Motel 6 Virgin Gets Pregnant
On a Saturday bright morning, June 15, 1968, we married on the cheap, a week after I graduated and turned 18. He was a 23 year old college graduate with a good job. I was a virgin, high school graduate with no experience. Everyone except us thought me too young with the groom kidded about robbing the cradle.
We married "In the church" meaning a Catholic wedding and a happy mother. This required the groom to take Catholic dogma lessons and sign papers to raise our offspring Catholic. The civil paper work was simple but the parish priest was difficult thinking I was just a girl being taken advantage of by an older protestant.
I had no qualms of being too young. I and my fiancé were the most responsible ones in our households. After the priest knew more about us and our families he became less critical but admonished us not to use birth control as it interfered with God's plan. He never mentioned how medicine interfered with God's death plan on the other of the equation.
I kept my heresy to myself. As with my other sins, my confessions were untruthful. I excluding "petting" and of course Vixen’s pleasures both in the shower and with my fiancé. Instead I confessed to everyday venial sins, concocted a few whoppers of jealousy and tossed in kissing longer than three seconds which was the orthodox determined time max before a mortal sin occurred. I figured if I didn’t give him something mortal the questions would start. Tossing in the kissing was believable and he could think he was monitoring my sex life and admonish me.
My fiancé put his time in but never changed his beliefs, agnostic to the end. His parents were upset about him marrying a Catholic and taking Catholic lessons than but relaxed when told it was all just to keep Mom happy.
We exchanged vows at the Most Holy Trinity Church which had been recently built in Tropicana Village nearby. Just immediate family attended plus a friend each for bridesmaid and best man. Dads wore ties the only time I ever saw my father in law do so. I made my gown, white including veil reflecting my true virginity.
We worried how our parents would interact as they didn't socialize, he over his father's drinking and I if Dad would even show up. When he did I was relieved and proud when he walked me down the aisle. Mom sobbed through the short ceremony from my walking down the aisle in my father's arm to when I walked out a married bride holding my husband's hand.
The priest said a Latin prayer, recited the necessary civil code, we said "I do's", exchanged small gold bands sealed with sprinkled holy water sprinkled, my veil was lifted, we kissed, we turned and walked out the aisle, proclaimed man and wife as the bells pealed.
Outside a younger brother tossed rice and after a few hugs and handshakes we clambered into three cars and went to my parent's house for the reception. At the house Mom was no longer crying but smiling and hugging everyone. Dad cooked a combination of Chinese and American fare with prime rib and chow mien, ingredients I purchased.
Our belongings were stashed in a recently rented duplex in Mountain View. Our honeymoon suitcases were packed. We were anxious to depart but did our reception duty. With music from a portable record player on the rear concrete patio I danced with my father for the first time, amazed to discover he was a good dancer, better than my new husband.
My siblings behaved themselves as did my in-laws. They presented wedding gifts. Dad gave two Waterford crystal wine glasses which I still have. My in laws gave a $500 check as if to pay back some of their prior saving raids which my new husband was afraid would bounce but didn't. My mother gave a little statue of the Virgin Mary which I still pray to. My siblings gave a set of quality dishes as to say they were sorry for the bean pole comments.
Changed, my wedding dress stored in a bedroom closet guarded by Mom, a dance with the few who desired, the food eaten, toasts given it was time to depart but by then I too was crying. My new husband dabbed away the tears, led me to his car, put in our packed bags and we drove off, the car smeared with "Just Married" rude comments plus 2 tin cans tied to the bumper.
Looking back my father in law and Dad were arm in arm waving goodbye with Dad holding a bottle of Chinese wine in his free hand and my father in law a bottle of Jim Beam in his. Our Moms were waving with one hand while wiping tears with the other.
It was a good wedding, as good as I could have hoped for.
Disneyland, our honeymoon destination, was a 2 day 400 mile trip before I-5. We took the scenic US 101 Route over the more direct US 99. Neither of us had ever ventured so afar making it also another world exploration.
Leaving the reception, sitting next to my new husband, now his wife, his 57 Chevy, now ours rumbled to downtown San Jose, turned south on First Street the onto Monterrey Road, aka US 101. Past visited haunts, the El Rancho Drive-In, Trader Lew's and Frontier Village Amusement Park, flipped by marking our progress. Passing them I reminisced about my past and what the future beheld.
Segments of old US Highway 101 in California were also known as El Camino Real or The King’s Highway in Spanish. It followed the trail blazed by Father Junípero Serra connecting California’s 21 missions from San Diego to Santa Rosa, each one day's walking distance apart. That’s what the nuns told us. As the car’s wheels spun I imagined each tire rotation as similar to the good friar’s stride as he established his Missions in the California wilderness. I concluded, however, the story, while beautifully said, was a lie. The road simply followed a preexisting Indian trail.
Back then it was a 3 lane road between San Jose and Gilroy with the middle lane a 2 way passing lane, known as the suicide lane. We used it to pass slow vehicles while squinting ahead to see if another was using it coming from the other direction. I silently threw in a Hail Mary each time we passed, a doubting disbeliever.
