70. Loving Favour Delivered Into Our Home

Once we were settled into our 20th Street home, the first thing I wanted to have done was get my wife set up with an Obstetrician.  Time to use that excellent insurance I protected and worked for.  We went to this first appointment together.

The doctor we were hooked up with was very patient and kind.  After the initial check-up, a clean bill of health and approximate due date given for the end of May, he provided Diana a prescription for prenatal vitamins along with simple advice.

The doctor also handed her list of sensible nutrition (for what was known to be ‘best’ at the time) for the mother and baby’s most favourable health and the to-dos & the no-dos at the various stages of pregnancy.

I continued working happily at the Hotel Miramar making good money still, that wouldn’t change and Diana was happy, glowing and taking great care of herself and our baby.  I’d come home in the evenings and spend some time talking to the baby, waiting for it to start kicking … one day he did and it was full go after that!  

Hopeful for a sononce again.  

Our joint excitement was mounting tremendously!  Diana had everything ready that she could think of so that our child’s arrival and new life would begin in the greatest comfort and surrounded by all the love in the world.

Ralph and Doris were right here all along helping out.  Now they were also ready to greet and become a part of our child’s life.  Other than my Indian side of the family, we were almost complete. Diana’s mother and sister were still out in the Midwest with definite plans to move out here by the end of the year.

My Diana was a great writer and very good at providing regular, very detailed letters to my family back in Fiji.  She’d tell them everything and I knew they weren’t feeling too left out!

They’d wait patiently and anxiously (if it is possible to do both at the same time) for news from California – just as we’d await news from them.  Their love and support of my new family was very much felt by the both of us.

What a whirlwind of emotions I experienced as the time of arrival drew closer.  Imagine … I’d have sudden thoughts in anticipation, reflections from my previous engagement with fatherhood.  

I told myself this time it would be different; everything about this child’s arrangements (save for me being the father) were different.  I’m older and stronger and living in a country where there’s more modern capabilities. My child will make it!

Spring was upon us, life was good.  The belly was nice and round, solid as a watermelon.  And as May put in an appearance, our little slice of heaven provided what I considered to be the best possible weather, absolutely perfect.  We were averaging upper 60s to low 70’s, oh so comfortable!

Monday, Memorial Day was now upon us, no wind and just the right amount of sun.  The unofficial start of summer decided to give us a present.

We were both at home in this moment; sharp pains, gulp, water breaking!  Diana kept a cool head and picked up the telephone receiver to call the doctor.  After her very quick description of events he ordered her to get going, he’d meet us there.  The cab arrived in an instant and off to Saint John’s Hospital we went. Fortunately it was real close by.

Once admitted, I was directed to the waiting (torture) room.  I was able to make a call into work to be excused for the day.  Anxiously I waited.  And as I sweated it out, my child arrived healthy and perfect.  

I still hadn’t been told of the child’s birth.  As Diana tells me later: she held our child pressed to her breast as the nurses beginning cleaning up.  The baby was measured, checked over, weighed, documented, cleaned and wrapped.  She’s been moved into a room already.

Finally my suspense is relieved by the nurse entering the waiting room to announce the healthy birth of my son!  Thank God. I was led to her room.  I see a swaddled bundle cuddled by Diana.

My heart skipping beats, I approached them and I kissed her.  Diana smiled brilliantly and I asked her how she was feeling.  She said she was doing pretty great all things considered and told me it all seemed to happen rather quick.  Grateful.

I walked around the bed and took a little peek.  I pulled the blanket away a bit to see more of my son and I immediately recognized a precious beautiful child, our son.  I wanted him to know right then and there just how much I will always love him.

I lifted him out of her arms and embraced him in my heart.  I walked around the room with him without any outside thoughts.  I then took a seat in a chair near to her bed and simply absorbed and adored him.  

My heart was reminding me that I really wanted to give this child the name of my son before him.

Prior to getting married I had shared with Diana all that was my life before I knew her.  Especially the moments which included my firstborn son.  However I hadn’t said as much with regard to carrying his name and spirit forward.  I knew she completely understood my heart. ♥️ 

Diana had already been thinking about this on her own too.  In hindsight (there it is once again), she may have saved this thought for the momentous occasion of naming the child should it be a boy.  She quietly observed me as I swooned over my son.

When she saw the happiness in my eyes she made her offer.  “We could name him after your 1st son … would you want that Parma?”  My soul was overcome with fulfillment and pure delight.  Why yes, it’s exactly what I wanted!  What a gift, what a blessing, what a day.

Diana and our son remained in the hospital for 3 days with me visiting everyday of course.  I went back to work and was the happiest man there I’m sure!  My fellow employees and the catering manager all came around to wish me congrats and toasted with a cup of coffee, several handshakes, hugs and slaps on the back!

