Postscript

     My grandmother took this trip in 1961 but her traveling didn’t stop there.  In the following years she went to Africa, took me to Guadalajara, Mexico for a couple of weeks and also spent time traveling to historic sites in the old original thirteen states.  She never tired of traveling and meeting people wherever she went. 

     In the aftermath of her trip around the world my mother and her organized all her pictures, wrote down notes on what she saw and her feelings.  She even did presentations for various groups in our community in an effort to share what she learned and to inspire others to travel too.

     In mid 1969 my grandmother talked my mother into taking a trip around the world with her knowing that she also liked to travel.  She wanted to take my mother on a trip similar to the one she took in 1961.  Unfortunately, while in Ireland, their first stop, problems developed and because of it they made the decision to return home.  They talked of doing it later on but that was not to happen. 

     After their return home from the failed trip, my grandmother developed a sudden onslaught of symptoms which caused her to go to the doctor.  As a result of testing they found she needed immediate surgery.  During surgery they discovered a fast growing cancer and on October 4th, 1970 my grandmother passed away.  Her death didn’t come easy for her as is the case with most cancers.  But with her papers, journals and pictures my grandmother left a legacy behind her of something that will never be lost.

     I’ve enjoyed sharing what I learned about her trip and I hope you have too.

Fillmore Herald: Jan 18, 1962 Article

January 18, 1962

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.

Home

December 29, 1961 – England

Washington Hotel, London, England – Rainy, very cold

     I woke up with a headache this morning so I turned over and went back to sleep.  Edith and I both slept late and crawled out of bed gradually.  When I saw the rain through the window and how cold it looked like again today, Edith and I agreed we were glad we didn’t have to go anywhere today so we could stay inside. 

     We called for room service and we ordered a light meal to tide us over till lunch.  All day we played canasta off and on, read and slept.  The medicine we took made us sleepy but it helped take care of our cough.  I also had to take some aspirin to help bring down my fever but Edith didn’t need to.

     I was sorry that our last full day had to be spent in the hotel room but I wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing anything anyway.  It was too freezing to go out and once again we’d been told the cold had created stoppages throughout London.  It was raining steadily throughout the day and when I watched it out the window I noticed it seemed to freeze as it hit the ground.

     Despite feeling sick Edith and I determined we were going down to the dining room for our final dinner before going home.  We ordered a bottle of champagne and toasted the success of our trip.  I had the prime rib and Edith ordered their grilled Salmon dish.  Our meal was very good.

     After dinner we returned to our room and got our luggage out to see how much packing there was to do.  Our flight home wasn’t until mid afternoon so I figured I would pack in the morning.

December 28, 1961 – England

Washington Hotel, London, England – Clear, very cold

     Edith and I got up early today to go sightseeing.  We dressed as warmly as we could and then went down to the dining room for breakfast. 

     Once breakfast was done I got a map of the area from the front desk so we could walk to see the nearby Buckingham Palace.  We had to wait awhile for the changing of the guard at 11:30am because I wanted to take some pictures.  The clerk at the front desk said that the temperature today was ten degrees above zero but because there was a little breeze it was much colder due to the wind chill.  Edith waited with me for a few minutes but decided she didn’t want to stay any longer and returned to the hotel alone.  I was cold too but stayed for the whole ceremony since I didn’t know if I would ever have another chance to see it.  I had a scarf over my head to protect my ears and that helped keep me warm.  After the ceremony I didn’t want to return to the hotel quite yet so I walked through Queen’s Park and enjoyed the exercise.  I enjoyed being here during the winter even though it made it cold for touring.  It was nice to be able to experience their change of seasons here.

St James Square with Guards

Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guards

Another View of the Guards

Third View of Changing of the Guards

Fourth View of Changing of the Guards

Fifth View of Changing of the Guards

Sixth View of Changing of the Guards

Queens Park during Winter

     By the time I got back to the hotel I thought I was coming down with Edith’s cold too because I was coughing and felt like I had a fever.  When I checked at the front desk to see if I’d gotten any mail I was disappointed that nothing was waiting but the desk clerk and I spent a few minutes visiting together anyway.  She told me that most sports events had been cancelled and many factories were closed down.  She told me that on the “tele” the news reported that homes all over the area had experienced frozen water pipes due to the shortage of electricity needed for heating.  The weather was very, very out of the ordinary according to her. 

     Edith and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in our room.  Both of us were feeling ill and didn’t want to do anything more than we had to the rest of the day.  We ordered room service for dinner but neither of us had much of an appetite.  We had requested several pots of hot tea and a few Irish coffees to come with our dinners.  Between the hot tea and Irish coffee I felt warm and relaxed when it came time to go to bed.  When I crawled into bed I was glad we had the extra heaters and I really hoped I felt better in the morning.

