It’s been awhile I’ve given you a peek at the historic novel I’ve been writing. A friend reminded me of the occasional posts here. At this point, the six women have been introduced and have arrived at The Garden House Tea Room for the 50th Anniversary Luncheon of Allied Arts. Although the group was real and these stories are loosely based on Fresno’s history, they are fictional. And, in addition, this is my 1000 blog post.
Chapter 7 Arriving at the Garden House Tea Room
June and Dorothy pull into the YWCA parking lot. The big stately building in front of them was designed by Julia Morgan, California’s famous woman architect. She had the contract to design all of the West Coast YWCA buildings. A group of ladies now operates a tea house in the building which provides an income for the YWCA, but Harriet has told them this will be the last luncheon as the YWCA has decided to do something different with the building. The tea house will be missed as it has been a lovely place to have luncheons.
They see Harriet’s car already parked. She must be inside. They are a little later than they planned to be, hoping to beat everyone else, but when June got to Dorothy’s little apartment, she found Dorothy still wearing her slippers. They had to find the yellow shoes Dorothy planned to wear but couldn’t find anywhere. Finally, remembering she had taken out the garbage right after getting dressed, Dorothy looked under the kitchen sink, and there were her shoes. She had put them there while she emptied the garbage can. June noticed Dorothy had forgotten to comb her hair and apply some lipstick so she got her back into the bedroom and took care of those things.
“I’m really worried about Dorothy,” she thought as they got out of the car. “She seems to forget all the little details. She is certainly not wearing what she told me she would wear when we talked on the phone early this morning. She couldn’t remember if she’d had breakfast this morning, but I only saw the coffee pot, which she had unplugged, and an empty cup. What about her dinner dishes? Had she washed and put them away, or had she forgotten to eat dinner? She’s definitely getting thinner.”
Dorothy kept asking June the same questions on the drive over:
“Who all is coming to the luncheon? What are we having for lunch? When is the next Allied Arts meeting?”
June was quite persistent in telling Dorothy that this was the last meeting for Allied Arts. Almost afraid that Dorothy would get dressed and try to go somewhere for the meeting in September, she told her, “Dorothy, we will have a treat and go out to lunch in September. I’ll come pick you up.”
Let’s see if she remembers that in September.
Vivian and Roberta arrive at the same time, but in separate cars. June thinks this rather odd since they both came from San Joaquin Gardens.
“Couldn’t they manage to coordinate driving together rather than separately,” she asks to no one in particular.
Dorothy has seen them arrive, too, and turns back towards their cars.
“Look, it’s Vivian and Roberta. Let’s go say hello and see if they need any help.”
Roberta is driving a brand new white Honda Accord. She gets out with just her purse in hand. Vivian, on the other hand, is still driving the old station wagon she has had for years. There are many dings in the sides where other cars have made contact in parking lots. She struggles with a stack of folders as she maneuvers out of the car.
“So, that’s why I thought you had already left,” Vivian calls out to Roberta. “I didn’t know you had a new car; I was looking for the old green Buick.”
“Jack picked this up yesterday and turned in the old car. We figure this will be our last car. Like Carrie Weldon, I’m thinking of getting a license plate that says LAST CAR.” Roberta stands at the back of her new car, looking at the paper tag.
They laugh at this thought. Although she got what she called a “last car,” Carrie has since bought two more. So her license plates have said LAST CAR 2 and LAST CAR 3. She says she is outliving her “last cars.”