Lorna Lund, now Lorna Collins
Following high school, I attended Cal State LA and married Larry Collins (AHS ’62). We have one daughter, Kimberly, who now lives in Plano, TX.
Larry worked at CF Braun & Co (the ‘brickyard’ at Mission and Fremont). I was a full-time mother until Kim was ten. A friend, who also worked at Braun, created a job with me in mind, so I went back to work. Soon I was the Document Controller of the Power Division, the perfect job for an OCD perfectionist, and I loved it.
During his career at CFB, Larry worked as an engineer all over the US and in several foreign countries. We lived for a year each in Chicago, IL and Denver, CO. I also spent time with him in Houston, TX and Kenai, Alaska.
When Santa Fe International, who had acquired Braun the year before, sold the company to Kuwait Petroleum Company, we lost many of our domestic customers. The nuclear power plants I was working on were mothballed, and the company downsized. After seven years at Braun, I accepted a position in Purchasing for an HVAC company in Glendale—at a fifty-percent increase in salary.
Meanwhile, Braun offered Larry early retirement, which he took. He was so young he barely qualified, but KOC wanted to get rid of all the ‘old’ Braun employees. He went to work for an engineering company in Orange County, and we moved from Arcadia to our current home in Dana Point. A little over a year later, the Braun division was sold to Brown & Root. They rehired most of the old Braun folks. Larry returned with a ridiculously high salary and bridged benefits. He worked for Braun in its various iterations for over thirty years.
After we moved to Orange County, I became the Document Control Supervisor, and later the Product Manager, for a furniture manufacturer. After seven years, however, the company began to fail. I accepted a job with a power supply manufacturer. A month after I changed jobs, my former employer filed for bankruptcy.
Like Braun, my new company felt like an extended family. I was doing a job I loved with people I cared about.
By 1997, Braun (Brown & Root Braun) had gone from a high of over 7000 employees to just over 100 in Alhambra. Larry could foresee the end of the California office, so he accepted an offer from Universal Studios to design and build Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka.
When the time came to move to Japan, I gave up my job—one of the best I’ve ever had—to move with him. As prearranged, when we arrived, I was hired as the Document Control Supervisor for the Osaka office. We lived there for thirty-one months before we returned to California.
When we came back, Larry went to work for a small company in Brea, and I was offered my old job with the power supply company. In our spare time, we wrote our first book, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park about our experiences living and working in Japan.
A year after returning to my former employer, they outsourced manufacturing and closed their operation in California. So I went to work for a small local bank.
Once again, the people felt like family, and I loved what I was doing. I became the IT Change Manager. The FDIC took over during the banking crisis at the end of 2008, and I stayed on for the transition to the new owners. When that was finished, so was my job.
Two months later, I took a one-year contract as a technical writer with Southern California Edison. When that contract was completed, I took another as a SharePoint administrator with Parker Aerospace. I decided to retire in 2011, a few months behind Larry.
After our first book, we continued to write. We collaborated on two cozy mysteries set in Hawaii: Murder…They Wrote and Murder in Paradise. We’re working on the next one in the series and plan several others.
I’ve also co-written five romance anthologies: Snowflake Secrets, Seasons of Love, Directions of Love, An Aspen Grove Christmas and The Art of Love. We just completed the latest … And a Sixpence in Her Shoe.
My solo novel is called Ghost Writer, a ‘beach read’—a mystery, fantasy, romance featuring an unemployed young woman, a beach cottage in Laguna, and a feisty and cantankerous ghost.
Our latest book, The Memory Keeper, is a historical novel set in San Juan Capistrano between 1820 and 1890, told in the voice of a Juañeno Indian.
In addition to writing, I now also edit professionally.
Over the years, we’ve traveled extensively and still have lots of places on our bucket list. Of course, we have to visit Hawaii often to do research on our books. Since Larry still surfs nearly every day, it’s his destination of choice.
Next year, we’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary. We are still very happy together and have been very blessed.
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