December 27, 1961 – England

Washington Hotel, London, England – Clear, very cold

     Edith and I slept very well last night and I woke up this morning snuggly warm.  We called for room service again today and I had my favorite – Eggs Benedict. 

     We had decided to do some shopping today since we didn’t have any tours although we thought we’d go see Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum if we felt okay.  Our hotel was centrally located so we were able to find numerous little shops selling a wide variety of things all within easy walking distance.  Edith and I were both interested in finding Wedgewood dishware so we tried to find shops selling it.  Once we found one store I bought a Wedgewood tea pot, a candy dish along with a cup and saucer as a Christmas present for Edith.  Edith in turn bought me a Wedgewood dish that was quite lovely as a present too. 

     As we continued shopping I was pleased when I finally found something for Liz Anne and Mike.  It wasn’t very exciting but I knew their mothers would appreciate the knit suits I bought for Liz Anne and the sweater for Mike.  I also bought some ash trays that I thought my brothers and Ray would like since they could always use a new one.   Ramona had given up smoking but Ray still hadn’t so I knew he would use them.  We took all our things back to the hotel and put them away.  By the time we made it back to the hotel it seemed like we had walked for what seemed like miles and miles today.

     After putting all our things away we left the hotel and found a little café to have lunch.  They specialized in soups and sandwiches and on a cold day that sounded very good to us.  Once we’d eaten we caught a taxi to go to the wax museum. 

     Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum was terrific and we really enjoyed it.  Seeing the movie stars, famous people and characters that all looked so lifelike was fascinating.  I especially loved John Wayne and the one of Marilyn Monroe.  The section on famous murderers and criminals called the Chamber of Horrors was grisly and I had trouble even walking through that section.  We were given a brochure with our tickets and after reading it I found the history on how the museum got started fascinating.  It also went over a little of how they made the wax look so lifelike and I found their ability amazing.

     We caught a taxi back to the hotel and returned to our nice warm room to clean up for dinner.  We determined that since we only had a few days left on our trip we would dress up and have a little celebration.  Edith and I settled on having steak and lobster as our entre. 

     Dinner was so good that when we got to our room both of us felt relaxed, fat and sassy but we played cards for a couple of hours anyway before going to bed.

December 26, 1961 – England

Washington Hotel, London, England – Clear, very cold

     I slept well last night but when we got up this morning I dressed quickly because our little heaters still left our room with a slight chill.  Edith and I ordered room service for breakfast again.  I decided to have hot oatmeal with butter, brown sugar and raisins on top while Edith went for eggs and bacon.  I’d decided not to make an issue over the taxi fare yesterday but Edith and I didn’t do a lot of idol chatting while we ate our meal.

     Today we went to visit a friend of Edith’s named Marguerite who lived in Guildford, Surrey.  They had known each other for a long time but hadn’t seen each other for several years.  The front desk told us that the electric train service was cut to a minimum today since it was Boxer day.  Today was as big a holiday as Christmas in England so all work was curtailed as much as possible.  There were no daily papers delivered, no flying, no mail, and no busses.  Only a few taxis were out.  Despite the warning though we prepared to go to the train station to travel to Guildford and meet Edith’s friend.  We felt grateful when the door man was able to get a taxi for us.

Regent Street

     As we traveled to the train depot the taxi driver told us that London was experiencing the coldest weather it had had for this time of year since 1892.  The temperature wasn’t expected to go above freezing all day and I wasn’t surprised to find that out.  Once we reached Guildford, we were grateful to see Edith’s friend Marguerite waiting for us at the depot with her car running.   Edith was very excited to see her friend.  Marguerite took us to a nice little restaurant she knew.  We spent the next few hours eating and visiting before she took us back to the train station at 4pm to catch the train back to London.  Edith’s friend had been nice to talk to and the afternoon had been very pleasant.  Once we reached London again we were fortunate to find a taxi nearby so we could get back to the hotel but traffic issues created problems so it took longer than expected to get there. 

     When the taxi pulled at the Washington Hotel I thought about walking off like Edith had the day before but decided not to play her game.  I pulled out my wallet and offered up half of the fare the driver quoted us plus a tip. 

     After we reached our room we decided to skip dinner because we weren’t hungry.  The maid had turned off our heaters so our room was extremely cold.  I called the front desk to see if we could have at least one more little electric heater and I thanked the nice young man who brought two up.  Once the heaters were going our room got very comfortable.

     I took a bath once our room was nice and warm and so did Edith.  Neither of us wanted to stay up late because we were too tired.

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