As you can see, we’re getting wilder and woolier!

I’m still almost too tired to write about it! What a LONG drive.

James and Rupert picked me up in front of Gammage Auditorium after my final Phantom show in Tempe, AZ at 9:25 p.m., Sunday November 22, 2009.

 

It’s always exciting when James picks me up, Airstream in tow, bound for our next destination. We usually drive for a few hours before resting; it feels good to get some distance between the past and the future.

Through the desert darkness we drove up through Flagstaff and then stopped at a KOA campground (kampground with a “k”, actually — how kute!) for the night.

 

We woke up on a cool, bright morning on Monday the 23rd and continued our journey.

At the Arizona-New Mexico border, there were several places with Native American themes selling various schlocky items:

 

We entered New Mexico at about 1 p.m.

 

The countryside there is starkly, dramatically beautiful.

 

All went smoothly until we were stuck in a 3-hour traffic jam just outside of Albuquerque in mid-afternoon.

 

A semi-truck had run into a highway paint truck. The semi caught on fire and the paint truck overturned, spilling gallons of paint on the roadway. It took several hours to clean it all up.

 

The mail must get through! But it was certainly late that day.

 

We were amused by the sight of a pickup truck towing a real MONSTER truck, along with various motorcycles and even patio furniture!

 

The long delay put a kink into our travel schedule. We decided to pull over into a rest stop just over the Oklahoma border (at about 2 a.m. Tuesday) instead of staying at our usual RV park in Oklahoma City, a few hours further east.

We woke up a few hours later and continued our journey. We arrived in Oklahoma City just before noon, and stopped by our favorite Airstream mechanic’s shop on the western edge of town.

 

We bought a new water pump which James will install. The old one died after more than thirty years of service. I’d say we got our money’s worth!

We drove all day through the endless state of Oklahoma and arrived at the Arkansas border by late afternoon.

 

You can see part of our cat Rupert lounging on the dashboard in the foreground. He’s turned into quite the traveler! Here are a couple more shots of Rupert:

 

The first shot was at the beginning of our trip. Now look at how tired he is in the next shot, taken three days later:

 

I’ll let Rupert tell his own story in his blog; he should be posting by tomorrow: http://rupertkitty.blogspot.com/

There was a lot of traffic on I-40 as we crossed the state in the gathering darkness. We entered Tennessee at about 8 p.m.

 

We stopped at an Olive Garden restaurant east of Memphis for dinner.

The waiter was 6′ 5″, had a beard and ponytail, was overly jovial with a booming voice. “My name is Steven!” he announced to us several times in stentorian tones.

It was his first night on the job, and was waaay off the charts on the Perky Scale.

James asked if he sang and he said Yes. I imagine he plays the gittar too!

I wish that these people would be more sensitive to their customers; had he paid close attention to my adverse reactions to his forced joviality, he would have toned down his presentation a bit. But NO, he ploughed through the evening in his high-amperage fashion, totally insensitive to us weary travelers who just wanted a little peace and quiet with our dinner.

I suppose that the Corporate Headquarters of Olive Garden insist upon this kind of overly-enthusiastic, in-your-face waiter style. I remember a similar perky waiter the last time we ate at one of their restaurants, several years ago.

I took over the wheel after we got gas a few miles later, and drove for about 250 miles before pulling over into a rest area at Crossville, between Nashville and Knoxville. Lots of VILLES in Tennessee!

James drove for the next couple of hours. The sun came up as we crossed the Virginia border. We were both so tired by then that we decided to pull over into a Cracker Barrel parking lot to catch a few z’s.

We set the alarm for two hours and actually felt a bit refreshed when we hit the road again, at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

We wended our way through the Appalachians of southwest Virginia and were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the Piedmont countryside spreading out far below us, towards the North Carolina border.

 

This still shot from the video footage I took of our trip (posted soon!) doesn’t do the view justice. It was truly stunning.

Traffic was extremely heavy on I-77 northbound. We were glad that we were heading south in the opposite direction, with relatively light traffic until we reached the cluster of larger cities in North Carolina.

Everyone must have been going to their various Thanksgiving celebrations. Apparently there have been 36 million people on the roads this weekend.

We went through Andy Griffith country in North Carolina, and I took a picture of Pilot Mountain:

 

Yes, we were definitely in Andy Griffith country!

Traffic was heavy through the maze of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, then on to Durham.

We found the RV park in the middle of the woods surrounding Duke University. We pulled up to the manager’s office but couldn’t find anyone around. A little Asian girl on a tiny bike came riding up and said “He’s not here” but assured us he would be soon. Just as James called him on the cell, the front door opened and it was the manager’s wife, on a walkie-talkie with her husband.

She wore a very colorful black silk blouse with big purple polka-dots.  We could barely understand her English but her beautiful smile was welcoming. She laughed when she couldn’t seem to communicate effectively with her husband on the walkie-talkie to answer her question which lot they were going to assign us.

She opened the door to a tiny general store. I was amazed at the messy clutter of the place — there were stacks of boxes of random spare parts on the floor, almost bare shelves with a lone tube of toothpaste here and a stick of deodorant there; yellowed large potted plants in front of very dusty, empty freezer cases.

We wrote her a check for our month-long stay, and she indicated on a map how to get to our lot.

We got back in the truck and drove down narrow streets with rusty mobile homes and old fifth-wheel trailers and motor homes which have seen better days. Everything was surrounded by tall pine trees.

I would call this a “down-home” trailer park; the neighborhood seems safe and quiet enough, but it’s definitely not upper class. We prefer this kind of basic place, actually. Not much snob appeal here. (We live in a shack in The Woods after all!)

Just before James pulled into the lot, the manager husband drove up to welcome us. His English was also very hard to understand, although it appeared that he understood the language well.

He seemed amazed that I was a musician with the Phantom of the Opera company playing at the brand-new Performing Arts Center in downtown Durham. He commended me on “having a job” and joked that my check probably wouldn’t bounce, hinting that this was rather uncommon with tenants at his RV park.

This is our next door neighbor’s car:

 

It is definitely a culture-shock to be in this part of the country!

This is our current spot:

 

I will (hopefully) post again soon to bring you completely up-to-date. But my mind refuses to work any more this afternoon; I am still fried from the very long drive. Now I need to warm up before tonight’s show (our first show was at the end of a lengthy workday on Thanksgiving).

I hope that you all had a nice Turkey Day!

Okay, we took the pictures on Sunday but are posting a day late.

We were so busy packing and getting ready to leave Tempe after my two-week run of Phantom there, that posting slipped my mind.

James reminded me about Hair Sunday just as I was walking out the door for the second show. Uh-oh! We hurried back into the Airstream for our photo-shoot and I resolved to post after we started our long drive east to Durham, NC.

James picked me up from the theatre after last night’s show ended, and we started the first leg of our journey. James had made reservations at the KOA in Holbrook AZ, which meant driving a few hours until about 1 a.m. This is our usual pattern when we leave a city.

So here we are in Holbrook. It is sunny and in the low 50s (got down to 27 last night!).

We have a Mi-Fi card which allows us to connect to the internet wherever there is a 3G signal. So I can post during our travels (dream on!).

Here are the latest Hair Sunday pics:

As you can see, we’re getting wild and wooly!

Here is where we are parked at this very moment. We’re sipping on our little Japanese thermoses of black tea and surfing the internet at the KOA. I stepped out to take this shot.

Have I mentioned that our cat Rupert has his own blog? Please check it out in my link list: “The Adventures of Rupert”. Rupert is a better writer than I am, and has been posting more frequently than I have lately (after a very long absence).

I’ll share one of his blog pics here, from today. He is waiting for the inevitable get-picked-up-and-hauled-off-to-the-truck routine. We will be pulling out of Holbrook shortly.

