CLASS OF 1966
Simi Valley High SchoolClass of 1966
Simi valley, CA
University of Washington - EnglishClass of 1991
California State University NorthridgeClass of 1971
Simi Elementary SchoolClass of 1962
Simi valley, CA
Daniel Bagley Elementary SchoolClass of 1956
Life: What Bits I've Learned: It was over 40 years ago that my ex-husband, Mark, and I built a special home on a serene parcel of land,on Whidbey Island, WA, with nests of bald eagles, deer, and hundreds of kinds of birds, not to mention the two gray whales I once saw hugging the harbor just below my home. The landscape there was lovely; mostly blackberry vines, small blackcaps, and redcaps winding around the fireweed, nettles and Indian Paintbrush. The house was built on a bluff just overlooking Holmes Harbor on Whidbey Island surrounded by tall hundred-year-old cedars, evergreens, salal, and wildflowers. But, after my ex-husband's 8 years at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, my parents moved into Whidbey first, in 1974, since Mark worked in Federal Way. We tried the commute southbound on I-5 for 5 months in 1979, then moved to Federal Way in May. It was a new little neighborhood, nice friends for my children, but it wasn't like Whidbey. I actually worked first in downtown Seattle in the Credit Dept. of Nordstrom, which exploded into numerous stores since the 1980's. Later I worked in the Juvenile Court House and attended Paralegal classes at the University of Washington. Finally, I returned to work in Federal Way School District, where both my children grew up. However, by 1998, my father's health began to worsen, and both he and my mother moved to be nearer to my brother in Iowa, then Kansas, and finally Texas. Then they returned to Washington state to live with me on Whidbey after Mark moved out in 2003. and I became officially divorced in 2004. When I refer to "that house," there is much love and reverence I hold for it, not because it was a simple materialistic object. It was something my mother and father built, bit by bit, (the entire lower level) and all three terraced and landscaped lawns and flower beds. My parents were always inseparable, gardening together---out by 7:30 a.m., and back in the house by dusk. My father was quite a woodworker and although his loss of one eye due to a detached retina when he worked at Lockheed, did scar him emotionally and physically, it did not hinder the care and love he must have put into each handbuilt doorway, windowsill and pieces of furniture, he built with his own designs. As well, outside, the yards reminded visitors driving by, of Butchart Gardens near Victoria, B.C. One of his proudest creations was the fence and intricate trellis he built especially for the roses that my mother and he tenderly cared for. Thus, I refer to it as: "The Whidbey House." So much of my two children's childhood consisted of numerous, and excitable visits to see their grandparents and the Island. And for me, it was a precious haven, where I could be "me," help with the gardening and cooking, and spend warm summer nights gazing at sunsets over the Olympic Mts. with my parents. Those precious times when we all were there still ring true in my still aging mind, despite the fact that the new owners have let it go, not caring for it inside or out. Life must go on, no matter what sentiment we cleave to in our hearts. Thus, when I was forced to sell the house because it became too costly for me, since I was then unemployed, I tried to shove all those memories into my mind, much like I would of photos into an heirloom satchel. I left the first week of February, 2008. Bittersweet, but that is Life. I have loved animals of all kinds throughout my life, but have a special affinity to cats. I have had 4 kitties, all but one died of old age. The little 4-year-old Himalayan died abruptly for an unknown reason. Mark had given me that little flea-ridden baby cat as a comfort for me and a sibling as well, for the remaining "two elderly sister cats," BooBoo a tortie, and a Siamese calico mix, named Tonic. Our first cat, named "S'mores," was actually my son's sweet, long-haired calico and had just died. But, one thing I have learned the hard way is that "You can never replace a beloved animal or child, by having another one." As well, I inherited my father's elderly black cat after he died, and she died shortly afterwards. These days, after I had to sell what I refer to as my "Whidbey House," my joys still include landscaping for myself and others' special areas of gardens. I love creating quiet corners mixed with natural plants, annuals, and perennials that convey a special feeling of well-being and love. I also love to attempt to lift huge rocks I have relocated from some wild area and add to rockeries or terraces planted with wild mixes of colored shrubs of hydrangeas or rhodedendrons, and add 3-4 ft. Japanese maples and ferns. Most of the time I need "some help" with the huge rocks. Gardening will always be one of my greatest passions---its successes and failures help teach me about Life. I used to be able to hike, very well as a child of a mountain climber, my dad, but much less as a 40-50-year-old. And