• An Excellent Adventure

    by Jane Roland

    The year was 1995; Jennie graduated from UC Santa Barbara, Ellen and Shawn were marrying in September and John’s niece, Tracy, tying the knot in New

    Jersey.   We were attending the nuptials in June and decide to combine it with a graduation trip for our youngest.   Early in the year we perused activities in New York City during that period.   New Yorker magazine provided a wealth of information.  Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close had opened, Miss Saigon was still running.  There was a wonderful package that included meals at places such as The Russian Tea Room.  Our friend, Suzi Mattmiller, a travel agent, found a reasonable hotel across the street from The Waldorf.  We ordered our tickets for Miss Saigon and asked Jerry (John’s brother, Tracy’s father) to pick up good seats for us for the other.  We packed carefully for many events, I placed all of our tickets in my tote bag and off we went.   When we reached The Big Apple we took a limo into the city and settled into The Beverly Hotel.   After a time we decided to embark for dinner at a nice little home style Italian Restaurant recommended by Ann and Andy Simpson.  I looked for my tote bag, and then I looked again.  Everyone looked; it was not to be found.  John called the airport.   It was an unavailable telephone number (except for ticketing) he was directed to a hub which had no human.   When it became apparent that we were accomplishing nothing, we started out for the restaurant in a taxi.   After we passed St. Patrick’s four times, it was obvious that our driver either didn’t know where he was going or was scamming hapless tourists.  It was finally made clear that we were not happy and, eventually, were dropped at our destination.

    jane monetAs the place didn’t accept reservations (we would have been late anyway) we sat in the bar for a time, then at a table where we enjoyed a wonderful meal.  We ate more than usual, as we had left San Francisco early in the day and had not eaten since the morning.  Replete we asked for the check.  They did not accept credit cards.  This was a semi disaster, the traveler checks had been in my bag and none of us had much money.  We managed to scrape enough together to pay the bill and leave a little tip.  We were tapped out; no one had a dime, so we walked.  It was one of those nights in New York, light rain and lightening flashing between the buildings followed by a gentle roar of thunder.  About three blocks from the hotel we spotted a quaint little bar across the street and hurried to take refuge and assuage our despair.  The minutes tuned into a few hours.  We made many friends and by the time we went “home”, our sorrows were greatly diminished.

    The next morning, John started calling the airlines.  He had no success.  Jennie and I decided to leave him the problem and hit a couple of Museums.  I was happy to introduce her to Monet’s Waterlillies at MoMA and marvel at Calder’s mobiles.  When we returned to the hotel, John was not there, we waited, wondering what we were going to do.  That night we had a six o’clock reservation at Sardi’s and the play across the street at 8:00 PM.  My husband rushed in and said he was awaiting a call. When the call came through, it was a United Agent in San Francisco. John had gone to The Broadway Theatre to see about replacing our tickets, no such luck. On the way back to the Beverly he stopped at a United office and told them our plight.  The young woman was most sympathetic and said she would see what could be done. She followed through and our bag was in San Francisco; it had flown back to “the city” and found by maintenance people who turned it in. “Can you be at the Newark Airport at 4:30; our Mr. Lindsay will be flying in and can bring your bag which you can pick up at lost and found”. Needless to say we promised to be there.  Jennie declined to accompany us so we rushed off to Port Authority, zipping past the seamy part of Times Square that existed in those days. When we reached Newark, we waited and waited and waited some more, the plane was delayed.  Jennie was going to Sardis at 5:30, it was nearing 5:00 and there he was our savior.  We rushed to Lost and Found, he handed us the bag “What may I give you?” asked John.  “Not a thing, it was my pleasure” and he disappeared, an angel in the mist.

    jane taxiWe made it back to Times Square and ran to Sardis.  John, fortunately, was dressed for the city and looked natty in his dark blazer and tie.  His wife, on the other hand had worn summer clothing for early morning touristing in the dead of summer, an off the shoulder, flowered (gasp) sun dress and sandals.  I sat there in the restaurant wanting to hide under the table as I viewed the smart women in their black dresses, proper heels and jewelry.  Jennie, also beautiful in black, on the other hand, was on the top of the world.  During her hiatus while awaiting us she had charmed the waiters and maitre d and been treated to a tour of the fabled eatery.  We saw the musical, enjoyed it not so much.  We topped off the evening with a nightcap at Sardis.

    The next day, Jennie and I were treated to a “ladies” luncheon, hosted by Tracy and her mother, Ann, at The Tavern on the Green in Central Park.  That night was our dinner at The Russian Tea Room.  Thursday we had lunch with our friend, John Gingrich, near his offices off Columbus Circle.  John is a theatrical agent for classical music performers. On our way to meet John, our taxi.

    John Gingrich made arrangements for a fellow parishioner to drive us over to New Jersey and to the Marriott where we were staying.  He was a darling man, but as unfamiliar with the area as we. We drove along the turnpike passing the hotel many times.  We arrived finally and met with the rest of the Roland clan.  There was a dinner that night for the wedding party and Jerry and Ann’s siblings.  The wedding the next day was beautiful, Tracy was a gorgeous bride.  The next morning a breakfast at Jerry and Ann’s and took a long cab ride back to JFK and home…  We can call the trip “Jennie, John and Jane’s Excellent Adventure.”

    posted to Cedar Street Times on September 19, 2013

    Topics: Animal Tales and Other Random Thoughts

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