The highway was lined with giant black walnut trees planted by Father Serra to provide travelers shade and nuts to eat according to the nuns. As they whizzed past I again over rode their version and concluding they were products of Cal-Trans or the WPA. I knew those trees, their sturdy trunks which often killed when a car veered into them. They triggered my thoughts back to when as a young girl I first saw them, my introduction to life’s disillusions.
Hearing from the nuns the potential of free nuts I checked at the local market and saw the little packages of black walnuts were more expensive than the English ones. My dream to buy a portable electric Singer sewing machine for $70, beyond my baby sitting earnings of 50 cents an hour, suddenly seemed possible. While I loved Mom’s foot pedal machine I wanted my own, one in my room which could do zig zags and button holes. Selling black walnuts would be better than pushing firecrackers.
I reported this potential treasure trove to the family. On an October Sunday we piled in the Buick with empty onion sacks, baskets and paper bags to scoop up nuts and get rich. Parked off the highway they lay on the ground before us, their large golden, green and black husks scattered everywhere, as if plump eggs. I exclaimed.
“It’s an Easter egg hunt!”
While cars zoomed past, Mom kept the two youngest away from the traffic while she gathered near the road ditch. Dad, I and the 2 older siblings rushed about gathering the easy pickings among the golden fallen leaves.
Picking them up, however, we discovered their thick husks were messy and fell apart in our hands. True to the trees name they stained our hands black. Back home whacking the tough shells with hammers and bricks after removing the rotting husks soon disillusioned dreams of wealth and a Singer sewing machine.
Mom, with blackened hands, exasperated after removing the small amount of meat once the shell finally cracked open took her desperation out on me. Squatting with stained black hands before her pile of nuts she muttered toink in Tagalog then worked her way up to gaga ka, which is stupid girl. Then she arose, stood before me, shouted and belittled me for my nutty idea while my siblings egged her on.
Crying I ran to the bathroom ashamed. It was Dad who came to my defense. He laughed, threw the piles of nuts in a heap in the back yard, coaxed me out of the bathroom, stopped my lamenting with a hug and told me I was still his little swan. It was the only time until my wedding day he hugged me. I washed my black hands and he drove me in the Buick to the San Carlos, Sears. There he bought me the Singer sewing machine, saying it was for my next birthday, the only birthday present he ever bought me.
I made my wedding dress with it and still have and use it, it and its memories the true treasure gleamed from the walnut trees.
The throaty rumble of the Chevy's V-8 manifold echoed against the tree trunks. Car light beams commingled with their leafy canopy to create flickering shadows. The eerie shadow images fit the uncertainty of our beginning new lives as man and wife.
Will my honeymoon turn into disillusionment? Will my husband hug me like Dad when I do something stupid or scold like Mom? Does he really love me? Will we have kids? Will we grow old together? Who will outlive the other? Will he find another? Will he divorce me? Will he drive away in the evening to meet another?
I ran down the possibilities without answers and concluded humming the lyrics from Mary Poppins:
"Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be."
He heard me humming, smiled and we sang the words out of tune together. With the last repeated stanza I switched to praying the car wouldn’t break down. It never occurred to me I would betray him but I did, over and over.
Past Gilroy, the furthermost of our combined prior travels, I switched from remembering the past, wondering about our future and settled down to travel’s blank reflection as we passed the dark country side interrupted by the small agricultural towns of Salinas, Soledad, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria.
After Santa Maria the next town was Santa Barbara, our wedding night’s destination. My mind awoke to the unmentioned, the "big event the scheduled end of my virginity.
Will I prove my virginity and bleed? Will it hurt? What will his penis feel like inside? Will I feel his ejaculation?
And over and over the lyrics from the song,
Will You Love Me Tomorrow by the Shirelles,
"Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I'm the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun?
I'd like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So tell me now, and I won't ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow?"
Finally, after seven hours he pulled into the Santa Barbara Motel 6 parking lot, parked, and turned the key. The rumbling drone of the engine ceased. The kiss on lifting my veil was only the symbol for the real thing. This was it, the wedding night consummation, the event which cemented marriage vows.
Back then Motel 6 meant a $6.00 a night nationwide, a great deal near the California coast. It required a long in advance reservation. As the wedding planner this chore was mine. 50 cents calling directory assistance to get the Motel 6 phone number and another 50 cents for the reservation long distance call. It was Motel 7 to me.
Stumbling out of our "Just Married" smeared car, tin cans long gone, we stretched and then remembered to hug. It was a warm Southern California late evening with a clear sky and luminescent moon. The faint rolling noise of coastal surf and the smell of the nearby ocean made for a romantic first night backdrop, so far so good. We sorted and carried luggage to the front desk where he signed us in, our first proclamation of Mr. and Mrs., a cause for a kiss.
Dragging our luggage up the open concrete steps to a second floor room we fronted our honeymoon suite. After fumbling with the key and its plastic number tag he swung open the door. Beyond the threshold was a sparse room, devoid of charm, a double sized bed taking up most of the space. He drew the shabby curtains. I took my bag to the small bathroom, shut and locked the door, stripped, showered, toweled dried and brushed my teeth.
