It was the first week of January 1981, my friend Ann asked if I would drive to California with her because she was moving back to Orange County, to help her mother take care of her elderly grandmother. She had a drive away car, a car that someone owned and didn’t want to drive it themselves, so they hired her to drive it for them, and she needed the help driving. I said sure! We had one week to get there and two weeks to visit, which was more than enough! We took a southerly route heading through Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and the day before we were to arrive in Southern California we stop in Las Vegas.
You think coming from New York City you had seen it all, but Vegas was very different, in the middle of nowhere and all the lights, of what is now called the old strip, were exciting. Well, I’ll spare you the details but the historian talk show host Hal Rothman once said; “Las Vegas was and is a hard town that will make you pay for your inability to restrain your desires…. If you have a weakness, Las Vegas will punish you”. And punish me it did. I arrived in Newport Beach with 10 cents to my name.
I remember my first impression, when I first arrived to Newport Beach from NYC, “it is only 9pm, why are all these sidewalks rolled up?” Newport Beach was the land of big boats and bigger boats, at least boats were up my alley, but it was like hitting a brick wall. It took me 18 months to get back to the east coast.
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