now, I just want to see new things, taking walks and pretending it really is a "hike." I used to love to photograph all the small wildflowers along the trails up near Holden Village near Lake Chelan but up high near Holden and Hart Lake. My friend, Joseph, my husband of almost 5 years, was the expert on all the types of birds, so we both try to photograph wherever we go. But, even a photograph doesn't always capture the true essence of the moment. Sometimes there is too much beauty, or just wonderful vastness. I can only imagine photographing all that, so I don't try. The photograph remains in my mind's "eye." And at other times, I will just run out on the sand of the beach, let the tide take its course, and turn to see my footprints disappear behind me. Poetry, is something of a contradiction for me. It always seems, as in photography, that there can never be adequate words that can capture what you really want to say. Yet, I will spend hours and hours revising a poem, trying to get it "image" ready, good enough for me, and hopefully good enough for others to read. It is usually deep, perhaps a bit dark, but dealing with any subject I try to tackle, whether it was about my father tenderly feeding sugar to a honeybee on the deck of the Whidbey House, or an attempt to squeeze into poetry a tiny one of Stephen Hawking's "truths." I have always written, since I was 16 years old, and have had about 10 individual poems published. And if I have to thank anyone for the encouragement they gave me, it was my 9th grade English teacher, Donald Holmes, and my 12th grade English teacher, Alex Toth. As for college, at CSUN, Dr. Deutsch who studied with John Berryman was an incredible mentor. As well, a few classmates encouraged me to keep writing, or at least keep trying to. My daughter and son are both grown and live in Wisconsin. Julie is married, and and has a very talented (mechanically) 8-year-old old son, Nathan Erick. They live in a small town named Orfordville, WI, near Janesville and Beloit, WI. They live on 4+ acres in an old farmhouse, Julie and her husband, Ryan are continually refurbishing. Nathan now is in second grade, loves art, loves sports. He is so imaginative and his curiousity about all living things is endless. He is a precious grandson, and for a child so young, he has a very high standard as far as a work ethic goes. He is actually a very hard worker---when he goes outside to pretend he is a farmer---he showed me in April how the vegetable garden had to be weeded. It was a windy, chilly day and we were both...Expand for more
out there as he used rakes and hoes to plow up the ground. He also loves to outrun his parents, Julie and Ryan, on their big treed lot surrounded by soybean and corn fields, which still has not been ruined by developers coming in and buying up the farmers' land. (All for the sake of homebuilding that no one can afford anymore anyway.) Neil finished college and is a P.E. and Health teacher with a special degree in working with the specially/ challenged student, behavior, or physically challenged, but just last year he took over his father's business, making and selling Pickleball paddles. He is doing great and the business is going wild. He is married and met his wife at the U of WI in Eau Claire which they both attended. Her name is Carolyn Rose and she is now teaching Kindergarten through 5th(?) grade children, who require special help. Primarily, she works with the behaviorally challenged. They married on June 16th, 2007, 3 days after Neil's 30th birthday. He waited a while---and both Carrie and Neil live just northeast if Milwaukee, WI in Port Washington. They practically live on the lake, Lake Michigan. In June, 2009, we all believed that little Nathan would have a brand new baby cousin born, but once again Life decided to intervene and remind us all that we humans are not completely in control. So on the night of May 29th, 2009, a bit more than 2 weeks early, the world welcomed a brand new baby girl, who was not supposed to arrive until June 15th. She probably had been listening in to her mother and her mother's classroom and decided it was just too exciting out there, so she would arrive early. So now my son Neil, and his wife Carrie, are parents to an adorable and very smart little girl, Clara, who will turn 5 years old in May, 2014. But, since I last updated this page, Clara has a little brother, named Erick Louis and his birthday is October 29th, and he is now 3 1/2. HOWEVER, A NEW LITTLE BOY WILL BE JOINING THEIR FAMILY SOMETIME IN MAY, 2014! So Julie, my daughter and her husband Ryan, became a new aunt and uncle. And although Nathan, does have an enterage of 2 other "band of brothers" cousins and 2 very strong-willed female cousins from Ryan's side of the family, he seemed quite astonished when he first saw a tiny new person sleeping in a heavy plastic bassinet when his family visited "Clara Joan." And now Erick named after my father, will be the Middle child. The room was so inviting and warm for a hospital room where Neil, Carrie and little Clara Joan all lived together for her first 3 days of Life. I think back to the time I gave birth