Prologue: — Before 1949
When did we first set eyes on each other? Loren's family had lived in Mira Loma ever since he was born, and Peggy's aunt Ruth Clason moved there a few years later. We seem to remember one day, perhaps about 1938, when Loren went to the Clason house and was introduced to some visitors including Peggy.
The Pritchard family moved to Mira Loma in 1941, and in the fall Peggy enrolled at Eastvale Elementary School. Loren had just finished at Eastvale and was now in the ninth grade at Corona Junior High, but he attended some community gatherings at Eastvale where we met again.
Just before Christmas 1944, Loren organized a hay ride for Mira Loma youth, and Peggy's mother rode along as chaperone. Soon afterward, we started attending "Friday Night Meetings" at the Mira Loma Free Methodist Church. In January 1946, the Corona Church of God (where Loren's family attended) started a Sunday morning bus route to the Mira Loma area, and Peggy began attending that church. The first Sunday, Loren invited Peggy to attend the evening youth meeting, and Peggy was surprised when he came to pick her up in his dad's car, with nobody else along. For the next several years, we mostly "went steady," and most of our outings were with the church youth group.
Loren went off to school at the University of California at Berkeley in 1947 and again in 1948. By the fall of 1948, we were beginning to be quite close friends. Letters flew back and forth between Mira Loma and Berkeley. Loren came home every few weekends, just for the ride. At Christmas time, we became engaged. On New Year's Day 1949 we went to the Rose Parade in Pasadena and then sat in the Cal rooting section at the Rose Bowl football game. (We lost to Northwestern, 20 to 19).
Our first ten years: — 1949 to 1959
Loren Phillip Meissner and Peggy Louise Pritchard were married on Friday evening, July 15, 1949 — young, healthy, and starry-eyed, but practically penniless. Loren was 20 years old and had just received his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. Peggy was 19 and had graduated from Corona High School the month before. For our weekend honeymoon, our friends Louise Sadler and Ray Clay drove us to the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, where many Presidents and other famous people have stayed. (Ray and Louise were married a few months later).
At that time, work was scarce for a new College graduate in Corona. Our families and friends were very kind and more than generous to us. For a while, a big share of our diet consisted of vegetables raised by Loren's father, milk from the Pritchard cow, and canned goods from the pantry of Peggy's Aunt Ruth.
On the Monday after the wedding, Loren went to work picking oranges. Peggy had been working as a baby sitter and house cleaner, and living with a sweet, generous lady who had recently lost her husband. Marie Johnson had a big house and a beautiful flower garden, and she wanted someone to live with her and help care for her home while she traveled a bit. So, for the first couple of years of our married life we lived in Marie's house.
Later in the summer of 1949, a tile factory started up in Corona. Loren got a job putting clay in the mixer, and mixing and testing colors for the tile. Peggy carefully rebuilt Loren's wardrobe, which was somewhat sparse after several years of student life. We were soon able to get our first car, a used and well-kept green 1939 Ford sedan that we named "Betsy." We drove it the following year on our belated honeymoon — a week-long trip to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Loren showed Peggy all around Berkeley and his beloved campus.
In September 1951, the National Bureau of Standards established a laboratory near Corona and offered Loren a job as a mathematician. This was how the computer was introduced into our lives. With a little better financial situation, we were able to move to an apartment across the street from Marie Johnson's. In October 1952, the Laboratory sent Loren for a month to UCLA to learn more about computers. Back in the apartment in Corona, we lived happily. Our first child, Loren Phillip Meissner, Jr., was born May 12, 1953.
Then the Korean War started and the Navy took over the laboratory from the National Bureau of Standards. This changed the work situation for Loren, so in 1954 he went to work for National Cash Register Co. in Hawthorne (near the Los Angeles airport). A year later, in 1955, the company wanted to send us to Ohio, but we said, "No, thanks," and came back to Corona. Loren went to work in a different division at the Laboratory where he had previously worked. We rented a nice three bedroom house with a big yard, and we bought a new yellow Ford station wagon that we called "Lulabelle."
Our daughter, Patricia Louise Meissner, was born on February 2, 1956. When Patricia was less than a year old, we purchased the house next door to the one where we had been living. We had fun fixing it up to be real smart looking. We painted all the rooms and refinished the floors. Peggy's sister Freda lived with us for a while. She was working as a nurse on the evening shift.
In 1957, the year of Sputnik, Loren was still working at the Navy laboratory, and teaching night school for Chaffey Community College. Peggy was busy keeping the family and home cozy. The fall of 1958 saw Loren Jr. off to kindergarten — a real curious brown-eyed boy.
