California Convergence

May 23-24, 1925 ~ Enroute to Riverside, CA on the A.T. & S.F. (The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway)
Settled in Riverside at the Glenwood Mission Inn. Our room was quite cozy and our balcony had a wicker table and chairs, which we found very convenient for writing. The room had a compact little private bath with shower instead of tub. A nice demonstration of hospitality was a basket holding 5 very large oranges on the dresser with a card of greeting from Mrs. Richardson, the manageress (sister of Mr. Frank Miller, proprietor).


We arrived for lunch, which was served in the open patio under the palm and orange trees, to the tune of splashing fountain and chiming of bells. Girls in Spanish costume on a partially concealed balcony played appropriate selections such as “Juanita”, etc. The meals were excellent and the surroundings as romantic as one could wish. Dinner was served on the patio also, the only lights being shaded candles. While they didn’t cast much light, they looked very pretty. Breakfast was eaten indoors, in the main dining room.

The city also is very lovely and attractive with its nice palm tree shaded lawns and flowerbeds. The homes are good-looking and the stores spotless. It was here that Anne acquired additional luggage in the shape of a sunhat bought in one of her favorite shopping places. It’s now being carried about in a paper hat bag and bellboys are porters hesitant to handle it for fear of crushing it.

Enroute to Los Angeles on the Santa Fe from 9 A.M. May 26th to 11 A.M. Only a short ride. Passed many orange groves and saw oil wells for the first time. Hundreds of oil wells are clustered together.


May 26, 2019 ~ Del Mar, CA
Dear Jean,
By some grand coincidence, I find myself in California, picking up where you left off, exactly 94 years later to the day. I’m lazing on the beach, eyeing the Surfliner train whizzing by on the cliff above my head, wondering if it rides on the same track that you did. It would have been quite the scenic trip for you if so, glancing at the Pacific as it rounds the corners.


You stopped writing at Riverside, which I find confusing and a tad frustrating as it was just the beginning in your loop up through Canada, to Banff, and back to NYC. I would love to know what you saw and what your thoughts were of the mountains as compared to the tall buildings back home. Instead of dwelling on what never made it to paper, I shall see it as an opportunity to carry on California for you.


The houses and yards are still as pristine as you described. Perfectly manicured, palm trees abound, it was as if we were walking around in an outdoor living catalog. Nothing out of place, no plant beginning to yellow or wilt. It was a tad eerie, actually. Grass, it seems, is a novel commodity and yard space is a joke. The tropical plants happily reminded me of my Hawaii days though, lavender-colored Jacaranda trees dotting the road and birds of paradise standing out as if from a painting. I can’t get over the colors of California. The flowers are just about every shade of the rainbow. It was a delight for the eyes and soul. Craning toward the sky, the birds were a lovely distraction, soaring through the blue.

It was promised to me that Southern California would be sunny and warm, with 80 degree temps year round. You’ll love it, they said! My bad weather karma says otherwise. Del Mar was chilly, windy, and gray. I was huddled up in my hoodie on the beach for the hour or two each afternoon that the sun decided to emerge from the clouds. The locals we met kept apologizing for the un-California weather, as if they had any semblance of control. It’s funny how many people I’ve met in my travels that feel compelled to say they’re sorry for unseasonable weather patterns, exemplifying the sheer pride they have for their home town. Maybe I should start apologizing to them for bringing unpredictable (read rainy) New England weather their way?