excited to see several beautiful dolphins doing jumps and the whole boat/tour bus cheered.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Getting Together To Say Goodbye . . . .

Irene Helbling
Lucas Family Friend for
Over 50 Years
We will miss so much our dear family friend, Irene Helbling. As all of us describe it, the Helblings were the perfect next door neighbors - there was someone in the family for each of the Lucas girls. Diane was just a little older than me, Carol was Marie's age and Bonnie and Nancy came along at almost the same time.
So many of my memories of the first house I lived in on Gardena Ave. in Glendale include the Helbling family. I first met Diane when I was 5 years old while recovering from getting my tonsils out and leaning out my brother's bedroom window pushing kid's gin rummy cards under the screen to her. We were friends ever since. Irene never seemed to mind us kids playing at her house and especially with her 45 rpm record changer. She had great rock-and-roll records. We would stack them on that little black and red square player and do the twist in Irene and Hep's bedroom with the lilac skirted bed. Irene and her husband "Hep" came out to California from Pennsylvania and they always talked about "back home". I am a native, so that sounded so far away. Irene loved to talk and she was so much fun to listen to --- a 10 minute conversation and everyone was up-to-date with the family goings on. Summers with the Helblings next door always included all of the kids laying on their stomachs watching black and white tv and eating watermelon. Life on Gardena was full of roller skating, bicycles and playing in each other houses. I remember going through the Helbling's wedding album and looking at the beautiful pictures. When the Helblings moved to Downey I think my whole family cried inside. Dad and Hep could no longer talk outside while watering the lawns. The moms could not go shopping or talk about the kid's ups and downs. We went to visit them at their new home and I would sometimes stay overnight and go to the beach with them in the summer. I spent the night with Diane the night before her wedding. She looked like a princess in the most beautiful dress with a wide full skirt, but life takes over from that point and we were no longer kids.
Seeing Diane, Carol and Bonnie at Irene's very sweet memorial service reminded me of how our families got started together. No matter how much time passes between visits and Christmas card letters, we are friends forever. Irene, the Lucas family loves you very much and will miss you.