71. It Didn’t Take Long to Fill the Second Order

Our son Amar Saint Stephen was such a cute little kid, perfect skin tone and lots of hair.  Did I already say that?  Oh no that was actually about myself, many posts back!  But yes, Amar did have lots of hair and he had a sparkle in his eyes.  

In gazing into those eyes, my, my it looked as though they may turn green or blue, I thought.  Diana’s eyes held blue with the occasional green sparkle.  And perhaps I was searching a little to see well, what I would see.  I felt I should do all I could so that his spirit would know how welcomed he was in my heart, in my life.

C - Will U Check or Mate?

It might sound like silly wishful thinking but I felt like I got my son back.  It was my turn to make a move on the chessboard of life.  I felt as though he waited till I was better situated before he would return to me.

My employer always had a taxi pick me up, taking me to work and at shift end, another would bring me home.  Maybe once or twice in a work week I was fortunate enough with a shorter shift allowing me to come home in the afternoons.

I might be able to play with and take a nap beside my son.  Mainly though it was the evenings when I came in through the door at the end of my work day.  Amar was almost always already asleep.

And more often than not, I’d already had my dinner at work.  I toiled many hours but it was worth it money-wise, experience in the culinary aspect of things -not that I was training to be a great chef or anything- and of course to maintain the great health insurance.

When Amar cried in the middle of the night, Diana would get up with him.  Naturally she breastfed and was not minding this at all.  I’m so glad she very willingly agreed saying she wouldn’t have it any other way.  She taught me very early that it was smart to take a nap when the baby did.

We were becoming parents in a time where feeding babies with bottles was taken to like wildfire and in truth, it had been popular for quite some time by now.  

Credit where it is due; yes it’s convenient so that others can participate if need be and/or if the mother is simply unable to.  But for our family, I am pleased we chose and were able to feed the baby the natural way.

Amar was growing stronger and more lovely with each passing day.  There was little doubt as to the parents well-being either.  No time wasted, not with these wild parents, ha ha!  I told Diana, “I am putting in an order for a daughter!”

We both agreed a girl would balance our family.  And it didn’t take long for that order to be filled.  Diana being most fertile, she became pregnant while Amar was only near three months of age.

We had to make a residential adjustment during this time and ended up in an apartment building at 612 Pico Boulevard, directly across the street from Santa Monica High School.  This would be where Amar had his 1st Christmas and five months later, our 2nd child would join the family.

It was 17 days before Amar’s 1st birthday when our second child arrived.  It is now the spring of 1962.  She landed at six twelve in the evening to be exact and it was the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  Is it no surprise then that the moon was aligned with the birth of my daughter; 62% of the moon was illuminated -the temps were in the low 60’s.  

We welcomed into this world a little girl, just as we had ordered.

I remember telling Diana that I wouldn’t have to bring her a Mother’s Day gift because she just received a little package wrapped in pink.  We were both overjoyed, as was the rest of the family.

Asha Saint Monica was beautiful of course, she’s my daughter!  She had big brown eyes, good skin tone, a French looking face (her mother said) and lots of hair, just like her brother.  Diana assured me this labor was by far the easier one.  We were both glad of that.

During this time, Amar was being pampered in his grandparents’ home while Diana was in the hospital with our daughter and I went to work.

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65. A Haunting Melody & Roller Skates

I asked Diana if she’d like to double date with my friend Dave, whom she was now familiar with through her questioning but hadn’t yet met, and his girlfriend.  

Diana was more than willing and somehow I just knew she’d be game.  Dave told me about a fairly new movie, Summer Place which he’d been wanting to go see.  He thought this was a perfect date movie and the four of us should go together.

Saturday evening came and Dave picked up Diana and myself in mom’s lite blue Ford Fairlane 500 at the now regular meeting spot (Chevron) and off we went to catch the movie.  

At the box office Dave insisted on buying our tickets.  I protested but he told me straight, “No.  I invited the two of you to join us.”  And once inside he also wanted to buy sodas and popcorn for the four of us.  

Anyone of you reading this now, who has seen Summer Place with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue knows this is quite a romantic movie (at least back in the simple day).  I tell you I was not expecting the 🎶 music to strike me just as it did.

A melodic musical piece, the theme song 🎵 from this movie became our own personal theme.  ♥️ It acted as glue binding us together; it was haunting and magical.  Of course I had absolutely no idea that was coming. 🌹

To say the least we all enjoyed the movie very much.  By the time it let out we were very hungry.   Dave took us to this drive-up restaurant and I‘m pretty sure it was the Tiny Naylors on Sunset Boulevard.  What a treat this was for me, why I’d never seen anything like this before.

The waitresses were uniformed real cute, taking our order and serving us right at our car, all while on roller skates.  I have to admit I was impressed.  That whole experience was lots of fun for all of us.  Oh to be young and having a carefree time of it!

Once again Dave opened his wallet but I had to stop him.  I could see it in his eyes when he smiled that he respected my gesture and so he backed down.  I covered Diana’s and my portion of the bill and of course that pleased me.

We drove around a bit afterwards but all that sitting was causing a lazy feeling.  Dave dropped us both off at Diana’s apartment.  She invited me to stay with her and I end up spending the night.  

