Kauai & California, 1993
Trip in the Sun with Betty and Casey
June 12-22, 1993
Album of 19 trip photos at http://flickr.com/photos/lewis_nolan/ (Scroll down to see small pictures with limited caption information or double click “Slideshow” at top right to see larger pictures with full caption info once captions are activated on screen instructions.)
(This posting updated July 23, 2008)
By Lewis Nolan
After lunch in
We finally found
our hotel/loge in
The travel agent
goofed again. The rate charged at the Chablis Lodge was higher than what we had
been quoted. The previous screw-up came when we thought we had arranged to pick
up a car in
We left the Chablis Lodge to drive the loop through the wine country. We learned that most wineries close between 4:30-5 p.m. so we didn’t have much time to stop and take tours. But we did make a stop at the Robert Mondavi Winery, which provided one of the better tours we remembered from our trip here 12 years ago. The roses planted around the winery and adjacent vineyards were beautiful. We were told that the vintners had learned that if the roses mildew, so would the grapevines. That led to them regularly spraying the vines with sulphur at first sign of trouble in the roses.
We drove most of
the loop and stopped at Calistoga for a snack and to buy a book for Casey. He’s
read three books so far on this trip – a total that surpasses the requirement
for summer reading made by his school. We cut through the town of
We ate dinner at Penguin’s, a Greek seafood restaurant. It was very nice.
Buzz and I took our
Reflections on Visits to Cemetery and Family
Tuesday, June 22, 1993 – From
I’m writing this
while waiting in the
The family trip to
While at East Lawn,
I also visited the crypt of my longtime friend Pete Siller, who was entombed in
a mausoleum following his death in
As long as I live, I’ll never forget what a good friend and jolly companion Pete was. We spent a lot of time together SCUBA diving, body surfing and living the controlled wildness of guys in their late teens and early twenties. It’s a terrible, terrible, heart-breaking shame that so many really good guys like Pete died for absolutely nothing.
After paying my respects at East Lawn, I picked up Betty and Casey at the hotel and drove to my brother Bill’s home not many blocks away. Bill, his wife, Anna, their daughter, Katie, and my other brother, Pat, awaited us and made us most welcome. There was a household of love, food, champagne and warm hospitality there for us. We visited with them for about 6 hours. We particularly enjoyed getting to know Katie, a blonde-haired, green-eyed charmer who was a pretty little girl with a lot of personality once she got past an innate shyness.
Katie seemed to take a great liking to her Aunt Betty, which pleased me a great deal. She also seemed thrilled by the hula skirt from Hawaii Betty had purchased for her. She treated us to some dance steps and twirls she had learned at ballet school. At age 5, Katie is obviously the princess of the family. It is clear that Bill, 42, and Anna dote on her.
Katie has a roomful of books and dolls. She delighted in showing her collection of doll accessories to Betty.
I asked Katie what her favorite book is and she quickly pulled out a collection of Dr. Seuss books. I let her choose a story for me to read to her and she selected one about a boy with a magic hat.
That evening, Bill
barbequed some steaks and Anna made some delicious side dishes and desserts. We
had a wonderful meal and evening at their home, making me all the more glad of
our decision to layover before returning home to
The next morning, I
took Betty and Casey to
The color of the two-story, stucco family home is now cream. The tudor, inset timbers are now slate blue. The color of the stucco had been white, with black timbers and trim when we lived there from the early 1950s until my mother’s death in 1985. The new owners have also added a circular, concrete walkway, central air conditioning, installed a door for the two-car garage and replaced the old screen porch to the rear of the house with a trellis/gazebo. It looks like a fine, contemporary house and brought back some bittersweet memories for me.
Chasing ghosts seems to be that way. I also chased some ghosts by driving Betty and Casey to the sites where my public schools were located – David Lubin Elementary, Kit Carson Junior High and Sacramento High. All have been razed and rebuilt by a boondoggle of a public works program some years ago that was designed to reduce the risk of earthquake injuries.
We also drove around the “Fabulous Forties” neighborhood where I grew up and knew so many people decades ago. We also drove by Sutter Lawn Tennis Club a few blocks away. I learned to swim at the exclusive, private club that once had a waiting list of several years from the prosperous, professional families who lived nearby. I taught swimming lessons at the club and coached a pretty good AAU-age group swimming team there in the early 1960s. My memories of my years at Sutter Lawn are rich. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are slightly remembered by my name on a trophy or two still in the clubhouse.
Betty, Casey and I were joined at lunch by my old swimming pool management partner, Bob Reid. In ways he hasn’t changed a bit over the decades and is still a fuss-budget with a great sense of humor. Unfortunately, Bob is back up to his heavy weight he carried when a young guy and is taking medication for it. He is still out of work (walked away from a big job as Commissioner of the Arts in California state government during a public spat over politics), but is hopeful that Gov. Pete Wilson’s administration – to whom he contributed $10,000 in campaign money – will find a place for him.
Despite his employment challenge, Bob is holding up well with his situation and is as cheery and as wise-cracking as ever. As with my brothers the evening before, Bob seemed to relish telling Casey about my own “hood” stage when I was a young teen. It was all in good fun and didn’t do any damage, but probably gave my son a different perspective of the kind of a guy I was long ago.
My brother Bill showed us his splendid photo album full of family pictures of our parents, of the three Nolan brothers at various stages of our growing up and the Nolan families. I’d never seen some of the photos and may want to take a closer look at some point in the future. I’m particularly interested in seeing if any of the old photos are of Lizzie Cottle Ford, my late mother’s mother who died so tragically young.
Tuesday, June 22, 1993 – To Napa,
After wishing Bob
and Bill and family all the best (Bob is temporarily living with his sister
pending a resolution of his unemployment situation), Betty, Casey and I drove
our rental convertible top-down from
We drove the “wine
loop,” a circular tourism route up Highway 29 from
This trip was a great way to spend our 25th Wedding Anniversary milestone. I’m looking forward to another happy 25 years and doing something special for our 50th Anniversary.