Bonnie Jean (Strong) Addington

April 17, 1929 - May 22, 2018

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The life of Bonnie Jean Addington ended May 22, 2018 in Live Oak, Calif. where she resided in the River Valley Care Center. She was 89 years old.


Bonnie was born on April 17, 1929 in Chadron, Nebraska to Dan and Edith Strong. the family moved to California and settled in the town of Downey in 1939. Bonnie attended Downey schools from 4th grade to graduation from Downey High school in 1947. In 1948 she and Ed Addington were married in Downey and soon thereafter they moved to northern Calif.


The couple ultimately made Yuba City, Calif. their home, where they raised 5 children; 2 sons and 3 daughters. Their marriage ended after 21 years Ed passed away in 2010. Bonnie worked for 25 years in the Sutter County Welfare Office in Yuba City, Calif. and retired from that office.


Bonnie enjoyed her life as a mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother and especially loved watching the children participate in sports activities. She is pre-deceased by her mother, father, eldest son, Jeff, and ex-husband Ed, and is survived by son Tim, daughters Kathy, Kristine, Beckie, and grand children and great grandchildren.


Memorial Services for Bonnie were held in the First Methodist Church of Yuba City on June 14, 2018. Cards, letters, flowers may be sent to Bonnie’s daughter, Beckie Howard at 4285 Fruitland Rd., Marysville, CA 95901. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the charity of your choice.

Letter to the Editor: Love thy neighbor

Dear Editor:

On a visit to Texas, I was taken to a college football game. I sat next to a young couple I’d never seen before and I was dressed in regular clothing. 

About 30 minutes into the game, the young man tapped me on the arm and said, “Hey, I’m going to the snack bar. Do you want anything?” I was shocked. We just don’t do that much as people who live close to Los Angeles. 

I said, “No, I’m fine.” He laughed and said, “I didn’t ask if you were fine. You want a beer or a Coke?” 

I said, “You’re serious. OK, I’ll take Diet Coke.” I reached for my wallet and he said, “Put your money away”. With that he left. 

His young wife smiled at me and said, “You’re not from around here, are ya?” I said “No, I live close to Los Angeles.”.She said, “That explains it. People are just friendly here. You’ll get used to it.” 

Since then I’ve tried my best to just do things for people I’ve never seen before. It surprises people, but it is generally welcome. 

What if we all did that and made other people smile. It doesn’t have to be something we buy for someone. It might be helping someone at the grocery store who can’t reach something. It might be just saying “Hello” to someone as you stand in line at the bank. It might be helping a mother who has three little children running around a store and she is trying to manage a newborn in a stroller. 

I moved to Downey in 1965. It was a slower time then, and not such a diverse community. I remember when there was only one Mexican restaurant in Downey. I’m sure glad all that has changed, and not just the food, but the cultures and the experiences of people that are different. 

I love listening to stories about other people’s birth places and how they got here. I love watching the cultural exchanges and the humor of people who have to learn what American terminology means. Sometimes I’m confused as I listen to young people and the words they use which mean something completely different than I suspect. But there is one language that everyone understands, and that’s the language of an act done in kindness or a friendly smile. 
Let’s be more of a community and willing to communicate with one another. Let’s help, rather than hinder. Let’s stick up for people who don’t know what to do or how to get help. 

This is what it means to be a great city full of great people. It’s a wealth of goodness that we can all share, and it doesn’t cost anything to do it.

Fr. John Higgins
Downey

Shared Stories: A Glimmer of Hope

Mary Nieraeth recounts her worries, coping techniques, and the resumption of care for her family after a seizure caused her to lose consciousness while driving.  Fortunately, her children were not with her and no other cars or pedestrians were involved.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.  Curated by Carol Kearns

By Mary Nieraeth
I am jolted to a half-awake state by the music playing on our alarm clock next to my husband’s side of our bed at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am. My husband almost instantly presses the off button and jumps out of bed.  It is cold, pitch dark and the only sound is the faint ticking of the clock. 

I am slower to respond to this optional invitation to arise as I often feel the urge to pull the covers up over my face. However, once I am awake, it is easier for me to get up rather than be annoyed by other distractions like the shower running, bathroom light on, etc. 

I’ve always been an early morning riser but the wakeup time has voluntarily gotten progressively earlier for my husband with increased morning freeway traffic to Pasadena where he works. There is something mysterious about early morning, a time of unusual quietness before my three children, ages 7, 9 and 11, wake up at 7:00 am to get ready for school. 

The main reason I choose to get up this early is to maintain a schedule of familiarity as when I was working before getting into a car accident while having a seizure. I slowly get out of bed, put on my workout clothes and head downstairs to the kitchen as my husband continues his morning routine before work. 

I briefly ponder, now why I am I getting up this early? A little late to think about this as I am dressed for my daily workout, already downstairs in the kitchen and just the aroma of fresh coffee brewing wakes me up further.

I hear a jingling sound coming from the living room. I glance over at the sofa where our dog Scruffy, starts to move his body which jiggles his collar tags. Then a thump, my clue that he will make his appearance into the kitchen and over to the sliding glass door leading to the backyard. 

When he gets to the door, he methodically does his version of yoga poses I know as puppy dog and upward dog. Then he gets up on all fours and just stares out the door window into pure darkness without a sound until I open the door. While he is outside, I quickly refill his water and dry food bowls, place a treat inside his special toy and a different treat in a bowl which I hide in the living room. He scurries back inside to find his treats, both of us enjoying the game playing. 

Next, I get my breakfast prepared, simple and healthy, with my seal of approval, as a registered dietitian. Before eating, I sit and play a guided meditation from a CD. I am feeling calm and grounded, connected to this moment, my body, my breath.  Then, seeming out of the blue, my mind wanders down a dark street. 

‘Who am I without a driver’s license, my job, and now with uncontrolled seizures? Will I ever be normal again? How will I navigate life on foot and by bus? In Lakewood, California? I am not in New York, Boston or places in Europe where public transportation is readily available, preferable, and acceptable!’ 

I see my thoughts spinning out of control. Again, I close my eyes and take some slow deep breaths. I remember my favorite part of the morning is working out on my elliptical machine. Really? Maybe I am crazy!  My daily routine gives my life structure and a feeling of being in control of something, refreshed, energized and less depressed.

After my workout, I have a short time to shower and then wake up my children for school. We are fortunate to live a few blocks from the K-8 grade school where they all attend together. I walk with them part of the way out of our gated community to the main street. I watch the crossing guard guide them across the busy street and then wave goodbye. Some of their friends join them and they continue to walk together to school.

I walk back to our house, now completely silent. I decided to make some herbal tea and do a few house chores. I begin to feel sleepy and unmotivated so go upstairs to try to take a nap. As I lie in bed, I hear a tap, tap, tap. Pause. Another tap, tap, tap.  

At first, I think the sound is coming from the front door but then realize it is coming from our bedroom window. I get out of bed, walk to the window which is partially covered by the shutter. Before opening the shutter, I notice a reflection of a bird flying away from the window. I don’t think much about this and continue with my nap. 

Two days later, about the same time, while taking a nap, another tap, tap, tap. I immediately spring out of my bed and rush over to the window. The shutter is partially open today. I stand there frozen in utter amazement, seeing this little blue bird tapping on the window, literally of my heart, like a good friend reaching out to bring me well wishes.

I remain perfectly still since I don’t want to scare the bird away. I am thinking, ‘My little one, thanks for your visit today.’ Then, the bird flies away. A glimmer of hope and aliveness runs through my body.  I grab my journal, go back downstairs to refresh my herbal tea and write about this beautiful encounter, truly a pivotal moment in my medical journey!

Pico Rivera boy wins writing contest for 'My Little Brother from Fartland'

PICO RIVERA -- A third grade student from Pico Rivera won a PBS writing contest for his original story titled "My Little Brother from Fartland." 

Joshua Garza's story captured the top prize in the Humor category. He and other winning students were honored June 6 at an awards ceremony at Los Angeles Public Library. 

The creative writing competition was sponsored by PBS and is open annually to kids in grades K-3. This year's contest featured entries from 774 students throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. 

Chris Pelonis, owner of Chris & Pitts, dies at 96

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DOWNEY – Chris George Pelonis, the owner of Chris & Pitts Restaurant, died May 21 in Los Alamitos. He was 96. 

He was born March 12, 1922 in Chicago. He had owned Chris & Pitts since 1949. 

He is survived by his daughter, Debbie Berry; son, Chris Pelonis (Kim); grandson, James Berry; granddaughters, Andronikki Berry and Jessica Pelonis; grandson, Christian Pelonis; great-granddaughter, Clara Berry; and brother, George Pelonis (Arlene). 

William Hojel passes away

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DOWNEY – William Hojel, a Downey resident for the past 55 years, died May 23 at age 86. 
He was born April 22, 1932 and enjoyed nature and animals. 

He is survived by his two children, Susan and Roy; three grandchildren, Michael, Brandon and Shannon; and six great-grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Celebration of life held for Roy Streeter

DOWNEY – Roy (Everett) Streeter, of Lynwood, passed away Feb. 13 at age 87. 

