On my 18th birthday, my father asked me into his office. I was surprised and excited as I was on the verge of graduating from high school and was hoping he had changed his mind about my being able to get my driver’s license. Alas, that was not the case. What he said was that he was proud of the way I could express myself in English writing and said he wanted me to help him to write a book about his collections and specifically about the famous Chinese Jade Pagoda which was the masterpiece of his collections.
While my hopes of driving were dashed, still, my father was not one to lavish praise; so being the dutiful daughter that I was, I readily said I would be happy to do so. In saying that, I expected that I would be just taking dictation and typing up a manuscript. I have to say that at this point in time, he and I were not in a close or even a good relationship. However, I will say that it was the beginning of my newly developing relationship with him. I began to afford him a greater respect and a closeness I heretofore never had before. He became much “warmer” and more approachable whereas I had always avoided any contact with him if it were possible.
He began by telling me stories about the different pieces that he had at our home which I grew up with but never really took much interest in. Thus, I finally learned of how and why they came to be. Some may think how lucky I was to grow up surrounded by all these beautiful treasures but I took them all for granted and oftentimes resented having them because of all the strangers who often came to our house to view them. Well, the times for these talks with Father were unfortunately, far and few between as I started attending UCLA in February, right after I graduated.
I spent the summer of 1960 after my sophomore year in San Jose on the pretext of having to take a special speech class from a special teacher at San Jose State College. Actually, I had fallen in love with my future husband and he was working for IBM in San Jose that summer after his graduation from Cal-tech. Surprisingly, father gave permission for me to go and even paid for all my necessities without a fuss. I came back after the happiest summer of my life with the news that Robert had asked me to marry him. We were officially engaged in October and got married in June of 1961, a week after he received his masters from Cal-Tech (California Institute of Technology).