Linda Boudoures – October 8th, 2011

I met with Linda at her home on Tumbling McD Road, south of Philo near to the KZYX public radio building. After a brief ‘tour’ of the house, expertly built by husband Jim of Philo Saw Works ‘fame’, we sat down with a good cup of coffee and began our chat…
Linda was born in 1950 in Marion, Ohio to parents Philip Warden Kline Jr. and Elizabeth Preston. The Kline’s had come over from the Netherlands in 1701 and settled amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch community of Lancaster, PA. Later the family moved to Fairborn, PA, where Linda’s grandparents were born and raised. Her grandfather worked in Pittsburgh for National Cash Register and met her grandmother at a church picnic. Linda’s father was born in Pittsburgh in 1920 and when he was ten the family moved to Glen Falls in the state of New York, where he later attended the prestigious R.P.I. Engineering College, from where he graduated in 1942. At that point he joined the U.S. Navy as a navigator from 1943-45. In 1947 he met Elizabeth on a blind date in Dayton, Ohio.
The Preston’s came from England in 1910 and settled in Dayton, where Linda’s grandparents had eight children, her mother Elizabeth being born in 1920. After her father died when Elizabeth was just sixteen, she put herself through school in the evenings and worked as an executive secretary in the daytime. She married Linda’s father in 1949, and following Linda they had twin daughters, Ann and Bev, in 1953. “We are all close and the twins, who were born fourteen minutes apart, now live fourteen minutes’ drive apart!”
The family lived in Galion, Ohio, a town about the size of Cloverdale with a few thousand people, somewhat rural back then, where her father had a job with a power equipment company. “ My mother was a full-time Mom but also threw herself into our activities. She was the President of the Parents Teachers Association and the Brownie Pack Leader. I was a good student but very shy – hard to believe, I know. It is hard to explain but I was, yet I found myself driven to push myself forward. After I’d had my first tap dance lesson, the next day at school I was dancing in front of the class! I was shy but wanted to do that very much. I was social and had many friends but I was pretty quiet in the group and was not comfortable with people beyond my close friends… I was always outside playing – swimming, on my bicycle, skating. We lived on a cul-de-sac in a three-bedroom house with no fences between the houses on the street so we could just play all along the street behind the houses, which all had quite big yards back there. It was typical mid-America of the fifties; very ‘Leave it to Beaver’ – my Dad was called Ward too, thankfully my mother was not named June!”
In 1960, when Linda was ten years old her father took a job with Lockheed in the Santa Clara Valley of northern California and the family moved out West. “I was told that we were moving to a valley surrounded by wonderful mountains and the teacher took me around the school to say ‘goodbye’ to everyone which made me feel special. I was not upset to be moving and my parents certainly made it sound very exciting to be moving to California. We moved into a new house, again on a cul-de-sac – it was $20K for a three-bedroom. It was a safe neighborhood and I was soon bike riding and swimming with new friends who I had no problem in finding, one in particular, Peggy, who was and still is like a sister to me.”
Linda joined the girl scouts and was on the school swimming team, and then in 6th grade her ‘acting career’ began. “My classmates wrote plays and always cast me in lead roles. I was still shy in some ways but I really wanted to do it – it was great fun and wonderful that the teachers allowed us to do it. I also became the secretary on the student council… However, it was not until 1964, when I was in Junior High, that my life really began – I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show! Then they came to the U.S. and I went to see them at the Cow Palace, south of San Francisco, after writing off for tickets – $12.50 each. I was ‘scarred’ for life. I was the biggest Beatle fan and I loved Paul McCartney. I was luckier than most because I had a cousin in England, Susan Haynes, and I would write to her about them and she’d send me Beatle magazines. I joined the fan club and have kept everything I had from them very carefully. I saw them at fourteen and cried and then again at fifteen when I just screamed – I had matured! My Dad drove me to the concert and sat in the parking lot for the entire show. He also drove me to the mall when their records came out – I had to have them the first day. Then my Mom and I would sit and listen to try to figure out the lyrics. She was worried about me going to see their last concert – at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966 and I was not allowed to go. I have seen Paul McCartney three times now, once with my son Jack who I told I was taking to the dentist! He had a great time too. I still have all of the Beatle albums and my Beatle boots. I must have seen ‘the film ‘Hard Day’s Night about twenty times – I went everyday when it first came out, and ‘Help!’ about ten times – I even have copies of the scripts from the fan club. Yes, I was a major Beatlemaniac!”