In the suitcase I borrowed from Dad was a white three piece bridal peignoir set from Macy's Department Store, the most expensive clothing purchased up until then. I Slid on the sheer nylon negligee and the chiffon jacket but skipped the panty as an unnecessary hindrance for the big event. I dabbed on Channel 5 perfume, reapplied lipstick and checked the mirror.
I thought of Dad who could wrap a small gift so artistically the present took on greater value. I hoped I was wrapped to present greater value. Reminiscing of Dad, I went back to his old tweed striped suitcase, opened it and took out my lucky rabbit’s foot from its satin pocket. I gave it a little stroke for luck, returned it to its hiding place and was ready.
Opening the bathroom door, seeing the worn carpet I went back and put on my wedding white pumps and came out to surrender to his unwrapping.
He was sitting on the bed, still in his T shirt and underpants. He wore socks to also avoid touching the carpet. Jumping up on seeing me, he came to me, kissed me, led me to the bed, sat me down, untied my chiffon jacket and slid it past my shoulders. He was ready for action if not dressed for it.
Laying me down on the bed he stripped except for his socks, ready to claim me, climbed on the bed with the light still on, knelt before me, raised my negligee, spread my legs, reached to the night stand and opened a tube of Vaseline he had set there. In a rush with a sharp push and a pang of pain my virginity gave way.
On the squeaky Motel 6 bed my cherry popped, 12 hours after the wedding bells peal.
The wedding night was a disappointment. Even though with foresight he brought lubrication it hurt. The room was unromantic. The black and white TV required a quarter. There were no soap bars, only a liquid soap dispenser. You could hear and feel the vibrations whenever someone passed the room on the concrete balcony. The El Rancho drive-in would have been more romantic.
In the morning I arose and showered, no longer the virgin, finally legally married.
Although the surroundings of my wedding night were dingy I was pleased, pleased we finally did it, pleased with the blood spot, pleased I gave him my virginity, pleased he was the one who took it, pleased when the night met the morning sun he still loved me and pleased I was truly married.
I’ve kept my wedding night negligee, its faded dark spot continued proof of virginity through many washings. It pleases me now, wearing it, as I sip wine and write.
After breakfast at Uncle John's Pancake House we drove along the coast, past Ventura on Highway 101 to Thousand Oaks then up, over, and down the oak clad hills to the vast sprawl of the Los Angeles basin with its rug of smog. We entered the big city often talked about but never seen and became an ant clog on its freeway spider web.
US Highway 101 becomes the Ventura Freeway in the Basin and connects with downtown LA. From there with me as navigator and maps strewn on the front seat, we took the Santa Ana Freeway then reached Anaheim and a motel called Cinderella near Disneyland. We were more amazed passing still existing orange groves and strawberry fields than the never ending subdivisions and shopping centers. Los Angeles was not a real city like San Francisco. It was endless San Jose's connected by freeways.
On the fourth night I experienced sex during his huffing and puffing. It came as a surprise.I liked it and wanted more.
Disneyland then was divided into four theme lands, Adventure, Frontier, Tomorrow and Fantasy with the later my favorite. I enjoyed Disneyland like a kid, and rode the merry-go-round, "The Mad Hatter's" tea cups and "It's A Small Small World" over and over reflecting my maturity. .
It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
It's a world of hope and a world of fears
There's so much that we share, that it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all
Echoed in my ears from the many times I waited through the throng line to ride again and again. It summed up my mind set.
As food was expensive in the park we ate breakfast at a Sambo's restaurant with its five cent coffee and now totally incorrect name and logo.
We discovered Ralph's grocery store chain where we purchased takeout food for dinner. We also visited Knott's Berry Farm and spent a day at the Long Beach Pike boardwalk now gone.
The ship Queen Mary had recently arrived and sat berthed at the Long Beach pier. It was being prepared as a tourist attraction. We walked out on the pier to see it up close even though it was not yet open to the public. It looked like the Titanic. From the wharf I peered down at the lowest level of port holes just above the water line. A wave of terror swept me as I shuddered thinking how my family would be in steerage if on the Titanic. As it went down we would be trapped below deck, pleading behind locked steel grates. Depressed my new hubby hugged me and we went back to the beach. Wading in the warm surf offset the gloom of seeing the Queen Mary.
LA freeways meant either creeping bumper to bumper or speeding over 60, bumper to bumper. The smog was real, the sprawl endless. Everything was expensive. Our honeymoon money exhausted, our time up, we headed home but on US 99. We switched turns driving, kept our fingers crossed the wheels would continue to spin and drove nonstop. Arriving late at night, exhausted but elated to have avoided car trouble, he carried me across the pre rented duplex threshold. On the box spring and mattress sitting on the floor we fell asleep, too tired for sex.
I was already pregnant.
Author Notes: Starting a new life while remembering the old
Starting s new life while remembering the past