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He was born Jan. 22, 1931 in Havre, Mont., and was a longtime resident of Los Angeles County. In his early years, he served two tours of duty with the U.S. Air Force. 

Roy made his career mainly in construction with several years spent in the Middle East employed by a major international oil company. In his later years, he worked as a building and contract inspector for the cities of Arcadia and Gardena, respectively, retiring in 2003. 

Roy is survived by a sister-in-law, Shirley Street, of Whittier; several nieces and nephews; an ex-wife, Patricia Striepens, of Rowland Heights; and his close friend, Bernice Mancebo Stumps, of Downey. 

His remains were laid to rest at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, next to his mother, Peggy Simpson Streeter. 

Following the funeral at Rose Hills, a celebration of life was held at the home of Ms. Stumps in Downey.

Kaiser hospital donates $50K to local non-profits

DOWNEY –  Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center recently announced an investment of more than $250,000 in grants to five local non-profit organizations. 

The grants will help support children and the elderly through organizations that provide access to healthcare services, promote community safety and violence prevention, and increase mental health care. 

“Many of the most vulnerable residents in our surrounding communities -- youth and the elderly -- do not have access to health services, and these grants help organizations provide the services they need,” said Jim Branchick, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center. “We are proud to help support these organizations as we all have one common goal -- to improve health in the community.” 

The following organizations each received grants of $50,000: 

Community Family Guidance will create additional access points for mental health services in the southeast Los Angeles city of Bell. 

Elevate Your GAME will sustain their successful, long-standing one-on-one mentoring program in Compton and help expand the mentoring program to Lynwood High School. 

Pathways Care Navigation Program will keep vulnerable, at-risk seniors stable, safe and independent in their own homes. In collaboration with the Cal State Long Beach Nursing Department, the program engages seniors in Bellflower, Lakewood and Paramount through in-home visits to create personal care plans, which address medication management, monitoring of chronic conditions, and safety assessments. 

St. John’s Well Child and Family Center will launch an online patient portal for patients at their Compton clinic site. This online patient portal will connect physicians with their patients electronically and offer more streamlined care. 

Urban Compass will expand their highly successful one-on-one mentoring program to middle school students in Watts. 

Since 2010, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center has donated more than $1.2 million to more than 100 community partners. 

Shared Stories: School at Welfareville in the Philippines

After World War II, Lisa Filler’s parents worked at a government facility in the Philippines Welfareville Compound, which provided for the care, education, and training of orphans, homeless, neglected, and “delinquent” children. As the daughter of a teacher, Lisa went to school with these children, and she describes a happy time in a unique school. The name was later changed to the Jose Fabella Memorial School. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Lisa Filler
I spent most of my childhood life in Welfareville compound. I studied kindergarten to grade 5 in Welfareville School. The compound was a 56-hectare land founded in December 3, 1924, as a public institution intended for the care, custody, correction, education, and training of orphans, homeless, neglected, abused, defective, and delinquent children

Dr. Jose Fabella, the father of Public Health and Social Welfare in the Philippines, laid the plan for its development. The entrance gate was in Acacia Lane. Dr. Fabella’s big white house was located before the entrance. As you entered the gate, the Administration building was on the left.

A block further to the right were two buildings, Unit A, that housed orphan boys and girls. In front of these buildings was the Catholic Church. On the left of the street was the Mess Hall, behind it was the Administrator house. Further behind was the automotive work shop next to the vegetable and flower garden.  

The central part of Welfareville was a monument to Jose Rizal. To the right of the monument was the school, home economics building, and the vocational work shop for boys. Next to the school was a hill with a dome-shaped water tank on top. To the left of the monument was big field for baseball, soccer and a basketball court.  

Behind the field were the boys training buildings (juvenile house). This is where young males below 18 years old, who had committed crimes from small theft to murder, were confined.  
This area was fenced with wire and the only entrance was through the tower building that had a tall tower like a light house and offices on each side of the building. Whenever somebody tried to escape, the siren would blast and the light at the tower would roam the area.

Inside the boys compound were academic and vocational schools, a clinic, and several buildings to house delinquent boys according to age. The school was only for the delinquent boys living in that compound. They left the compound only when there was a special event.  

Beyond the circle were two streets. In between these streets were the amphitheater stage and a lagoon behind the stage. The street to the right of the stage led to Unit B that housed children of parents with contagious diseases. Beyond was another circle road surrounded by three buildings for the clinic, hospital, and Unit C, the house for mentally deficient children.
The street on the left of the stage led to the two-story Social Hall. The first floor had the sewing room, printing room and one bowling alley. The second floor was used for parties and declamation contests.  