Ralph and Doris weren’t far behind on their visit to the family’s first grandchild and with lovely flowers for the mother, the abundant baby’s gifts were to come.  

And it started with my son’s first car ride, the ride home in his grandfather’s car.

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I’ve never stopped even to this day, believing that my first son had returned to me and not once was there the doubt of what his name was to be.  My wife was following Catholicism at the time and asked if I wouldn’t mind allowing her the middle name of Saint Stephen for our son. Granted.

69. Westside Beach – the Future is Looking Good

The second thing to be done was to make sure Diana would be a stay-at-home mother in our new life in Santa Monica.  I went into town and registered with the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union. And from my experience with the Union in San Francisco I knew I had to do it this way.  

While it wasn’t mandatory, it was what I knew at least back then, as the way to protect my job, wages and get medical insurance right away, much needed also for this new family of mine.

Everyday I’d go into the Union Hall to see the day’s posted jobs.  Right away I went out to the Hotel Miramar as a banquet waiter.  I saw it posted everyday that week and I went there everyday.

The job was comfortable, all the people were nice to work with and I of course had become quite experienced in dining room service, so it was a natural fit.  The clientele who frequented the Miramar were fun people as well as great tippers!

Hey that counted for a lot as I have a new family to take care of; tummies need filling and rent needs to be paid.  We hadn’t yet bought a car, we really didn’t need it at this time.  Whenever she needed to grocery shop Diana’s father or his girlfriend would take her to the market or what have you.  Otherwise she didn’t mind walking or taking a bus to run any other errands.

There were many different groups who frequented the Hotel Miramar while I worked there, although before and after they came too I’m sure.

The airlines’ stewardesses and pilots were arranged through their respective employers to stay there when on stopovers in Los Angeles.  Boy did they know how to have fun, spending much of their time out at the cabañas by the pool.  Happy news for all, there were no restrictions on pool hours, it was open around the clock.

Some other of the many groups frequenting the Hotel Miramar all year around were the Santa Monica Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, the SM Chamber of Commerce, and many various Jewish groups -they’re definitely a joyous bunch!- just to name a few.  

I recall a few times where the partying members would get me out there dancing in their celebrations and I learned some of those famous songs of theirs.  Ha ha – sometimes a line or two of those songs would escape my mouth all these years later and my kids just look at me like, “Dad you’re not Jewish!  Where did that come from?” 

It wasn’t long before I was hired as a full time staff member of the hotel and made the Banquet Captain.  Better pay, naturally more responsibilities like calling up staff request for each separate banquet and paying said staff via pay vouchers and division of tips.

I too of course worked my share on the floor and when there were no banquets booked I turned my attention to room service.  One time I remember so clearly as I was on room service week, rolling up with a breakfast cart, I knocked on the door of one suite and Richard Nixon opened the door.  He was there with his family, vacationing I guess. I was motioned to enter and I set up the meal in the dining area.

There you have it, not so much a great celebrity story but a very brief tale out of nowhere.

With cash in my pocket every night, I always made a very good salary working there at the Hotel Miramar of the early sixties and I was able to comfortably support my new family.  

At the time, this was my greater goal.

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68. My First Love Calls Me Back

I found myself missing the northern California city by the Bay just a bit …apparently I really did leave my heart in San Francisco.

C - View up to Coit tower -signed

Diana’s father Ralph was working for McDonnell Douglas and had been a divorced man for a while now so he had a little extra room in his home.  That turned out to be a big help for us when we returned from our Mexicali adventure.

Ralph had previously made the offer to shelter us and so Diana and I moved into his place, temporarily of course.  I’m so glad I got along famously with her father, really blessed.

Diana and I talked between ourselves and with her dad about what we ought to do next and it was decided fairly quickly, less than a week in fact that we ought to give San Francisco a try as a newlywed couple.  Why not? With a little guidance from Ralph we made the choice to move.

My father-in-law took a couple of days leave and drove us up north.  We got a hotel room and Ralph spent the night with us before turning around and going back to Los Angeles the next day.

We were pretty lucky in that in 2 days time we found a nice apartment up on a hill, it may have been on Ellis.  This was absolutely perfect. A furnished one bedroom, one bathroom with a kitchen, living room, yes it had a great view and there was a staircase leading up to the roof for even more enjoyment!   

One evening very soon after settling into our apartment in San Francisco the two of us were discussing employment.  I told my wife I should try the Italian restaurant where I worked before; I felt confident about the way I left their employ and I near completely trusted they’d take me on.  

I then suggested to Diana she try for a position at the Government of India Tourist Office (at 685 Market Street), the very same one I used to walk past nearly everyday.  She smiled bright at the thought but then said, “You really think they’d want to hire me, a non-Indian?”  

