December 30, 1961 – England

Washington Hotel, London, England – Cloudy, very cold

     When I opened my eyes this morning I lay there for quite awhile just thinking about the last three months.  Edith and I had slept in late again today knowing we were going to have a long day and long night.  I knew we would be very tired when we finally arrived in Los Angeles.

     Over breakfast in our room Edith told me she wanted to go out and buy some more Wedgewood while she could.  After eating we started walking down Oxford Street to the store she wanted to go back to.  I walked with Edith till we got to Regent Street but I got so tired I had to return while she continued on her own.  I knew I was still ill and didn’t want to overdo it too much.  I walked back down Piccadilly Street till I got to the hotel and I was glad that I hadn’t gone further than I had.  It was a little warmer today but as I reached the hotel it started to rain.  I was glad I didn’t have to walk in the rain since I was already sick. 

     By the time Edith returned to the hotel I had been able to finish packing my things.  Edith took some time to finish getting her bags ready and while she did I sat by the window in an easy chair looking out over the city.  Edith and I had come so far and seen so much over the last few months.  I especially enjoyed meeting the people I had.  I felt so blessed that the few scary situations we’d had weren’t significant.

     Once Edith was ready we called for a bellboy to help us with our suitcases.  We had to pay for our extra night at the hotel before we could check out and catch a taxi to Heathrow airport.  We checked in at the Pan American desk and then went to our gate to wait for our flight.  At 3:05pm we boarded the plane and took off. 

     Our flight home was pleasant but really long.  Ireland, Greenland and North Canada were all white with snow as we passed over them.  The visibility was good and I was glad the weather in London hadn’t held up our flight.  The stewardess served us a lunch of steak, ice cream and wine along with our meal.  After eating I was full and sleepy so I took a nice long nap.  It was amazing because over the last few months I’d gone from not being able to sleep on a plane to being able to sleep easily.

Flying Home Over Ireland

     Our plane landed in Winnipeg, Canada to fuel up.  When we touched down it was windy and snowing quite hard so Edith and I elected to stay on our plane during our stay.  The flight from Canada to Los Angeles was exciting and I couldn’t wait to land.  The last leg of our flight from London made me feel like I was chasing a beautiful sunset for seven hours but when we left Winnipeg for Los Angeles we flew southwest so the rest of the trip was in the dark.  We no longer could see what kind of terrain we were over.

     As we neared Los Angeles we heard the pilot’s voice come over the loud speaker and announce that Los Angeles International Airport was fogged in so we would have to go to Ontario.  Once we landed at 9:30pm they herded us onto a bus and took us back to the terminal in Los Angeles where we went through customs.  It seemed like it took forever to go through the line, answer all the questions they put to us and search our luggage.  After leaving customs we continued on down the hallway to where people stood waiting for you. 

     Edith’s friends, Bill and Erline, who had taken us to the airport, were waiting for her and next to them I saw Ramona’s smiling face.  I burst into tears when I saw that Ray, Janice, David, Mike and even Binky were waiting with Ramona.  I hadn’t realized how much I had missed everyone.  All of us cried, hugged, kissed and exchanged pleasantries for several minutes before we decided to go to the parking garage.  Since our car wasn’t near Bill’s, Edith and I hugged, promised to call each other and we each went our own way.  As much as I’d looked forward to going home and having time to myself for the last few weeks I knew I was going to miss Edith and even her annoying ways as I adjusted to being home.

     I was glad Ray was with Ramona because my suitcase was very heavy.  David and Mike kept asking me what I’d brought them so finally Ramona threatened them with spankings if they didn’t stop asking.  Binky was so glad to see me and he couldn’t help yipping in excitement.  The drive back to Ventura went fast because of all the questions and talking that went on between all of us. 

     We arrived home and I was appreciative that Ray took my bags into the house for me.  I was pretty tired but decided to unpack a few things so I could pull out a few packages for the kids.  I only pulled out a few things each for the kids and they seemed well pleased with them.  Finally Ramona shooed the kids off to bed and Ray carried my bag downstairs.  The two of us chatted for a few minutes before she hugged me and we turned in for the night at 2:30am.  With a difference of eight hours between California and England I figured I had been up almost 24 hours except for the naps I’d been able to take on the plane. 

     When I went downstairs to go to bed it felt strange.  For the first time in a very long while I was going to have a bedroom to myself and all the privacy that went along with it.  I was glad to be home and I was glad that I had stepped out of my comfort zone to go on my trip.  In many ways it had set me free to move on with my life after losing Stuart and to let me know I could still travel and do things.  When I lay down on my own bed with my own pillows it felt so good and I was content.  It only took me a few minutes to go to sleep and I knew I had a smile on my face as I dropped off.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patrick S Poplin
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 03:13:40

    It was startling to read Grandma’s comment about “comfort zone.” That’s such a 90s concept. Maybe she really was ahead of her time!


  2. Sandy (Poplin) Robson
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 11:17:00

    When was the pic of the house taken janice? The big palm tree in the back is gone so it must be in the last 10 years the cars are new too!lol


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