Both of us clearly, equally hungry for the human touch, affection and possibly even love. ♥️ Summer Place was the beginning of Diana’s and my relationship.

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melodic musical pieceto this very day, that piece of music makes LBM’s eyes water, he gets all choked up and he’s gone …back to those days.  

I just brought the theme from Summer Place up on my computer for him to listen to as I finished up this post.  He tries to say something not realizing that his voice would come out cracked.

Music is definitely magical, this I know for a fact.

He tells me,Right up to this very moment, wherever I am or have been, a shop, restaurant, hotel, walking down the street passing by a record shop, whatever, wherever I overhear this piece and I’m instantly transported to that very same Saturday.  It never changes.  It keeps happening, never failing.  

“It’s as though I can touch it but only with my heart.  I go to the very place in time and we are all 4 together, I relive it happily.  Then I see I am with Diana right through the night, moment for moment and into the next morning (which came too soon).”  He then finished with,…it is like a gift.  You know, the one that keeps on giving.”

48. All aboard!

First thing I did was surrender my suitcase at the entry level and having checked my ticket, it was accepted and my hands were free.  I came back down to the wharf where my family and friends, who had come directly to the docks, were waiting.  

Saying the this-time-for-real goodbyes to the family before climbing the gangplank was rough to say the least, especially seeing my mother’s face and knowing this was, once again, tearing her up … it hurt.  

Then there is my sweet Noori.  I was closest to her now than ever before and knowing how dearly she loved me didn’t make this farewell any easier.  

The loudspeaker blurted out the commencement of pre-boarding for those passengers who were already residing on that ship from the previous port.  My heart skipped a beat and I can only imagine what my mother, sisters and brother and Noori’s hearts were doing.  

“Send us a postcard!”  someone said.  “Don’t forget to write!” said another.  “Remember us and return soon …”  trailed another voice.  It was time to say our final (such a word!) goodbyes.  

One by one I went to each person, young and old, hugging, kissing and wiping tears and making the repetetive promise to take care of myself and return sooner than later.  

Do you know there were a few of my family members whom I had never in my life, witnessed them shed a tear up till just now.  How heart-wrenching.  It was a long line-up of dear ones and then I get to my brother and my sisters.  

I had never seen my brother cry either and in our embrace he poured which of course caused me to cry my eyes out too!  My dear sister-in-law stood by him silently crying.  To make her smile I told her I’d miss her meals as no one could touch her cooking where I was going.  It worked.

I gave my brother a personal promise; whether or not he wanted it I would send money to assist so that he wouldn’t have to miss me that way and I reminded him that I will definitely call for him as soon as I have settled.  

To my sisters I told them how much I loved them and would miss them (I knew my little sister would be the one writing to me) and to all my nieces and nephews I laid down the promise of goodies from America.

My mother, my dearest, most precious mother.  I don’t have to tell you about the nonstop tears there.  She said to me, “Maybe I’m not going to be here when you come back.”  What a stab in my heart, I had that coming.  

I knew I’d better say something comforting and quick!  ‘Amma don’t worry please.  I promise you as I have made the same to Noori that I will be back in two years to marry her.’  

Noori was naturally standing there right beside my mother.  That statement brought a gentle smile to my crying mother’s face … and to Noori’s.

It was nearly 4 o’clock and the steamship whistle sounded.  The call for all to board was heard and went through my bones.  Noori and I embraced, tightly, she cried a lot and we repeated our love statement for one another.  ‘I will see you soon Noori.’  I assured her and she assured me in return, “I will wait for you Gary.”

Orsova ticket to.. 1959I began my ascent of the gangplank and I could hear all the crying.  I made my way to the top deck of the ship.  Boxes of streamers were laid out for the passengers to throw as their departing gesture and final tie being broken … well that’s what it felt like to me.

I grabbed half a dozen of those paper streamers and made my way to the railing of the ship, obviously dockside.  The Fiji Military band had begun a tune and the mood was set.

I see my people down there on the wharf and I can tell they’re searching for my face among the many.  A couple of the excited children spot me waving and point me out to the rest.

The Orsova horn -that sound- was blasted again, twice.  It was 4:45p and the gangplank would go up in five minutes.  I hold one end of each streamer and then begin to throw them towards the crowd, in the general direction of my family and friends.

Then the departing song Isa Lei began.  A man had caught one of my streamers and as though by fate, handed it to Noori.  She may not have caught one on her own, I don’t know and I had no idea who he was.

The big rope at the stern was first released and the ship begins a controlled slip away from the dock.  The tears and emotions for nearly everyone present were uncontrollable.  It’s such a haunting piece of music and the way the lyrics are sung, one cannot help but to lose it.

Isa is God in Fijian.  A feeling of hearts full of pleasure and return right away and your absence will bring pain … that kind of a feeling, very haunting you know.   

“Why did you come if you have to leave …”

The band is still playing and the streamers have been flying.  Now the stern has been released as the ship pulls away under it’s own complete power.
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You know this goodbye with Noori reminded me of 1953, nearly the same scenario up in Vancouver with Sonia.  I had said to her I would return to her and that we would run away and get married.  Sonia had said she would hide me from everyone.  This felt a lot like the same and I really didn’t want to suffer that love lost once again.