California Memories

A collection of memories from a trip I made to California back in 1997. "One minute I was just a normal wife and mother of five, the next I was flying 5000 miles across the world to meet someone I knew only by virtue of an online writer’s club."

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    The Final Countdown

    The final instalment from memories of my lone trip to California in 1997 Standing on The Golden Gate Bridge, we must present an odd sight by anyone’s standards. I am trying not to look like a typical tourist but am failing miserably as I point the camera and exclaim at the views.  My friend clutches the straw hat to her head in an act of desperation, lest the wind snatch it from her and send it flying across the bay. Her skirts have given up and billow in the wind. Annie is wearing full make-up and high heels, making her tower head and shoulders above me. I feel very under…

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    San Francisco Bay Area – just another day

    More memories from my lone Californian trip of 1997 – This morning, a blue sky opened above me, clouds rolling away to reveal a shiny new sun. Just another day on this crazy holiday I have chosen to take. I am sitting here, alone in the back garden ostensibly reading but really, just sitting and thinking. I woke this morning with a real urge to pack my bag and head for home. It isn’t that I am not having fun. It isn’t that I am not constantly amazed by what is going on around me. It isn’t even that the woman I am travelling with happens to be a bi-sexual,…

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    The Silverado Trail – fame at last?

    The chauffeur continues to smile at us and I nod politely. Annie is striding ahead. I am aware, as we continue our walk, that to anyone glancing out of the restaurant windows, it would appear that Annie and I have just stepped out of the stretch limousine and that the chauffeur has just tipped his cap to us. Maybe we could pass for celebrities of the more eccentric kind. I grin as we mount the restaurant steps.

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    Dress this way…

    More memories from my lone Californian trip of 1997 There was the night when I was staying in the house and Annie’s trailer flooded (the result of an out of control hose-pipe rather than the weather).  Annie must also sleep in the house. Let me take you there. I sense her mother is not happy with this arrangement. This is more than a sense really. As I prepare my own sofa bed and Annie prepares hers across the room, her mother, about to go out on her night shift, walks in and looks horrified. “What are you doing in here?” she asks of the hapless Annie. Annie shrugs. “The trailer…

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    The Grand Ole Oprey House

    More from my lone Californian trip of 1997   I cringe in my seat as Annie leaps to her feet (strangely agile now that ‘Timewalk’ is playing) and proceeds to stamp up and down with the best of them. We are in the ‘The Old Oprey House’ in Los Gatos. It was Annies aunt’s idea to come here. I haven’t mentioned Annie’s aunt before so here is as good a place as any. Annie’s aunt Rose lives in Santa Clara. She is a lovely lady and welcomes me into her house with open arms – literally. I receive the biggest bear hug imaginable as I walk through the door. Keen to…

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    ‘Roaring Camp and Big Trees’

    More from my lone Californian trip: 1997 The drive to Henry Cowell State Park is quite spectacular. Yes, the scenery is pretty amazing but I am not referring to that. As we drive along Highway 17, towards Santa Cruz, in the rising heat of the day, Annie suddenly feels the need to remove her jacket. “Hey Deb, grab the wheel,” she instructs. “Excuse me?” “The wheel – just grab it and keep us straight while I take this off,” There is no time to refuse, the coat is coming off. Leaning to my left, I grab the wheel before it can spin out of control and hope for the best.…

  • California Memories,  Living Between the Lines

    Head for the Hills! Meeting Grandma

    More from my lone Californian Trip of 1997: Part one – the computer store There is one thing I forgot to mention about my new friend Annie. Since inviting me to stay, she has become aware of a problem with her hip. She assures me she can walk. She just can’t walk long distances. She doesn’t see this as an issue and refused to let me delay my trip just because of it. I first realised it may actually be a real issue a day or two ago when we paid a visit to a local computer store. Annie jumped out of the Van and headed off towards the entrance.…

  • California Memories

    The Tomb of Dolls

    Location: San José The house is low slung and shaded by trees. A couple of rickety chairs sit on the porch and a cat gazes at us with lazy eyes from the shallow roof, as we walk up to the front door. I have been told a few things about Annie’s mother. I know, for instance, that she works nights at the hospital. I know that she has remarried and that Annie’s stepfather is retired and around the house a lot. I also learn that Annie is living in a trailer in the garden at the moment being ‘between homes’. I am however, totally unprepared for what meets me as…

  • California Memories

    Would I do it all again?

    Sometimes we surprise ourselves by taking a leap into the unknown. Sometimes life throws up an opportunity too good to resist. It happened to me in 1997. One minute I was just a normal wife and mother of five, the next I was flying 5000 miles across the world to meet someone I knew only by virtue of an online  writer’s club, by myself. Ok, I know having five children is not classed as strictly ‘normal’ but you get the picture. What possessed me to do such a thing? Heaven only knows. The opportunity arose and with the encouragement of my husband, I took it. To be truthful, when I…