Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Move

Well after nearly dieing, or at least it felt that way to me, I decided to "surrender" to the ministry. After consultation with our pastor I decided to move my family to Los Angeles and attend the Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College. The association that our church fellowshipped with typically sent its west coast college bound preacher-boys to PCBBC. It was an old Voorhis Campus of the University of Southern CA that the fellowship had purchased. I still remember the mantra that Dr. Jack Baskin, Executive President would force us to repeat in chapel - "Where can you get the most?" (Baskin) "On the coast!" (Student body) "What coast?" (Baskin) "The Pacific Coast!" (Student body)

Other than flying to Jacksonville, North Carolina in June of 1973 to marry me while I was stationed at the New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Irene had never lived outside of San Jose. We had married in June and then due to my orders shipping me to Iwakuni, Japan in April of 1974 Irene had lived in North Carolina a whole eleven months. Then after rotating back to the States in April of 1975, we lived in Bluffton, South Carolina (population 100 in 1975) for 10 months.

Now I was moving her to Los Angeles. We enjoyed a real break on rent by renting her parents next door rental. We had a three bedroom, two bath, two car garage with fenced backyard for only $250.00 a month. We were comfortable. We had a nice routine. I was working in Palo Alto, about 45 minutes away, both our families were in San Jose, and the grandparents liked having their two grandchildren around. I was 23, getting the hang of marriage with 5 years under my belt, and a daddy to two of the most gorgeous girls in the world.; Shannon Annette (3) and Sonja Aurora (2).

I had left the County Clerk's office at the Superior Court of Palo Alto due to a "client" who frequented the clerks office for his business. He liked my "customer service skills" and personality and thought that I would be a great addition to his legal newspaper, the Advocate Journal. After two years in Palo Alto and commuting 90 miles a day, I joined the Advocate Journal in San Jose as the Advertising Manager. That was a fancy title for calling attorneys, process servers, legal secretaries, and those in the legal system to advertise their services, goods, or wares in our newspaper.

Three months into this new venture I needed to supplement my income. The county paid every week no matter how hard I worked, and this was all commission and I only got paid when I sold. For extra income I became a security guard for a local security company. This was providential because when we decided to move to Los Angeles I would be able to transfer to their branch in LA.

After arriving in San Jose in February of 1976 and almost unable to find a job in the Santa Clara Valley without either being a woman or having a Spanish surname (which I almost adopted Irene's maiden name to get into any door), working for Palo Alto County, and The Advocate Journal and being a "family-man" I was uprooting my little family and headed into a whole new life in August of 1978.

So, the move!

 Earlier in the year (July 1978) while on reserve duty in Fresno one hot summer night I had blown up the engine in our 1972 Monte Carlo in a street race. Yes, I chose to race another Marine and sometime during the race something happened internally and my good ole gal threw a rod. I loved that car. It was a two door, root-beer brown Monte Carlo that I had modified just right. I had jacked up the rear end, put 60 series tires on it, chrome rims, and glaspack mufflers. I had even installed a racing cam (shaft) in the engine. It was a true muscle car and any normal guys dream. I turned that 1972 Monte Carlo in a car that was "hot" in the Valley.

[ I had two muscle cars - in 1970-1972 I had a 1967 Pontiac GTO, with a 389 cubic inch engine and a Hurst 4 speed transmission. That GTO never lost a race. I loved to pop the Beach Boys in the tape deck and blare "Little GTO." Yes I did; I had that wonderful muscle car classic.(Now they go for over $35,000.00) (Mine had a black vinyl roof and was Pontiac Gold like this one.)]

However, in August as we were contemplating this move we were car-less. Can't move a wife, two kids, and some household goods on a Honda 350 very easily. I was able to trade the motorcycle for a 1972 Chevrolet Vega. Yes, I said Vega, Chevrolet's joke on America. My brother had a spare car and felt sorry for us and traded straight across. Mine was a sun-dulled red one. It did the trick. Irene up front, two girls in the back and Buck Owens in the tape deck, or was it an eight track? However the only trailer  it would pull was a small 4 x 6.

We had been having yard sales and Irene was selling off everything she could sell. I really didn't want to go with anything other than kitchen goods, clothes, and some toys for the girls. We were going to stay at her Aunt Sarah's until we could start a job I had transferred to and we could find a house to rent. Piece by piece Irene so patiently and willingly at age 24 sold our bedroom set, kitchen table and chairs, couches, chairs, and sundry kick-knacks. We sold everything we could. If it didn't fit in the 4x6 it didn't go.

We had the "giddy" happiness of a couple who were going to make sacrifices in order to serve their Lord by being willing to give up all they had in order to travel light. We were going on faith, at least I was - poor Irene was just going on well, vows she had made that Monday night, around 7:30 PM on June 18th, 1973.

We didn't know what to expect. We were so naive that we didn't even know what we didn't know to expect. We were on a journey of faith and wanted to walk by faith. We counted down the days till we could depart and continued to sell all we could sell.

Moving day came in late August of 1978. We rented our UHaul trailer and loaded it with our clothes, kitchen goods, and a few toys. We kissed parents, brothers, and sisters good-bye and pulled that little red Chevy Vega into traffic and headed for highway 101 south. We were on our way. We were headed south to Pomona, California and a new life as bible college students on our walk of faith.

The Move is the second installment in the series "The Metcalf's Walk of Faith." Stay tuned for the next installment entitled, "Pomona, California"

"Walk of Faith..." Segments of Christian Testimony

Join us each Saturday as we take a look at back at the spiritual journey and blessings of the Metcalf's Walk of Faith


Seams Inspired said...

What an amazing testimony you have. I'm loving this post! Happy Saturday! :o)

John said...

Great story! Proof that when God calls someone, He will provide the way and the means! (even a Vega). I see we have a few things in common BTW... I was in the Marines ('83-'87).. USMC El Toro- MAG-11. My first car was a '68 GTO Conv. Never owned a Vega but I did have a '74 Ford Mustang and a '79 Ford Fiesta. Small but efficient. As I'm sure you can attest to, the Marines Corps has a way of instilling certain things that stay w/you for life. Their motto, "Semper Fidelis" (always faithful), continues to be one of my favorite motivating statements. Looking forward to the rest of the story!.


Persis said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Gregg. Looking forward to reading more...

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for sharing your life Gregg, very interesting.


IanH said...

Thanks for sharing, Gregg. I do like that Monte carlo!

Anonymous said...

Laughed out at your GTO to Vega story. My dad bought a the same GTO (only in aqua blue) when I was a in HS. Went to a 69 Olds 442 and traded it in for a 71 FORD PINTO - and it was YELLOW! No accounting for some people's decisions! hahaah!
Bet you wish you still had it!!

Scott said...

Love the cars!! My sons will be drooling.

Michelle said...

I'm still laughing about the Vega. I've never had the privilege of seeing mom, however, drove a Nova that was brown. LOVE the pic of the Monte Carlo. I like old cars...but my old car dream would be a black 85ish Chevy Silverado. :)

Your move sounds like a dream...I like adventure and the unknown!

Lisa said...

I enjoyed this and look forward to reading more.

Have a great Sunday my friend!

Ma ~ said...

I love the muscle cars! My mom and dad had a '72 Nova and I have seen a Vega too:)