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Carol Dodson

Carol was born to a young dentist and his wife, whom he met at University of California in Berkeley, California. Then he attended the University of Southern California Dental School, and my Mother attended library school with plans to become a librarian. They both graduated and worked in Los Angeles for a while after they were married. Then they decided to move to Fullerton, California to start his practice. My mother wanted to work in the library, but was not allowed to because my father was a professional man. So they had me and 15 months later my sister Stella.

We were attending the First Christian Church, which Mr. Charles C. Chapman had started when he moved to Fullerton. Mr. Chapman was fascinated that my father had attended California Christian College at the same time he was attending Southern Branch, later named UCLA, while carrying a full load at both colleges. He offered my Dad an office for taking care of the teeth of every one in his family. During the Depression years this made a big difference to a struggling dentist.

With two children my parents were looking for a larger house, my mother’s family would give them the down payment on the house where they could get a very good deal because the bank needed cash. Grandpa and Grandma had one stipulation it was that they offer room and board to a Fullerton Junior College student for help with my sister and me she also taught my mother to drive. When she left the whole second floor of the house became our playroom. It was great to have all that space. We enjoyed having all that space inside to play in and across the street there was terraced former avocado grove where we played. Neighbors had horses in the gully and I rode on the back of the horses with them.

After church our family joined a group of friends of my parents and their children at Newport Beach on one of the public beaches on the bay. On Saturdays we were in the Masonic Temple playing under the supervision of the caretaker. Both of our parents were very active in the Masonic organizations. During this time, we had baby sitters many nights. We particularly enjoyed Florence Robinson and her brother. We were flower girls in Florence’s wedding when she married Robert Plummer. The attendees came from all over California and maybe other states. Her mother was a Florist and very active in her professional organizations.

We often visited museums in Los Angeles. I carried on this tradition with my children and Grandchildren.

When my sister had tonsillitis, they took out her tonsils and mine too. It was heaven – ice cream for three days.

One Sunday afternoon Daddy, Stella, and I went to Norwalk to pick up a puppy. Our parents had studied the National Geographic issue on dogs to find the right breed to fit into our family. They decided on a schipperke. The breeders had family in Norwalk. They visited the family and brought the Mother and the puppies. Mother had pneumonia and stayed home. When we returned, she told us war was declared on Japan after the strike on Pearl Harbor.

When one of Daddy’s patients needed plates but could not afford them he gave my father an eighteen-foot boat with no head. We never set foot on the boat because my mother would not take two girls on a boat with no head. My Dad really liked the idea of a boat. Therefore, he bought a 30’ motorboat. He enjoyed it so much he bought a 40’ motorboat that could sleep 10. On Easter Vacation the week was divided in half. Stella and her friends had half the week and I shared the other half with my friends. Humphrey Bogart had his motorboat at this anchorage. He enjoyed talking to other boat owners. He was very friendly.

It was time to change boats again. This time it was a motor sailor at a different anchorage different anchorage. There were about six teenagers all about the same age. We all went to the fun zone together every Saturday night. Then there was a larger motor sailor in our life, then a sailboat built to travel to the South Seas and beyond. Later a 40’ sailboat that was an enlarged International 110 racing class boat. That was the one we had when I was in college and my parents were in the Los Angeles Yacht Club. They kept this boat for the rest of their boating life.

During high school, my Dad decided to get rid of my shyness. Each day he would ask me to say “Hello” to someone new. He kept increasing the number of people I should talk to. I was on the Swim Team and earned a letter in that. A lot of us would go watch the boy’s high school and JC team meets, just like we did in junior high. Ace Burns was an Olympic Water Polo team member twice nonconsecutive. The navy came between the two. These swimming and water polo national championship teams made us all want to go to Fullerton Junior College.

In Fullerton Junior College, I was asked to start a new sorority, Alpha Phi Omega, by the Dean of Women, who I knew from church. I did that and joined many campus organizations and worked on the annual and became a friend of the editor. I really liked that. The next year I became Assistant Annual Editor, ASB Social Chairman, and a Homecoming Princess. I was working hard and very happy. At the same time my sister became secretary of the freshman class.

At the end of the year, we had a dinner for the student commission. I wanted to invite my boyfriend, last year’s annual editor who was going to USC. They told me I could not take someone from another school. Cruz Reynoso the ASB President asked me to go with him. I did and we had a good time at the dinner at El Adobe in San Juan Capistrano then we traveled to Olvera St. and the first Catholic Church in Los Angeles for midnight Mass. Then we went to the home of the art teacher he was living with, had snacks, and talked to her. Then he took me home and my father was livid because late hour.

