I had made plans to go to Crater Lake the middle of August. My sister Mary Beth and I take a 10-day trip every year; she had asked that we go to the lake and to Sisters on the way.
I was excited about having a Waldron Sisters adventure. We would stay one night in Sisters and drool over the quilts and fabric at The Stitching Post. I happen to be the proud owner of 56 fat quarters (one quarter of a yard), 10 yards of Australian fabric predominately orange and purple prints and at least 15 yards of solid colored material. I needed to find an irresistible project to help me thin out my bulging stash.
And then the awful forest fires came with warnings of unhealthy smoke-filled air. As much as we wanted to go, this was not the kind of adventure I was looking for. It was time for another plan, and I began brainstorming with my friends. My aim was to find outings that would be fun and exciting for my sister and special treats for both of us.
First on the list was going to see "Gypsy" at the Deb Fennell Auditorium, presented by Broadway Rose Theatre Company. What a joy it was to hear songs that I understood and that I used to sing on our Sunday car rides. Well, I did let a few lines slip from my mouth, but my sister gave me a poke, and I stopped. My father was a stockbroker and many of his clients gave him tickets to Broadway shows, so we saw many musicals. My favorite song from "Gypsy" was "Some People," which Ethel Merman performed. As she sang, "Some people can be content living life in their living rooms, but I am not some people." My 15-year-old heart was filled with excitement about the adventures that I could find. I sang that song all the way home.
Next on the list was the High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society Museum in Portland. The exhibit did not disappoint. Kennedy's famous rocking chair was on display. Due to his back injuries from World War II, he had several chairs made for Air Force One, Hyannis Port and Palm Beach. His book, "Profiles in Courage," told of the courageous acts of eight senators and won the Pulitzer Prize. Pictures of family and friends of the President were abundant. My favorite showed Caroline and John dancing in the Oval Office and their father smiling and clapping. It was a reminder of happy times for the Kennedy family.
There was a video of the TV program with Jackie Kennedy giving a tour of the newly decorated White House and giving a detailed history of the rooms and furnishings. She was a gracious woman and had an elegant sense of style. Every woman wanted the Jackie look. Her gowns and dresses for her wedding, the inauguration, state dinners and trips abroad were shown and she really looked like a princess.
My sister reminisced about that period in time and the sadness of Kennedy's assassination three years after his inauguration and the effect it had on our nation. We watched as Walter Cronkite of CBS television barely held back tears as he made the announcement. It was an unforgettable time in America.
We shared what we had seen with my daughter and her family. My daughter called everyone together to hear the "Nana" stories. Of course, Mary Beth and I had many more memories. I prompted my sister tell how she and her friend Katherine would meet at the bus stop to go to school. But they didn't take the bus. Instead they crossed the street and walked to the train station to catch the early morning train to New York City. They had to be back by 4 p.m., so Katherine's mother would not find out what they were up to. The truth did come out on their report cards. My sister routinely signed her report card, so Katherine was left with the consequences.
I always thought my older sister was what we called a "goody two shoes" and I was the naughty one. My girlfriend and I drove my father's light gray Chevy out the driveway and gates for a skip day. I was the driver, and Lois was the director. My job was to scrunch down and steer the car as Lois eyeballed the edges of the driveway and gates and shouted, "Left, left!" or "Right, Joan!" We were the headless drivers, way before the self-driving cars were invented.
I was a cheerleader and participated in the senior prank. A group of us were having a pajama party and someone came up with the idea of making a special cake to bring up to the principal of the school. We decorated the cake with cigarette butts and candles. At 2 a.m., all of us piled into the ghost car and delivered the cake.
Sister Agnes was not as excited as we were about our senior tradition of pulling off a truly extra special prank as part of graduation. We were caught. We assembled on the circular staircase at school and were suspended from cheerleading for three weeks. As I look back, I think we got off pretty easy. I also think Sister Agnes was a good sport about our deed.
Mary Beth and I had a great vacation. We ate Thai food, dined at the Chart House, had lunch, went to a movie and drank many cups of coffee. So, it was a good time and we made a new memory to hold on to until next time.
Joan Waldron is a member of the Jottings group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.