Motel 6 Virgin Gets Pregnant
Things after Alviso’s train passage went as scheduled with one minor change, a wedding week delay to avoid wedding bells while on my period. The reschedule also provided one last Desoto “girl’s night out”, a bachelor party of sorts for me.
On Saturday, June 15, 1968, a bright morning, my fiancée and I were joined in marriage on the cheap, a week after I graduated and turned 18. He was the 23-year-old college graduate with a good job promised. I was a high school graduate, virgin bride he ensured. 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 my non-Catholic 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. He initially thought I was a poor young Catholic girl being taken advantage of by an older protestant.
I and my fiancé were the responsible ones in our households. I had no qualms of being too young. After the priest knew more about us and our families he became less critical but admonished us in his pre-nuptial consulting not to use birth control as it interfered with God's plan. He omitted mention of how medicine had interfered with God's death plan on the other end of the equation.
I kept my heresy to myself and instead manipulated him in the confessional, my confessions untruthful since the first soapy shower. In the dark booth, kneeling before his little screen door, I excluding "petting" and Vixen’s pleasures. I confessed truthfully to my everyday venial sins, concocted a few whoppers of hating school, jealousy of rich kids and confusion over how to be a good wife. I also fessed up to kissing longer than three seconds and confusion over how much kissing I should let my fiancé do before marriage because he wanted to kiss me a lot.
The priest gobbled it up. He loved providing guidance on my being the good wife which summed up was; obey your husband, sex is good if for procreation, never divorce and ensure the children are raised Catholic. Tossing in the failure to observe the Catholic orthodox kissing time limit max of 3 seconds was believable. Fessing to it allowed him to think he was monitoring my sex life, He was convinced I was a good Catholic girl, my fiancé did love me and we were “behaving” before marriage. It also let him admonish me to control my protestant fiancé’s sex urges until the wedding vows were exchanged. Once they were, I was to submit to them but not use birth control.
I figured if I didn’t give him a few mortal sins the questions would start but more importantly I wanted him to authorize my marriage to a non-Catholic. My confessions assisted in him to do so, to even approve of my fiancé.
My fiancé put his time in but never changed his agnostic beliefs. His parents, initially upset about his marrying a Catholic and taking Catholic tenet lessons, relaxed when told it was all a charade to keep Mom happy. In the know, they became co-conspirators. Dad didn’t care but did tell me to take the rabbits foot on my trip to the altar.
We exchanged vows at the Most Holy Trinity Church, recently built to serve Tropicana Village. Its name was appropriate for my First Communion experience. Just immediate family attended plus a friend each for bridesmaid and best man. My bridesmaid was my sole true close friend, one who know more about who I really was than anyone at the wedding. Dads wore ties, the only time I ever saw my father in law do so. I made my gown, white including veil, reflecting my 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, my rabbit’s foot talisman in the other.
The priest said a Latin prayer, recited the necessary civil code, we said "I do's". We exchanged small gold bands blessed with sprinkled holy water, my veil was lifted, we kissed, we turned and walked out the aisle and church bells proclaimed us now man and wife as they 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. We were 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 if to say they were sorry for the past bean pole comments.
After a dance with the few who desired, the food eaten, toasts given, clothes changed, my wedding dress stored in a bedroom closet guarded by Mom, it was time to depart. 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 two tin cans tied to the bumper by the younger brother who threw rice on the church steps.
I looked back as we drove off. My father in law and Dad were arm in arm waving goodbye. Dad held 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 as good a wedding as I could have hoped for. I turned back, left them behind, and stared out the front window. I looked forward to a new life as a wife.
Disneyland, our honeymoon destination, was a 2 day, 400-mile trip before I-5. We took the US Highway 101 coastal route, it being scenic and more appropriate for our honeymoon versus the more direct US 99. Neither of us had ever ventured so afar, which made it also an exploration of the unknown.
Leaving the reception, sitting next to my new husband, now his wife, his 57 Chevy now ours, we started off by driving through downtown San Jose and turned south on First Street. As we headed south I looked about to see if there were any Notre Dame girls cruising, as I formerly drove my girlfriends in their boy search. No maidens or young studs were cruising this night. Perhaps all had settled down too.
