77. Now We Are Five

Our youngest was not yet one year when he started holding on to things and toddling about.  The other two children were coming into their individual personalities.

And guess what?  It was time for us to move once again.  So from 4th Street we moved to Euclid Street, right between Broadway and Colorado.  

Also I would change my job.  Briefly to explain, a new manager hired from outside our current staff came into the Banquet Room changing things entirely and re-staffing with people he brought in.  I wasn’t exactly excited about the changes and so I went from the Hotel Miramar to the Santa Ynez Inn.

This new work location was a bit further away from home.  It was up Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) a bit, on Sunset Boulevard just below the SRF Lake Shrine Temple which by the way was and still is, a very beautiful and peaceful spot for contemplation, slowing down and catching one’s breath –if you’re into that sort of thing.  

I’m thinking Diana and I should’ve spent more time there.  Many movie stars frequented the Lake Shrine, getting away from the hectic flow of their daily lives and writers too.

Anyhow I got along so well with everyone at the Santa Ynez Inn; they really liked me, it was plain to see.  A Jewish family -the owners- were very kind and generous and occasionally allowed me to occupy one of the rooms when the working night had become too late.  I’d of course call Diana and let her know.

At the end of our shifts we were all given a meal if we wanted it.  For me I was allowed anything from the bar if it was the overnight stay.  I gratefully would enjoy only one ice cold beer with my dinner.

You know if it wasn’t a full moon, the drive was dark down the lonely coast and after such a busy shift, this journey just felt that much longer than it did going to work.  

Breakfast came along with the offer; I was encouraged to ask for anything.  Although it wasn’t often, I quickly got used to a thick, juicy steak!

Another thing they trusted to me was playing chauffeur to some of their special weekend guests.  They provided me the additional opportunity to earn even more, that was real nice.  Yes I wore a cap and the uniform.

One day Diana and I were discussing getting Alok baptized.  She said it would be nice to find godparents for him if we could.  My first two children (with Diana) were already baptized but they didn’t get godparents in the deal.  

When I went to work I mentioned in casual conversation to my manager George, that my wife and I had been discussing Alok’s baptism.  I said we had no idea how or who to appoint this important position to.

He and I had easily become pretty good friends.  George listened keenly and then much to my surprise, he offered to take the position, saying, “…well, I’d be extremely honored to be your son’s godfather.”

Since I was with Diana I had become accustomed to more Catholic ideals though I remained true to my Hindu religion in my heart.  Being entirely honest with you my followers, since I’d been away from home in Fiji for so long and away from my family, I wasn’t as devout in my worship.  

I didn’t forget my roots to be sure.  And being a part of my wife’s explorations of life made my Diana happy: well why not get educated in as many things as possible?

I told Diana of George’s offer and she was pleased with this news.  She thought it was a real wonderful thing he did to volunteer and she happily agreed.  

We baptized Alok shortly after George’s acceptance in the local Catholic church which we’d begun attending.  George had come with his wife and daughter and it was clear, they took this very seriously.  It was all very touching for Diana and myself and Alok was now blessed with a caring godfather.

The five of us frequented the beach whenever possible, no surprise, a love of ocean.  I remember there were hotdog trucks (and the like being beach finger foods) and we both enjoyed the fun of that.

We shared these treats with our kids as part of the whole experience.  My eldest boy ate his with no fuss and enjoyed drinking from his carton of milk.  The baby was neutral with baby snacks, a bottle and maybe a bite or two here and there.

mommy, Arvind & me-2Then there is our daughter.  She’s a finicky one (still is).  If there was something she didn’t like she’d watch and wait.  Then she’d hide it somewhere. We didn’t realize this at first; I was amazed to see she’d eaten her hotdog and was smiling while sipping her milk.

I’d say to Diana, ‘Look she’s finished it completely!’  We were both pleased, knowing how she could be. When it was time to move on, we’d gather up everything of course and then, discover the unconsumed hotdog she had hidden.

We were five; my family I made here in America, with the help of Diana of course, felt real good.

 

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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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