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Ray Lindström

FAMILY  MATTERS
    Now here is a dillema. Where does the family stuff go? We've already got "Long Ago and Far Away" which addresses old family history. Then we've got "Growing Up" that talks about my earlier life.  So, in this category I have decided to put things related to my adult family...what we were all doing from about 1964 onward. 1964 was a watershed year; I married Diane and that started my family.  
  
    When summer was over we kept up a writing relationship and that New Year's Eve we met in Los Angeles where the University of Wisconsin played Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl Game. In the summer of 1963 Diane moved to Tucson so we could be close together. She got a job working at the Southern Arizona Bank. I had finally latched on to a good station, KTKT, number one, and was their 6-9pm disc jockey. And, I was going to school at the University of Arizona.
Diane on campus at Wisconsin 1961.
Diane visits Tucson in 1963 wearing her "quotation marks" dress.
  
    So, let's start this section with when Diane and I met. It really started many years when we were just little kids, like in 2nd or 3rd grade. My Dad and Diane's Dad, Gus Skyler worked together at International Minerals and Chemical Corp. (IMC)in Chicago. Their whole family including mom Helen, and little brother Allen, would visit us in Geneva. I didn't pay much attention to her...she was a girl.  I was more interested in cowboys and indians at the time.
    Fast forward to the summer of 1962. I had gotten a summer job as an accountant intern at IMC. One day, Gus invited me over for dinner. I accepted the invitation and that's where I met Diane, this time as an adult.  She just finished her first year at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and was working the summer at a bank in downtown Chicago. Anyway, we went out that night to Ravinia, a Chicagoland open air concert park, and saw the folk group The Limeliters. We enjoyed each other's company and spent the rest of the summer going out together.
    Even at the beginning we had a stormy relationship. I always enjoyed our conversations and her company. But, as an only child I always wanted my own way and much of the time I acted like a real jerk.  Diane was no shrinking violet and wouldn't back down so we had some battles.
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    That whole summer was just one party after another. We rented hotel rooms and threw some incredible bashes. I stayed at the Acacia fraternity house at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. An old buddy from high school, Rick Davis got me in and we had a great time. Diane and I even got ourselves invited to Hugh Hefner's (Playboy chief) Chicago mansion for a party. I went back to Tucson and school in the fall, but made another trip back to Illinois in the winter.
Party time in Illinois. That's me, the only guy with the glasses. And, Diane next to me. Wyatt Williams is top left. Bottom row guys are George Bechtold, Rick Davis, and John Klinka. John and I were roommates for a few weeks. Rick and I went to Catalina High School in Tucson. Wyatt Williams was an usher at our wedding. 
    Driiving to class one morning, I was listening to my station, KTKT, and all of a sudden there was an interruption in the middle of a commercial. A Kinney Shoe commercial. I'll never forget. You would always wait for the end of a commercial for a news bulletin. Nothing was ever that important. This was. News Director Lloyd Couch came on and announced, "President Kennedy has been shot."
    It was stunning. More stories came in and shortly it was reported that he had died. By this time I was at school and I went to my first class, Political Science 101 with Dr. Conrad Joyner. He was sitting in front of the class smoking a cigarette and talking about the news.  Everybody who showed up for class was shaken. After a few minutes, class was cancelled.
    I drove back to the house I was living in with three other guys at the time and they all had Walter Cronkite on CBS reporting the news. The phone rang and it was my mother. She told me that my Grandmother, Ida Lovig had died that morning. What a blow. I sure loved that woman.
    My grandfather would call friends and relatives to tell them the sad news that his wife of almost 60 years had passed away and all they could talk about was JFK's assassination. After a few calls he got disgusted and gave up. It seemed like people were more interested in Kennedy than they were in his wife.
    At the radio station where I deejayed, rocker KTKT, they decided to play nothing but patriotic music until after JFK's funeral. So, during my 3 hour nightly shift all you heard was marching music. Have you ever considered how many popular patriotic tunes exist? After The Star Spangled Banner, America, America The Beautiful, and Columbia Gem of the Ocean, you are about done. It was awful. Boy was I depressed.
    So, the next morning I went to Daniel's Jewelers and bought an engagement ring. Saturday night November 23, 1963 we got engaged.
    In June of 1964 we were married in Glenview, Illinois at the Glevnview Community Church. It was a terrific wedding with a big bash afterwards at the Tam O'Shanter Country Club. Gus Skyler really did himself proud. I'm glad I wasn't around when he got the bill.
click to enlarge wedding party
Happy couple Mr. and Mrs. Ray Lindstrom
immediately after being hitched.
The Wedding Party. My side included l-r: Wyatt Williams (died of cancer), Best Man Bob Herring (Killed in Vietnam), Don Kamarata (haven't seen since 1965).
    We started our marriage together in Tucson. I had one more year at the University of Arizona. We both worked. Diane stayed at the bank, and I remained a disc jockey at KTKT. I changed hours and worked the 9-12M shift every day so we would have more time together. We had a small apartment at 2606 E. Linden.
    The summer of 1965 I graduated from the U of A with a BS in Marketing. BS. Certainly appropriate. I quit disc jockeying, except for the Top Forty Show on Saturday, and started selling time for the station. In November of 1965 I got a better job offer from KTKT's sister station, KRUX, and we moved to Phoenix.
    Diane was now pregnant and decided to stay at home. In June of 1966, our first child Barry Andrew was born.
    Our second and final entry into the world was Karen Beth in November, 1968.