Linda attended Fremont High School in Sunnyvale. She was a track team sprinter and also played basketball, which in those days was not taken very seriously. “They called it ‘powder puff’. I was a good student, enjoying P.E., English, and typing and shorthand – who knew how useful that would become! I was also involved in some comedy skits but did no real acting during those years – I was still a little shy… I did all my chores at home with my Dad. My sisters did theirs with Mom. I would help with the yard work and hang around with Dad. I always had a job to earn extra pocket money, starting a baby-sitting service when I was twelve – I had the neighborhood covered. Then at sixteen I worked for the Park and Recreation in Sunnyvale as a swimming pool attendant. I also sold Beatle bubble gum cards. I would buy a whole box, add those I needed to my collection, and then sell the rest to friends at school to cover my costs. ”
Six months before graduation, Linda’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and around that time her father was laid off at the age of forty-eight. “Everything changed. After graduation, I decided to stay at home and initially got a part-time job as a receptionist at a department store, while going to De Anza College. However, this changed when I found out I needed to work more and I became a part-time student and worked full-time at the store. My Mother passed on August 2nd, 1972… My Dad had taken a sales job with a plumbing and heating company and never did get back to engineering – my Mom said it was good for him to be out with people and to overcome his shyness. He was a wonderful handyman and mechanic, self-taught, and I don’t think we ever hired anyone to do any work for us… In 1973 he re-married, Sharon, and we three girls moved out to explore the world.”
Linda had been a P.E. major at college but never really used it. “I kept the secretarial job and lived in various places in the area between Los Gatos and Burlingame, on the Peninsular and south Bay. I had boyfriends and several close girlfriends, who I am still in touch with, and we loved going to live music concerts, hanging out on Santa Cruz beach, and particularly skiing. We’d mainly go to Sugar Bowl in the Lake Tahoe area and work checking tickets in the morning to get a full-day skiing pass. We’d be there most weekends, renting a cabin for the season.”
Linda led this lifestyle for four years until, in the fall of 1976, when she was twenty-six, she met Jim Boudoures through mutual friends. “He lived in Philo, California, a place I’d never heard of! We began a long distance relationship that went on for two years. The first time I came up here, in early 1977, I actually ended up in Alexander Valley! I finally found this road and thought ‘Where am I? I’d never been anywhere without streetlights!’ We split weekends between here and my place but over time I was coming here more and more. I was so amazed and impressed with Jim’s parents. I thought it was a very special family right from the start and I immediately thought the world would not be the same without these people. Jim’s father, Pete, passed away a year ago and I was right. He was the center of the family. In April 1978 Jim asked ‘when are you going to marry me?’! I said ‘You don’t say when, you ask ‘will you?’ He then asked ‘Will you?’ and I said ‘When?’… We were married a year later on April 7th, 1979.”
Jim took a trailer down to Sunnyvale and moved Linda up to the Valley and they lived on the Boudoures Ranch following a honeymoon in Hawaii. Jim was the owner of Philo Saw Works, a chain saw shop on the property that eventually expanded into a construction company. Linda was a homemaker for a year until doing some substitute teaching at the school and for the County at schools such as Bachman Hill and Clear Water. She was the secretary at Bachman Hill before becoming pregnant and having first child, Pete in 1984.
In 1980, Linda began to socialize more in the Valley and joined the Unity Club when such women as Madge Gibson, Virginias McConnell, Beth Tuttle, and Joan Bloyd were members and later she was invited to join the I.C.W. (Independent Career Women) by Eileen Pronsolino. “I told her I didn’t have a specific ‘career’ and she said that was o.k…. As a young mother I joined a group called ‘Gymboree’ in Ukiah where I met Marti Bradford, among others, at that playgroup for kids. Jack was born in 1986 and then Mollie in 1989… I was all about motherhood for many years and was Vice President of the P.T.A for six years when the kids were at the Elementary School. In the early nineties I even helped Tom Smith sign up kids for the soccer program he was starting and my kids all played for a time. I later taught P.E. at the high school for five years.”
