Linda Lunardi Clarke

Profile Updated: July 22, 2014
Residing In: Santa Maria, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Mark
Occupation: Cashier/Photo Lab Technician-CVS Pharmacy
Children: Derek-1982

It is still very hard to think that 40 years have passed since we graduated from high school. During those 40 years, life has sure been good to me. The biggest blessing of course, marrying my high school sweetheart, Mark Clarke, after college.
I went to College of Marin after graduation and then transferred to Fresno State. It was my very first time being away from home, but I loved it. One reason being that Mark was there as well. I was a Resident Advisor in the dorms my senior year, to 50 freshman girls. It is that experience that lead me to see where my strengths were and that was in working with people.
Mark and I were married in August after he graduated in June. Thinking back on how young we were to get married in today's standard, we strongly advised our sons to take their time in deciding to getting married. I must admit the advice worked, none of them are married right now.
We lived in the Bay Area and both of us commuted into San Francisco for our jobs. I worked for PG&E and Mark worked for Prudential Insurance Company. We made our first move to Bakersfield, we loved the warm weather. There I found a job with Southland Corporation (7-11) in their district office. I loved accounting work and was a Districr Accounting Manager until our first son, Derek, arrived. We adopted him when he was 3 weeks old and I went from being a full-time employee one day to a full-time mom the next. Now I know why pregnancy lasts 9 months, so the new mother can ease into the job. I was so happy to finally have a baby, but I was not prepared to being in the home 24-7. Luckily, time took care of that and I loved being home with him.
Then our next move took us to Sacramento. We moved into a wonderful neighborhood filled with other stay-at-home moms and kids. That is where our 2 other sons were born. How blessed we were to have gone through the adoption process and then able to experience pregnancy and birth as well. Those 3 little guys really kept me on my toes, but they were marvelous and great fun. Then the bottom fell out of my perfect little world and we were transferred to New Jersey. New Jersey! Mark describes the experience very positively, my persepctive was a little different. It took a while, but we finally made a comfortable place for ourselves. Yet, we always felt like fish out of water. We saw lots of wonderful things, we did the snow bit, and spent lots of time in New York City, but we always longed to return to California. Believe me when I say I never looked back when we left the house the day we flew back to California.
It was a bit hard for our oldest, Derek, because he was right in the middle of 6th grade. A tough age to be uprooted, but he made it never the less.
We love being in Santa Maria. Living by the coast is terrific and quite good for aging skin I must admit. I became very involved in all the schools the boys attended. I held every office of the PTA including President. I also was a youth Christian Education Director for my church. I love working with youth of all ages and found a wonderful niche for myself. The boys were big into basketball so we attended a lot of games, especially when they got into high school. We travelled with them every summer while they were on travelling teams. It was terrific when at least two of the boys ended up on the same team. We had a marvelous time watching them grow up and we miss them, but we have adjusted to the empty-nest syndrome very well.
When Alex, the baby, left for college I decided it was time to go back to work. I had been out of the work force for many, many years and I really wasn't interested in going back to school in order to find a career, so off to the want ads I went. I found a part-time job doing crafts with senior citizens at a care facility. I love working with crafts and I loved sharing them with the older women who needed entertainment in their lives. It was fun but not enough hours. Back to the want ads I went. Next I got some hours with a nice store called Country Hearth, and then some additional hours at a Hallmark store. It sounds insane, but it was workable. Unfortunately, I lost all three part-time jobs because of the economy, but got another job with a Longs Drugs. I love working retail and I am still there, but Longs is now CVS. I am also working as a Photo Lab Technician which I really enjoy. I work early hours, because all the younger people hate to get up early. Just last week I was able to get some additional hours at another Hallmark store, so I am back in business again. Retirement is not long off, so why not increase that nest egg as long as I can. Plus, I need to get out of the house. My grandmother worked until she was 82. She lived to be 103. Yikes!! I am so looking forward to seeing everyone and being in a group where we are all the same age...

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Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM
40 Year Reunion, October 2009
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM
Linda and Mark, 40 Year Reunion, October 2009