Our second ten years: — 1959 to 1969
In 1959, it became clear that Loren should go to Graduate School. So with mixed feelings, we decided it was best to sell our house and move to the Berkeley area. We found a house in Lafayette, about 12 miles east, beyond the hills through the tunnel. Loren went to work at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and attended Graduate school. Peggy worked at keeping the home fires going, and took in work at home to keep things a bit more comfortable. The four of us were happy, but all of our old friends and most of our family were in Southern California. Our closest relatives were Uncle Paul Meissner and his family in Millbrae California, about 35 miles away (near San Francisco airport). We made new friends and enjoyed them.
Now Lafayette can get hot in the summer, so sometimes Mama Meissner put her little darlings in the car and drove to the U.C. campus in Berkeley, where it was cool and we played. On cooler days in Lafayette, she and her darlings made cookies and did craft activities. In 1960, Alan Shepard made his trip into space, and in 1961 John Glenn orbited the earth. That was the year Patricia, with cute braids and big brown eyes, was off to school.
One day about this time, our 1939 Ford Betsy said, "No more," and decided not to come home from Berkeley. We also still had our yellow 1955 station wagon, Lulabelle. So Peggy and her two helpful sidekicks drove to Berkeley through the tunnel, found Loren and tired old worn-out Betsy. Lulabelle with Peggy at the wheel got behind, and pushed Betsy with Loren at the wheel, all the way home through the tunnel and all. Real fun — after it was over. So now we needed another car because Loren was in Berkeley all hours and Peggy and the two children in Lafayette needed a car, no other way around. So we got rid of Betsy and bought a new green VW Beetle.
In those days, we visited our Southern California family once a year. Doris came with her boys, Peggy's parents and youngest sister came to visit, and the Wilsons came. Brother Jim visited us on his way home from Okinawa.
On May 9, 1963, Paul Lowell Meissner joined our family. He had his first outing when he was about two weeks old. His big brother played a piano piece at a PTA meeting, which he just slept through. He was always on the go with Mother. The VW had a small area behind the back seat, where Paul could fit real well for a while.
That June, Loren got his Master's degree in Math. Things rolled along, with all kinds of school and activities for Loren Jr. and Patricia. Loren was still working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab and writing his Ph.D. thesis. Paul was helping Mother at home and keeping everyone on their toes.
In the summer of 1964, we sold our house in Lafayette and moved to El Cerrito. In the fall, we sold the VW and got a 1965 Ford wagon. By the end of the year, Loren's long hard work was finished and, with his Ph.D. in hand, he got a job at Bell Labs in New Jersey. In February 1965, we moved to Westfield, New Jersey. We had only one car, but we lived near the center of town, so walking was easy. Peggy and her three helpers did the shopping on foot with a stroller, and used a big red wagon to carry things home. But things were hard and different for us California folks.
In June 1965, Peggy flew from New Jersey to California, to attend her sister Ruth Ann's high school graduation, and Ruth Ann came back with Peggy. About that time, as luck would have it, Loren was offered a job back at the Berkeley Lab. So, guess what — we left for home. We arrived back in California in early July 1965, and we stayed with Uncle Paul and Aunt Mildred for a while in their home at Millbrae California while we looked for a new house. Sister Ruth Ann flew to Southern California, taking Patricia and Paul with her.
Loren went right to work, while Peggy went house hunting — in Lafayette, Orinda, Berkeley, and Kensington. Well, as you know, 2 Kerr Ave., Kensington, has been our home for the past 34 years. When we moved here, Loren Jr. was twelve years old, Patricia nine years, and Paul two years.
So our life went on. Loren Jr. and Patricia were in school and were involved in other outside activities. Paul and Mama were busy keeping the home fires going. Loren was back deep in Computer Land.
In the fall of 1966 Paul, now three years old, started attending Trinity Nursery School two mornings a week, and he really got into the swing of things. Loren Jr. was in Junior High, making the best of it. Patricia was in 5th grade and having a good time making new friends, and was starting her way through Girl Scouts — boy, could she sell cookies! She was singing in the church choir and taking piano lessons.
In 1967, things moved along as usual. Family members came to visit us: the Wilsons, the Klocks, our parents, and the Pritchard brothers and sisters. When they came, we always enjoyed their stay at our home and on outings around the Bay Area.
