Just a month ago yesterday four-sevenths of our family (for now we are seven) set forth upon the new venture - the Great Adventure. I expected to write reams about the sights we saw and all the interesting experiences along the way. But after the first ten days of recuperation (it takes about that long), life here became so exciting that I forgot the column last week until it was too late. Isn't that awful? Well, if you will forgive me, I don't think it will happen again. Let's see, I left you somewhere this side of Amarillo. We drove all night, with just one thought - to beat that deadline for Virgil Jr. A little east of Holbrook, Arizona, in the bright morning sun, we saw the Painted Desert, with the beautiful colors of rock and clay, from which the Indians have taken their colors for pottery. A little farther along we came to the outskirts of the Petrified Forest, and saw the display of sections of trees turned to stone. The craftsmen have made many beautiful and bizarre vases, dishes, ornaments of all kinds from the strange "rock." It was that same afternoon, after we had passed Flagstaff and Winslow, that we ran into the worst rainstorm we ever encountered in our lives. We were out on the desert, apparently 100 miles from civilization. The roads began to fill up with water. Our old Hudson has a bad habit of stalling right in the midst of a water puddle. A certain guard is missing, and the water splashes up on the ignition wires. Charlie was driving. We were all a bit frightened. We were all shouting orders to Charlie, who was forced to stall his engine right behind a red truck. The truck driver was stalled, too. miraculously our engine started up again, but the truck driver's wouldn't. We hated to leave him behind on the lonely desert road. Our oil gauge showed leakage of oil. In a sort of panic we crept along for fifteen miles to the nearest repair station. The owner bade us wait until their expert mechanic would return. And who should the mechanic be but our friend of the deluged highway! He blessed the mechanic of Amarillo for allowing us to drive so fast after a new timing gear. That man worked on our car from 7 until 11 that night, and bade us stay down to 35 miles an hour the rest of the way to Long Beach. We set out the next morning, and soon hit the hot desert. Mrs. Bowman, who wrote of her motor trip to California, mentioned the Ute mountains, at the western edge of Arizona. She expressed it well. That narrow, winding road up the mountainside, with no guard at the edge, was really terrifying. Virgil Sr. said, "I'm glad we have no return ticket." We rested in Needles, Calif., and drove across the hot Mohave Desert at night. We visited Aunt Daisy in San Bernardino early Thursday morning, then on to Blaine's, at Temple City, where Knox joined us, and escorted us to Long Beach.
And what of life here in Long Beach? It is beyond our fondest dreams. The climate is all that we could hope for in this world, the home life ideal, the job steady and remunerative, the church life so inspiring and satisfying. What more could you ask for? Of course we miss our loved ones back home - and our two boys, both of them 1200 miles away, in the state of Washington; Virgil at Geiger Field, Spokane, and Charlie at Fort Lewis, Tacoma. Chuck left home a week ago last Monday, to visit his special pal, Bob Keller, stationed at the latter army base. He got a temporary job the next morning after his arrival, just to pay expenses, then 'phoned last Monday night, not to ask, but to demand our permission to let him accept a very good offer (financially speaking) as kitchen man in the officers' mess. Of course I was breathless at this end of the line, and while I was catching my breath, Chuck told me what all to send him - pronto. So that was that. Chuck and Bob plan to go to college together next year; if the shortest, best route lies via an army kitchen, that is all right with us.
Now back to Long Beach. It is a beautiful city, a shabby city in spots. They say it is a wicked city. Visiting the large churches here, filled to overflowing, I can hardly believe that. I guess it is like every other city in the world. It has its lights and shadows. It is a well planned city. The streets that run east and west are numbered. The main buildings, of beautiful design, are placed with perfect symmetry at the end of a main thoroughfare. There are no skyscrapers - out of deference, I suppose to Old Man Earthquake. But some of the hotels and banks and the main postoffice are quite pretentious. The highest is 12 or 13 stories. They all look so clean. No Pittsburgh or Cleveland smudge - or "smog," the newly-coined word for smoke and fog. We have the fog all right; all along the coast, early in the morning. But the bright sun soon dispels it. Now the beach. There the Long Beachites really have something. I cannot give you statistics yet as to the length of the beach, but I do know it is the smoothest and finest I have ever seen. The breakers within breakers stop the great surge of the ocean; and in the lagoon children may wade and swim with the greatest security; but west of the lagoon, even within the breakwater, the water rushes in to the beach in high waves. That is where Knox and Virgil and I love to go in. Of course Knox is a good swimmer, and Virgil is fair-to-middlin'. But, so far, I am afraid of the big ocean. It is much warmer than Lake Erie. The sun is bright, but it does not burn you as it does in the more moist climate. You feel like a million dollars after a dip in the ocean and a half-hour sun-bath. Until last Thursday, which was quite chilly, Knox has driven down here every Thursday, his holiday, to swim and soak up the health-rays of Old Sol. Now I must close for that awful deadline. Smoother writing next time.
Florence B. Taylor.
241 E. 10th St.,
Long Beach 2, Calif.
Next - 10/18/46 - More of Long Beach - Columbus Day, 1946
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