Last November I got a notice from the bank that their Freedom Years Club was going to California. The brochure claimed the tour of Los Angeles would include Hollywood with Barker and “The Price is Right,” “Dr Phil” and another show. That really didn’t impress me, but another possibility did.
I have always been intrigued by large bodies of water. When we went to Florida, I could sit for hours and watch the Atlantic Ocean and never get bored. A tour of Los Angeles would afford me a chance to see the Pacific Ocean.
I put the brochure in a safe place, which usually insures I’ll never see it again, but it kept swimming back up to the surface.
Then one day when it popped back up, I had some time on my hands, so I read all about it. It sounded pretty neat.
In addition to seeing professionals do a television show, we would visit the Getty Center Museum, the Chinese Theater, the Queen of Angels Cathedral, the Queen Mary at Long Beach and Santa Monica Beach, along with all kinds of other things.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that if I saw those beaches, I would finally see the Pacific Ocean.
One small stumbling block — I am now a widow. Whenever I took a trip before I was “we.”.My husband and I always took trips together. But on the other hand, I am a strong, capable woman, and the brochure said they would take care of all luggage handling, tickets, etc.
So I contacted the bank and made arrangements to go to Hollywood and to see the Pacific Ocean, alone.
Then I told my kids about my plans. They were almost too happy for me. I told myself they were happy because I would finally see that ocean. They did express some concern that I would be alone. I quickly told them they had to be 50 to join the club.
Shortly thereafter I ran into an old friend, my retired hairdresser, Evelyn. She is now a widow also, and she thought a Hollywood tour sounded like great fun, so she signed on too.
That made us a “double” and the price of the tour even better.
I don’t think Evelyn joining me soothed my children’s concerns about going alone. They’re well aware of what I can get into all by myself, and they tried not to think about what both of us could get into together.
However, they did take great delight in telling people that their mother was taking her hairdresser with her to Hollywood without explaining the hairdresser was paying her own way and we were part of a tour group.
Things were progressing rather smoothly, and then I fell on my knees in the ivy out front. The ER doctor assured me that even if I weren’t as good as new, I should be OK in six or eight weeks. Oops! There goes my trip” I thought.
I contacted the tour director, and she assured me that for senior tours they plan on wheel chairs. That was both comforting and disturbing but I didn’t cancel. Maybe I’d be all ready by then.
Finally, as the departure date approached, it was time to pack my suitcase. I went shopping in my own closet for clothes to wear in sunny California. My friends who live in the sunny Southland assured me that they wear the same colors we wear in winter in Ohio, Just lighter fabrics.
Going from cold Ohio to warm California could have posed a problem, but I was all set. I have a black raincoat that has a zip-in liner. I could leave Ohio with the liner in, take it out in California , and zip it back in to come home.
(To be continued)
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Jam. 24, 2006.