Paul was now attending Kensington Nursery School, which was a parent co-op, and Peggy became interested in working at the school. So she went off to Adult Ed evening classes given through U.C. Berkeley Extension, to study Early Childhood Development, and was appointed Assistant Director at the Nursery School. Loren was becoming more expert in the Fortran programming language. Loren Jr. and Patricia were busy with school and other activities. Patricia began her life-long love of the clarinet.
About 1968, Peggy met her long-time friend Mary Ann Whaley. When her son Kenneth was three, he started at Kensington Nursery School. Mary Ann became involved as the Art teacher for the school.
Our third ten years: 1969 — 1979
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. That fall, Loren's dad died. Loren Jr. started 11th grade at Golden Gate Academy and Patricia enrolled in 8th grade at Albany High School.
Things changed at the nursery school where Peggy and Mary Ann had been working, and they left to become Director and Art Director of Thousand Oaks Nursery School in Berkeley.
In 1970 and 1971, Loren built a large deck in the back yard at 2 Kerr Ave., to open the yard for more outdoor living and play room. Loren was still doing research in mathematics and computing at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and teaching some Fortran programming and applied mathematics courses at the U.C. Berkeley campus. His first Fortran textbook was published in 1971.
Loren Jr. finished high school in 1971 and went off to college in Southern California, but in December 1971 he decided to join the U.S. Navy.
Patricia was deeply involved in the music program at Albany High School. In the summer before tenth grade, she began teaching private piano and clarinet students. She played Principal Clarinet in the school band and orchestra. In her junior year, her performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto won an award from the California Music Educators Association. In her senior year, she took advanced training in clarinet every Saturday morning at the San Francisco Music Conservatory — which meant more transportation duties for the rest of us, of course. Meanwhile, her High School music director, Ernest Douglas, had appointed her assistant conductor of the eighth grade band, and he selected her to perform a clarinet concerto.
Paul was also into music. He had piano lessons, first given to him by sister Patricia. He went on to learn the violin and trumpet, which he took all the way through Junior and Senior High School. Both Patricia and Paul won many music awards, and played in youth groups.
In June 1974, Patricia graduated from High School and went off to college and a life with music. As a clarinet major at Hayward State, she was permitted to skip the first year of Music Theory studies because of her strong preparation under Mr. Douglas. In her freshman year she won a concerto performance contest. We made many trips to Hayward, helping Patricia with transportation to rehearsals. At first she lived at home and rode on public transportation (BART) or drove, and later she lived in Hayward.
About 1975, Peggy decided she needed time out from Nursery School work. Loren Jr. finished his four years in the Navy at the end of 1975 and went to college in Illinois, then came back and lived and worked in the Bay Area. Paul joined the Boy Scouts in 1975. Loren went as an adult leader on many of Paul's weekend and summer outings with the Boy Scouts.
In the summer of 1976 we had another addition to our household, named Am Byth Ashley Wilkes — a Welsh Corgi puppy better known as Tyke. He took us on daily walks for the next 12 years.
In 1977, when Paul was 14 years old, he was busy with High School, Scouts, and music. So there were many transportation duties for Peggy, and Paul's friends came to the house for parties. Beginning in the summer of 1977, Loren and Paul went backpacking in the High Sierra for at least a week almost every summer. Peggy also went along on some of these trips. Loren and Paul took a week-long backpacking trip in the summer of 1978, culminating in a hike to the top of Mount Whitney. On December 17, 1978, Paul received the Eagle award in Boy Scouts.
One day in 1979, Loren was working on the narrow platform on the side of our house at 2 Kerr Ave. and forgot where he was standing. He fell off and broke his ankle, about two weeks before Patricia was married in Berkeley on June 30, 1979.
Our fourth ten years: 1979 — 1989
In 1980, Loren published the most popular in his series of Fortran language textbooks.
1981 was the year Paul graduated from El Cerrito High School. During his senior year, he also attended advanced placement classes at U.C. Berkeley. He was busy that spring earning scholastic awards, Bay Area Engineer and Bank of America scholarships, and he went to Boys' State. In the fall he enrolled at U.C. Berkeley.
Now that Paul had graduated from High School, Mama was finished with transportation and other duties, and all the fun times of the past school years. Loren had been doing some traveling with his national and international Standards Committee duties, and now Peggy was free to join him on trips to England and other parts of Europe, and around the U.S.
Loren Jr. received his Bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University in August 1981. Patricia's son, Paul Yokota, was born April 17, 1982. Loren's mother, Hazel Meissner, died in June of that year.