At about that time I changed jobs and went into TV sales at KTAR, NBC, Channel 12. The money was great and we bought our first house at 6537 E. Cypress in Scottsdale. It was a nice little place and cost about $21,000. Imagine. I can remember my Dad telling me about his first house, paying $4000. I thought that was incredible. Now, 35 years later, $21, 000 seems the same. Our house payment was $184 monthly. The good old days. 
    We stayed there a few years and then moved to North Scottsdale, 6420 E. Gary Rd. in 1971. In 1972 I quit my job at the TV station and opened my own business. I have been unemployed since then.
    But, I digress. Diane went back to school, got her undergraduate degree at Arizona State University, was accepted into law school at ASU and graduated with a degree in law. She was/is a really smart gal, and I was always proud of her, her dedication and persistence. It did not help our personal relationship however, because no matter how smart she was and how successful I was, it didn't make up for the fact that I was a real jerk. And, as I look back on our relationship from the very beginning I understand that I was the cause of most of our acrimony. You know, only child syndrome, etc. I'm sure psychologists would have a field day with this, and they have, but just in really blunt language, I was just a real jerk. End of story.
    I moved out of the house in 1981 and in 1982 we got a divorce.
    She has had a nice legal career, mostly in worker's compensation law with the Arizona State Compensation Fund. She recently retired. She is remarried, to a nice fellow named Clark McClure who is not a jerk. Diane and I talk now and again and I always enjoy our conversations.
   That was about my marriage to Diane. But, for the whole story to be told, before Diane, there was another girl I married...sort of. Here's the tale...
    In 1957 I was a gawky, pimply faced 15 year old with big black horned rim glasses. It was hard for me to imagine that a girl would actually go out with me, much less fall in love with me. But, it happened.  While the family spent the summer in Chicago I met a cute blonde at a party. Her name was Anita Fischer. She was just a few months younger than me. Man, I was in love. I couldn't eat or sleep, all I could do was think about her.
    I was 15 and couldn't drive. I lived on the west side of Chicago, and she lived way down on the south side near 89th and Stony Island. To see her, I had to take the bus to the el, the el to the subway, and the subway to a bus, and the bus to her house. It took what seemed forever to get there, but I did it as often as I could. My parents didn't approve (she would call me at home and they said only trashy girls called boys). But, in September we went back to Tucson and they thought that was the end of it. Ha!
    I turned 16 and got my driver's license. We wrote practically every day avowing our love for each other. In December, a couple of buddies, Tom Clister and Jim Frannea, and I told out parents we were going on a camping trip, but instead drove day and night to Chicago to Anita's house. We stayed for about 24 hours and then came back. But, we were busted. One of the parents discovered one of the guys had taken a suit with him. On a camping trip? Then a neighborhood kid who knew about it spilled the beans. When we got back the jig was up and, put in mildly, the folks were upset.
    The next summer I went back to Chicago to live with my Dad...but of course I spent every day with Anita now that I could drive. We just decided one day to run off and get married. So we did. To Niles, Michigan, where the age was only 18. We had phonied up some documents and off we went. Found a minister and everything. Her parents knew. Mine didn't.
Click here for a close up.
Click here for a close up.
July 19, 1958
    Here are the photos from that day of the happy couple. Sixteen years old, can you believe it? I must have been nuts. So, anyway, that night I just went home to my Dad's place and when he asked what I did that day, I'm sure I said something like, "Went on a picnic."
    We spent the rest of the summer playing marriage at her house and then in September I had to go back to Tucson for my senior year in high school. In November my folks found out about it and my Dad got a lawyer since we were underage, and that was that.
    I was relieved. Anita was devastated. She really was a sweet girl. She eventually got married and had a child. Divorced. I talked to her in 1982 while I was in Chicago on business and I said we ought to get together for old times sake. She wasn't interested, especially since she was living with a former football player and he was jealous.  That was enough for me.  I haven't heard from her since.
    Oh, one last thing...on the phone that last time I asked her if she looked much different that she did 25 years earlier. She said she hadn't changed a bit and looked the same. Right. So, she sent me some recent photos...by gosh, she was right. She hadn't changed a bit.  Now it is 20 years after that. I bet she has changed a little.
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Anita 5 years later,
in  1963
September 2, 2008

Dear Loved Ones and Friends,

It is with great sorrow for me to report that my former wife, Diane Skyler McClure, passed away this morning after a courageous fight with cancer.  She was 66. Fortunately, she had her loving husband Clark by her side as a wonderful caregiver during this terrible time.  They had just celebrated their 10th anniversary. 

Our children Barry Lindstrom and Karen Lindstrom Dexter had also spent many hours with her toward the end. 

I knew Diane for over 60 years. Her dad and my dad worked together in Chicago and her family would visit us when we were little kids. We met up later in life and were married for 18 years. She had a great sense of humor and was smart as a whip. She graduated from law school before many women were enrolled. But, she was determined to succeed; and that she did.  Recently she retired from a successful career at the bar. 

I saw her a few times in the last year and that same fighting spirit and determination were now used against her cancer.  Even though she was in constant pain she still had a positive outlook.

She was quite a gal and will be missed.

Sincerely,

Ray Lindstrom







Right: Recent photo of
Diane with her friend
Sandra Day O'Connor
(click to enlarge)
CLICK TO ENLARGE