First Street merged into Monterrey Road, aka US 101. We sped past prior haunts, the El Rancho Drive-In, Trader Lew's and Frontier Village Amusement Park. Passing them I reminisced about my past.
Highway 101, was known differently as it twisted and turned through towns. Locally it shifted between The Alameda, Monterey Road and El Camino Real or The King’s Highway in Spanish. It followed the trail blazed by the Spanish Missionary, Father Junípero Serra who built California’s 21 missions from San Diego to Santa Rosa. Each mission was one day's walking distance apart on The King’s Highway, so the nuns informed us at Saint Clare’s.
As the car’s wheels spun, I imagined each tire rotation equal 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 Monterey Road between San Jose and Gilroy was a 3-lane highway. The middle lane was a 2-directional passing lane, known locally as the suicide lane. We used it to pass slow vehicles while squinting ahead at headlights 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 heretic.
The highway was lined with giant black walnut trees. These were 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, whose sturdy trunks which often killed when a car veered into them. They triggered my thoughts back to when I first saw them and was introduced one of 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 seventy dollars was beyond my babysitting earnings of 50 cents an hour. Suddenly, it seemed possible to be able to buy one. While I loved Mom’s foot pedal sewing machine, I wanted my own, one in my room which could do zig zags and button holes. Collecting, shucking and selling black walnuts would be better than pushing firecrackers.
I reported this potential treasure trove to the family. All to my proposed enterprise but with each their own desired monetary windfall agenda. On an October, Sunday morning, we piled in the Buick with empty onion sacks, baskets and paper bags to scoop up nuts and get rich. Arriving on Monterey Road the trees stretched for miles on both sides. There black walnuts laid strewn with unlucky ones which fell on the roadway soon squished. The large golden, green and black husks on the road sides were scattered, as if plump eggs.
I rushed out of my cramped back seat quarters with my sack and exclaimed.
“It’s an Easter egg hunt!”
I rushed about to gather them and get rich while cars zoomed past. Mom took the two youngest away from the traffic as she gathered nuts along the road ditch. Dad, I and the 2 older siblings took the easy pickings among the golden fall 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 instant 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 feeble 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. It was the first time she yelled at me, her always obedient helper.
Crying I ran to the bathroom ashamed. It was Dad who came to my rescue. He laughed, threw the piles of husked 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. He had me wash my blackened hands then drove me in the Buick to the San Carlos, Sear’s store, my paws still blackened despite soapy scrubbing. There he bought me the portable Singer sewing machine which had launched my Monterey Road quest. He said it was for my next birthday, a beautiful lie. The truth was, it’s the only birthday present he ever bought me.
I shifted thoughts to him puffing his Lucky Strike cigarettes, his love of cards.
I love Dad. He's irresponsible but he loves me.
I made my wedding dress with the little portable sewing machine and still have and use it. It and its memories became the true treasure gleamed from the walnut trees. Years later I learned the trees were planted by a good Samaritan and his son, Horace Keesling, entirely on their own, to provide the 30 mile stretch between San Jose and Gilroy with shade for those traveling by horse and wagon.
The throaty muffler of the Chevy's V-8 manifold echoed against the tree trunks. Car light beams commingled with their leafy canopy. The effect was flickering eerie shadows. They provided an appropriate backdrop for the uncertainty of our beginning new lives as man and wife. My thoughts switched from the past to the future to be.
Will my husband hug me and make things all right like Dad when I do something stupid? Does he really love me? Will he grow tired of me, find another, divorce me? Will he drive away in the evening to meet others? Will we have kids, grow old together? Who will outlive the other? Will my honeymoon be wondrous or turn into disillusionment?
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 together, he out of tune. 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 settled down to a 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.
Santa Barbara was our first night’s destination, out first night married. The place of the nights big action.
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, not yet open to the public. We walked out on the pier to see it up close. 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. 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 and comforted me but he thought me a silly girl. 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 miles an hour, 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, from a wondrous honeymoon.
We switched turns driving, kept our fingers crossed the wheels would continue to spin and drove nonstop. Late at night we arrived at our new home, one half of a duplex. Exhausted but elated to have avoided car trouble, he carried me across the threshold to the bedroom. On the box spring and mattress on the floor, sans bed frame, 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