After graduation from high school, I worked at Beechcraft for a while, then married Bernie in December 1956. We lived in Wichita until 1964, then moved to Phoenix for a few years, then to San Diego for 24 years. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first 20 years of marriage, during which time we raised five children. In the meantime, I had taken a few classes, with a medical emphasis, at a local junior college, so went to work in the oncology section at the University of California San Diego Medical Center; a very interesting and busy job. I was there ten years, retiring in 1987. In 1988, and for three years, Bernie was a consultant to a Swedish company who built their equivalent of our FA-18 fighter jet, and, since he was experienced in that field, he set up an engine depot over there. We spent three Junes in Sweden. The Swedish company rented us a flat for the duration, and on weekends we traveled all over Sweden, even taking a cruise ship to Finland one time. We also drove up past the Arctic Circle and experienced the midnight sun, the Laplanders, and great herds of caribou.
During the summer of 1984, eleven members of the Ratzlaff clan, ranging in all ages, backpacked down the Grand Canyon, leaving at the South Kaibab Trail, spending the first night on the river, the second night at Indian Gardens, and ascending the Canyon by way of the Bright Angel Trail. We toted everything in backpacks that we needed for those three days.
In 1990 we moved back to the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix), but spent summers away. In the summer of 1992, we volunteered with the National Forest Service and were campground hosts at a remote campground in the Colorado Rockies, not far from Deckers on the South Platte River, where there is only gold-medal fishing. During the summers of 1994, 1995, and 1996, we were campground hosts at the Air Force Academy Campground, situated north of Colorado Springs on the Academy grounds. Between our duties, we got to experience white-water rafting on the Arkansas.
We finally “settled down” at our present location in the fall of 1996. If any of the Great Class of ’55 travels to the San Diego area, don’t leave without giving us a ring and stopping by.
May 2010 Update: Bernie and I married in December 1956. We have five children, ranging in age from 44 to 51. One son lives in the San Diego area, another son lives in Tempe, and our three daughters live in Colorado Springs. Our seven grandchildren range in age from 10 to 29. We have two great-grandchildren.
Four of our grandchildren were home-schooled and two of those are college graduates, another earned him dental technician certification and is also a Reservist in the Marine Corps. One granddaughter has her Masters in Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and works for a solar scientific company. Another granddaughter is a third-year ballet major at the U. of Utah, and will be dancing with Chicago's Hubbard Street Ballet Company this summer.
We have had a range of health problems, but who hasn't? We enjoy going to our grandson's ball games, and doing volunteer work in our church and community.