Also in 1982, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory reduced its support for Programming Language Research, so Loren decided to resign from the Laboratory after 23 years. He applied for a teaching position at the University of San Francisco and was appointed as a Professor in the Computer Science Department. Also joining the Department that fall was Jeff Buckwalter. Loren and Jeff became close friends, and went on several backpacking trips together after Paul became heavily involved in graduate school.
In 1983, we took a trip to Paris where Loren gave a talk at a technical meeting, which included a reception at the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower. We saw many of the sights of Paris, including Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre. We then traveled to East Germany, behind the "Iron Curtain," where we were guests of Dresden Technical University.
We visited the porcelain factory at Meissen, about twelve miles down the Elbe river from Dresden, where the first European porcelain was made about 1700, and where some of the world's finest china tableware and porcelain figurines are still manufactured. We were given a tour of the factory and the studios by a Meissen artist whom we had met the previous fall in San Francisco. Meissen is a quaint medieval town, dominated by a castle and a cathedral on the hill. We were served lunch as guests of the Meissen factory at the Rathskeller on the market square. The bells that ring the hours at the town church, and the crucifix at the altar in the cathedral, are made of Meissen porcelain.
We drove to Johanngeorgenstadt, a town in the mining region of Saxony about seventy miles southwest of Dresden. This town was founded by some of Loren's ancestors in the 1650s, and is named for the Elector Johann Georg I. We met the Teller family who are interested in the history of the town and the mining traditions of the region, but who are not related to us so far as we know. They gave us a Schwibbogen, which is a special traditional Christmas candelabra used in Johanngeorgenstadt.
Patricia's son, Peter Yokota, was born January 21, 1984.
Meanwhile, Peggy had decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. She started taking classes shortly after Paul finished High School. She found this to be very enjoyable but challenging. In 1985, with license in hand, she began work at the Department of Veterans' Affairs. She worked for the VA for six years at Martinez, California and then for four years at San Francisco. She greatly enjoyed her work and became known as everybody's favorite nurse. She earned many Superior Performance Awards and was advanced to the top of her grade level. For most of the time, Peggy worked on the evening shift that ended at midnight. Loren taught most of his classes in the afternoon, and we always shared a pot of tea at about 1 a.m. when Peggy arrived home.
Loren Jr. finished his MBA degree at San Francisco State University in 1984. In 1985 he moved to the state of Washington.
Patricia began her studies for a Master of Music degree at Hayward in the fall of 1985, began private studies with Don Carroll of the San Francisco Symphony in March of 1986, and transferred to the Master of Music program at San Francisco State University in the fall of 1986. After earning further honors and performance awards there, she completed her Master of Music (in clarinet performance) in May 1988.
In the fall of 1986, Paul enrolled as a graduate student in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University, having completed his Bachelor's degree at U. C. Berkeley.
In 1986 and 1987, we decided to do a major remodel of our house at 2 Kerr Ave. We moved into the room downstairs while the contractor demolished the entire main floor interior. We had a temporary sink, and we used a microwave oven and an electric frying pan for cooking. In the same room we had a dinette table and our bed. Our closet was a couple of mover's wardrobe boxes. From time to time, the contractor had to invade our quarters to make holes in the ceiling for the upstairs plumbing, heating, or electrical wiring. This project went on for almost six months, and was completed only a week before Paul's wedding on June 21, 1987. Loren continued with construction of the downstairs office in 1988 and 1989.
Our fifth ten years: 1989 — 1999
In the summer of 1989 we visited Europe. We had a rail pass that we used for travel to Geneva, Lucerne, and Zurich in Switzerland; to Milan, Florence, and Venice in Italy; to Vienna and Salzburg in Austria; and to Munich, Bamberg, and Neuschwanstein in Bavaria (West Germany). In Milan and Vienna, Loren attended Fortran Standards meetings while Peggy toured the nearby area with some of the other "computer widows" — this was typical of many of our trips. We spent our 40th wedding anniversary night in Venice, to the accompaniment of an unexpected Pink Floyd rock concert that ended with an hour-long fireworks show from barges in the Grand Canal.
From Bavaria we drove to East Germany, which was still "behind the Iron Curtain" until the Berlin Wall was torn down about three months later. We again visited Johanngeorgenstadt and the Teller family, and we toured Dresden and Meissen. We went to Schönbach and saw the house where Loren's great grandfather Friedrich Adolph Meissner was born, and the church where his grandfather was minister from 1753 to 1802.
In Northern California, October 1989 marked the Loma Prieta earthquake, which fortunately spared our immediate area.
Paul's daughter Rachel Meissner was born on July 24, 1990.