I reassured her this: with all I knew of her uncanny knowledge they’d be fool not to take her on.  I took hold of her hand, ‘How could they not want you?’  Well, that smile increased across her face and her confidence rose tremendously.  Diana has always been very intelligent, she knew I was correct in theory and well, that settled it.  The next morning we hit the streets of San Francisco together taking the bus down to Market Street.

After a brief interview Diana was hired on the spot.  They asked her to start that very next day. I know we were both pleased but she was extremely happy because she could now really put her knowledge to practical use and get paid for it.  We were both feeling pretty fantastic about things.  And it was also nearing lunch time, you know what that means!

We walked towards the ocean and over to the Italian joint I worked at before.  It was crowded but we got a counter seat. During the course of our meal, a couple of employees had recognized me, said hello and before I knew it the manager had come out to the dining room to greet me.

He approached with a big smile and reached out to shake my hand heartily; evidently he was happy to see me again.  He smiled at the lovely lady seated beside me and naturally I was real pleased to introduce my wife to him.  

Clearly he was happy for me.  He asked if we were in town just visiting and I told him we had moved up here.  “Are you interested in working?” came out in conversation and of course I responded, that would be desirable.  

The manager stated there were no openings at this city location.  However before I could pull too large a frowny face, he advised me to take a short drive south near to the airport, South San Francisco to be exact, and check in with their family owned second location.  

“They sure could use your help there.  I’ll call the manager and let him know you will come in …if you’re interested?” he finished with a sharp Italian smile.  We both nodded our heads and it was settled.

The next morning Diana and I left at the same time and after she got off the bus to go to work I made my way to Mission Street to take a bus heading south.  That’s it, one bus caught on Mission took me straight there, talk about convenience!

I was rehired at the Italian joint by the family at their second location, brought in as wait-staff and it was the perfect setup to pull in really great tips.  The boss here was a great guy too.  His employees were well taken care of, meals were included everyday and he often had parties up at his ranch to which he sometimes invited his employees and a guest.  

Life back in the arms of my first love was working out very well for me and my wife.

Not too long after we were set in our routine, I met a nice young Mexican man at a bar where I sometimes stopped in after work to have a cold beer and play some billiards.  We got to talking after he had asked me to shoot a game with him.  He asked if there were any openings at the place I worked.

Within the week there actually was an opening and I told him about it.  He went and applied and ended up getting the job. Good for him, glad I was able to help someone out.  He had a car and before we knew it, we had the same shift (breakfast and lunch) and we began carpooling to work.  Now I’m being helped, nice!

It wasn’t long before most of my friends from my previous life in San Francisco and I were back in touch and they started coming around again.  At first it was comfortable enough, there were delicious crab curry nights and always some ice cold beers to go along with that spicy 🦀 curry.

Now the scene was this: the guys are still single and eventually it began to make Diana uncomfortable and to be honest, myself included in that statement but just a little.  As for my wife, she was overcome with her emotions, her hormones and very soon it was discovered she was pregnant with our first child.  Understanding this from experience, I surely didn’t misunderstand her state of being.

I think it must have been her maternal instincts causing her to experience a driving force to return to Los Angeles.  As it turned out she’d received news that her mother and sister were also moving back to California from the Midwest.

We talked it over and it didn’t take much for the two of us to be in complete agreement.  It was going to be better for the both of us and our coming child to have the love and help of some family.  It would be her family’s first grandchild too.

For good references down the road, we gave proper notice to our employers and landlord, we both worked through the holiday season into the new year, Diana was in her 2nd trimester of pregnancy and we were making the preparations to return to the City of Angels.  

It was near the end of January in 1961 when we were back in the county of Los Angeles. As before we were welcomed with open arms by her dad for as long as we needed it.  In about 2 weeks time we were able to accomplish a lot.  We moved into a sweet little cottage set up in the back of a private home, just near to Montana, above Wilshire Boulevard on 20th Street and this was conveniently close to her father.

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Government of India Tourist Office 🇮🇳  (this particular office in fact) in the 60’s displayed in advertisement the ‘great sport of shikar’.  The goal was to entice the public to come to India and partake in killing the magnificent tigers of India, purely for one’s hunting pleasure and their own profit of tourist rupees no doubt.  I want to make clear neither LBM, Diana or myself support such a thing, never have.  It is shameful and regretful this ever happened.  I understand ‘Project Tiger‘ was launched in 1973, a conservation effort by the Indian Government but the damage had already been done.  I am glad to know India is taking this conservation effort even more seriously than ever to protect these beautiful wild cats.  To the best of LBM’s recollection, at the time of Diana’s employment in 1960, these advertisements were not yet posted.