We hope to make it all the way to Oklahoma City tonight. That’s  a twelve-hour drive, but we have to cover 2000 miles in only three days!

Well, here we are in sunny, warm and dry Tempe, Arizona. I’m very busy playing Phantom shows, hardly a chance to catch my breath. The show schedule is relentless!

I’m thankful to be employed by the Phantom touring company for the rest of the year, however. Durham NC from late Nov. – late Dec. and then Christmas Week in Ft. Lauderdale.

Perhaps my Dear Readers will be able to discern a slight change in our hair this week. I started using “product” to shape it past my ears a couple weeks ago, and have now begun parting it. Sort of.

James is a couple weeks behind me in hair growth, and has just started using “product” (i.e., Krew Komb). It is really interesting — to ME anyway — to see James’ hair longer than it’s ever been during our 11 year+ relationship. I feel like I’ve got a new boyfriend/plaything. 😉

Ha ha.

Well, I made it just under the wire tonight folks, with less than an hour of Sunday remaining.

If I could make each day of the week some-special-something, then I’d be posting to this blog daily!

It’s definitely a new experience to let my hair grow out. By most people’s standards it’s still very short, but it already feels long to ME. Are you bored with this yet?

Sorry about the poor photo quality — I’m using “PhotoBooth”, the built-in camera on my Macbook, and it’s nighttime. Very grainy! But you get the idea.

Well, this Hair Sunday thing is keeping me posting here at least once a week!

There’s much to tell y’all about, but I don’t feel like it right now.

Suffice it to say that James & I are back in B-ville, situated in the extreme southeastern portion of Arizona, for the first time in over two years.

It is very difficult to describe the conflicting, tumultuous feelings flowing through James and me as we experience being back in the town in which we thought we’d spend the rest of our lives.

It is strange, indeed.

We’re here to get the rest of our few belongings out of the house, and we listed it with an agent today. Next week we head to Tempe where I will play two weeks of “Phantom”.

As I wrote in a Facebook status update recently:

“Being back here is like getting together with a former sweetheart: old news, some regrets, appreciation of past beauty & good times, and they sort of got their act together after the divorce (at least as far as internet access at the RV park goes — they DIDN’T have it when we lived here!)”

The strangeness intensified on Friday when we walked up the main street of town to our house. The smell of seasoned, warm wood and old plaster hit me like a saucy, vivacious yet dysfunctional friend who’s no longer on speaking terms. The sight of bright red walls in the kitchen where James prepared many a delicious meal and I baked bread brought back pleasant and sad memories, all at once.

It feels like SUCH old news to be back here. Perhaps I am embarrassed to be so vividly reminded of past mistakes and past misperceptions. James and I fell in love with this town the moment we saw it, little realizing that the beauty was only skin-deep. From the highway, B-ville looks like the quaintest, cutest town on the face of the earth.

Well, it didn’t work out the way we’d hoped. This place definitely has a bittersweet tang of disappointment and unmet expectations. We can hardly wait to leave.

But I remind myself, and James, that we need to remember what we have RIGHT NOW — a wonderful life in Northern California, surrounded by family and friends, living in two excellent (and contrasting) environments — The Woods and The Ocean.

Now on to something more cheery and ridiculous: Hair Sunday!

This is by far the longest I’ve had my hair since 1997. Not very long at all, you’re thinking. But for me, I feel wooly and unkempt. Every morning is a Bad Hair Day until I tend to it — wetting it and/or slapping goop on it to keep it looking frightful — but NOT bad, at least.

Not exactly bad. I hope. Not quite frightful enough for Halloween yesterday, but sufficient to scare ME when I look in the mirror.

After an ambitious flurry of daily blog posts for over a week recently, I slacked off. BAD me!

I had hoped to wow and amaze all my readers with this new resolve to post daily, but it just ain’t gonna happen. Besides, none of you even really noticed.  😉

Anyway…it’s time for Hair Sunday again, which is getting me off my butt motivates me to post.

