Dee Dee Prince today

Dee Dee Prince today

 Dee Dee at about three and a half years old

Dee Dee at about three and a half years old

 

Childhood

Dee Dee was born in October of 1947 in the San Fernando Valley. Her parents met by chance after loss of the one's they loved and decided to create a life together. She's the eldest of three children. She 'showed up just before Halloween after wearing her mother out and disappointing her dad for being a girl.' She was a baby-boomer tomboy who loved the outdoors.

 

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Carl Prince, her dad and his brother, Tex

Her dad and Uncle Tex were proud of enlisting in the Navy to serve their country. This picture was taken mid-November, 1942, just before they shipped out to the Asiatic Pacific. Carl was twenty-five. He got the nickname Seadog #1 during his time in the Navy. The author loves this picture of him when he looked healthy and hopeful. She longed for an honorable father and found a glimmer of hope when he told her what he had done during the war. He nicknamed her Seadog #2 which she cherished until she lost hope in him and abandoned the name as a teenager.

 
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Rhoda Burdette, Martinez, Prince

Her mother came to this country as a G.I. bride believing she would find a better life. Rhoda never returned to her homeland and did not pass on any memorabilia from Hemsworth, England that she brought when she crossed the Atlantic bound for America on May 15, 1946. The author's curiosity about her mother's past led her to genealogy research. She still remembers the electric charge she felt on April 4, 2013 when she saw her mother's name on the Manifest of Alien Passengers aboard the Thomas H Barry to New York. Ms. Prince began writing up the summaries of her research discoveries for family. She talked to other relative to gain more stories, adding to her parent's history which ultimately led her to writing her memoir, thus passing on a legacy of family history.

 
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The Carl and Rhoda Prince family, Christmas (1955)

The significance of this picture in described in Unmarked Escape Routes as capturing the family dynamic at the time; Momma had her pretty little girl and Daddy finally had his boy. The authorstood there in the middle, looking straight into the camera, standing on her own two feet, as the family began to unravel.

 
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Nana and Grandpa Prince

This is a rare picture of her father’s parents with the three Prince children. The smiles reflect one of the happier Christmas times in the author's childhood.

The chapter about her grandparents is titled The Grand Misnomer, because she didn’t think there was anything grand about either grandparent.

 
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The Prince siblings: Deborah, aka Seadog#2, Mikey and Burdette, aka Bell from Tinker Bell

Dee Dee quips she could have been one of the original models for a Bobble Head, as her forehead preceded her and her hair was in full flight from controllable. Belle was known as the ‘pretty one’ and it’s easy to see why. She was angelic. Mike was a sweet child, but was also called a‘hellion’ at times. It was confusing why it was more acceptable when Mike was called a hellion than when she was; it was one of the subtle ways of conveying it was better to be a boy or a pretty girl than what she was - a gawky tomboy.

 
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Tijuana, Mexico in 1963

The sisters are trying to act like they were enjoying the odd trip to Tijuana and Mike was still young enough to find any adventure with Daddy fun. The siblings did not know at the time that they would be separated soon after this picture was taken.