23 November 2020

Teddy Schneider.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 1943. Dad meets Teddy Schneider in Santa Ana California. Photo of Madge and Teddy in 1943.

Jimmy Jones was our company cook, and we decided to make a weeknight liberty together and we wound up in a little club on Ball Avenue in Anaheim called The Seven Seas. It was here we met a couple of girls. They were cousins, and Jimmy hit it off with the older of the two, her name was Madge, and I was left to entertain the younger girl whose name was Teddy Schneider. She was a nice girl, but there was no real attraction, and I sort of felt it was going to be a hello-goodbye affair. I danced with her and we drank and talked and in truth had a pretty good evening. Madge had a car and drove us back to the base, where the three of them left me off, and then went on without me. I didn't think anything of it, and was quite surprised the following morning when Jimmy informed me that Teddy was quite taken with me and wanted to see me again. Thus began a twice-a-week romance with Teddy that ended with a visit from Teddy's sister informing me that Teddy was pregnant, and what were my feelings for her?. I was shocked, and scared. I didn't know what to say, and I guess I just didn't handle it all that well, as I was advised to just stay the hell away from her. When the gravity of my folly finally hit me, I made many attempts to see her and was firmly convinced that I should marry her and made this known to her through her grandmother. And also through Jimmy Jones, who by this time was engaged to Madge. Nothing I said seemed to make any difference, and I soon stopped trying.

Enter Alma Lee Zulpo. Alma Lee was a cousin of the Bob Zulpo, I'd enlisted with, and during the time we were in boot camp I had started a pen pal type correspondence with Alma Lee, and it had continued thru my days on the Northampton and we had in a joshing way gotten into a sort of sexual foreplay by mail situation. Our letters full of our desires for one another, and yet we had never seen one another or even spoken to each other. She lived in Denver Colorado, and as far as I was concerned it was and always would be a long-distance romance. Not to be. Jack Huddleston handed me a message, asking me to call an Alma at a number in Los Angeles. I called and for the first time heard her voice. She had just arrived in the city with her husband, and was living in a hotel in the area of Figueroa and Florence. “Come see me.” I took special liberty and hitched a ride into LA. Within 15 minutes of our meeting we were in bed, and the following day while on duty at the main gate of El Toro I received a call from Alma Lee, saying she had left her husband of two months and was checked into a hotel in Santa Ana. Her Italian hormones were telling her that ours was a love not to be denied. Alma Lee got a job there in Santa Ana, and we played house for a month until I received orders to return to the war. Her hormones then merged with those of a friend and shipmate Ray Van Lake. He moved in the day I moved out. Let me say that Alma Lee was a warm, tender, good-hearted girl who was in love with love, a child of the times. I often remember her and the truly wonderful times we shared. I wish her happiness wherever she may be.

Prior to going back to the war, I returned home for a couple of weeks. Mom and Dad had gone back together and were living back out in the house in Oak Lawn. I didn't spend too much time there as it was the usual bickering, and instead went out to Walkerton Indiana to visit my Aunt Beulah and Uncle Norm. My haven from Years Gone by. I spent a few days there, and met and wooed Wanda Buchanan, and also met the girl who was to be my first wife. I returned to San Francisco and sailed for New Caledonia on the French Liner “Rochambeau”. It was back to work.

To this date, I have never again seen Evelyn Calzaretta, Leora Ledford, Inez Prober, Alma Lee Zulpo or Wanda Buchanan. All were wonderful people and my memories are my reward for living those days. Teddy Schneider had a daughter and married a man who accepted and adopted the child. I have this from Jimmy Jones who married Madge, and also from Teddy's Grandmother whom I called on after the war to inquire if there was anything I could do to make amends. She told me to let it be, what was done, was done, and for me to get on with my life. My last inquiry was in 1948 when I was convinced that pressing the issue would not be in anyone's best interest. To Teddy I can only say “le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point”

(Clay’s note: Many memoir pages later, Dad had this final note regarding Teddy:)

It was late January 1948. I arrived in Los Angeles full of hope for the future. I found a furnished room two blocks off Hollywood Boulevard at Pico. Right around the corner from the Cafe Angelino. I think it was $10 a week but I knew it wouldn't be long before I had a better place. One of my first acts was to go to Santa Ana and visit with Teddy's Grandmother. She had a dry cleaner store which was located right next to the Red Car Station on 4th Street. This was when I was told to let sleeping dogs lie. Teddy was doing fine, and didn't need me stirring up the life she had made for herself.