It’s been only a week since the Inaugural Hair Sunday and our hair has definitely GROWN in that time. Although it must look short to you, I am starting to get at that uncomfortably wooly stage in which I usually ask James to cut my hair.

Every day is a Bad Hair Day now. No more worry-free, no-fuss-no-mess routine.

After shampooing, I need to apply “krew comb styling prep” to train those recalcitrant sides under my ears. The first time I used this a few days ago, I applied far too much and not only was my head a sticky mess, it stank to high heaven.

My horn colleague in “South Pacific” made the mistake of noticing my new ‘do and exclaimed, “Oh, you got a haircut!” and proceeded to pat me on the head — she thought that the swoop of bristly brushy hair on top would be exciting to touch.

It was indeed more exciting than she bargained for — her hands now smelled like “krew comb” (which, by the way, you can find at any Sally Beauty Supply store) and she had to wash them. Ewww.

In other news….

Today is the last show of South Pacific. It’s been a great run of 52 performances, which started on September 18th here in San Francisco.

I’m looking forward to the Next Thing (7 consecutive weeks’ subbing with Phantom on the road: Tempe, Durham & Ft. Lauderdale) but I am also sad that South Pacific is ending. The 25-piece orchestra, so very rare in this age of greatly reduced live musicians and increased synthesizers, has been terrific to play in. I can say with confidence that this orchestra sounds every bit as good as the folks on Broadway. And everyone has been great to work with.

James and I “pull up stakes” and tow the Airstream down to Arizona on Tuesday, for the Next Thing aforementioned.

Tomorrow, we will host a day of playing recorders with our favorite folks in the Bay Area; six people from around the Bay area are scheduled to show up here at the Activity Room at the RV park to play through James’ and my original compositions. We always have a blast.

Okay, so here are today’s Hair Sunday Week #2 pictures:

There is a large homeless population in the city of San Francisco; the climate is temperate here and people can live on the streets without freezing to death.

I have always had mixed feelings about the homeless. My heart goes out to them; it is my belief that no-one in this country should be without a roof over their head or a meal in their belly.

Yet, I am unwilling to give them money when they beg for it, especially when they are aggressive.

They tend to be forward in San Francisco, on Market Street in particular. This street is amazingly diverse, containing everything from upscale shopping malls (Westfield, between 4th & 5th Sts.) to titty bars and Smoke shops selling drug paraphernalia only a few blocks away.

The sidewalks are full of homeless, usually propped up against the buildings, often with blankets over their heads like tents. When they hear someone approaching, their heads pop out like turtles from their shells.

“Spare CHANGE?!” they whisper or bark or in loud, accusatory tones.

The more aggressive people block your way on the sidewalk to ask for money. Mostly they step aside readily when they are ignored or refused. But some follow you down the street for a few steps.

After being refused, they often end their spiel with “God Bless You!” or “Have a nice day!”, but somehow the angry tone of their voices belie the kind sentiments.

Being confronted with the homeless issue constantly on the streets of San Francisco is difficult for me; it brings up all sorts of feelings — guilt, compassion, anger, annoyance. I am ashamed to say that I do not want to deal with this issue.

I had a particularly intense encounter with a homeless man on Saturday night, at the Civic Center BART station.

It was after work and I was writing in my journal, as usual. I like to recount the day’s happenings; how the show went that night and any notable interactions with musician colleagues I had.

I sat in my customary spot on the round concrete bench towards the far end of the station, situated in the area between the inbound and outbound tracks.

In the back of my consciousness I heard a commotion to my immediate left. At first I paid no attention to it, having become somewhat inured to the crazy eruptions from the more “out there” citizenry of this City.

But then the babbling became louder, and I looked up from my journal page to see a man sitting on the ground, leaning against a pillar next to the concrete bench. He appeared to be somewhere between his late 40s and death.

