September 28, 1961 – Ventura

Ventura, California, USA – Clear, warm, sunny     

Today was finally here.  The last several months had been rather hectic and far busier than the last year at this time for me.  Though I’d set my alarm to wake up early I decided to stay in bed a few extra moments to collect my thoughts. 

     Life after my husband Stuart had passed away in 1959 had been pretty sedentary.  I’d spent my time visiting friends, playing cards or going to my club meetings but not much else.  The house was certainly much more hectic since my daughter, Ramona and her family had moved in.  Ramona’s husband, Ray was always good company and their three kids, Janice, David and Mike made the house very full.  Still I felt like something was missing with all that was going on and when Edith had called me July 18th I knew what was gone from my life – travel. 

     I remember writing in my diary that night, “Edith called me this evening to ask me to go on a trip around the world with her.  Sounds fabulous.”  That call started me on the path I’d taken to get ready for today, September 28, 1961.  I knew the next three months were going to be both wonderful and hectic so I hoped I was ready for it. 

      I’d known Edith from when we both lived in Fillmore.  Eventually she’d moved to Long Beach and I’d come to Ventura.  Despite living so far apart though we’d always still seen each other fairly often at the women’s service organization we attended like Alice Bartlett Club and the women’s version of Masons, Eastern Star.  While we’d known each other for years I wouldn’t say we were close but Edith was alone and needed someone to travel with her and share her room throughout the trip.  Stuart and I had done so much traveling and I really missed it so I was glad that Edith had called.  Edith was a good companion at card games so I thought she would turn out to be a fine traveling cohort also.  And besides there were others I knew who were also going on this trip.  Flo would be there and we’d been friends for many years through the Alice Bartlett Club.  In addition our tour escort from Travel World  was Curt and he was a long time acquaintance. 

      Time to get up.  I’d stalled long enough.  I’d set my alarm early so I had plenty of time to get my hair done and if I didn’t get up now there wouldn’t be time to do it.  I wasn’t sure when or if I’d have an opportunity to get my hair done again while I was traveling.  I’d made an appointment at Sheila’s this morning and I was looking forward to being able sit down for a little while.  

      It seemed like all I’d done over the last few months was to get ready for this trip.  There were shots to get.  I had had to gather the information to make sure I had all the proper paperwork necessary to get into the various countries in addition to my passport.  I had to go shopping for clothes that I could rinse out and wouldn’t wrinkle.  Ramona had taken me shopping to get comfortable shoes I would be able to walk in for hours and hours.  I’d had so many things to think about that for several days I’d had trouble sleeping so night before last Ray had poured me a stiff drink which really relaxed me and put me to sleep.  After my night of rest I had long day though packing, repacking and trying to get all my last minute things done. 

      Home from the beauty salon I decided to do one more check of my luggage to make sure I had all my paperwork put where I could easily find it.  My check done I went outside with Binky my Cairn Terrier so he could go potty.  It felt good to sit on one of my lawn chairs and think about the trip to come. 

       Since it was noon and time to go Ramona helped me load my luggage into her car before Mike, Binky and I got in the car with Ramona to drive to Edith’s apartment in Long Beach.  The trip was long but I was glad because it gave me time to run over last minute concerns and reminders with Ramona.   I wanted to remind her to check the cut off dates before mailing each letter because the hotels wouldn’t forward letters after we’d been there.  I wanted to make sure she watched Binky and kept an eye on his health. 

     The warnings issued, the reassurance given, the remainder of our drive to Edith’s apartment was spent in discussing where she was going and wondering what it would be like there.  Once we reached Long Beach I had to refer to a map to find Edith’s street but we finally made it there.  Her apartment was comfortable although not very large.    

       After helping me to unload my luggage, Ramona gave me a refresher on how to use her camera one more time.  I hadn’t had too much practice with it so I was glad she went over it with me one more time.  Then Ramona took a picture of Edith and I in front of her apartment to commemorate the day and to finish off the roll of film.  Ramona showed me how to change the film one more time so I would have a fresh one to start my trip with.  

       I went through my luggage once more but this time with Edith to see if I was taking too much.  After looking it over she encouraged me to have Ramona take my blue dress, an extra pair of dress brown shoes, a slip and a sweater back home.  I decided she was right so I took out those things and then repacked my suitcase to make it a little lighter.  I noticed that it also gave me a little extra room to put things I bought along the way on my trip. 

       When it came time for Ramona, Mike and Binky to leave I got a little teary eyed and I was glad I had my handkerchief handy.  I was worried about Binky and how he would do while I was gone.  He was so prone to getting urine infections and he was getting on in years.  Stuart had purchased Binky’s father, Bosun, for me while he was stationed in Northern Ireland and during that time he had become Stuart’s Navy unit’s mascot while he was stationed there during World War II.  When Stuart’s unit was being transferred to the Pacific theatre of the war Bosun had been “discharged” from the military and sent back to Ventura.  Kerry Mae, Binky’s mother, was likewise purchased in Ireland after the water and Binky was one of the pups from their first litter.  I’d gotten closer and closer to Binky over the years because we’d been through so many things together and most recently Stuart’s passing.  I hoped he would be okay while I was gone because I didn’t want to lose him too. 

       At 7:00pm Edith’s friends, Bill and Earline, came over to her apartment to take us out to dinner at the Tenderloin restaurant.  At dinner they surprised each of us with a white orchid to wear.  Our meal was very pleasant and we shared cocktails and good conversation.  Edith announced a little news to all of us that pleased me.  She had been contacted by the Fillmore Herald to write letters back to them about our trip.  She notated I could help her contribute to her letters back 

      After dinner Bill drove all of us over to their house to spend the rest of the evening visiting and looking at slides of their recent trip to Mexico.  Once there I found we were also going to celebrate Edith’s upcoming birthday that would occur while we were on our trip.  As Bill set up the slides for us to watch Earline brought out a bottle of champagne and a cake for us to enjoy.  One by one they went through their slides and pointed out interesting things they’d seen.  It was all very pleasant and I got some ideas on what to take pictures of from looking at their collection. 

      The champagne had relaxed me so when it came time to return to Edith’s apartment I was ready to go.  Once there I checked my suitcase one more time and went to bed.  It didn’t take very long for me to drift off to sleep. 

   

Grandma and Edith at Her Apt

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