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Whittier Family’s Joys, Woes Are Quadrupled

Compiled by Dave Larsen

They had been fourwarned, and five years ago on Sept. 20 it came to pass for Tammy and Mitchell Medina of Whittier--they became the parents of quadruplets.

Last week the kindergarten at Ceres Elementary School had four new pupils who already knew each other well--Mitchell, Shawn, Kelly and Regina--all with the last name of Medina.

But while the brothers and sisters are enjoying this fresh adventure in their young lives, their parents are, as they have since the beginning, struggling to make ends meet as the expenses grow ever greater.

“I had to begin a job last week in the lab at Whittier Hospital,” the mother said. “For the last 10 weeks, I’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. to take the training. I haven’t had a job since our other child, Melissa, was born seven years ago, but we just can’t make it on one income anymore.

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“My husband is still a metal plater, and between us we’ll be making about $1,800 a month. So far my mother-in-law has been buying most of the clothes for the children.

“Our big need now is child care. The kids get out of school at noon, but I don’t get off work until several hours later. Our in-laws have been coming over, but we need something on a permanent basis.”

Tammy Medina might have added that it is only a matter of time before the family of seven begins to notice a certain inadequacy in the three-bedroom house they rent. It has one bathroom.

High-Tech Art First

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Brave New World Department: For for the first time, ethnic-oriented art will take a back seat to high-tech art at the Los Angeles County Fair, which opened Thursday in Pomona and will continue through Sept. 28.

The Fine Arts Building will be as never before: sound sculpture, photocopy machine art, computer-generated art, even neon art will be on view, according to fine arts director Dave Svenson.

“In one section, a person puts his hand over a neon light and talks into a mike, which results in pulsating lights of different colors, and the voice comes back in different sounds.”

Stane Takes Panes

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Do you do windows? You won’t always get the answer you want from a house cleaner, but you will from the Stained Glass Overlay Co. in Pasadena--especially since the owner (born to his profession) is named Bob Stane.

A Surprising Birthday

It isn’t every year that a person gets the kind of birthday present Gail Wetmore of South Pasadena received the other day. But, then, she’ll only turn 40 once.

On the big day, Gail’s father, Skip Gregg of Pasadena, talked her into having lunch at a restaurant. While driving back to her home, they passed Garfield Park in South Pasadena. Gail didn’t know it, but her husband, Barry, had been making plans.

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“When my father and I passed the park, a huge white package was sitting on the grass,” Gail said. “The box was about 7 feet high, 8 feet wide, and tied with a green ribbon.”

As she approached, out popped seven individuals. They included her 4-year-old daughter, Kelsey, and a friend of the girl, Dillon Stanley. The others, friends, had flown down from Oregon that morning: Emily Coffey and her son, J. T., plus Judy Barnes and her children, Carrie and Andrew.

The birthday present having been opened, everyone repaired to the home of the Wetmores, where about 60 guests were waiting.

Stay tuned to see what happens on Gail’s 50th.

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Trucker’s Game for You

Meanwhile, in Downey, Lee Davenport got so hooked on board games that he thought he might as well develop one of his own based on what he does for a living--trucking.

He and his wife, Phyllis, plus a trucker friend, Mike Blanchette of Lakewood, have completed creating Truckin’ Fever U.S.A., had the board printed, and got appropriate game pieces at novelty shops.

Phyllis said a player accumulates or loses points while traveling the nation on a highway strewn with such squares as “Pay $200 to have mud washed off.”

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The game sells for $15 and may be obtained by writing P.O. Box 1602, Downey, Calif., 90240.

He’ll Keep On Running

Nat Pisciotta of Whittier wasn’t the fastest runner in the inaugural Los Angeles Marathon last March, but at age 82 he was the oldest. And he’s wasting no time making sure he gets to participate at age 83 in the 26.2-mile course.

“I have already mailed my application,” he said. “I wanted to be sure I get in again.”

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Pisciotta, a vegetarian, said he stays in training by running seven miles a day in his neighborhood. He’s finished 19 marathons and completed this year’s in 6 1/2 hours.

He’s Gotta Rock

Commuting from West Covina to his job as a parts salesman at Bill Robertson Honda in North Hollywood--about an hour each way--Ralph Dudley keeps a micro-tape recorder on his lap, “writing” his songs while “trying to stay out of the back of people’s bumpers.”

And, Dudley said, his collaborator, Al Renton, 34, an inventory control man at the Honda dealership, has been known to write lyrics on the flip side of inventory sheets as he turns them over.

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Perseverance has paid off for the team. With their original tune, “I Gotta Rock,” they are among 16 finalists who will compete for “Songwriter of the Year” honors at a showdown and free concert from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Starlight Amphitheatre in Burbank.

The event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase and the Club Cocktails division of Heublein Inc. and offering a grand prize of $1,500, drew more than 500 amateur and professional entries in four categories--pop, country, rock and rhythm and blues.

Some heavy hitters from the music industry are expected at the finals. Dudley, a sort of contemporary renaissance man who once toured with a Michigan group called Thunder and is also a semi-professional motorcycle racer, will sing “I Gotta Rock” to a background tape. The lyrics? Well, to give you an idea, there’s this line: ". . . when it comes down to romance and sin, you can call me another Errol Flynn . . . “

Renton, who has a degree in creative writing, acknowledges, “You have to be slightly off kilter” to write this stuff. Ten years ago, he said, he would have been certain a spot in the finals meant he was destined “to be the next Paul Simon.” Today, said Renton, an aspiring playwright, “I’m really not that concerned about being discovered.”

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He just hopes to have a little fun. And he takes special pride in the fact that the Dudley-Renton entry appears to be “the only song in the first 16 that doesn’t have a synthesizer in it. It’s old-time rock, a tongue-in-cheek view of the public’s view of rock and rollers.”


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