His ranting and raving suddenly escalated in both intensity and vitriol. The people crammed around the concrete bench left abruptly, leaving me more space.

I turned back to my writing and shut out the man’s self-dialogue. Then suddenly there was a movement out of the corner of my eye; the man had gotten off the ground and was approaching me.

“Excuse me, sir……sir……SIR!” He stood over me, swaying. I looked up into his faded, unfocused blue eyes, the whites streaked with red — lost-soul eyes, a burned-out, hopeless life flickering from their depths. A crazy, tortured look.

“I hate to disturb your writing, but I need eight dollars and forty cents!” the man screamed at me.

“I don’t carry cash, sorry”, I replied.

“Yeah right….” he said sarcastically, and stumbled away, mumbling, “fuckfuckfuckfuck you….” and then he approached an elderly couple standing next to the bench.

They were very well-dressed, he in suit and she in furs, obviously just having seen “Wicked” at the nearby Orpheum Theatre, programs clutched in their gnarled hands which trembled slightly upon the man’s approach.

The man mumbled something and the lady practically screamed, “What do you WANT?!” The crazy man said, “I’d like thirty dollars but you’re not going to give that to me, are ya?” He stumbled towards the woman, who shrank back against her husband, who brandished his cane at the man.

He suddenly veered off in another direction as though he had been struck by The Force, a scene out of Star Wars. He vanished.

I turned my attention back to my journal. The elderly couple continued to stand in front of me, whispering now. “What is he writing?” the woman murmured. “Probably about what just happened”, her husband ventured.

James and I have sported very short hairstyles for years. James, in fact, says that he’s had short hair since April 15, 1980. I think it’s funny that he knows the exact date, but I’m kind of a date-freak about some things myself and understand where he’s coming from.

I have had short hair since October 1997. Sorry I don’t recall the exact date. I decided to have my hair cut a few weeks after going on the road with Phantom. I was ready for a new look (which, in fact, landed me James a few months later, he claims).

One of the people in Phantom’s Hair Department cut my hair. He wasn’t cheap! But he was tawdry. But I digress. 😉

At that same time, I decided to stop coloring my hair. Oh wow, it’s Truth Time!

I started going gray in my mid-thirties. I wasn’t ready for that, so I decided to have my hairstylist color it. I did that for eight years.

But I finally got tired of the charade, and besides, I was curious how I looked with gray in my hair.

The funny thing is, when I look back at pictures from that time, my hair wasn’t NEARLY as gray (and white) as it is now. Yet I thought I was being so darn adventurous.

Anyway, back to the Hair Sunday thing. James and I have decided to grow our hair long! A few months ago we would have recoiled in horror at the thought. But now it somehow seems attractive; it’s something fun to “do”.

We may end up hating it. But we’ll never know until we let it grow out a bit.

James suggested that we take pictures of ourselves every Sunday to chart our hair growth, and I came up with the idea of posting the pictures to my blog.

So now you have something to look forward to every week, Cameron’s Hair Sunday! You’ll probably be sick of the sight of us by the time our hair grows out.

Here’s the first set of pictures, taken a few minutes ago. Believe it or not, my hair is already longer than usual right now; this would be the time that I’d have James take clippers in hand to give me my usual buzz-cut.

But this will not happen. I’m letting it grow out.

Oh Lord, please give me the strength to avoid itching and scratching and flipping hair out of my eyes — activities which have not been part of my repertoire for well over a decade.

Okay, I can just hear you saying right now, “Which one is James and which is Cameron?” Do you know or do you need me to enlighten you?

Twenty years ago today, the earth shook violently in San Francisco. The death toll was 62, 3757 people were injured and property damage exceeded eight billion dollars.

I lived in Sacramento at the time but just happened to be in San Francisco that day! Here is my journal entry written several days later:

Friday, October 20, 1989

We were in San Francisco on the fateful earthquake day of October 17th, 1989. We were in the City for appointments with a nutritionist that a friend had recommended.

