• Fall Back

    by Jane Roland

    I have never thought of Halloween as a holiday, but this year it has stretched out for more than a week.  Yesterday at the shop we had little trick or treaters stop by for goodies, they were bedecked in colorful costumes.  Doc Holiday has embellished the shop with ghosts that sweep above us and create quite a stir.You will read this after the ghosts and goblins have returned to their lairs for another year and turkeys will be strutting their stuff (ing)…or tofurkeys, the choice of many.  Actually, Halloween has significance in my life. More than I realized.  When I was a youngster growing up on an army post we didn’t beg for treats, we tricked.  One such dastardly activity was to move the contents of a family’s basement to the house next door; we switched porch furniture to another home and once went into the BOQ and turned the dresser drawers upside down.  All seemed hilarious to us, not so much to those on the receiving end of the mischief .  Later, after moving to Tucson, we celebrated with parties, I really don’t remember trick or treat occurring until I was in high school and too old to participate (a fact ignored by many today).

    When my children were young I took great pride in the costumes I created (for the girls, more often than not, it was a gypsy, until they took command)…One year John had dug a hole in the front yard , determined to trim the roots of the large tree by the front door.  That hole was still there on Halloween and the children had great delight in turning it into a grave, with crosses and skeletons.   Five year old  Jennie wanted to be a ghost. She stepped outside the front door and after walking a few steps realized she couldn’t see, the sheet kept slipping, back into the house and transformation to a gypsy but with a broom.   In the comic strip “For Better or For Worse” this morning, I was mentally hauled back to the time when Jay begged to have a store bought costume.  He was fed up with his mother’s attempt at creativity. So there he was a super hero and proud as punch.  I thought he was far more effective when he wore my mini-skirted dress, boots and blond wig. A stylish young woman.

    Halloween probably had a great influence on my relationship and subsequent marriage to John.  We had known each other for a number of years. We met one summer when I was visiting Mother in PebbleBeach.  A mortgage broker by trade, on the weekends he traveled with the Dan Gurney auto racing team as a scorer. He promised  he would give me a call when next in Florida.  It didn’t happen.  Two years later an elderly friend called and said she was having a cocktail party and John Roland would bring me.  I had forgotten his name but was delighted to see the young man with whom I had spent hours years before discussing books.  We attended the gathering after which John and Tom Ehrman took me to the Mission Ranch for dinner.  At that point he invited me to a birthday party that was being hosted by Ken and Jean Ehrman at the end of July, I accepted with pleasure.  Time went by and he didn’t call.  I was annoyed beyond belief and when Bunty and Andy McFarland invited me to dinner I accepted and met a professor at DLI whom I greatly enjoyed.

    At that time my mother was not very well, she had been suffering heart problems for a number of years and was alone in the house on the hill.  Her best friend talked to me and suggested I return home.  On the plane back to Florida I told the “kids” that we would be moving.  “Oh, no,” cried Ellen “I can’t leave, what about my friends?  What about Cindy?”  “Don’t worry” said eleven year old Jay “you will make new friends”.   Once back in Miami, I gave notice to my landlord and employer, packed up the house, sent the furniture by van and piled everything and everyone including Mandy, our hamster, in the Karman Ghia and drove across the country.  It was a great trip, easy and comfortable.  We stopped early and visited friends along the route.  We arrived in PebbleBeach a week before Labor Day and soon were settled in a little house in Monterey.

    A friend called and asked me to a party and suggested I bring a date.  I wracked my brain, who could it be? I had been away for almost twelve years, my male buddies had moved away.  I thought of John who had stood me up.  However, he was attractive and pleasant (except for the breach of etiquette) so I called him.  We went to the party and soon began seeing each other on a regular basis.

    jane 11-1Where does Halloween fit in?  Well, here it comes.  On a Monday (bridge day) he called and asked if the children and I would be interested in attending the 49er game in San Francisco the following Sunday.  I was stunned; most of my beaus would do anything to avoid having the youngsters around.  John promised we would be home in time for Trick and Treat.  I was already impressed by the inclusion of the young in our trip. En route, I broke a fingernail.  My escort drove out of the way to a drugstore to get me emery board (thoughtfulness to which I was unaccustomed).  We got to the game, and John’s guests decided they could leave their jackets in the car, despite his urging to bring them.  At half time John trudged back to the car to get the garments as we erstwhile Floridians were freezing.  On the way home there was a crash in front of us, and we sat and sat while the “kids” fought in the back seat.  We arrived home too late for Ellen to join her friends. She was in despair until John said “I will take her” Off they went, my new hero, my little girl and our dog, Sophie.  Jay had already jumped into his costume, the aforementioned, mini skirt and boots and departed.  This was the time that I realized that this man might be a great addition to our household and on January 8, 1972 we were married.  Halloween is also the birthday of John’s brother, Jerry..shhh..we won’t say which one..Happy Birthday Jerry.

    This morning, our not so smart clock “fell back”.  It didn’t realize that date light saving time doesn’t happen until next weekend.

    Jane Roland lives in Monterey, with husband John and four animals..she may be reached at 649-0657 or gcr770@aol.com

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 31, 2013

    Topics: Animal Tales and Other Random Thoughts

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