In 1990 Patricia won a position with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra as Third Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, which she held until 1996.
Work at 2 Kerr Ave. continued, with back yard landscaping in 1990 and a new patio roof in 1991. On August 22, 1991 (his grandmother Hazel's 100th birthday), Paul successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis at Stanford University. In October 1991 we watched the smoke from the Oakland hills fire, about ten miles from Kensington, which destroyed about 3,000 homes. Peggy's father, Tom Pritchard, died in March 1992.
A trip in the summer of 1992 took us to Spain. Long ago in 1948 at Berkeley, Loren had shared a room with Bartolomé Frontera, a graduate student from Spain. Bart had returned to Spain in 1949 and married María. We had exchanged Christmas cards with them throughout the years, but never met again face-to-face until 1992. We toured northern Spain and the island of Mallorca with Bart and María Frontera, then spent several days on our own in Granada, Cordoba, and Sevilla.
In February 1994, Paul went to work at Applied Materials Inc. in Santa Clara. Loren retired from the University of San Francisco later in the same year.
In May 1995, we completely re-landscaped our front yard. Now 2 Kerr Ave. looks very different from the way it looked when we moved here in July 1965.
On July 18, 1995, Paul's son Karl Frederick Meissner IV was born. At the end of 1995, Peggy retired from her nursing career at the Veterans' Administration.
We took a trip to Alaska in June 1996. A van took us on a ten-day tour from Anchorage to the Arctic Ocean, via Denali Park and Fairbanks and then north along the Alaska Pipeline. We slept in tents. Facilities were increasingly primitive as we traveled northward. We watched the "midnight sun" for several nights. We took a side-trip by plane to Barrow, the northernmost city in North America.
Later that summer we revisited eastern Germany, including Dresden and Johanngeorgenstadt. Seven years after the fall of the "Iron Curtain," everything was being cleaned up and reconstructed and was almost unrecognizable. Frank Teller was copying the old mining records into his computer.
Peggy's mother, Dessie Pritchard, died in March 1997. Paul's marriage had ended the previous year, and he had recently met Ivette Guerra. She was introduced to many members of the family when she accompanied Paul to his grandmother's funeral.
That summer we attended Tom and Evelyn Wilson's 50th wedding anniversary in Chula Vista. Patricia and Paul and their families were there too. We all spent a day at the San Diego Zoo, and then Loren and Peggy took Rachel and Karl to Wild Animal Park.
In October 1997, Loren's sister Doris Klock and her husband James celebrated their 50th anniversary. We enjoyed this event, along with Paul's family and Peggy's sister Freda. That night, Paul stayed at the Mission Inn. On our way home we took a "fall color" tour of the Eastern Sierra. We stopped at the eastern Sierra fish hatchery, the Laws railroad museum near Bishop, the ancient bristlecone pine forest in the White Mountains, Mammoth Lakes, and the tufa towers at Mono Lake.
In 1998, Loren wrote his last Fortran book and started working seriously on computer-based genealogy. Through this hobby, we have become acquainted or re-acquainted with several cousins and other relatives.
In June 1998, we took a trip to northern England. We stayed at a series of bed-and-breakfast places, mostly on working sheep farms, and explored some family history sites. Back in London, we joined Doris Klock and her son John and twin grandsons Cory and Jasper. All of us visited Cornwall, and then we went to Switzerland where John, Christine, and the twins live. We drove around Lake Geneva, over St. Bernard Pass, and through the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
In July 1998, we went to San Jose for a celebration of Rachel's eighth birthday and Karl's third.
In December 1998 we drove to Sea Ranch for a reunion of Loren and three of his cousins who were all born in 1978 and 1979: Dan Zaich, Howard Meissner, and Milton Haddox.
We flew to Atlanta in early May 1999. There Loren received an award for distinguished service to the Programming Language community. We also visited Peggy's cousin Thelma who lives near Atlanta, and we toured some famous Civil War sites in the area.
Loren Jr. now lives in Seattle and works as a systems analyst programmer for the University of Washington Medical Center.
Patricia lives in Fremont and teaches music. She plays in orchestras throughout the Bay Area and Central California. She looks after her two sons and they look after her.
Paul married lovely Ivette Guerra on May 23, 1999. They live in San Jose, and they both work at Applied Materials where Paul is a manager and Ivette is a product specialist.
So here we are. Our most vivid memories are of the good times we have had, but of course we have had a few bad times like everyone else. We deeply appreciate our family and many friends and thank them for their many years of helpful support.
Loren Phillip Meissner