“Then in 1994, Pete fell in love with basketball and I was instrumental in bringing Camp Coleman, a basketball course, to the Valley in 1996, which I continued to do for ten years – one of the things I am most proud of. I had been sent by Bill Dawson, who had started P.E. at the Elementary School, to a P.E. workshop at Cal Poly; Palmer Toohey came too. It was there that I approached the basketball coach, Samuel Coleman (later Kazembe Ajamu – his African name) about bringing his camp to the Valley. He agreed and he and his wife and daughter, plus the coaches, all stayed at our house. This 2-day camp for 6-18 year-olds took place every year in November just before basketball season and we’d get fifty to sixty kids attending. It was always a really fun weekend for the kids and also the coaches who stayed with us… Another very exciting thing for me was when Gail Meyer, Susan McClure and I started the A.V. Mother’s Comedy Troupe in 1990 and for ten years we appeared at the Valley’s annual Variety Show. That was so much fun. I finally got to perform – my dream had come true!”
In 1980, Linda started teaching aerobic classes at the old Grange building and conducted two a week for fifteen years. Then she took four years off until starting the ‘Young at Heart’ senior women’s stretching and strengthening exercise class that has been going since 1999 and still goes strong today. “We have performed at the Variety show and our group consists of women from their fifties to their nineties- Freda Fox is 93. Other core members are Jeannie Nickless, Sandra Nimmons, Donna Reilly, Gwen Smith, and Linda Brennan. The social part of our gatherings is as important as the exercise and we do a ‘walk talk’ around the Grange Hall in the middle of the session. The classes are one hour long and are every Tuesday and Thursday from 8.30am to 9.30am.”
Apart from that, Linda has now joined the Valley’s Senior Center Board – ‘they are my peeps!’ and keeps in touch with many of her old friends. “I have always made time to stay in touch with friends. Five of my girlfriends and I will be celebrating turning sixty by meeting in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks and sharing a suite at The Bellagio Hotel and Resort. I have known Janice since I was 10 years old and Cindy and I have been best friends since we were 13 years old. Vickie, Mary, and Cyndie have been my friends since high school. Six sixty year olds at the Bellagio – can you imagine?… Jim continues to own and run the business, thirty-five years now, and he employs around ten to twelve guys. He has also raised over $20K for the high school sports boosters…Oh, and I must mention our dog Gus who passed away this past week at fifteen. He was such a big part of our lives here. We got him for Mollie on her 8th birthday and he went to work with Jim every day. We all miss him so much.”
I asked Linda for a verbal image of her father. “Well, he is in his nineties, living in Oroville near Chico, CA. and has been with Sharon for thirty eight years now. When I think of him I would describe him as gentle, kind, quiet, friendly, responsible, proud, clever, funny and extremely handy – there is nothing he can’t build or fix. He is physically very well and has never been in a hospital”… And her mother? “I would say a very caring, smart, confident woman. A leader, artistic, fun, and attractive with an amazing sense of style – she made most of our clothes growing up. She was very involved in our lives and always there for us but allowed us a degree of freedom to make our own decisions.”
“I am very proud of my family. Jim’s family spent several summers on Lake Tahoe when he was growing up and when our kids were all under ten, we rented a house on the north shore of Lake Tahoe for two weeks during the summer. This began a family tradition that we enjoyed for seventeen years. Every year it was a different house and we invited family and friends to join us and have so many great memories. This is something we would like to continue and hope that our children and their children will do the same… Pete, now 27, returned to the Valley two years ago and is working with his dad and brother on the Philo Saw Works crew – they have been learning to build since they were kids. Pete is also now building his own home on our property and has been in a serious relationship with Megan Marie Oropeza for two years. He continues to play basketball on a recreation league team and travels to tournaments in California, Arizona, and Florida…”
“Jack (25) has returned to the Valley after attending S.F. State for five years. He and his girlfriend Mimi Mendoza are expecting a baby boy in January. Jim and I are looking forward to becoming grandparents and my Dad will be a great grandfather for the first time… Mollie (23) is studying kinesiology (the scientific study of human movement) and enjoying her job at Lululemon Athletica in San Jose’s Santana Row. She works out with a trainer and loves taking kick-boxing and cross-fit classes, and various forms of yoga… All three of the kids were fortunate to spend two weeks in Greece in 2010 and visited the town where their great grandparents were born. For the first time in their lives they didn’t have to explain how to pronounce ‘Boudoures’!”