Beyond the Social Hall was the building for juvenile girls who committed crimes from small theft to murder. Special rooms were set aside in the building to use as a dormitory for single female employees. Behind these buildings was a fence that marked the end of the Welfareville village on that side.   

The children of employees, children from Unit A, Unit B, Unit C and Girls Training, went to the same school without a fence. In my class, we were eight girls and five boys who were children of employees. The rest of 30 to 40 students in the class were inmates.  

Almost everybody was part of a big family because our parents were friends and we attended the same social gatherings. The teachers needed to keep track of the number of students from the different units, especially the girls training inmates who were escorted by security guards in and out of their unit.  

We started school by falling in line by grade and singing the Filipino National anthem while the flag was raised. Each row was assigned a day to prepare and clean the room. So, we had to be early on the day when assigned this job. During recess time we liked to get snacks from the cooperative store and then play around the structure of Jose Rizal monument.  

Aside from the academic subjects we also had vocational subjects for girls such as sewing, crochet, embroidery and cooking, while the boys had carpentry. Gardening was assigned to both boys and girls.  

We had a very good music band with selected dancers and singers. They used musical instruments made from bamboo. They were invited to perform in many places specially where there were dignitaries from different countries.  

We enjoyed many different events at the Welfareville School. There were weekend movies at night, athletic competitions for all kinds of sports, a Christmas program, Declamation contest, and Welfareville Foundation Day on December 3 that started with a procession to the cemetery of the founder, Dr. Jose Fabella.  

We watched weekend evening movies at the stage amphitheater and played around the monument. We watched Tatay (Daddy) bowl on the first floor of the Social Hall.  

Next to the Social Hall was a big open area where we could watch basketball, baseball, and soccer games. Runner athletes practiced around the big field. Most of the time there were sports competitions to prepare for the yearly Provincial Competition. This area was the center of activities in the Welfareville compound.     

One Christmas program I was one of the angels singing “Hark the Heralds Angels Sing.” Kuya Jubert (eldest brother) was one of the Three Kings and my mother was a bird in the story of creation. One time I was in a ballet with my classmates and Jean’s classmates. That was my first and last dancing performance.  

Sometimes I was in the Tinikling dance where dancers dance in between two bamboos. My role was to hold the wood for the bamboo clicker.   

I also carried memos from the principal’s office to the classrooms of the different teachers.  One time I was running with a memo and fell. I hit my head on a step and my head was bleeding. I was unconscious and when I opened my eyes, I was in the arms of the most popular basketball player of Welfareville as he carried me to the clinic.  

I was not even crying when the nurse cleaned and sewed stiches on my head. The nurse was surprised because she knew me as a cry baby. (I still have the scar on my head).  

I was known as cry baby because I cried whenever I saw the Red Cross van for vaccinations. I continued crying and won’t let anyone touch me until my mother came and held me in her lap. Then they could give me a shot with no trouble at all.    

When I was in grade four, I sat next to Josefina and her sister Carmelita from the Unit A orphanage. I shared my food with them during recess, especially the guava that I bought from Florencia, the smartest student in our class.  

On our Christmas party I gave soap to the sisters. After the Christmas vacation,on top of the hill next to school to practice. Her student, Lily, won first place.  

The Declamation Contest was very competitive. My mother would take her students on top of the hill next to school to practice. Her student, Lily, won first place.  

When I was in kindergarten, I got third place in the Declamation Contest for our level. That was the first and last time I participated. I did not like memorization. Actually, I did not like studying. I just liked to play. Homework was not in my vocabulary. Our music teacher offered free piano lesson. I got two lessons and I quit because I would rather play.  

My favorite subject was Arithmetic. In grade 4 my mother was our teacher in arithmetic. We practiced arithmetic in a game contest by row. Each one in the row would go to the board to solve arithmetic problems that she dictated. The first one to get the correct answer received a point for their row. It was fun and students would help each other.   

When I did not want to go home, I would go to my mother’s classroom in the Boys Training compound. I hung out and played with my classmate, Merle, whose mother was also teaching in the same building.  

We played jackstone and made paper dolls. We were not supposed to be there but the guard would let us in, knowing we were the daughters of the teachers.
Sometimes I hung out with my godmother, Miss Blanco, who was assigned in the sewing room. She taught me how to use the sewing machine and how to crochet.   

Sometimes I joined my classmate, Arleen, or my cousin, Jean, to play in their house after school and my mother would pick me up when she went home.  
 

One Friday, Jean asked me to stay overnight in their house and she promised to give me some of her paper dolls. I agreed and we played. When it got dark and time for dinner, I wanted to go home. I continuously cried until midnight. Tio Zosimo had to take me home by walking a mile away.  

That’s the last time I was asked to stay overnight.