Chub and I met early in 1931 when he was at the University of Missouri-Columbia and I was in high school. A year later we were putting little bits of extra money in a joint postal savings account, pretending we were saving "for a trip to California, later." Two years after we married, we withdrew our postal savings and camped our way to California and were surprised to have money left over. We went again in 1941 - not camping - taking Chub’s mother and father on a dream trip to visit "Aunt Louise" and friends in Los Angeles. While the oldsters rehashed their childhood memories, Chub and I visited the wharf, rode the street car and waded in the ocean.
We also visited one of the first telecast studios. What a surprise! I suddenly saw Chub on the screen, being interviewed about his engineering classes at MU! They ran it again so he could see how a wide audience had viewed him.
Of course, fellows at home had urged Chub to see Sally Rand and her Nude Ranch. We paid a chunk for tickets and stood in line, watching Sally’s "ranch hands" batting badminton birds in scanty panties and floppy bras. Sally herself, not clothed, performed a delightful dance in dim purple light with huge feather fans and constant motion. At the last she posed a short second, in full light, then made a quick getaway! Sally studied one semester and had to quit to care for her ill mother.
The day before we were to leave, Chub and I visited an elderly couple, friends of his Illinois grandparents. Aunt Louise directed us to their "yellow house surrounded by tall buildings," saying, "you can’t miss it."
She was right! Their well-kept home had a sidewalk but no driveway. It was a picture, "framed" by tall red brick office buildings. Mr. and Mrs. Gregory built on acres they owned; Los Angeles crowded in except for the small spot on which their home was built long ago. Both Gregorys were past 90 years old. Their minds were keen, but she was blind. They had gradually sold parts of their larger acreage as Los Angeles grew and developers needed space. That reduced the Gregorys’ property to its tiny lot with a two-story, bright yellow frame house in a forest of tall red brick office buildings.
When it was time to say say goodbye, Mrs. Gregory left the room and finally called from the bedroom, "Sue, come here." She was fumbling in a jewelry box and had located a string of pearls. As she closed my hand over the pearls, she said, "I want Walter Frank’s wife to have these, my dear." I hugged her long, and she added, "Sue, they are real." Tears filled our eyes as we realized that we’d never see each other again.
Summary: Chub drove our 1937 Chevrolet Business Coupe 5,361 miles. His mother sat in the front between her son and her husband. I improvised a seat - with pillows - on the platform that these coupes had and faced sideways all the way to Los Angeles and back. In those days flying was not an option for these four travelers!
● Gas and oil: $56.13
● Photos and slides: $6.50
● Park entries: $6.15
● Meals: $7.07
● Souvenirs: $1.24
● Overnight cabins: $13.03
● Car accessories: $5.66
● Ice: 95 cents
● Candy, pop, ice cream: $1.55
● Car (greasing): $2.50
● Miscellaneous: $5.79
● Total: $115.74