Sylvia
Born in Dagenham, England (just outside of London), Sylvia grew up and attended school in the sleepy little town of South Ockendon, Essex.  She worked in the garment industry for eleven years before deciding to pursue a lifelong dream of immigrating to the United States. It took her a total of 14 months to complete all of the paperwork and obtain work permits  before finally immigrating in 1968. 

She worked as a nanny and attended school to learn to be a keypunch operator.  She then started working for an insurance company in Burlingame, California. 

In late 1969 she met and hooked Len.

Len
Born in Portland, Oregon and raised in the small town of Metolius, Oregon (near Madras).  Graduating from Madras Union High School in June of 1963, Len could not wait to get out of Central Oregon.
He joined the Navy in July, boot camp at Great Lakes followed by Electronics Technician school at Treasure Island, California.
From school he transferred to the Naval Communications Station in Honolulu (Wahiawa actually) for two years.  A twelve month tour in Vietnam followed.  Then it was off to Norfolk, Virginia and a year on the USS Rigel, a refrigerated cargo ship that only purpose was to keep the Mediterranean Fleet fed - great tour though.
From the Rigel it was back to the west coast and a four year tour at Treasure Island teaching school - and meeting Sylvia!

Us

We were married in June of 1970 at a small church in San Jose (do you know the way - we did!).  We lived in Belmont near San Mateo for two plus years.  While there our son Mark was born at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco in July of 1971.  In the fall of 1972  Len was transferred to the USS Fulton in New London, Connecticut.  Unfortunately, the Fulton was is Sardinia when we arrived in New London and Len had to fly there to join her for the return voyage back to the States leaving Sylvia and Mark to fend for themselves for over a month - and they did well!

While in Connecticut we lived initially in the small town of Oakdale about 20 miles from New London.  Sylvia became pregnant with our daughter Jo Anne and we qualified for military housing so we moved to Groton for the remainder of the Fulton tour.  Jo Anne was born at the Naval Submarine Base Hospital in 1974

After four years in Connecticut we were again heading across country for a seven month school in San Diego.  From there we kept going west for a four year tour in Pearl Harbor where Len was attached to the Mobile Technical Unit - the ones who were called when the shipboard technicians could not repair their equipment.  Both of the kids started school in Hawaii and (we think) benefited from the cultural diversity of the school system there.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time there but after four years we were ready to move on once again.

The next transfer saw us back in the San Francisco Bay area where Len was attached to Carrier Group Seven Battle Group Commanders staff.  This was by far the worst tour of duty in our married life.  Len was at sea for over twenty months out of the two years we were there - talk about arduous duty!  Two Western Pacific deployments along with all of the shorter preparation/training exercises left us very little time and convinced Len that twenty years in the Navy was enough!  We did have to make one more move when Carrier Group Seven changed "home ports" to San Diego.  This last move lasted a whole five months before Len's big "date" arrived - December 31st, 1982.

January 1983 found us living with Len's Mother in Metolius, Oregon while Len searched for a job and a house.  He found a job with the local cable television company and worked for them for about a month before landing (what we feel) a better job with Tektronix in nearby Redmond, Oregon.  He worked there for eighteen years before they closed the plant and offered a nice severance package in January 1999.  We bought ten irrigated acres with a home just southeast of Madras in late 1983.  Even though we are full time travelers now, we still own the property and are thinking of building another home as an investment.

Sylvia worked hard as a homemaker and mother up until 1987 when she returned to the workforce as a seamstress at a local boat manufacturer, Seaswirl Boats.  She continued to work there until 1998.

Both of the kids graduated from the same high school Len attended and have done well for themselves.  Perhaps changing schools every three years until 1983 was good for them after all!  They are both happily married and have given us four five wonderful grandkids!


From this point on (January 1999) please see our travel journal archives