THE CURSE OF BONNIE
A while after we bought our beach house in Port Hueneme, CA, my next door neighbor, Bonnie, moved in with her husband from a few blocks away. She was from Kentucky & as “down home” & unspoiled as you can get. A month or so after she moved in we were all invited to a semiformal dinner to honor the new commander of the Naval Base. We asked her what “semiformal” meant in this small town. Her answer: “Perfume OR deodorant!”
Bonnie & Dex (her husband) invited us to go to the Kentucky Derby with them. Then Dex said he couldn’t go, so Bud decided to pass & let Bonnie & me go alone. We did & we had a great time. When we got home her husband of about 25 or 30 years said he was glad she had fun & got home safely & by the way, he wanted a divorce. They got it.
A couple of years later—1989—the San Francisco Giants were playing the Oakland A’s in the World Series. My son was assistant Travel Secretary for the Giants & had 4 tickets for us to go to all the games. Bud couldn’t take that much time off work so I took Bonnie, my other son (then a teenager) & his friend. We stayed in the Presidio at the home of a friend who was a Colonel in the Army. He & his wife were off somewhere on vacation. We used his car & I drove to Candlestick Park, less than a half hour away. It was just about time for the first game to start, the fans were in their seats & the players on the field--& THE LOMA PRIETA EARTHQUAKE HIT! There was a lot of fear, but not too much panic in the stadium. We found our car & I started driving home.
Driving in San Francisco is not the easiest thing to do in the best of times--& this was NOT the best of times! The street signs seemed to be placed at random. This was before the GPS or the cell phone were invented. My son was in the back seat reading a road map by the overhead light as I drove a strange car through dark San Francisco. As we passed one corner we heard someone yell, “Shoot ‘em now!” We didn’t know if they meant looters or US! We couldn’t go to a hotel—many streets were closed & the city was essentially shut down. It took us almost 4 hours to get back to the Presidio where we were met by an armed guard who told us that it was closed & that only residents could get in. I did the only logical, adult thing I could do. I cried. Then I remembered that my friend had a bird (full) Colonel’s decal on the car window. I pointed it out to the guard & he let us in. We spent 5 days in a dark, cold house before we could get a flight home. Thank heavens the phones still worked. Our only source of information about the earthquake damage & fires was by phone to our family or a few minutes at a time on the car radio. We were afraid to kill the car battery.
A “Bonnieism”: We were playing golf behind a very slow group of men. She exasperatedly asked me why it is that men will spend 10 minutes looking for a lost ball, but they won’t take 5 seconds to find your “G spot”!
Bonnie & I still enjoy each other’s company, but we figure that if we ever travel together again the smart thing would be to buy one way tickets because AT LEAST ONE OF US IS PROBABLY GOING TO DIE!