We were done by 4 P.M., and decided to have an early dinner at the nearby Middle Eastern restaurant “La Mediterranee” on Noe St. before heading back to Sacramento.

Carl [a previous partner] & I were the only customers eating at that “in-between” hour, and had nearly finished the delicious meal when the earthquake struck! Our table started to shake vigorously which made it difficult to dip the “baba ganoush” into my mouth. The glasses behind the bar rattled and the floor swayed and buckled as the earth made curious roaring, rumbling sounds. The first shock was immediately followed by a heavier second one, whereupon Carl leaped from his chair, grabbed my knapsack and scurried to the front door. He tripped over himself in panic and knocked into a table on his way out, which crashed to the floor with a shower of glass.

I was surprisingly calm and walked out of the place as the earth continued to shake. Carl went into the street but ran back to grab my arm as I emerged, cautioning me about the possibility of flying glass from the front window. Carl was extremely upset and I wasn’t at all, for some reason. Mother Nature was doing her number and I couldn’t do anything about it – if I was supposed to die, well, then it was time to go…..I found myself fascinated by the whole thing.

Later, however, the gravity of the disaster sank in, and I apologized to Carl for criticizing his strong reactions to the quake.

We stood in front of the restaurant as the shaking stopped, and the entire city was shocked into silence for a moment. Then it erupted into screams and sirens and general pandemonium, which continued into the night.

Carl wanted to leave without paying for our dinner, which surprised me; he’s usually so honest. I still had another appetizer and half a beer to finish, so I went back into the restaurant to eat and pay the bill. The waitresses and cooks also went back inside, where they commented how this was the strongest quake they had ever experienced in the City. Carl, meanwhile, thought I was completely crazy to go back into the building, and paced nervously up and down the sidewalk. The restaurant didn’t suffer any damage that I could see; our food was still on the table and all pictures and ornaments were still on the walls. The only broken items were from Carl’s encounter with the front table; I thought it wryly amusing that he caused more damage to the restaurant than the quake had.

Of course, the power was off and the waitress couldn’t use the cash register, but the bill came to exactly $20 and she threw in the beer for free. I handed her the money and wished her luck. She laughed and replied, “I bet you didn’t think this visit would be so….eventful, huh?” I agreed with her.

I went outside and found Carl, and we decided to walk the three blocks up Noe St. to his parked car, sit inside and listen to the radio. We felt several strong aftershocks as the various reports of damage throughout the Bay Area trickled in. We watched people walking across the nearby intersection holding radios to their ears and open bottles of beer to their mouths, eyes glazed in shock from those fifteen seconds of Nature shaking her booty. I found it difficult to conceive of the quake’s powerful effect. How could something which lasted only a few seconds wreak such havoc?

The radio soon reported the horrible collapse of the Bay Bridge section and mile of Nimitz Freeway, along with the fires springing up in the Marina area. 60,000 baseball fans waited in Candlestick Park for the third game of the World Series to begin. Carl laughed, remarking how ludicrous it was for people to think about baseball at a time like this.

We sat in the car for over an hour listening to the news, then saw the nutritionist Irene passing by (since her apartment was down the block). Carl flagged her down to ask if we could hang out at her apartment while deciding what to do next, and Irene said, “Sure, join the crowd.”  She had been with two women clients when the quake hit, and I quipped, “They really got an earth-shaking nutritional reading today, didn’t they?”

Carl had no intention of trying to get back to Sacramento that night, so I suggested phoning my friend Paul to see if we could stay at his place. Luckily, the quake hadn’t seriously damaged the City’s phone system, so we were able to get through to Paul after waiting 20 seconds for a dial-tone. I told him that Carl & I would drive there after the heavy traffic had abated somewhat.

