Monday, November 1, 2021

My Grandmother's Journals: November 1996

Grandma in Paris.
In tiny notebooks, my grandmother wrote down each day when she woke up, where she ate breakfast, any movie she went to see, any mail and phone calls she got, then what she read and watched on TV before bed.

In 1996, she turned 81 while living alone in a mobile home park in Santa Cruz, Calif. But I wouldn't describe her as lonely; she was an extremely independent and persnickety woman whom I never knew to live with another person or even a pet. (I wrote more about her life in an earlier post.)  

Close to her home was the famous surfing spot called Pleasure Point, and she loved walking to the ocean and watching the surfers. When she died at 97 in 2013, I took her ashes to those waves with a friend of hers and we each dropped some at the sand. A moment after I dropped mine, a surfer emerged from the water where I stood.

That was cool. 

She began November of 1996 in Paris, visiting her friend Mimi and going to museums, cemeteries, ballets and the opera. After she came home I joined her for Thanksgiving that year, and we attended a holiday gathering at the donut shop she went to each morning.

Friday, Nov. 1, 1996 [In Paris]
Up 8, looked for bank. Forgot, one almost across street.
Ate “quick.” To show, “Secrets and Lies.”
Got salad and tarte. Throat starting to hurt. 
Walked to hotel.
Washed clothes, balanced book. 
Slept good. Sore throat.

Saturday, Nov. 2, 1996
Got paper and card for Sy $3! Postcards for 1 F, postage 4.40. Mailed Sy’s card, 3 F.
Yvonne called, grippe. Can't make it! Told Phillipe to tell me.
May call Monday.
Could not find 30 bus, took Metro, ate.
To hotel.

Sunday, Nov. 3, 1996
Tennis. Walked to opera.
To hotel, changed top.
Watched three games.
Got grapes, ham and candy.
Balanced money, OK. 

Monday, Nov. 4, 1996
Yvonne may call, Mimi called.
Slept good. Breakfast at 8.
Mailed letters to Mina and Justine.
Took bus, then Metro to opera.
Rested in afternoon, read or crossword.  
Got grapes.
Bed to read.

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1996 [Election Day]
Up 7:45, got paper. Women said “Clinton.”
Paid maid 20F? Got plug for sink, 7F
Forgot address book, took 40 mins to find Mimi, asked at grocery.
At pharmacy, woman phoned Mimi, finally got in! Lovely dinner, etc.
Metro out at night, walked. 
Wonderful day.

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 1996
Mimi called. Wanted to make chicken soup. Very nice. 
To opera. 
Got food, also to pharmacy, got Vick’s Vaporub. 
Windy and raining.
Thursday, Nov. 7, 1996
Called Sy and Mimi after eating.  
Sy wants to sell stamps, Mimi invited me to dinner.
To Pére-Lachaise cemetery, saw Simone Signoret, Yves Montand grave. Many flowers.
Did not find Jim Morrison Grave. 
Ate poached eggs, spinach, tarte.
Raining. Looked at curtains.
To Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart). Lovely. Many tissues on statues there.
Got brandy, food.

Friday, Nov. 8, 1996
Ate McDonald’s.
To Embassy. Couldn’t get in.
Walked a bit, got batteries.
Got grapes and candy.
Not good sleep. 
Saturday, Nov. 9, 1996
Up a lot. Washed underwear, shirts.
Looking at curtains again, then to exposition at Hotel de Ville. Very interesting!
Rested at hotel.
To Mimi’s, left gift. Bought sandwich, tarte.
To Metro to expo, closed Saturday!
To Marche St. Germaine. Bought Man Ray plate.
To hotel 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 10, 1996
Lunch at Mimi's. Take brandy and hot water bottle!
Pay more rent, Phillipe not here.
To Louvre. Saw Caravaggio, DaVinci’s Madonna. 
To Mimi’s. Raining.
Talked about trip, pix. Arsenic killed Napoleon, French say cancer.
Foned Mimi, went there and back because forgot soc. The woman gave me free one.
Hotel, got candy.

Monday, Nov. 11, 1996
Caravaggesque, British. Different!
To Picasso, line too long.
Walked, looked for video. Not sure it will run on USA.
Rainy, can’t find Marks & Spencer?
Walked a lot in rain!
Tired, ate sandwich, slept!

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1996
Get ticket to ballet?
To Taipei Exposition.
Ate delicious tarte, lemon. 19F
Got sandwich. To hotel, rested.
To ballet, good.
Walked a bit. Blind man on bus?

