An Abbreviated California Journey…#114A


The Untouchables deciding to take  some time off from their established sit-down engagement at the Hi Lo Club.  Gary, Kaye and little Scott planning an abbreviated  journey to California that would include a first stop in Long Beach,  to reconcile a bizarre situation.   Helen,  Gary’s mother-in- law let it be known that Kaye’s  estranged father,  Kermit Van Leuven, resided in Long Beach.  Helen and Kermit having gone their separate ways prior to the start of world war II  in 1939.  and thru the years making a decision to let their relationship lay dormant.  This would soon change, Helen having arranged for Kaye to place a call,  and Kermit would meet and introduce himself to the arrivals.

The journey in the 63 Comet beginning,  Gary making a decision to drive straight through from Oklahoma City to Long Beach and after the stop,  north to Oakland.  .   The 1400 mile stretch of highway from Oklahoma City to Long Beach,  a  long 24 hour arduous journey,  Gary thankful when reaching their destination.  The late morning  arrival presenting an unusual circumstance, Kaye needing to place a call and  freshen up before meeting her father,  but because of their limited budget, Gary hesitant about the expense of a motel room for just an hour,  deciding to make an unusual request.  The person behind the motel counter having an inquisitive look when Gary approached her about the cost of a room for an hour, taking notice of the couple and  Scott, but once being informed of the circumstance,  the clerk agreeing to let the room at half the price of a night’s stay.

Kaye’s father,  Kermit Van Leuven,  an attorney,  appointed as the Head  Court Clerk that schedules the dockets for the judges presiding in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Gary’s newly discovered father-in-law receiving his daughter call,  arranging their meeting,  giving them  directions to a restaurant on west Ocean Boulevard.   Gary finding the atmosphere somewhat estranged,  especially to be present when your wife acknowledges her father for the first time.  The brief reunion coming to a conclusion, this initial introduction a first step in a new relationship and the promise of a future.  A tired Gary beginning to feel the effects of his 30 hour day since leaving Oklahoma City, especially with another 8 hours of highway remaining to Oakland.

Highway 101,  a route  familiar to the Musician,  having traversed the black top course on the back of Dale Spady’s 5 horsepower cushman motor scooter upon high school graduation, but unlike before, this time encountering a blinding rainstorm.  Gary was having difficulty seeing, the windshield wipers unable to clear the cascading water, especially the spray when coming up behind a ten wheeler semi.   The road excursion progressing,    the 450 mile trip from  Long Beach to Oakland about to conclude.   the Comet on the Nimitz Freeway north of San Jose,  Gary having gone without sleep for 38 hours.  Even with the cool bay area dampness, and the wind confronting him thru the open driver side window,  it was still difficult to keep his eyes open,  Kaye doing her best providing a damp wash cloth to wipe his face.  With their arrival,  the elder Willson family welcoming the weary traveling family, Gary ready to cash in his remaining wakeful chips,  calling it a night.

The visit enabling Gary the opportunity to introduce his wife to the City by the Bay,  San Francisco,  the couple having garnished baby Scott with Grandma Betty.  Gary having spent many youthful days traversing the bay bridge to partake of golden gate park , with its academy of science,  aquarium,  De Young Museum, and never forget visiting fisherman’s wharf as a youth,  but could not have imagined, sitting in Joe DiMaggio’s at Fisherman’s Wharf on Jefferson Street,  sipping a daiquiri with a wife,  waiting for the rush hour traffic to clear the bay bridge.  It seemed like this abbreviated California journey had come to a conclusion before it got started.  A more reasonable return journey,  finding a first night’s stay in Kingman and Albuquerque their last night on the road  before acknowledging Oklahoma City.

Their mission accomplished,  an inquisitive Helen questioning each about their visit with Kermit.  Gary was not privileged to his wife’s conversation with her mother, but his private view,  concerning the years of sequestered relationship between Kermit and his daughter was simple,  justification sometimes defies logic.

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