Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sharon Lee Cockburn Life Story

With the help of Selma Aweeka Brooks and Sharon’s sister Judie Cockburn I wrote Sharon’s life story, in brief, for her children.

A Tribute to Sharon Lee Cockburn

Sharon was born in October of 1936 in Sonoma, California. Her father was a Mortician who ran the Walnut Creek Mortuary on Locust Street. She had two younger sisters who she cared about very much. Judie was eight years younger and Carol was twelve years younger.

Sharon attended Walnut Creek Grammar School and then Acalanes High School with a lot of us. Sharon was always fun in school. She was friendly and smiled a lot. In high school she was in the performing modern dance group in her Junior and Senior years. This group put on two shows a year for the community. It was always as well attended as a school football game. She was also in Girls Athletic Association were she participated in the swimming, softball, tennis and other sports. Finally she was involved in a women’s group which raised money for charitable organizations through a Mothers Tea and fashion shows among other things. Sharon was one of the models along with one of her sister’s.
After high school she attended Diablo Valley Junior
College. The college was just starting and she attended classes in temporary tents that were set on the campus. After one year in college she went to work for one of the banks in the Bay Area. Her banking experience helped her for the rest of her life in getting jobs.

Sharon first married Fred Von Bargen who worked for Shell Oil Companies so she got to travel around the country a bite. Sharon had her first child, Kristen, in 1964. Sharon and her family moved to the New York area. Sharon was always a very good hostess and helped her husband succeed with dinner parties and special business events.

Sharon did not like the East Coast living she yearned for the West. So she and her daughter moved back to California were she started working in the Squaw Valley in the Tahoe area. While working she met and married Hewitt Clark. Hewitt was an Architect and developer in the Tahoe area. Sharon had her second child, Christopher, in 1967. Sharon’s family followed Hewitt as his building projects lead him to Hawaii, Carmel and other Western locations.
After awhile time got tough financially and Sharon returned to the Tahoe, Reno areas to find employment. She ended
up working there for the rest of her life.

Sharon’s family had a history of thyroid problems. The complications from this and other health problems finally took her life in 1986. Many of her classmates would have loved to have been able to talk to her one more time.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Dialogue
October 2008

“You’re late.”

“I know; I couldn’t help it.

“Why didja havta go and be late? You know how I hate for you to be late.”

“The trip took an hour and twenty minutes. I couldn’t use my cell phone to warn you because I’d be even later. You know the new rules.”

“The beer’s warm, the dinner’s cold, the candles ‘er melted. All my work—wrecked. I wanna leave this mess and go out for dinner. Pretty please.”

“At least you don’t have to clean the house again. May I help you repair the evening? You microwave the dinner, find new candles in the drawer under the counter where I put them last week, and I just happen to have brought cold beer in my little cooler, here.”

“Wow, Sam. Thanks.”

“I brought you something else.”

“You did? What is it? I told you I wanted to stop collecting THINGS.”

“Well, light the candles, sit down, and check this out.”

“Ahhh! The bag is so small. And look at this teeny box. Sam, you didn’t...Oh! There’s my dream ring!”

“I couldn’t help it. The jeweler just happened to have the perfect stone in the perfect setting, just like you described to me from your dream: A huge amethyst set in gold, with a tiny diamond star. Won’t protect us from a quake on the Hayward Fault, but at least it’s pretty. And it doesn’t take up much room. Try it on.”

Tania Hudd Selden
The life and times of ROBERT (BOB) SMITH

After leaving the carefree years at Acalanes behind, I attended J.C. and Cal. Hearing that the ladies liked men in uniform, I joined the submarine reserve while furthering my education. That was a fortuitous decision as, on a whim, I took the 2 ½ day exam in an attempt to win one of two fleet appointments to the Naval Academy that was apportioned to California. It worked and this country boy headed for Annapolis not knowing what was in store.

After graduating from Canoe U. (US Naval Academy) with the class of ’60, I spent a short tour of duty on the Academy staff as an instructor and company officer. Then it was off to Pensacola where I earned my wings of gold in March of ’62. The adventure had just begun.

I elected to fly anti-submarine hunter killer aircraft and had an interesting
6 ½ years on active duty. Flying P2 and P3 patrol aircraft, I saw night turn to day while airborne during the atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific. I danced with the Northern Lights North of Barrow, Alaska just off the Russian coast. I tracked Russian submarines off Okinawa and in the Mediterranean and saw Viet Nam up close and personal.

I completed my active service career as an instructor pilot at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. Even with all that flying, I still found time to marry a local lady who presented me with two beautiful daughters.

While delivering my best friend’s body to his widow in Texas, I flew in the cockpit of an American Airlines freighter and that hooked me on becoming a commercial airline pilot. In September of ’66 I left active duty and started my career as an American Airlines pilot. The pay was better, the food was certainly a cut above Navy box lunches, we stayed in nicer accommodations and, best of all, nobody shot at us.

Flying as a captain on 727, DC-10, 767 and 757 aircraft I saw a lot of this great country in addition to Mexico, Canada, Germany, France and the Caribbean. For most of the time I was domiciled at SFO and lived in Saratoga and Pleasant Hill. I did transfer to Texas once but couldn’t learn to speak the language and returned to California.

No complaints about my personal life either. Although my first wife, the former Barbara Kaufman (Las Lomas graduate), decided to take early retirement after 24 years of marriage, we had two great children and six wonderful, beautiful and intelligent grandchildren.

I had not planned to remarry, but I found a lady that possessed the two qualities I required in a spouse. She had poor eyesight and was a lousy judge of character. In short, she was one of the few women on earth who could live with a guy like me. Shirley and I met when she was office manager for Dr. Engel, a Walnut Creek dermatologist.

I retired from the Navy with 20 years of combined active and reserve time. And, I left American Airlines in 1996 after 30 years of service. The time seemed right to leave the rat race, move to beautiful Colorado and search for some good fishing holes. While waiting for the fish to bite I reminisce about the good times when Hoky’s was the place to be on a Saturday night. And, I take pride in knowing that, forevermore, I will be a member of the Acalanes class of ’54.