Monday, September 28, 2009

Joan's Life Story

Joan Haesloop

It has been interesting to read what others have shared. What a nice idea.
When I left Acalanes, I went to Cal Berkeley for a year. During the summer after graduation from Acalanes, I began to be conscious of a vacancy in my soul and tried a few avenues in the following months to do something that would fill that vacancy. The typical avenues failed. Then I met the Truth through a young woman who was placed as my roommate at Stebbins Hall in Berkeley. After observing her life and the lives of other friends of hers that I men in the next several months, I began to feel that I had found what I was looking for in the home meetings she took me to. I began reading my Bible in earnest. By now I was working at the University (first in the President’s Filing Dept. and later in the Grounds and Buildings Dept.) It became apparent to me that I was seeing the Bible lived out in the lives of these dear people that I had become acquainted with. It was different and it was hard for me at first to reconcile the differences, but then scripture that I had been reading confirmed to me that this was God’s Way and if I wanted to be right with God, I needed to walk in it. My course in life was changed.

Although I had been a pre-med major my year at Cal, I discovered my forte was numbers as I worked at different kinds of accounting for the next several years. I had offered for the ministry in this faith I had come to love and where I found such peace and satisfaction. In January 1963 it became my privilege to start out with an older woman who had been in the ministry for many years. I started in Napa, California. I continued in that work for thirteen years, laboring in many parts of Northern California, parts of southern Oregon, Hawaii, and lastly southern Arizona. We proceeded like the New Testament ministry: our main concern being the souls of men, women and children.

In 1976 my health broke. I am basically an introvert and had been spending my life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with many people, staying in different homes, etc. I just needed more “alone time” I realize now. I am very grateful for those thirteen years of privilege and know I benefitted so much from them. I met very many wonderful, gracious people. And now I could understand the Bible better.

I had to break into the commercial world gradually. It seemed after thirteen years that none of my previous office experience counted anymore. Office equipment I had used was quite obsolete. I was offered a few hours a day to work for an aspiring insurance agent handling paper work and figuring premiums. That molded the next several years. After working in Walnut Creek and living with my parents again for two years, I went to Santa Barbara to stay with an elderly friend who needed someone with her to help her with meals, etc. I was there for eight years working in insurance agencies: Lots of Customer Service and definitely working with numbers.

After eight years, I began to miss being around my family as another generation was being born to my five nieces and nephews. So I started looking into a place where I could afford to buy a condominium that was near to the Bay Area. That turned out to be Stockton where I have now lived for twenty-three years, first in a condo on Country Club. Then in 2000 I bought the house in North Stockton that I currently live in. I love it. I have a beautiful white Maine-coon cat that is eleven years old. And Last year we (Miss Lily White – the cat) and I got a puppy we named Monique. Lily weighs about eleven pounds and Monique may be ten pounds now. Monique loves to chase Lily. I’m not sure Lily loves it so much, but she is able to hold her own and sometimes does the chasing! I enjoy them both. I am happy to have a little yard to putter around in, and play ball with Monique.

Before I left Santa Barbara and since I’ve been in Stockton, I’ve had some time to pursue a love for painting. I tried oils, acrylics and most of all, pastels. Also I took some sculpture classes.
After I came to Stockton, I worked at a few different jobs and ended up working for the Stockton Unified School District as an accounting assistant. I retired in 2006, but continued substituting for awhile. In January of 2007 I realized I had better spend more time with my mom, still in her home in Walnut Creek where she has lived since 1951, if I was going to. She turned 100 years old that year. So I spent much of the next six months with her. I took time out for a knee replacement. It turned out she fell at that time and we were both in the hospital at the same time. She spent her 100th birthday in the rehabilitation hospital later, but was released to a party held for her at her grandson’s. Now I spend two nights a week with her and she has two other care-givers that tend to her ever increasing needs as her physical condition deteriorates. We hope to celebrate her 102nd on Oct. 24th.

And I look forward to seeing so many of my contemporaries at this reunion that so much work has gone into.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Selma Aweeka Brooks Loves to Move

Selma Ann Aweeka Brooks

My life at Acalanes seemed hectic and busy but boy would I love to spend four years at high school again. It would be a piece of cake.

After graduating I went to Contra Costa Jr. College for a year and a half. I then was offered an opportunity to work for the FBI in San Francisco. After they investigated me for three months, I was accepted. It was not as a Secret Agent of course but as an administrative assistant. It was a great experience for me and I met lots of very fine people including my husband who was an FBI Agent.

After we married we lived in San Francisco for another year and then we were transferred to New York. In the four years we lived in New York we had two daughters, Caron and Leslie. We lived on Long Island and I got to experience the culture of the Eastern part of the United States. Boy, am I a Westerner.

We then had another job change so we moved back to California and the Bay Area. I had my third child, a boy, who we named Hinton after his father. We lived in the Bay Area for about three years.
Then my husband was hired by United Airlines and again we moved this time to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is the home base for United Airlines. We were there for a few years, surviving the cold winters and winds. One of the nice things about Chicago is the wonderful people. They were the greatest.

Then our family moved again. This time we moved to Washington DC. We were all hoping to stay in one place for a change when my husband was offered a job in Geneva, Switzerland. This was my most challenging move. My husband worked for an international company where most of his colleagues spoke English, my children went to private school that taught them in French and little ole me was home trying to learn French. The Swiss spoke many languages but refused to speak English at that time. I think it is different now, so I’m told. Fortunately I had a Canadian friend that would take me out shopping and translate for me and speak for me. Even my Swiss French teacher gave up on me. Not an easy language for me to learn!

After a year in Geneva, I came back to the United States and settled in Reno, Nevada. Finally I started a profession for myself other than being a housewife, mother, mover, entertainer, etc. I became a Commercial Lines Insurance Underwriter in Reno for
Mastos & Assoc. for the next 20 years, then for Markel Southwest Underwriters in Scottsdale, Arizona for the next 8 years. Another move, so why are you surprised?

After retiring I made my final move back to Reno, Nevada. I seemed to have learned a lot about moving over the years so this last move was quite easy. Of course I was only moving for one person this time.

I am currently living “happily ever after”. My first daughter Caron lives in the area as she works for the State of Nevada. My second daughter Leslie lives in Virginia and works for the FBI while raising three of my grand children. My son lives in Australia and is a pilot in the Australian Air Force. He and his wife are proud parents of my forth grand child.