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Mondays with Melitas – September 15, 2014

WHAT THE DOCTORS PRESCRIBED – PART 2                         SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

 

Last week I left you just as I escaped from St. Joseph’s Hospital, and after Dr. Currie had advised my family that I would need a great deal of rest, and a nice little vacation would be helpful. From the infection in the mastoid, my blood was registering anemic. Besides some medicine for the blood, he told Aunt Mae, a bottle of beer could do wonders for my blood, so a bottle a day would be the dosage.

 

We travelled down that highway – only 2 lane, one going one way, the second going opposite – this was before there was that 3rd, or middle lane, just for passing. Aunt Mae never did let any grass grow under those tires, and all the CHP guys knew her, and would just wave and smile. She never did get a ticket. The Cad at this moment in time was a 1929 big sedan, and sorta looked like a town car. I have a picture of it to show; it is only half the car – the top half. Sorry about that. Anyway, 60 miles an hour for a 60 year old lady careening down the highway was unusual, to say the least. While the Cad was registering 60 on the speedometer, the special speedometer in her head was also registering 60 — or maybe 90. I know by the time we reached San Juan Capistrano and drove up the hill to her home, she had plans all mapped out for fulfilling the Doctor’s advice. She was on the phone for about half hour or so, then came into the living room to announce that the vacation would commence in 3 days. “We will go to Long Beach where we will board a steamer for Catalina Island!!!!” I was languishing on the huge sofa because the wind had really been knocked out of my sails with that sojourn in the hospital, consequently I didn’t jump up all excited — I left that for Viv and Mom to join Aunt Mae in a “ring-around-the-rosy.”

 

A case of Miller’s High Life was delivered later that afternoon. All mine.

 

So there we were, Viv and I first time on a boat of any size. We were thrilled and kept hanging out on the bow so we could watch where we were going, and of course, one could see the destination – the Island the entire trip across the Channel. When we landed, we took a taxi to our lodging, and this part was really neat. Not a hotel, but a 2 bedroom little house which was so perfect for our stay. And here is something I remember about how we bunked. Aunt Mae and Mom took the room with twin beds — both might not fit in the double bed in the other room. Now, Viv and I in a double bed means bickering and establishing your territory which would always end in a spanking. This time, since I was puny, I acted very nice because Viv probably could’ve cleaned my plough. It would’ve made her day — even with the licking she’d get.

Avalon is not a very large place so we were only a couple of weensy blocks from the bay and shopping. We rested after the trip, and walked to the shopping area to have dinner. The ladies would cook several times during our stay when we didn’t want to waste time going out to eat, and we could get to our card games till bedtime.

 

The “Elder Lovelies” allowed us to go to the beach and wander around, but first Viv had to listen to the instructions, since she was now my “Warden” and be making me toe the mark. We would stretch out on the narrow little beach for awhile, then go for a soda or hot dog, back to the prone position again, then another little stroll. I couldn’t carry my prescriptioned bottle of beer around – we would stop off at the bungalow for me to take a few sips, then back to the beach. I would get wet, but only up to my waist — I was frightened about the ear.

 

After several days, I wanted to go see what that big, round, 12-story building was all about. It was called the Catalina Casino Building, not a building for gambling, but a building for entertainment. It was quite a walk out to that point – I had to get some strength back in order take that “stroll.”   We took a day to take a bus tour around the island, see the other side, and see another harbor; also the buffalo roaming. We were trying to see everything we could.

We were just doing what we felt like doing. When we went out to eat, we would go early, then take in a movie. That’s what I remember about that trip. Nothing on any schedule, and the four of us were very laid back. The Ladies did not have to yell at us 2 kids. “Queenie” was on her best behavior — still too worn out from the illness, and the “Little Angel” wasn’t bugging me.

 

We finally went over to the Casino to see what that was all about. It is SOMETHING else! Built in 1929. A huge ballroom, and I just read that the largest number of people was 6,200 people dancing to Kay Keyser’s band. Now if it were Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, I might join those dancers. Kay Kyser was not one of my “to die for” big bands. In all that space, there’s an art gallery, a theatre, a museum, and they run tours through there so you won’t miss anything.

 

That pretty much takes care of that little vacation, and after 2 weeks I was glad to be home — where I could just go out on the service porch at Aunt Mae’s, open the enormous refrigerator, grab my daily Miller’s and sip away.

 

That was the summer of 1930 — I was one sick, 12 year old. Now I will take you to the summer of 2014, and I am one decrepit, 96 year old sitting in my Dr. C’s (but not Dr. Currie — he’s long – gone,) and the Warden is there to listen to the results of my latest blood test, that’s in case the information enters my cranium, through one deaf ear, only to keep on going and out the other ear. I am still “a little” anemic, but now Dr. C has a very bright idea: “You know, beer (in moderation) can be very healthy for a person’s blood. So, Alba, you should stop at the market and pick up some beer that is made with wheat. We are going to try that for awhile.” A new Rx, whaddyaknow!

