Saying farewell to Virginia and Keith in Carmel... and we head off to see ... America! In our Falcon Station Wagon and not in Tabitha our London Taxi, she is resting quietly at Newport Beach in Sydney Australia... quietly waiting for our return :-)
Same driveway today but unfortunately no Virginia or Keith.
Our first day on beautiful 'Highway 1' and not far out of Carmel we hit a traffic jam near Half Moon Bay.
Below Half Moon Bay today from Google.
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
The parks in San Francisco are enormous and such fun, lots of cars as well.
This is Willard and Carol Coursey, they were friends of a chap who's mother volunteered at the Carmel Hospital with Virginia, Virginia was all out finding young people for us to meet and she certainly hit the Jackpot here. We loved Carol and Willard, saw them often, our two girls have stayed with them in America and their oldest daughter has visited us a couple of times.
Willard looking out on Ghirardelli Square.
Some of the machines... would make a better picture in colour wouldn't it!
Willard ordering up for us.
Willard and I are forever known as Butch Coursey and the Sundae Kid!!
1315 Elston Drive, San Bruno. We met up with Louis and Sheila often in California, we'd first met them in Belgrade last April when they were travelling around Europe in their V.W. Combi Van which they bought back to the U.S. and seen here in this photo behind our Falcon.
From Google Maps - I think this is the same house as the one above but the numbering of this street has changed. Louis and Sheila don't live here anymore.
Oh dear what a debacle, it seems the International Date Line beat us, as Tuesday, 10:30am your end is Monday 6pm this end * - so we were out seeing some friends at Pacific Grove. I blame myself, for not checking closely, and blandly assuring you Tuesday 10:30am Aust. = Tuesday 6pm Carmel. But it doesn't, so; However I hope Keith was communicative - he later seemed pleased to have had the chat. (He is as undemonstrative as any Amphlett, very like Colin (Keith's younger brother) as I remember him, in manner, if not in interests.)
While we socialized in Pacific Grove that night, the E A R T H T R E M O R hit us --- I thought at first it was just a truck passing, then as it increased I had visions of the truck trying to get through the walls of the house (wooden), then things started falling, we bounced up and down, the cat screamed and rushed outside, then in about 10 seconds, it was all over. Everybody came out of their houses, to see if anything has collapsed I guess, swapped notes briefly and that was it. Pennie didn't like it one bit, I found it rather exhilarating, real Luna Park stuff! **
Thanks for your many enclosures - Canberra Times cuttings, rowing notes and Brussels letter; therein lies a tale, you said in your latest typed letter that the tram roll arrived ages ago, and you were sure you'd told me: you did indeed, in the Brussels letter! So I got information and confirmation in one mail bag, but not before I'd sent off an appeal to S.P.E.R. for another one if they possibly could, and yesterday came a letter from them saying they'd forward another, and maybe the first one had gone astray in the post, but that they had sent it!! So expect another mysterious round parcel. I only hope they are the priceless originals I gather them to be! ***
Keith and Virginia were staggered, as were Pennie and I, by the visage of the new A.G. (David's younger brother) in the Iron Man Race - what a hero, as the phraseology of Canberra High in the 1950's would have it. He's certainly become a redoubtable all-rounder, definitely the success story, I feel quite unequal by comparison.
Pennie and I are lately proud owners of yet another car --- we got a 1961 Falcon Station Wagon for $225, in excellent shape, to use as a mobile home during September when we plan to see Canada ( as far as Vancouver) Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, etc. and any other Western States that sound interesting. We thought of renting a V.W. camper, but at $680 a month, down the drain, we reckoned to do it far more cheaply this way, especially as we can resell it for nearly as much (we hope) before we leave.
Our hopes of a reservation on the 'Himalaya' on (October 24th, were dashed - she is booked up already, but we are on a waiting list for cancellations, and Aileen Drury's excellent travel agent is working hard on our behalf to obtain alternative transport, leaving about the same time, maybe a Matson Freighter. Will let you know the outcome, and estimated date of arrival in Australia of course when something crystallises.
