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Sun, May 25th - 11:45PM
Most Memorable Memorial Day
by Thelly Reahm © Tidbits of Time
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.
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
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
"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.
thinking up alternative plans to a camping trip. I could go to South Coast
Plaza....it 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
often....like 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
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.
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
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.
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
However, it was the most memorable.
back into the cobwebs of your mind...what was your most memorable Memorial Day?