Spent all day with Betty Jo and half the night. We tried to bake a cake & we had great plans how it was going to turn out, one prize package. First of all it started to crack and then it fell a little, and then little by little it collided. So Betty Jo got real mad & threw a fit, then we squashed it all up. We were so mad!
Mon. January 14, 1952
Stayed in L.A. tonight after work. Didn’t do much shopping, but fooled around. Picked up a couple of guys and one of them by the name of Bill is supposed to come over tomorrow night at 7:00 to take me roller skating. Oh what a dreamer! He is coming all the way from L.A. to here to take me out (he thinks), but I am going to stand him up. I just want to stand him up that’s all. Why shouldn’t I? I have nothing against him, he likes me and he doesn’t even have a car. But boys have stood me up in the past, so that little boy is going to be one stood up guy tomorrow night.
Tues. January 15, 1952
Rained like mad today & tonight. Bill didn’t come over tonight. I really didn’t expect him in this storm, but I care so much you know (sarcasm). I haven’t seen Betty Jo in two nights. Man but we are really having one storm though. I hope it lets up quick.
Wed. January 16, 1952
I picked up Scratch tonight, this guy that’s the manager of the El Monte Bowling Alley. Brother, he is really stuck on himself to be putting it mildly. He says he is the mad love maker and he is very particular who he makes love to. He goes out with a different girl every night and to hear him tell it, he’s God’s gift to women. I tells him, “Brother why don’t you get wise to yourself? (He had asked me out). You’re living in a pipe dream! How funny can one get? Do you know any funny stories”? And I laughed in his face. He said I was scared of loving him and called me a “chicken heart” and asked where was my sense of adventure? I simply said “Hit the Road Bum,” and he left.
Thurs. January 17, 1952
Man what a storm. This is really what you call stormy weather, in more ways than one. The weather goes on & I am in a big rut. I suppose I will stay home this Saturday night too since the weather is so miserable, no telling. But on the radio it says that it is the worst storm in a hundred years. The whole place is flooded and everything, man, is really wet. There is no letup either on the rain.
Vilma is showing herself to be quite a tough cookie, she certainly has a unique way of saying things! Her tough exterior was formed in her childhood years growing up in the hard-edged streets of New York. This is where she learned how to defend herself and became quite gutsy, with the habit of bluntly speaking her mind.
In 1945, when Vilma was 11 years old, her family drove cross country from New York to California to settle in amongst the orange groves and dairy farms of El Monte. Her parent’s strong faith and guidance gave her a keen inner sense between right and wrong…. and she wasn’t afraid to call out the wrong when she saw fit. Obviously she detested men who were arrogant, who bragged about their conquests or who thought they were God’s gift to women. She may have toyed with men like these, but would never lower herself to get so involved with them.
The “Ruffian Gang”
As an adolescent, Vilma went through an awkward stage just as so many young girls do. She entered into her freshman year at El Monte High School when she was 13 years old and thought of herself as an ugly duckling. Tall for her age, lanky and painfully shy in a new school, she quickly began experimenting with make-up. One popular trend of the time was to wear heavy, dark lipstick OVER the natural lip line to help make her lips appear bigger. To complete the look, she would pencil in her eyebrows too. Judging by the amount of attention from the boys she received, she began to feel like she was actually kind of pretty now, which helped her confidence skyrocket.
There were some other girls in High School who wore the same make-up trend, but they were the type of girls from the wrong side of the tracks—they were called the “rough” girls who became known as the “Ruffian Gang”. They were straight talking brash characters with mean looks on their faces to appear tough. Some boys began calling Vilma a “Ruffian” too, since she had the same look. Oh she got angry at them alright, which would always result in verbal wars back and forth. Vilma defended herself against what we may even call bullies back then, but being from New York she was certainly no wimp! She stood up for herself and was not easily led to tears or emotional drama because of it. Secretly though, she liked all the extra male attention from being associated with the Ruffian girls.
To Vilma’s devastation, her new make-up experiment didn’t last very long. Her mother saw to that. By the time she had turned 17, where we pick up her diaries, there was no stopping her natural beauty and confidence. She still retained the typical ‘New York” attitude for years to come, which also helped her play the tough girl part when needed! You can almost “hear” it when you read the diary entries.
A good lesson that holds true: Never be afraid to stand up for good morals and never lower your expectations for a man. Otherwise you can simply tell him to “Hit the Road Bum”! Raise your expectations and you will find someone who is a better man… because he has met you.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come” Proverbs 31:25