 

I didn’t ask what happens about my cocktail of preference. I didn’t go there. Because if she thinks I’m giving up the Don Julio — well, she has another think coming. With that, I will leave this machine, go out to #2 refrigerator in garage and grab a bottle of Bavarian Style Hefeweizenen Unfiltered Wheat Beer.

 

EPILOGUE. I probably worked the being weak and sickly overtime – getting lots of attention, and asking me how I felt every five minutes. I was really playing a “Camille” for all it was worth, and Viv and I were getting along just great, mainly because I was too weak to swat her one even if I felt like it. I think I was feeling quite magnanimous. We used to bicker and fight, but in this era of the getaway to Avalon somehow there was a huge demarcation of a change. As soon as we were in high school, we seemed to grow up, and we ran around in the same group of friends, leaving both of us with such happy memories.

 

The final end —-?

 

 

MELITAS FORSTER                                                   MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

 

 

1929 Cad. taken at Big Bear (one too many Hefeweizen?)

1929 Cad. taken at Big Bear (one too many Hefeweizen?)

 

Looking down on small town of Avalon.  HUGE Catalina Casino Bldg in background

Looking down on small town of Avalon. HUGE Catalina Casino Bldg in background

Catalina Casino Bldg

Catalina Casino Bldg

 

 

 

 

10 Comments to “Mondays with Melitas – September 15, 2014”

  1. LIKE I SAID BEFORE MELITAS , YOU HAVE A GREAT MEMORY TO REMEMBER SO MUCH IN DETAIL . YOU ARE A VERY LUCKY PERSON . MY MEMORY IS GOOD BUT NEVER LIKE YOURS . I TRUST YOU ARE FEELING BETTER . KEEP UP THE ” BEERS” AND LET ALBA HAVE A FEW I KNOW SHE LIKES BEER . TAKE CARE AND GOD BLESS YOU . HUGS TO YOU AND THE WARDEN . LATER

  2. Wonderful story…and I agree with Rebecca – a wonderful memory.

  3. Melitas,

    Reading your tales of Avalon, reminded me of my lst trip there. I was an intern at the VA in LA (back in 1960) and another intern and I got on the boat to see the sights. I had no idea the Casino has been there so long. Glad you reminded me of a happy time as well,

    Peg

  4. YOU CAN’T BE DONE!!!! IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE THE LAST ONE.

    YOU BETTER START REMEMBERING AND WHOLE PACK OF STUFF. OR HELL, MAKE SOMETHING UP. I NEED YOU
    TO KEEP WRITING SO THAT MY MEMORY WILL LAST A LITTLE BIT LONGER.
    I KNOW THAT MUST BE SOMETHING MORE IN THAT MIND OF YOURS.
    TELL THE WARDEN THAT SHE WILL HAVE TO REMIND YOU OF STUFF YOU DID THAT I’M SURE YOU CAN
    REMEMBER.

    MAKE ME FEEL YOUNG!!
    LOVE YA,
    JOAN

  5. What a wonderful story. Beer is good for you. When my Dad was sick the doc said have 1 beer a day it’s good for the blood. See, it did work for you, at 96 and still writing all these stories. I remember my first trip to Catalina. Now mind you if I went anywhere in a car I would have to hang out the window by my toes because I always got car sick and still do a little today. I can’t ride in the back seat. Anyway my first trip which was my last to Catalina the water was ruff and I was soooo sick. I went into the bathroom to throw-up and the ship took a dip or something landing me on the floor and I hung onto a poll for dear life while throwing up. What a mess I was hoping no one would come in. By the time we pulled into shore I was as white as the waves coming in. I would really like to see Catalina now because I know it has changed so much but I guess I would have to take one of those pills and a shopping bag with me. Keep up the good work and hope to see you soon.
    Love & Smackaroos,

    Vickie

  6. Dear Mena,

    What a wonderful vacation that must have been. I felt like I was there with all of you. (I wish I could have been)
    So, how are you liking the beer?

    I love you,
    Maxine

  7. Oh Melitas…..noone can weave a story like you.
    Maybe we can get Tammy to let you teach a class one day.
    luvit

  8. Miss Mel, love it, love it, love it! I am amazed at how you remember everything so vividly. It was a wonderful part of your life and I am happy you can remember it. Good luck with the beer treatment but don’t give up your Don Julio, that is what has kept you here so long. Love you and miss you!

  9. An absolute delight to read; you transported me to Catalina, but better yet: another time…. thanks.

  10. Melitas

    I’ve been to the Casino Bldg in Catalina and went on a tour. THey talked about how all the big bands came and played back in the 30s and this was the place tobe. It is a beautiful bldg. Luck for you, you got to see it in its prime,!

    BESOS,
    Jamie

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.


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