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Sun, May 25th - 11:45PM

Most Memorable Memorial Day

Memorable Memorial Day

by Thelly Reahm © Tidbits of Time


Hot-l Baltimore was a popular TV show at the time, so we nicknamed our last fixer-upper Hot-l Flamingo. It was a five bedroom monstrosity, on Flamingo Drive in Costa Mesa. We hardly needed that size of a house after all the kids were gone, but we didn't expect to be there very long.. We just saw a great opportunity to make money on the property because of it's deferred maintenance.

It was soon evident that Mary, our next door neighbor and Dick were going to be chummy. She was very into 'fixing things' and sought him out on a regular basis for advice on her many projects. She also kept very interested in what improvements he was doing to our house, including making a loft out of the fifth bedroom so that it overlooked the expansive living room.

Basically, I felt Mary made a lousy cup of coffee, she still had three children living at home, and a huge St. Bernard that drooled slimy stuff all over your shoes when you visited. She had been a registered nurse who postponed having her children 'til later in life and absolutely doted on everything they said or did. Plus, these people were original owner's making their house payments about $900.00 a month below ours. That was hard to take. All of these things discouraged my pursuit of any meaningful friendship with her. Besides, I fully intended to clean up this house in a hurry and head for Cardiff by the Sea. There would be no time for friendship.

"What do you want to do Memorial weekend?" I asked Dick over morning coffee.

"I thought we'd stay home," he answered.

"Stay home? We always go camping? Stay home?"

"Well the traffic is getting so bad on these long weekends, I think we should just stay home and be safe." It sounded like the end of a conversation to me.

I started thinking up alternative plans to a camping trip. I could go to South Coast would not be crowded because everyone would be out on the freeway. I could take my bike out on the trail of the Santa Ana River and go sit down at the beach. Maybe pack a picnic lunch. I was never at a loss for things to do, since "Go" was my middle name.

Memorial Day dawned bright and beautiful. We could hear the roar of traffic on Adams (which our house backed up to....another reason the price of it had been low!) as it was an approach to the San Diego Freeway.

We drove down to the corner to Denny's for a leisurely breakfast about 11:00.

"I think I'll work on that side patio when I get back," Dick said.

"That sounds like a good idea," I agreed, hoping the job didn't include me.

Later, I saw Dick leaning against the high side wall, looking up to the second story window of Mary's house. She was visible at the window of their daughter's bedroom.

They chit-chatted like that two ladies gossiping over the back fence. I had to admit this was unusual for Richie, since he had never really liked any of our neighbors before, but since Mary was a rather plain-Jane type, I didn't consider her to be any competition, and as I aged jealousy seldom reared it's ugly head.

I heard the St. Bernard barking on the other side of the wall, as I slid the window of Dick's office open to air it out.

Just then he raised his arms up and rested them on the top of the block wall.

I guess it spooked the dog to see just his hands over the top. Anyway, it leaped up to the top of the five foot wall and took a bite out of his dangling fingers.

Mary screamed as Dick spurted blood.

She came running over to our house to administer first aid. When she examined him, she realized that he would have to go to the hospital for stitches. The gashes were deep.

Emergency rooms are not the greatest place to spend Memorial Day. Between Freeway accidents, family disturbances, beach rescues and drug overdoses it was a zoo.

Four hours later we emerged from Costa Mesa Hospital. Dick's hand was useless for anything for weeks, as the umteen stitches began their healing process in the four fingers that were involved.

So much for a safe and sane Memorial Day weekend off those dangerous Freeways.

However, it was the most memorable.


Think back into the cobwebs of your mind...what was your most memorable Memorial Day?

Write on,

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