Monday, August 28, 2006

COLLEGE BREAK, 1952...First trip to California



When I was between my Sophomore and Junior years in college I spent the summer break in California. A classmate and I traveled there from Massachusetts by Greyhound and I will never forget that long, l-o-o-o-ng bus trip. There were many stops but only two of them gave us enough time to shower and wash our hair.. Gayle and I decided we’d “beat the system” and save 25c in the bargain. . We crowded together in one booth…vying with each other for every drop of precious water. The only problem was that the booth had a door that reached only half-way to the floor & the attendant saw our four legs. We ended up paying the full price after all!

The trip took 5 days and by the time we landed in Los Angeles our ankles had swollen to twice their size and we could hardly walk. We were met by my beautiful slim sister and her handsome Danish husband. They looked like an advertisement for the good life in California, as compared to us, the pasty complexioned and fat relatives from the East.

An active day or two got us back to our normal selves, however, and we did manage to get jobs as waitresses in the historic Pierpont Inn, in Ventura, overlooking the ocean. (In the photo that’s Gayle (on the left) and me in our waitress garb.) It was hard work. We were taught to carry the big trays, loaded with food, balanced on our shoulder. By the end of the summer my right arm was actually larger than the left. But, the ambience and the clientele were delightful and the tips were plentiful…enough to enable us to fly home!.

A memorable Pierpont moment was the night that I had Rory Calhoun as a customer. The Pierpont was often visited by celebrities but it was seldom that I had a chance to wait on them…they were usually assigned to the older waitresses. Rory was dressed in his usual outfit…white cowboy boots, white pants & fancy white shirt. I emphasize the “white” because it was hardly that after I spilled chilled gazpacho on it. I tripped and upset a whole tray of the tomato-based soup into his lap. What a gentleman he proved to be. He insisted that I remain as his waitress and left me a huge tip!

That was truly a magical summer…hard work, sun, sand, ocean and my first chance to explore this amazing country of ours.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Claude said...

Those looooong bus trips!
I remember a trip from Champaign, Ill to New Orleans that took forever.
But in those days, I didn't mind so much. It was fun looking at people and I particularly enjoy the stopovers.
A good story and great photos, Ginnie.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

What a great story! I really enjoyed it. I just love it when blogers do this...take us right back in time with them, and you do it so well.
Wasn't that out of the ordinary for two college girls to travel across country together in 1953? I have a feeling you were quite the trend setter. What a wonderful opportunity for you! Most women in '53 were settling down to become housewives, so I think it's so neat that you were quite the savvy college student. Great story about Rory Calhoun....lol
OH and.....how did flying in 1953 compare with NOW? I'd be very interested to hear about this....how long was the flight back then? Was the plane crowded? I know it was considered quite the "luxury" to fly in the 50's. I'd love a blog on this.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Terri, you've piqued my memory. We took a trip up to Solvang and then up to San Francisco and visited a friend of the family's and then flew from there. I will try to recall it all in a blog for you. Thanks for the comments.
Claude, I enjoy people watching even today...one of my favorite pastimes.

3:49 PM  
Blogger saz said...

I forgot about Rory Calhoun! So handsome and nice to know what a kind man he was in real life!

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

Your story caused me to recall how many times I had traveled by bus. We forget that it use to be a fairly common mode of transportation.

Always was a fan of Roy Calhoun myself. He was a cool guy - at least in the movies.

4:01 AM  

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