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1996
Feel good, slept, sandwich too much.
Took pix of Phillipe.
Metro, to opera. Asked about buying ticket ahead?
To Mimi’s. Tea, cookies!
To Louvre, got video.
Got sandwich. To hotel, packed.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 1996
Return, arrive SFO 2:45 p.m.
House key in pocket with calculator.
Taxi, then bus to GdG. No coffee again!
Book, “Reflected Glory: The Life of Pamela Churchill.”
Greyhound to Santa Cruz, bus to home, 9:30 p.m.
10 p.m. news.
Friday, Nov. 15, 1996
Breakfast at Dunlap’s.
Home, put items back, trimmed plants. Phila grew.
Elastic band off mailbox??
To Post Office, got mail, sorted. Most campaign mail or ads.
Got girls’ checks ready, Mary brought rent receipt by, talked 1 hour.
Watered plants with rain water, swept patio.
TV: News, Geraldo, Grodin. 

Sunday, Nov. 17, 1996
Awake 2 a.m. Chris Clark radio and x-word.
Talk of Texaco, Jesse Jackson, Sharpton rhetoric.
Breakfast at 5:30, back to sleep until 11.
Car won’t start, damp air.
Football, other things.
To corner for coffee. Men said to heat distributor.
49ers won. 

Monday, Nov. 18, 1996
Awake 3 a.m., KGO.
RAn tape from last night, good story with Russian mafia.
Showered, washed hair.
Put hair dryer heat on distributor — worked!
To corner, talked to man with white dog, ran away. His wife not good, still smokes.
Kmart, got turkey sandwich to go!
To show, “Ransom.” Exciting.  
Foggy. To Longs, got “D” batteries, TV Guide.
Bed 6:45. Football started, but too tired.
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1996
Awake 2, back to sleep til 4:30. Up 6:15.
To laundromat, coffee and toast here.
OSH, got another flashlight. Cheap.
Corner, many people. V invited me to Thanksgiving with Justine. 3 p.m.
Spread seeds.
Bought new watch, $10.01 
Rained hard.

Thursday, Nov. 21, 1996
Up 7:30-45. 
To Longs, got thumb tacks, rubber tips, tissues.
To corner, talked to Bruce, another man. Films, olden times, etc.
Rain started. Library, three books.
Longs, looked for mints, no luck.
Rain in night, up 3 to 4 times.
Friday, Nov. 22, 1996
Awake 4:45. Stayed in bed until 7:30.
Got paper to heat car.
To show, “Stark Trek: First Contact.” Good, but had to leave near end. Man outside asking for opinions. Said good, applauding at end.
To Sears, got 2 bras.

Saturday, Nov. 23, 1996
Awake 4 a.m. Cleaned one box of travel, Canada.
Cold, read a bit. Some food early.
To Penney’s, walked around mall. Got black velvet turban.
Talked to lady with cane. She going to NYC with daughter. Buying hat.
Home, figured tax basis for AT&T.
To corner, showed money: France, Britain, Hong Kong. Ate donut!

Sunday, Nov. 24, 1996
Talked to Mina.
Breakfast Kmart. Walked half hour.
Home, housework.
Football, tennis. Sampras won over Becker. Both men exhausted!
49ers over Redskins in OT.
Graf over Hingis. Both limping yesterday.
Read P.D. James, taped PBS.
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1996
Food at Live Oak. Forgot!!!
To Carmel after coffee, gave Lee Chinese spoon.
Ate in Seaside at McDonald’s.
Bought cards for Mimi, got X-Mas cards.
Thought lost hair comb, then found flashlight behind blue pillow, and comb.
Finished “Original Sin.”

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1996
Laundromat. To corner, coffee.
Trader Joe’s, gave pumpkin pie and cheesecake to Monty.
Library, returned Original Sin.
Looked at travel maps, folders. Threw away some.
Washed clothes, ate here.
Carol called, she does not like Thanksgiving. 
To corner, Lee, Dave, me. Had chocolate donut. 
Called Justine.

Thursday, Nov. 28, 1996
Justine up, between 1 and 3.
Up 7:30. Got paper. To corner, not as busy as usual.
Housework, football. Marcus Allen 112 TD, Payton 110, Emmett 107.
Justine here 2 p.m. To corner 3:10. Pearl late with turkey/cake.
Yams good, took turkey, clam chowder.
Left 4:30 to 5:15 “Star Trek: First Contact.” To Santa Cruz Coffee.
Taped “My Fair Lady.” (On a.m., not p.m.)

Friday, Nov. 29, 1996
No sleep. I had Justine’s coffee, she had my chocolate.
Up 2:30. Ate toast, some fruit.
Breakfast Zachary’s, Long’s, got her a watch.
She left about 10:30. Me rested, read remainder of the day.
Did nothing constructive, like writing Sy or Sandra!
Some TV.

Saturday, Nov. 30, 1996
Up 7:30. To donut. Checked bank balance.
Wrote Sy and Sandra. To Post Office, mailed both.
To Kmart.
To show, “English Patient.” Sometimes hard to follow because of flashbacks.
Scenes in Tunisia, sands in lovely shapes, “Cave of the Swimmers.”
Long show. Home after grocery store.
Mail: Letters from Prudy, Mimi.

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