to both my children, and feel it is a wonderful thing, that hospitals permit so much more participation not only in the birth of babies, but make the mother and new baby's room so pleasant looking. It really brings a new "family" together from the start. But, more life-changing events do occur unexpectedly. Little Erick and Clara have Christian Pre-school, and Erick always wants to be the "life of the party." Oh, what a happy joyful little guy! He looks quite different than Clara, but both are blonde! But, family resemblance can pick and choose from grandfathers and great-grandfathers. So, now Neil and Carrie, and their two little ones are at home in their own house, but are looking for a larger home and a new car to handle 3 car seats and mom and dad. And that is like Life: We don't really know what is in store for us the next morning we wake up. Will the sun be out? Will we speak to a good friend? Will a mother-to-be wonder if today might be the day her child is born? The element of surprise far surpasses the "expected." We become more delighted when we least expect it. Life is good that way. It puts a smile on your face when you least expect it, even if the day before, you have felt great sorrow. I joined Classmates primarily to find out where some of my closest friends moved to or learn what they ended up doing with their lives. Careers don't really impress me. I became a teacher, but have done so many other things. It isn't the job, it is what you do with your Life that counts. Raising my children and working was tough, watching them grow to adulthood, okay, watching them establishing their own lives in the world where we all connect, harder. Hardest, though, was watching my parents age, my father die, and my mother, God Bless Her, kept on going, when I never thought she had the fortitude to do so. Unfortunately, around Thanksgiving, 2010, she was hospitalized for a severe bladder infection, then sent home, and then suddenly severe dementia hit her. For over a year she was a patient in a Nursing Home. The greatest gift that God gave to me was when my poor mom actually began improving the following April. She no longer relies on a wheelchair, but a walker, and with medication, she is much more alert and more like the same mamma I had before, almost. I am so grateful for this, because most of us believed she would not even live to see last 2010 Christmas, but she did, and also for her 91st birthday on January 20th. But, so many things happened once she moved into her little Senior's apartment. She fell a few times, had more infections, and generally her body has weakened, but her love for Life is amazing. But her need for Assistance necessitated her to move to Cascade Valley Senior Living, in Arlington, WA, not so far away from the horrible mudslide which ate up the small old logging town of Oso and also some of Darrington. After another terrible UTI just this March, 2014, her dementia worsened again. When Joe and I go to visit her we try to make it at least every other week. However, both my children and their children are all coming out to see her again this summer. And they are all coming primarily JUST TO VISIT MY MOM WHO IS A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER OF 3-4. The visits will be short, but very sweet for my mother. A brief visit is better than none at all. At least that is what I try to tell my mom. When Joe and I, who did get married on Nov. 14th, 2009, do visit my mother, she always cries when we say "good-bye." But, I never leave her without giving her a hug and a kiss, and she kisses me back, while we both tell each other how much we love each other. It is a hard life for us all, with loads of money problems for Joe and myself. But we are alive, our hearts usually feel young, but like this morning and late afternoon, while I sat and pondered the immense sadness a wonderful classmate of mine has been through, I think, I am lucky. I am blessed. Nothing is ever as great as we think it will be like, when we were young children---swinging on swings, looking for tadpoles, or just running and shouting and laughing. We were carefree then and innocent, and we thought it would always be like that, and even better when we grew up. But, neither my father nor grandparents ever told me that an "easy" Life was a "good" Life. It's all that stuff in between. That is the stuff which Life is comprised of. The bad and the good, the sad and the happy---it truly is the ENTIRE JOURNEY. I welcome anyone to write to me. I have corresponded some with some old and some new friends because of Classmates. Many of my Memories I fill my invisible paisley satchel with, are filled with just plain memories---some wonderful, some bittersweet, and some are slipping away despite my determination to never, ever, forget. Sincerely, Love and Peace, Anita Larson Friedenberg ******************************
Register for Free to view all details!
Register for Free to view all yearbooks!
Anita was invited to the
Anita was invited to the
Anita was invited to the
Register for Free to view all events!
Anita Friedenberg is on Classmates.
Register for free to join them.
Already registered? Sign in