How I ended up in The's a long way from Canada

Real Estate Agent with HK Lane Real Estate

People ask me all the time, how I ended up in The Desert.  We, who live in The Coachella Valley encompassing Palm Springs, Cathedral City (better known as Cat City), Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Indio, call this lovely Valley, surrounded by mountain ranges, The Desert.  Perhaps it's a bit pretentious since there are many desert communities throughout the southwestern United States, but those of us who are fortunate enough to live here, believe it is truly unique.

I grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada but left home to stake my claim in the west when I was merely eighteen years old.  I think back on how young and naive I was when I took that first plane ride to Los Angeles.  I, of course, thought I looked at least twenty two or three, but when I see old photographs, I could barely pass for fifteen. 

I had arranged, through a friend, to be at a job interview on Monday morning, January 4, 1966.  When I arrived at LAX, I inquired at the Information window what hotel was near the 3200 block of Wilshire Boulevard and what was the least expensive way to get there.  I had $500 and knew I would need to conserve.  She said The Ambassador Hotel was within walking distance. 

I boarded the bus bound for Wilshire Boulevard and after a 2-3 hour tour of the city for various drop-offs, I saw the sign that said "Home of the Coconut Grove".  OMG, I thought, this is where they have the Academy Awards!  I was a little thoughtful about the budget I had set for myself, but maybe one night wouldn't hurt.  It was $17. 

After I checked in, I realized that this was the first time I had been in a hotel room without my parents and had a momentary chill.  Since I had recently been to the movies to see "Psycho", I took a shower with the curtain pulled back so I could see clear into the bedroom.  I had dressed up in my Sunday best and decided to suss out the neighborhood and check out the address for my appointment in the morning so I wouldn't be late.  In those days, Wilshire Boulevard was dotted with piano stores.  I passed a Penny Owsley Piano store and heard someone playing "People".  It was a pretty popular tune at the time and I was a pretty friendly kid, so I walked in.

"Hi", I said, "I love that song".  The man playing it was an old guy--must have been, at least, forty!  My oh, my, how I would eat my thoughts as time marched on.  He checked me out with a smile and said, "Where on earth did you come from".  Apparently, there weren't many young ladies dressed in their Sunday best who wandered into a piano store on a late Sunday afternoon.  Eager to tell him my life story, I said, "I just flew into town from Windsor, Canada and I have a job interview tomorrow morning.  I'm staying at The Ambassador."   He said, "Did you run away from home?".  "No, of course not, I'm eighteen and my parents know I'm here".  Frankly, I was a little hurt that he didn't notice how mature I looked.

He said that he was closing in a few minutes and if I'd like, he would take me for a tour of the city.  "Wow," I thought, "How cool is this.  I've been in town just a couple of hours and already I've made my first friend.  People seem so friendly here."

"Really?"  I said.  "I'd love to.  Are we far from the ocean?  I've never seen one.  Ocean, I mean." 

"Nope", he said.  "All aboard for the blue Pacific!", as he opened his car door for me.

to be continued...

Comments (2)

Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Hope this story has a happy ending as it sounds scary at the moment-- a young girl contemplating going in a car with a strange "old" guy. Usually this means trouble.

Oct 10, 2009 04:44 AM
Connie Kashkawol
HK Lane Real Estate - Palm Desert, CA

I, too, shake my head in wonder.  As they say today, "What was I thinking". 

Since you were kind enough to read my "second" blog, I'll give you a hint -- I have an angel on my shoulder.  This has been proven to me time and time and time again.

Stay tuned.

Oct 10, 2009 04:59 AM