My Dad would not let me go to USC because my boyfriend was there and he thought I would not ‘study so I went to UCLA and took dress design. Then transferred to USC the next year. I pledged Chi Omega and was pinned to someone I met at UCLA who was taking a year off from premed at the University of Washington. The one was pinned to go to Johns Hopkins Medical School. The former Annual editor was in the Air Force.

I graduated from USC and had a job teaching 3rd grade in Anaheim and was active in AAUW in addition to the League of Women Voters. I married Lynn Steele who had been in my life since FJC. We ought a nice house on Nutwood Ave. After a year, Lynn's parents gave us a Siamese cat. Then we added another cat that became pregnant at the same time I was pregnant with Jill. Three years later, we had Greg. I stayed home until he was through 3rd grade then there were no jobs except in special education. I went to Cal State Fullerton and took a special education credential. I taught 4th, 5th and 6th grade with a very good aide for two years.

Then I took a break and helped my husband who decided to leave Hughes Aircraft and start his own business. After three years of 12 and 14-hour days, Hughes called him and asked him to return to Hughes Aircraft which involved a hefty raise. I really liked the idea of regular hours and vacations, and so did he. By this time Greg was in High school and Jill was spending her time discover an area that interested her. Sometime during this time we discovered there was very little happiness I our marriage and we divorced. Greg went to Phoenix Institute of Technology and his roommate told him that if he earned top grades you could receive much higher pay so he did. Jill was working for an insurance company processing claims I moved in with a friend.

Some years earlier, a new couple came to Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The man came to talk to me. We talked for about a half an hour and a cute little redhead came to join us. He introduced me to his wife. We gradually became good friends. She began to have strokes. For ten years she was unable to get out of bed. She got Minot and me in the same room and asked me to marry Minot because I would take good care of him, which I did. I had known them about 18 years before Minot and I were married at the Nixon Library. This became the happiest time of my life. I was a docent at the Nixon Library. Minot and I honeymooned separately first he went to Washington DC to brief congress and I went to visit a friend who had just moved to Denver. We drove to Aspen, Snowmass, Vail and Beaver Creek. Then I met Minot at home and in September we went to the International Security Conference at the Jacob Javits Center in New York and stayed at the Marriott Marque Hotel. It is a Flagship Hotel for the chain. I went on tours or shopping in the daytime and Minot spoke on security. We had either receptions or theater productions at night. Usually we went to the theater three times every summer trip. Every year after we were married we had a honeymoon in New York and many romantic weekends at resorts.

After seven years of a delightful marriage Minot passed away from Melanoma two days before we were supposed to leave for Tahiti on vacation. I had brought his family home to be with him before he left us. There was a service at Emmanuel and one at the old chapel in Arlington National Cemetery. Minot had lived in Washington DC for many years while working in the Pentagon. This was in August and September. On Halloween a friend and I went to Tahiti then while settling the estate I also went to Aruba with my son Greg and stepson Jon, his wife Alice Jean and son Richard. This was a nice break from legal work.

With Minot gone, I needed to find more activities to keep me busy. A friend Margie Lord introduced me to Cabaret and Center Stage. Mary Shaw decided I needed a sister and she was a ChiO sister. She asked me to join the FCF Board of Directors because of my family’s dedication to helping others and I still was a docent at the Nixon Library. Lyn Neal lives next to Heidi Hall on Balboa Island. Heidi is Digger Odell’s niece. He asked Lyn to find him someone to be with since his wife had passed two years age and he was lonely. We enjoyed each other’s company immediately. We have gone on short trips with conferences included and enjoyed them very much. Minot had been acquainted with a Mr. Rockwell and bought military products from him. One day Mr. Rockwell asked Minot if he would work for him. He would pay Minot twice what a four star General receives if he would move to California and help him start Autonetics. Minot and Liz moved years later, the contracts were lost and layoffs began.

Minot considered the type of company that would not layoff people because of their age. He chose California Plant Protection, which was just getting started. He received many large contracts, won many awards, and was very active in professional organizations. I was a docent at the Nixon Library, where I spent eight years working on programs and events. Our guilds became Chapter of the Year.

Digger and I took many motorcycle trips together and had many events with friends from different groups. Digger and Minot were Cal Tech men, one in inorganic chemistry and the other in electrical engineering.

During this time I built a four-car garage with a two-bedroom apartment above it and bought some properties in other states. Finally, I took my dream trip. I had lunch sitting next to my idol opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, in Lajatico, Italy. This happened while I was on a tour of northern Italy along with a sorority sister that asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.