Irene’s upstairs apartment hadn’t suffered damage except for an overturned bookshelf. She left to check on some neighbors, so the two women clients sat with Carl & me on the front steps. That particular neighborhood of Noe St. just north of Market seemed fine, although the power was off. We watched the news on Irene’s next-door neighbor’s battery-operated TV, grimacing in horror as we saw the collapsed section of Oakland’s highway 880. Many folks congregated on the sidewalk in front of the neighbor’s tiny TV, many of them were in a mild form of shock. I realized that I must have been in a similar condition to have downplayed my reactions to the quake as I did when it was happening, for it was really quite a serious event. It hit me hard later.

It was soon dark —  very dark without electricity. We sat on the front steps and watched the groups of people walking by with flashlights and radios and candles.  Someone warned us that they had heard on TV that scientists were predicting a strong aftershock in about 45 minutes. One agreeable result of no electricity: the stars could be seen shining brightly in a clear sky. Luckily, temperatures were mild that night, after an unusually warm day.

Irene came back and went upstairs to her fridge, and brought down fruit popsicles for the gang. Carl & I thanked her for everything, then decided to drive to Paul’s. Carl allowed me to drive, and after looking carefully at a map determined the best way to go: south on Dolores, which turned into San Jose, on to Monterey and then to Paul’s on Staples. Traffic was light at 9 P.M. and we arrived safely. Amazingly, that part of the city had electricity; Paul & Liza said that the power had just come on five minutes before we got there.

Their house suffered no structural damage as far as they could tell — even their kitchen, an addition to the original house, was fine. Paul was in that room when the quake hit; only a few champagne and wine glasses crashed to the floor from a shelf.  He could hear things shattering in the livingroom, however, and discovered that Liza’s large grandfather clock had tumbled to the floor. Clay pots and knick-knacks on the mantel had fallen, but were cushioned by landing on the fireplace screen which had tipped over. A couple of pictures jumped off the walls, and that was the extent of the damage at Paul & Liza’s.

Liza, meanwhile, was on a MUNI train which had just arrived at the station where she usually gets off after work. No-one on the train actually felt the quake, and wondered why everything came to a grinding halt. Finally, an announcement was made about the quake; MUNI would follow “standard procedure” — sitting tight for the moment. The train hadn’t pulled into the station completely, so everyone evacuated from the front car. All sorts of wild thoughts went through Liza’s mind as she hurried home, and arrived to find that Paul had nearly finished cleaning up the mess. Relief!

By the time that Carl & I arrived, Liza had consumed a couple bottles of white wine and was feeling no pain. I decided to join her. It was wonderful to see Paul & Liza again, even under such bizarre circumstances, and we had much news to catch up on.

Liza reported that the San Francisco Opera House suffered extensive damage; the new additional building (behind the older, main section) had separated from it! So the current opera has been cancelled (and probably the rest of the season) as Management attempts to assess the damage. I asked what happens to the musicians, and Liza replied that everyone’s insured.

Everyone except me went to bed around midnight; I stayed up watching the news on TV, which was fascinating. As the hours went by, the quake information became more comprehensive. The news anchors did a wonderful job of on-the-spot reporting; they were very professional. Finally, at 3 A.M. I went to bed.

We slept late until 11. Paul had already returned from taking Liza to the airport, and he fixed us a delicious breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs.

Carl & I headed back to Sacramento at 1 o’clock. We had to figure out a good way to get to the Golden Gate Bridge; 19th Ave. was closed. We ended up driving along the ocean road, which eventually led us to the bridge. We breathed sighs of relief after successfully crossing the Golden Gate….then headed up Hwy. 101 to #37 to Vallejo and Hwy. 80. It was another unusually hot day, strange & oppressive.

We arrived in Sacramento at 3 P.M., two hours after leaving S.F. It was definitely a relief to be home, and we have spent many hours sleeping these past two days.

*     *     *     *     *

One of the things which strikes me the most, reading over this journal entry from twenty years ago, is that the earthquake itself lasted only the few seconds, but the aftermath lingered for much, much longer. For years — even to the present day.