Went to Ann Blinks at Santa Cruz yesterday, she is super as you know and their mountain retreat (they have another, bigger house in Monterey) is a dream. We had Charcoal broiled chicken and corn on the cob for lunch, then swam in the 40ft pool, overlooking pine-covered mountains, canyons, and in the far distance the ocean. She apparently was a shadow of her real self when in Australia, due to thyroid inactivity, and according to Virginia is now her former power-house self after going onto thyroid pills recently. She swims every day, frequently belts 50 miles to Monterey to see her sheep and of course does a lot of woolen milling and instructing in same. Lawrence (husband, who wasn't there, he currently works at the Uni in Monterey) has a Harpsichord, or rather a virginal I would say, which he planned to learn, but never got around to it, so Virginia has her eye on it. I was thrilled to see one, and am so taken I actually feel I could learn to play one, despite my most un-musical career (as a maker of music that is) Maybe we can look forward to family flute**** and Harpsichord recitals. This one was built fairly recently in the U.K. and cost the Blinks $700, second hand, which isn't so cripplingly expensive as I would have expected.
Maybe by now you've viewed 'Tabitha' the Rodds did a fabulous job of taking delivery, getting her going etc. --- I hope they had enough out of the £80 I sent to cover all expenses - luckily though a vast number of necessary phone calls which Mrs Rodd made were courtesy of the P.M.G.! Maybe you can arrange a clandestine run around the block, if it appears advisable. Don't for heavens sake tell her about our Falcon - she could take it very badly! Keith of course has financed all our operations in the U.S. - I hope the eventual sale of the Falcon, after some restorative work on the paint, will return some sort of profit which we can employ as spending money, to pick up particularly a good tape recorder in duty-free Fiji, if our final home-travel booking includes a stop there.
Pennie is currently involved in a huge programme of knitting and sewing. She produced a cardigan made of Icelandic wool, in a real Fair-Isle pattern for Virginia (at the latters request) and it surprised all by the excellence of it's production; she has also altered several of Virginia's made but never worn skirts, etc. to her own requirements and they look great, the materials being very attractive ones. She is now tearing up an old cardigan, straightening the wool by wetting and drying, to re-knit it into a jumper or skirt, she doesn't know yet.
Pennie and Virginia get on fabulously, swapping tales of woe about their ghastly husbands. Virginia suddenly told Pennie yesterday why no children. She was 5 months gone, almost all of it spent in bed and had to have a hysterectomy to save her, but says she was greatly saddened at the time, although now not at all regretful. This was as we sat by the pool at Ann's, Virginia herself swimming and me jumping in and out of the water, appearing not to listen.
We are gradually becoming one big happy family on the Peninsular, the friends I mentioned in Pacific Grove, we met at the house of the Falcon's former owners. They (not the Falcon sellers) are young marrieds, she of an Australian mother, and recently resident in Woollahra, and he the son of Frank Meyrose a hunting pal of Keith's. Virginia had been trying to arrange for us to meet them for weeks, when of all coincidences they turned up just as we took delivery of the Falcon, quite unaware who we were. They are about to go touring to Canada, in their V.W. camper bus. We also called the other night on the Bells, who own the Austin Taxi in Carmel, and had a lovely time chatting about life in the U.K. and earned their gratitude by fixing up their meter so it worked, with all the trimmings like the 'For Hire' sign going on and off appropriately, as to the position of the meter flag.
Well we are nevertheless dying to get home and begin life in Australia, so to speak, and are eagerly awaiting results of the travel agents hunt. This is all, so as to leave some room for the enclosures.
Much love, David.
P.S. Thanks for the family letter - I'm sorry Andrew feels left out of communications, it's just that I guess we feel any letter to Dominion from us is directed to all Griffiths' - to send letters in quadruplicate would serve little purpose - we have a colossal correspondence, what with U.K., U.S.S.R., U.S.A., and all our friends in Australia. So to mollify feelings I guess this should be headed 'Dear Dad, Mum, Andrew and Julia.' and read as such!
