She was a pretty woman and she was a smart lady. She won a full scholarship to the university of Arizona when she graduated from High school. But she chose to marry her high school English teacher instead. The man she married was the son of the Presbyterian Church Minister in Superior, Arizona. Therefore they knew each other outside of school also. When they dated, they went for rides in the desert with Dad’s sister, Marguerite, as chaperone. Aunt Marguerite used to joke about it because she didn’t really want to go with them, but there were rules about teachers and students at that time, and they played by the rules.
At the end of the school year, my Dad made a trip to California to interview for a new job in teaching. He stopped in San Diego to visit a friend, on his way to San Francisco to interview there. The former classmate also teaching asked him to talk to the school Superintendent of the San Diego City Schools. At the end of their discussion, he asked Dad if he was married. Dad said “no, but if I get this job, I will be.” The superintendent said, “you’ve got the job”. So Dad went back to Arizona and they set their wedding date for mom’s birthday, June 10th. But then for some reason, they didn’t want to wait that long so Grandfather married them on June 6, 1930. They then set off for San Diego across the desert on the wooden highway, the remnants of which were along side of the concrete highway that went in later. They honeymooned in a cabin out over the ocean off of Ocean Beach and Mom always had fond memories of that place, although the cabin did wash away in a storm some years later.
So Dad taught English for one year, before he became a Principal. Mom started San Diego State College. (She had an English class with Art Linkletter as a fellow student.) But alas, she got pregnant with me and was too sick at the beginning of her pregnancy so she dropped out of college. Thirteen months later she had my brother so she never got back to college. When I was a couple of months old, Dad was assigned to be the Principal of Pacific Beach Elementary School. We moved to Pacific Beach, next to La Jolla and seven miles out of downtown San Diego.
The years went by and many of their friends were other school Principals and their wives. Mom used to say she felt so bad with them because they all had college educations and she didn’t. I always told her that they would never know that unless she told them because she was a very smart lady.
When World War 2 began, things really changed but that is another story for another time. However Mom went to work at Consolidated Aircraft Co. and was hired as a stenographer because she could type over 80 words a minute. She was very happy about that because she get a higher salary for that job.
Time went on and my brother and I grew up and we both graduated from College and began our own lives. Dad was proud of her and let her do whatever things she wanted to do and she did. Years later, Mom fell and broke her hip or broke her hip and fell. The doctors never knew which. She had Alzheimer’s by then and my brother and I both spent a lot of time with her in the hospital, and then finding a place we felt was the best for the care she would need from then on. Dad had passed away about six years earlier.
One day the Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church held a special ceremonial meeting to honor Mom. She was taken in her wheel chair to the service. There she was given a plaque with her picture and a list of her accomplishments during her years in San Diego and in the church. I wanted to copy it for you, but Jim and I were kind 0f afraid to try to take it out of it’s frame and I wouldn’t know how to shrink it down anyway. So I’ll quote from it.
Prudence Dugger, Woman of Faith, A Lifetime of distinguished service to Church and Community. Then it listed her achievements. First Woman Moderator of the Synod of California. First President of the San Diego Presbytery, Organizing President of her local Women’s organization, Two terms on the General Assembly Board of National Missions, President of the United Church Women of San Diego, President San Diego Board of Welfare, and she had received the San Diego Woman of Valor Award.
This plaque was presented in our home church of Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church, 1995. She died two years later in 1997.
I’m writing this tonight particularly for her family in Arkansas because many of those nieces and nephews and their families really didn’t get to know her that well. My brother and I are very proud of her. One of her treasures all of her life were the awards she won in spelling contests at her grammar school In Figure Five, in Van Buren, Arkansas. She was always proud of her Arkansas upbringing and her family there. My brother kept her medals. I will put a picture of her below. The second picture is with Dad on a family celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.