22. May 2013 · Comments Off on Good Guys · Categories: M. 16 years

Simone’s new friends drive us to the Drake Wiltshire.  John checks out the room to see if it’s okay, as though I have a choice.

drake wiltshire

He takes me to dinner.  He is at the Hotel Plaza, just a short walk away.   Their dining room is elegant.   I’m glad my sister advised that while traveling in the U.S. I should wear the tweed suit with matching hat because “it can go anywhere.”

hotel plaza s. francisco

This is the first time I am out alone with someone, but I don’t think of it as a date.   There’s a bit of chivalry to it.

Still, without his guitar I get to know a lot more about John.   He is at a college in New England.   Next year he is going to Harvard Law.  He wants to practice international law.   He cares about the world.  He is a Protestant, an Episcopalian.

He is a Jimmy Stewart type, I think, charming and gallant, doing the right thing.   I’m so lucky he is here with me.   But he is not my type of heartthrob.   Blame the stupid cupids.

John Derek is my type.  The ship’s doctor has that kind of smoldering good looks.  Girls were swooning.  We pointed him out to one another as he stood off by himself, smoking a cigarette and staring at the sea.  During the whole trip, he never gave any of us a second look.

The next morning, John calls and says there is a TWA agency nearby and he will take me there.

Union Square

This agency happens to be the right one.   The agent is apologetic although it is not his fault that he didn’t show up yesterday. Whoever did my bookings gave him the wrong date for my arrival.  He shows me where it says that I am arriving today.  He was going to meet my ship this afternoon.

On the other hand, he has me booked on a flight departing at eleven tonight for Chicago.  There I will connect to a flight to Cincinnati, arriving in the morning.

I know that even if I make my way to Cincinnati, I have to wait in a hotel lobby for someone from my new school to come and take me to the school.   It is out in the country, in Loveland.   If the TWA man is the only one who was given a wrong arrival date, by mistake, then the school would be expecting me today, not tomorrow.  No one will be waiting for me in Cincinnati.

Someone will come for me only if the school was given the same wrong arrival date.

The ship’s arrival date is printed on its itinerary.  How likely is it that the same slip-up or typo was made in separate notification letters to two different places?  I won’t know until I get to Cincinnati.   Do I even want to know?  I feel a chill.

John is leaving for his flight shortly.   The glowing letters of recommendation from the British consul in Macau and from Mother Paulinus that I carry with my passport are useless.   I still have some money.

What the heck!

I ask the agent what it would cost to fly first class.   Well, he says, it’s a red-eye special and the plane is not full.   He upgrades me to first class for a nominal fee.

I should have thought of that, he says, they’ll take good care of you.

Father Waters takes me to the nuns’ city residence for women.  It is just as he said.

Maybe it’s the city.   The nuns seem worldlier than our teachers in Macau.  They admire how well tailored my suit is.  They feel the soft English wool.  They want the latest buzz about Macau.  They feed me the most wonderful California fruits and warn me not to expect anything as eye popping and delicious in Ohio.

bowl of fruit 2

They show me around the residence.   They are very proud of the sunny, cheerful rooms.   They say if I come back I would stay in a room just like those.

After dinner Father Waters returns, drives me to the airport and makes sure that I get on the right plane.

TWA stewardess



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