Classmate Biography

Rio Linda Senior High School - Rio Linda, CA - Class of 1971

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Mercedes Acosta Gardunia

Originally written June 13, 2001
Last updated June 13, 2001



No college education. Civil service has given work experience and the education.

Love Life

My first married was in 1973 lasted 20 years. I left that in 1993. I do have 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren and one more on the way. Josefa Brettler is 26 years old and was in the Air Force and completed her 4 years. Now married to Steven, a wonderful man with 2 children, Anthony 5, Alexis 2 and 3rd baby on the way. They are hoping for a Halloween baby. Josefa is now running a day care center in their home in Misawa, Japan. I also have a set of twins born at Yokota, Japan. I know, who knew me with twins! Michele is 8 mins older then her brother Fidel Jr. They are 24 years old. Michele is currently living in Tennessee. Going to complete her education to become a teacher and has completed Bartending school. Fidel Jr. (who I call Bommer) has completed his 4 years in the Air Force. Bommer started his education to become a fireman in his junior year of high school. Completed his education and fireman academy March 2000. He is living with his wife Sonia and daughter Jessica. Jessica is 5 years old. Bommer is with the Glendale fire department in AZ. They are great kids. I remarried in 1999 to Robert Gardunia. We dated for 2 years and weíve been married 2 years. This has been the best happiness I could ever experience. He is the perfect mate. Last summer Robert and I went to Washington to visit our son and daughter. Our son Robert Gardunia Jr. is 32. Robert Jr is into computers. He is a program designer for advertising companies. Our daughter Dawn is 30 and is a lawyer. So, we both have 5 children between us. Second time around has been a wonderful and romantic experience for the both of us. Robert and I, both work at March ARB in Moreno Valley, California. Bob is in the reserves for Air Force, SMSgt


While living in Redlands CA, I worked at a paper company, order desk for 6 years part time. I didnít want to leave my kids for very long. I liked playing mom. The first marriage took us to Yokota Japan (1975 Ė 1978 and again 1985-1989). I worked at Yokota AFB for the Training and Manpower Office 1985 - 1989. My civil service career started. Got orders for March AFB in 1989. Been there ever since. Iím the Technical Order Distribution Office (TODO) for the 452 Logistics Group. The job has been good to me. Iíve been to other bases to teach. And been traveling to TODO conferences. Plus, Iím getting a promotion. Since my senior year at Rio Linda, I started working at McClellan AFB as a student aid. That opportunity has kept me going all these years. The program does work.


I got into softball and played for six years. I even made the All Star team for Yokota AFB and Redlands City team. My dreams shattered by a car accident. I couldnít play anymore, but I love sports. So, I began to support the youth clubs at Yokota AFB and the City of Redlands and became a coach, you name it, I did it. Whatever my kids got into I was there. Coaching soccer, basketball, football, and team mom for field hokey. Then, when I moved to Moreno Valley in 1993 I began score keeping for March ARB. Again every sport they had. My favorite is basketball. I started dating Robert and my sport interest became Robert and I. Robert and I enjoy long walks and even a little hiking and roller blading. Robert took me to Loreto, Mexico the summer we got married. We had a wonderful time. With the little bit of Spanish I know, got us though. We took the trip to look for property, for a nice, retirement future vacation home. To my surprise, Robert was inspired by a family to sail. Robert always had a desire to sail, just didnít push his dreams in that direction. Well, he had mentioned his desire to sail, and of course I said, Iíd take lessons with you. Do I need to say more! My butt was on a boat a few weeks later. Never even seen a boat much less in one. It was an experience. We get every magazine they publish now. Itís so much fun. That is our retirement goal. We started with a 25ft Cal and now we also own a 28ft Islander. The Islander is like a house, itís great. The peace of enjoyment is unreal. Thatís where youíll catch us on the weekends. Our goal is for a 40 to 45ft by eight years or less. Robert and I also went to ID to spend sometime with his sister Vivian and brothers Bill and Tony. Bill and his wife Joann, Tony and wife Sharon took us for a week trip camping (first time). And fishing. My sister-in-law Sharon hook it and I spent 50 mins bring it in, a 6ft sturgeon. My arm was so big and sore when I got done. The next day, we went again. But, this time I was just satisfied by not catching a fish. Maybe next yearÖ to my surprise my arm was not sore! My entire first with Robert.


I lost my best friend, my brother Larry, (also a grad from Rio Linda Senior high School Ė Class of 1971). He was just 24 years old. He was in a car accident. He fell asleep at the wheel. Thank GOD no one else was involved. Then five years ago, I lost my grandmother who I loved dearly and was very close too. We spent a lot of time talking and she would tell me her stories that I miss so much today. Because of them, I want to enjoy my life every day. Iím in a great job that is good to me. I have a wonderful and loving marriage with 5 great kids and 3 ? beautiful grandchildren. With my marriage and my job that takes us places and travel what more happiness is there. I guess you can tell, my life has been good to me. A little bit of bumps and learning experience, but we all has to have them sometime in our life. Now, I just want to enjoy life and plan this great retirement of sailing with Robert.


I lived in Sacto until 1975. I moved and havenít been back but only to visit my sisters. I lived at Yokota Japan for 3 years then moved to Redlands and lived for 6 years and back to Yokota, Japan and back to Redlands in 1989. I moved to Moreno Valley 1993 and back and forth to Hemet Ca. While dating Robert, I purchased a mobile home in Hemet Ca. Sold, that and married Robert. Still living in Hemet Ca, and our boats are in San Diego Ca. We have both worlds.
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