A “Before We Had Children” Story
The other night during a delightful dinner out with our son and his wife I told them a story they had never heard before. Amazing!!! After all these years. It’s one of our many “before we had children” stories.
It happened in September of 1955 at the Sir Walter Hotel on Virginia Beach, Virginia. At the time David was stationed at the big Naval station in Norfolk, Virginia and had a 3 or 4 day pass. I was working as an artist at a high fashion store in Houston, Texas. I flew there (my very first plane ride, by the way) and was met at the airport in Norfolk by David and his First Class Petty Officer who served on the same ship as David. We appreciated the ride out to Virginia Beach.
It was a magical weekend; the beach, a beautiful hotel right on the beach, and David. One evening we decided to have dinner in the main restaurant of the hotel. We were dressed very casually; David in slacks and a T-shirt (tucked in), and I wore black Capri pants and a long-sleeved blouse, tucked in,also. We didn’t even have on sandals. The only shoes David had were his Navy shoes….very conservative. Nevertheless, we were told we could not come in because of their dress code.
This surprising pronouncement by the Maitre di’ was clearly heard by many diners already in the restaurant and drew quite a lot of attention. For some reason, I think we were getting more attention that weekend than we realized. But I’m happy to say, his words didn’t bother us at all. David asked him if there was any other place in the hotel we could eat. He said “Yes, there is a hamburger bar in the basement.” That sounded wonderful to us and off we went. We had a great time and forgot about the rejection. We even found a TV there in the basement. In those days there were no TVs in the rooms. See us posing by the TV in the collage above? That was cool then.
The next day the hotel manager came up to us and apologized for what had happened in the main restaurant and offered to drive me to the airport when I was ready to leave. We accepted his kind apology and offer. Virginia Beach was a long way from the airport in Norfolk. From the airport David returned to his ship.
It turns out I would need all the help I could get, because while chasing my rubber raft on the beach, I sprained my ankle rather badly. The flight home was very long; I flew from Norfolk in a small plane to Washington D.C., had a several hours wait, flew to Atlanta and landed, flew to New Orleans and landed, and finally made it back to Houston. At each stop the Attendant had to awaken me to fasten my seat belt then I would go back to sleep immediately. My parents met me at Hobby Airport and I made it back to my drawing board at work just in time.
About a year later, David was transferred to “floating land duty”, at Little Creek Naval Station near Norfolk, at least that’s what he called it, and I moved to Norfolk to be with him all the time. We had a wonderful time there, making many friends……and creating more stories.
Our weekend at the Sir Walter Hotel is just one “before we had children” story. I have plenty; we were married four years before our first child arrived. More to come.