My sister wanted me to ride across the United States with her and her 2 year old daughter Donna because it is scary driving alone with a two year old. My life was in a shambles at that time and we all decided it was the best thing to do.
Before we left for the East Coast my father brought over a 6 pack of beer to the restaurant where I was working and we sat there and drank it after closing and got drunk together. We both opened our hearts and souls. I told him how I was mad at him for not writing to us kids when he was overseas in 1960 and mom was running around the town. He said he did write letters but never got any from us. Well we figured it out that mom intercepted all the letters. I forgave her for that and so did dad. It was a bad time for them but he stuck by her. What a man!! When I left we were fine with each other and he wasn’t angry with me for not getting married.
We planned to drive down the coast to Bakersfield then to San Diego to visit our Aunts, then over to El Paso Texas to visit our other Aunt, then on to Virginia Beach. We had a friend (Corky) that was transferred to Virginia Beach at the same time, so he said he would drive the same route that we did. (Kind of a like a protector/guardian). My parents asked that I didn’t tell any of the relatives that I was pregnant because it would embarrass them. Being a pregnant single gal in 1969 was not cool. We left Coupeville on Halloween 1969 and drove down to Salem Oregon to visit with our cousins, then on to Bakersfield. We had to stop at a motel on the way, so to save money we all stayed in the same room. It was rather awkward, as Corky was there and we all needed showers. We finally got the showers and jumped into bed and covered up when Corky took his shower. He came out and jumped in his bed and we saw him put a gun under his pillow. We giggled thinking he was afraid of us girls and needed protection from us!! We were driving into Bakersfield and about there is when we lost sight of Corky and never saw him again until we got to Virginia Beach. Just as well, he was kind of weird. We had a nice visit with Aunt Dutch in Bakersfield and Aunt Marjory in San Diego then stopped in El Paso and had a great visit with Aunt Peggy. Her husband was a Border Patrol there. She was involved with the garden club and other hoity-toity societies in El Paso. Her big secret was that she got married in a boxing ring!! Uncle Don was a middle weight in his early years!! The rest of the trip was interesting, and it was fun to hear the southern accents in the deep south!! We got to Virginia Beach and Mary Lou got an apartment a block from the beach. She got married in November to Jim Chandler and he was a good father and husband. He was very fussy when it came to cleanliness. I remember him making a big issue of putting a pull tab in the trash when it was left on the counter. I also remember once Mary Lou telling me about the time he was eating ice cream and started gagging and spitting it out in the sink!! She asked what was wrong, and he told her there was a bug in it. She said geeze, Jim, it’s a cherry!! HAHAHAHAHA
I got a job waitressing in a little Greek restaurant on Virginia Beach Blvd. The “Excellent Café”. The place was run by the Greek owners and only two could speak English. It was getting close to the Holidays so I convinced them they needed to decorate for Christmas. They let me go buy some decorations and we decorated a tree. They taught me how to do the “hanky” dance, and I had a lot of fun with them. They were really nice people. They “adopted” me and told me they would help me when my baby was born. I have always been blessed with good friends!! It wasn’t a sin to drink or smoke while pregnant in those days, but I didn’t drink much during the pregnancy because it made me sick. Well Christmas came and went and boy was I ever homesick!! I was 7 months pregnant and beginning to get worried about how I will survive supporting the baby and making the medical bills. I was talking with dad on the phone and we both started crying. Dad wired me the money for a plane ticket to go home the next day!!
I think it was December 27th when I flew home. I remember flying into Chicago and we had to prepare for a crash landing because of the ice and snow all over the runway!! The plane slid sideways but didn’t crash. WHEW!!
I got home safe and sound and my friend Barry picked me up at the airport and brought me home. I was welcomed with open arms and love!!
Tomorrow the next chapter in my life.