Trip to California in 1973

Mary Grigsby

When I look back on my life I realize I have been truly blessed by many happenings.

One event that stands out in my life was in 1973 when I was branch manager of Avco Financial Services in Salem. I was appointed to the Retirement Board that year, and flew to the company headquarters in Newport Beach, California, for the annual meeting. I was very nervous having never traveled alone and especially going that far from home.

After leaving Louisville on Tuesday evening for Los Angeles, our first stop was in Kansas City, Missouri. A young fellow boarded and was seated next to me. As the plane became airborne he pointed out the window to a tall building with lights. He told me he had just been home to attend his father’s funeral, and that building was his father’s television station. He said he was returning to president Nixon’s San Clemente estate, where he was a security guard.

Sitting in first class on the flight was James Coburn. The flight attendants said he was not the most pleasant passenger, but to me that proved wrong. When we landed in Los Angeles I had to take a commuter flight out of a different terminal to Newport Beach. I must have looked lost because Coburn walked up to me and asked where I was going. When I told him I needed to connect with a commuter flight to Newport Beach, he looked at the young fellow, who was still standing with me, and told him to walk me to that terminal. He said it was not safe for a young lady to walk there alone. I appreciated that as it was a little ways to the terminal. I boarded the commuter plane with seven other passengers for the short flight to Newport Beach. When I finally arrived at the hotel I was worn out, but breathed a sigh of relief to have finally made it.

The next morning I met in the lobby with six others to go to Avco headquarters. The retirement board consisted of seven employees from across the states. Our first day was just for getting acquainted and touring Avco headquarters, with a nice dinner that evening. Thursday and Friday we attended a meeting during the day and was free in the evening to sight see. One evening some of us rented a car and drove to a shopping center. When we came out to return to the hotel the smog had settled in. It was worse than any fog I have ever seen, and almost impossible to see. We were all relieved when we made it back to the hotel.

Newport Club was across the street from the hotel and John Wayne’s big yacht was docked there. It was beautiful and we were hoping to see John, but that didn’t happen.

Even though the meeting was only on Thursday and Friday, my flight back to Louisville wasn’t until Sunday. Most of the group left on Saturday, but myself and two others were still there on Saturday so we decided to go to Disneyland. I enjoyed the day, but felt sad knowing how much my two boys would have enjoyed being there.

It was a great experience and trip, but so good to see Bob and the boys waiting to greet me when I arrived back to Louisville. The boys talked nonstop, filling me in on happenings since I had left. Mark told me he just had to tell me something funny. He said daddy told him not to tell, but it was too funny not to. He said his daddy put regular dish soap in the dishwasher instead of dishwasher soap. He said soap suds came out of the dishwasher all over the floor, out of the kitchen sink, even out of the faucets in the bathroom. I am surprised it didn’t ruin the dishwasher. Dean spoke up and said he was afraid to drink anything because his daddy had made them use their same cup and he was afraid he might drink out of Mark’s cup by mistake.

I think they were as happy to see me get home as I was.

Author’s Biography: Mary Grigsby is retired from a career in finance and banking. She has been a member of Writers Bloc since 2001 and has written a large volume of memoirs that she has shared with out writers group.


Please Login for Premium Content

Site Login Help

For current subscribers to The Salem Leader and The Salem Democrat, you can login to the site using the following information:

Username: Please use your full email address associated with your account
Password: Please use your last name. Passwords are case sensitive, so please capitalize your last name (eg: Smith)