Christmas (K&V) suggestions: Australian Food Hamper, including tins of Arnotts Biscuits. Yes Kangaroo belt for Keith, also, SAGO, he loves it and can't get it here. Or even moleskin trousers for Keith, same size as Dad or A.G. or average of the two. Virginia loves mine.
* Those were the days LOL trying to work out a time to call someone overseas, you had to make a date and a time but as you can tell by the above incident you have get your times correct.
** What David omitted here was that our friends, Doug and Sandy Meyrose, had some marijuana and had passed one around, I'd just had my first and only puff when the earth shook LOL
*** They are indeed! And much loved by everyone in our family.
**** David's young sister was learning to play the Flute.
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsular, California.
To: Mrs M. E. Griffiths, Dominion Circuit, Deakin. ACT. Australia July 1970
Virginia works in the cafeteria (tuckshop, kiosk, etc) every second Thursday. We are just getting our custom-mixed milkshakes.
We've just been roaming Monterey, shopping for a $200 station wagon, some shoes for Pennie at Macey's, a present from Virginia (the shoes, not Macy's). Tonight we call on the Bells in 15th Avenue, who own a 1958 London Taxi. I hope to help them obtain a front mudguard from the U.K. to replace their rusty one.
'Himalaya' (Oct 24th) is booked up, but agent is trying for us.
Hurray... we have our own car, a Ford Falcon station wagon.
Parked in the driveway of our cottage.
A trip to the Monterey County Fair.
Gosh I don't think you would see this sort of stand in an Australian Fair, or an English one. Aileen, Keith and Virginia friend who had picked us up in San Francisco was interested in the Republican Party and Ronald Regan.
Virginia was certain that David looked just like one of his Ancestors, the Artist Albin Martin*. Much to David's distress she dressed him up a bit and posed him in the same pose as the self portrait below.
David does not like this photo of him at all and thinks he looks nothing like his Great Great Grandfather... what do you think?
There is a smiliarity isn't there.
I on the other hand look nothing like either of them :-) but as you can see in these three photos I'm always doing something in the knitting or sewing line.
I'm knitting away while standing with Liz and chatting to Virginia below.
*Mr. Albin Martin
Old Colonist, was born at Silton, Dorset, England, in 1813, and was the second son of the Rev. Harry Martin, rector of Silton. He was educated at Salisbury Grammar school, and completed his studies at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he became acquainted with Sir George Arney, afterwards Chief Justice of New Zealand. Being fond of art, Mr. Martin proceeded to London to study under John Tenniel, and afterwards studied at Rome, Naples, and Florence. In 1851, Mr. Martin sailed for New Zealand in the ship “Cashmere,” Captain Pearson. On his arrival in Auckland he took a farm in the East Tamaki district, and cultivated it until 1882, when he retired to Ellerslie. During the Maori war of 1861–66 Mr. Martin joined the Otahuhu Royal Cavalry Volunteers, under Colonel Nixon, but did not proceed to the front. He took an active part in politics, and was elected a member of the Auckland Provincial Council. Mr. Martin was one of the principal promoters of the first Art Society in Auckland, and was for some years its treasurer and also a vice-president. He was a member of the Auckland Anglican Synod, and was one of those who were instrumental in establishing a church at Ellerslie. Mr. Martin died in 1887.
Keith and Virginia had another cottage further south than the one at Dolan and Big Sur, we were lucky to be there when the fog lifted... just look at this for a view, looking north towards Big Sur.
Sunset at Partington Ridge.
Keith's sheep. Keith took his wool to Ann Blinks (mentioned in an earlier post) Ann spun then wove Keith's wool then Virginia made Keith a sports jacket which he wore with great pride :-) I wonder if I will find a photo of it soon.
I can hear Keith saying.... Oooohhhh.... Veeeerrrrgiiinnnna! LOL Virginia playing around pretending to be an Indian Squaw.