‘I love the sense of community here in Anderson Valley. Everyone is looking out for each other and is prepared to take care of each other. I do think some of the small town gossip is a negative aspect of Valley life but it’s part of living in a close-knit community that is so great in so many ways.”
I asked Linda for her brief responses to various Valley talking points and issues… The wineries and their impact on the Valley? – “I like the fact that they provide so many jobs but wonder how they can continue to all be supported and these jobs maintained. There may be too many at this point but I do love the wines we have here – they are of a very high quality”… KZYX & Z local public radio? – “Jim loves the Terry Gross interviews but I generally find myself listening to sports radio – KNBR from San Francisco”… The A.V.A. newspaper? – “I love the Valley People section”… The School System? – “My kids received a quality education and feel their teachers gave them that and great support to achieve it”…The Elder Home? – “I support the idea and hope some day it will be available to our seniors”… Changes in the Valley? – “Not all positive. There has been a big influx of people in recent years and tourist traffic seems to have really increased. However, we have to grow, it is the way it is. I am a positive person and look at it that way – as somebody once said, ‘The only thing constant in life is change’.”
To end the interview, as I have being doing each week, I posed a few questions to my guest. Some of these are from a questionnaire featured on television’s “Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton” and some I came up with myself…
1. What excites you; makes you smile; gets your juices flowing creatively, spiritually, emotionally? – “Seniors – for their wisdom and stories, and kids for their energy. I have a few B.F.F.’s (Best Friends Forever) who are kids – Marlen and Brianna Ferreyra and the Teague twins, Heather and Chelsea…”
2. What annoys you; brings you down; turns you off creatively, spiritually, emotionally? – “Racism or any kind of prejudice… Rude people. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ are words that aren’t used enough these days.”
3. What sound or noise do you love? – “Children’s laughter; rain on the roof; The Beatles.”
4. What sound or noise do you hate? – “Sirens; gun shots; foul language.”
5. What is your favorite food or meal? – “Grilled salmon, roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, asparagus, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and a glass of local pinot noir.”
6. If you could meet one person dead or alive, one on one for a conversation, who would that person be? – “Paul McCartney. And if a second person could be there it would be Oprah Winfrey, who loves Paul too. Maybe the basketball player Michael Jordan would be on my B-list.”
7. If you were sitting at home and a fire broke out in the building, what three things would you make sure you took with you? – “My Beatle collection; family photos; and my mother’s handkerchief collection.”
8. Do you have a favorite film/song/book or one that has influenced you? – “The film would have to be ‘Hard Day’s Night’; the song ‘In my Life’ by the Beatles; and a book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.”
9. What is your favorite hobby? – “I love taking photographs and making collages with them. I also love to look for furniture, china, and other treasures at flea markets or thrift stores. I prefer things that are made well and have a sense of history, rather than something new.”
10. What profession other than your own would you like to have attempted if you were given the chance to do anything? – “A stand-up comedienne or actress. Perhaps even a private detective?”
11. What profession would you not like to do? – “A prison guard.”
12. How old were you when you went on your first date? Where did you go? – “At fourteen I went on a date to a teen club dance with Peter Louis Kaupert. He now lives in Santa Cruz and has twelve kids – I’m glad I never married him!!”
13. Is there something you would do differently if you could do it over again? – “I wished I had been more focused in school and college. I wish I had finished what I started sometimes.”
14. Tell me about a memorable moment; a time you will never forget. “Well the happiest time of my life was raising our kids – all the sports and activities. I miss those crazy, busy years… Beatlemania was ‘fab’ too of course – yeah yeah yeah!”
15. What is your favorite thing about yourself? – “My sense of humor. Being a positive person in most situations.”
16. Finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “If he said ‘Oh, this is going to be fun’ that would be great.”

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Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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