Thursday, October 13, 2005

26 miles across the sea...

I've never been to Catalina. Nearly 62 years spent just 26 miles away from it and I've never been there. It has something to do with my aversion to boats and small airplanes... now if I could DRIVE there... Notice, if you will, how the coastline of Catalina looked in those days. Reminds me of Hawaii at about the same time.

My mother was married in 1938. She was 18 and my father was (shockingly) 26. He met her at a party at the boarding school her mother put her into because the new husband really didn't want children. Mom was with her sister, though, and at least they had that friendship and family. I never liked my mother's mother very much. She wasn't a BAD person, she just wasn't a very good one... Anyway, Dad fell head over teakettle for Mom, and adored her forever, and she just loved him right back. They honeymooned in Catalina. The picture shows Mom on some dock. She looks adorable if a bit gaunt, and apparently she was, as she spent the next few months in and out of the hospital here with Diphtheria, or so we've been told. I found a bunch of bills that Dad paid over those months, and he never seemed to think he'd gotten a raw deal... a REALLY sick wife, or at least there are no signs that he tried to turn her in for a healthier model...

There were hospital bills for July ($9 a day, .25 cents for juice, .35 cents for a tube of cold cream, nembutal, .50 cents) August, for a couple of days, and then the capper; 6 days in the hospital in August. The total bill for that was $68.76. My father had to pay it off in installments. The doctor bills were for things like office calls ($3) Hospital calls ($5) and HOUSE CALLS ($5)... imagine. He also got a very POLITE letter from the county of Los Angeles reminding him that Mom had spent some time in the County Hospital in the 'communicable diseases ward', and he would, of course, want to repay the taxpayers of the county "as soon as circumstances permit'.. whoooaaaa!. It was a hell of a start to the marriage, that's for sure. There had been a huge diphtheria outbreak not too long before that, and they kept mom in the 'communicable diseases ward' in hopes that she wouldn't start another... poor Mom. Dad was a charmer, all of his life, and he snuck in to see her whenever he could.

but I don't think they ever went to Catalina again... (grin)


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