23 August 2016 – Tuesday featuring Bruce F. Barber

Alfreda Teresa Danoski was born at home in 1934. She was No. 5 of 11 children born to a typical Scranton, Pennsylvania coal mining family. Her father died with “Miners’ Lung” during his 47th year. Her mother passed from hard work during her 62nd! Although She spoke no English–and me no Polish–Thank Heaven I met her before she departed!
Because I have always had ‘a hankering’ for cooking, i stood in her kitchen to try to learn her recipes for her incomparable Polish cooking! …and she loved it!
     My name is Bruce. I was born in my parents home in Alameda, California, in 1930. My father and my grandfather were born in the same house! (I had a brother and a sister but they were born in Argentina. They both departed at age 85. He in California, she in Italy!)
Now it is my turn! And I am a better man than any of them! I’m writing this in my 86th year! But! Wait ’til you learn where I have been!
Schools? “Grammar and Junior High in Berkeley, High School in Alameda, Tucson and Yuma, Arizona, but I graduated from Campbell Union High School, in Campbell, California!
Since ‘travel’ seems to have been my way of life, I graduated on aFriday and joined the U.S.Navy the following Monday!
     Did someone say ‘travel’? Twenty-two years later, I had sailed six of the seven seas but never crossed the equator! In fact, I am frequently reminded of “The Ancient Mariner” and his “shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings”! That is, I have nothing to show for my years at sea except knots …at least a hundred of ’em!
Well, that’s not entirely true! My professional title encompasses “Maintenance Management”! That is …if you have it, I can fix it!
But, that’s enough of this fal-der-all! Let’s get back to Freda.
She told me she had never been out of Scranton except for a high school trip to Washington, D.C. I was sitting in one if my Aircraft Carriers when a shipmate invited me to accompany him home for the coming New Year’s Eve. Because he promised me a date, I accepted and met a Coal Miner’s Daughter named Alfreda Teresa Danoski! We were married a year later! That was back in 1958. It has been said that a sailor belongs in a ship and a ship at sea. Between our meeting and our wedding I was in Norway, Holland and Northern Ireland! It has also been said that ‘True love endures’. It sure as hell did for us! We had 57 wonderful years before our maker called her away. Now, she lies in a grave with our son in the cemetery behind the church in which we were wed! I have a home, an empty bed, wonderful memories, and reside in Mexico!
Wha… ? Did you say MEXICO? YES! And I have been here for 30 years!
Can you imagine living on a hillside overlooking the world’s richest sea? I do… In a house created by 3 sixteen-year-old boys, and me! A three-story house, that is! With a solid concrete foundation with enough ‘re-bar’ to build a couple of houses!
I may not have known what i was doing but the old man in the sea has met his match when it comes to me. My house aint goin’ no where!
Travel? Not me! I’ve already been there. China, Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Alaska, and the San Francisco Bay!
I’ve been to Napa, too … For some of California’s wine! But …did you know there are a host of wineries (“vinicolas” in Spanish) in Baja California? Don’t sell ’em short! You’d better try ’em first! About 75 miles south of the international border.
3 Responses to “23 August 2016 – Tuesday featuring Bruce F. Barber”
  1. JoAnn McPeek

    Dear Bruce,
    I am sure you don’t remember me, but my husband and I were you and Freda’s guests at your last Christmas brunch. We attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Church with Freda and just loved her. So sorry to hear of her passing. My husband died two years ago. people say “I know what you are going through” but they have no idea. Everyone is different. Just know that I will remember Freda in my prayers and you as well. God bless


    • Joanne

      Dear Joanne;
      My most sincere thanks for your remembrance, my most sincere condolence for your loss, and my very best wishes for your future!

    • Bruce Barber

      Thank you, JoAnn! I had 57 years plus dating–60 years–with my true love who left her mark on San Felipe with our CancerWalk. She is with me every Sunday in the same church! Others can never know the pain of a heart ripped to pieces. I have added you to my own prayers, JoAnn!

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