Jan’s Unequivocal Welcome……#148 (the 70’s)


Mom, Jan and Robert

.  Gary and Jan having decided to make a brief visit to California and introduce the newest Willson to his grandmother and namesake grandfather.   Richard the bands drummer  facilitating the Willson’s departure,  his 1973 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser stopping at  their southwest 41st residence to provide transportation to the Will Rogers World Airport.  Richard’s occupation, when not playing drums,  was transporting the U.S. Mail for a trucking enterprise between Oklahoma City  and outlying mail distribution centers, the drummer having become close family friends,  even to the point of offering to help Jan and Gary with the airfare expense. 

.  Arriving at Will Rogers,  Gary never ceased to feel a sense of vividness when gazing at the row of signs designating the entrance to the many airlines,  the gateways to the wonders of the world.  Standing at the Braniff reservation counter,  the memory of the four engine turboprop Lockheed Electra of the 1960’s coming to mind, it presence having inherited the past, a  Boeing 727 its replacement,  and with it came what Braniff called,  the ‘Jelly Bean Fleet’, the end of the plain plane, a host of rainbow colors, each craft painted a bright solid hue and the added attraction of boisterous flamboyant fashionable uniformed stewardess.

.  The Boeing 7 27 making it’s 5 mile approach to  the Dallas Fort Worth Regional Airport, a first landing at DFW for Gary,  who was impressed with its  vastness in comparison to Love Field,  noting it seemed that each major airline was provided its own tarmac and stand-alone terminal.  Disembarking,  the family soon discovering the only way to get to the American Airlines terminal was to board a driver-less tram,   the tram ride providing a new experience.  Arriving at the terminal to begin boarding for their nonstop flight to San Francisco.  It was another first, a McDonnell Douglas DC 10 Luxury Liner, having two aisles, five seats across in the center, seating over 200,  cruising at 37,000 feet at 600 miles per hour, finding it hard to believe the flight would take less than three hours, mentioning to Jan,  it took over six hours for him to fly in a DC 6B  from Oakland to Dallas,  on his way to Fort Sill in 1959.

.  The DC 10 setting down in the city by the bay,  Gary discovering a new inheritance at SFO,  the arrival of a  commercial helicopter line providing services to Oakland International, having never flown in a helicopter before.  The San Francisco Airlines helicopter rides was a disappointing short one, the trip but a hop, skip and jump across San Francisco Bay, the craft continuing on to Walnut Creek and Concord.  An ovation of predominance, Gary’s father having arrived as the official greeter at the airport.   A slightly different situation with the couples baggage, it failed to get unloaded in Oakland and apparently was still aboard the helicopter on its way to Concord.  The bad news being,  it would be over an hour before it could be returned to Oakland, but the good news, they would dispatch the luggage in a cab to the Greenly Drive address, the Pianist concluding, all’s well that ends well.

.  Gary noticing that his childhood home seem to have diminish in size thru the years, each room smaller than he previously remembered or could the remembrance from his childhood be over-shadowed by the  expanse of his world today.  Looking down Shone Avenue from his boyhood home, the possession of eminence once provided by Mountain Boulevard, the two lane  blacktop that snaked  below the Oakland Hills no longer in existence,  the 580 interstate freeway a replacement.  The adjoining wheat field affiliation,  once view from his bedroom window, it’s fragrance of recently mowed hay able to infiltrate his childhood room, now expletive with development,  the memories having been absorbed, but the reality snatched away with life’s temporal progression.

.  The dawning of a new day,  Gary and Jan with an armful named Robert,  Grandma Betty sporting as tour guide as they set out for San Francisco,   Gary’ Dad depositing them at the Bay Area Rapid Transit Station at 98th and San Leandro Boulevard.  This being a first for Gary, a journey beneath the waters of the bay aboard the Rapid Transit, better known as Bart.  The underwater venture,  no comparison to his youthful view from the lower deck  aboard the key system bay bridge electric train where one was able to gaze upon Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the majesty of san francisco bay.  Disembarking at the Market Street terminal, Gary very much surprised at his mother knowledge of public transportation, then realized he has been gone for 18 years, his mother’s life having graduated from rising a family,  to one of joining the world of commerce, having worked and conducted business in San Francisco.

.  The transplanted Oklahoman back on youthful san francisco familiar territory, the traveling family desiring the presence of Golden Gate Park,  leaving the Bart station, it was up Market Street to McAllister and the number 5 bus, it’s numeral still remaining the same after all these years.  The electric  bus with its rear mounted  telescoping arm,  reaching upwards embracing the power lines, acquainting Fulton Street, which  journeys the full length of Golden Gate Park to its greeting with the Pacific.  Jan being taken back with the coming and goings of the passengers on the bus, the small town Kansas girl never having experienced so many different languages being spoken.   The familiar 10th Street stop unchanged, but the pedestrian tunnel under the roadway circling the park to enter having changed to an auto entrance.

.  With the day’s activity to include, the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Science with the Planetarium, the Steinhart Aquarium and Natural History, the giant Kodiak Bear still standing guard at the entrance.  A visit to the Japanese Tea Gardens, the three adults having a toast of  refreshments of the Gardens delicacy

.  Gary’s youthful remembrance,  his monthly ventures for so many years to san francisco,  golden gate park, playland across from the breakers of the Pacific, his thoughts, a sharing experience,  but found that many didn’t grasp the significance it played as  a youth.  The  late afternoon found a retracing of steps to return to Oakland,  deciding to stop at Jack London Square.  Another memory, a boy name Mike touring a Coast Guard Cutter with his Burckhalter fourth grade class.  The family could feel the leeward breeze giving notice of the late afternoon incoming fog,  an essence of the water accompanying them on the bay boardwalk,  viewing  the many small sailing craft.   The three deciding on an early dinner meal at the Bow and Bell restaurant, Gary placing a telephone call,  beckoning the elder Willson to chauffeur them back to Greenly Drive.


.  The hastily arranged  visit, the lack of time engulfing the couples inherent return, only instead of returning to San Francisco,   they left from Oakland on PSA to Los Angeles, once again boarding the large DC 10 for the journey to Dallas  and a  Braniff flight home to Oklahoma City.  Gary understanding his west coast family proclivity was  not invective of a Oklahoma or Kansas aptitude.  Having experienced the conjectured impression made by his parents from his previous marriage to Kaye, concluding although this first introduction was brief,  his parents welcoming Jan as family without qualification.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: