Diary Entry from May 23, 1998

We’ve been dealing with the quarantine time of Corona Virus, or lockdown.  Going through this very old diary of mine and editing the entries has been great for my memory.  Here’s the next interesting story in my life that I had forgotten about!  I’m glad I wrote it down…

“The Surprise”

2020MarDiary5 23

Yesterday afternoon, May 22nd, my youngest sister, Gayle, “kidnapped” me.  I didn’t realize it at the time, I had thought she was just going to take me somewhere interesting in order to celebrate my birthday.  After a long drive north to Long Beach, she kept me in the dark to the last second as to where we were going.  She said she needed to stop at the Queen Mary to pick up some pamphlets and info concerning staying there before we headed on to our destination.  My sister likes doing interesting things like that, so I didn’t think anything of it.

I went inside with her, I mean, who wouldn’t?  I’d never been inside such a historic ship before.  While waiting our turn at the Hotel lobby desk (with me ogling everything in the area), an employee came up and greeted my sister, saying she remembered her from last week!  Gayle was slightly rude to her until she could tell I knew something was up.  Suddenly, she ‘fessed up that we were to stay HERE!  AT the Queen Mary!  Aaaah!  Yeehaa!  Ooh!  Yip yay yip yee!

After a while, I had to use the restroom and walked down a hall, both laughing and giggling at how she had fooled me.  On the way back, I tripped over a floor divider and slid on my right side quite a long way on the rug.  The rug was beautiful!  After checking in, we made our way through the huge ship/hotel to our small room, M201.  What a wonderful place!  She then told me we had to go somewhere else for an 8:30 PM mysterious appointment off of Ocean Boulevard. On our drive away, we saw a blue heron off of the Queen’s docks, standing on the edges of little fishing boats.

Our appointment turned out to be an exotic gondola ride through some islands called Naples!!!  Real gondolas!  The boats travel through canals separating three islands in the harbor area that have huge, artistic, beautiful, super wealthy homes.  The Hershey family built the first house there around 1925.  It was used as a duck hunting club, because the islands used to be marshlands with millions of ducks.  Eventually, the marshes were drained, islands formed, and people built more houses—$800,000 up to $3.5 million.

Our boatman sang Santa Lucia to us under a bridge (so he would sound better).  As we toured Long Beach’s Naples, we ate Italian bread, salami, and cheese, and we drank what Gayle brought—Sprite with maraschino cherries sitting in an ice bucket, like wine.  At 9:30, we were happily on our way back to the Queen Mary.

Gayle and I took photos of the lit-up ship, and walked the decks until 11:30.  There were several proms being held here from local high schools, and teenagers were everywhere decked out to the hilt. We went on to the front prow deck, not realizing we were not supposed to, and looked at the WWII guns and almost didn’t get back to the legal area.  The doors were all locked except for the one we had entered.  It didn’t have a handle!!  But pulling on a pipe that stuck out the door for some reason, we got it open.  How embarrassing.  I’m not very brave when it comes to doing things I’m not supposed to be doing.

What a night!  What a Day!  What a sister!

We woke up early the next day and toured that front deck again, legally, taking more photos before heading back to San Diego.  A great memory maker, don’t you think?

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