What follows is the story of my mother's parents' honeymoon which my grandmother bestowed upon me in printed form before she passed on:
After our January 11, 1947 wedding in Tacoma we left for our honeymoon late Saturday afternoon. As we had no car, the Hickey family lent us their Lincoln Zephyr. We drove to Seattle to the Olympic Hotel. We were exhausted from the past several weeks of preparation and from standing during the reception, etc. So we had a nice dinner in the hotel dining room, danced a few dances to the live orchestra in the ballroom and then retired.
The following day we drove to Portland. We visited Maury's friend, Margaret Dudley. I had never met her or her mother before but they were very cordial and we had a nice visit. I found it quite amazing that she had picked the same sterling silver flatware pattern that I had chosen. We also visited with another of his friends, she was not home but we chatted with her parents.
Finally we went to my Aunt and Uncle's home to introduce Maury to the McMennamins. As they had 11 children it was quite interesting to meet most of them but it rather reminded me of the old Wonder Bread commercial where you meet the same child as a youngster, then as he grows to be an adolescent and finally an adult. The McMennamin children had a striking resemblance to each other.
Late in the day, we left Portland to drive to Timberline Lodge where we had reservations. It began to snow. We were dressed in our "Going Away" clothes, Maury and I both in suits, but had full length coats in addition.
We started off on our approximately 70 mile journey even though it began to snow quite hard. It finally got so heavy the windshield wipers could hardly handle it and I didn't see how Maury could even see the road, but we kept going. After it seemed an eternity, though it was only about 3 or 4 hours and we had gone only about 50 miles, we finally saw lights. It was the lodge and tavern at Rhododendron and there were some cars and trucks just rammed into the snow drifts. Maury drove the car into a snowdrift and went inside to check on the roads the rest of the way; or find out if it was passable. He was informed it was closed (which was why the trucks were there). He also said there was only one room available so we decided to spend the night there. The room was quite large with a double bed but the bathroom was down the hall for everyone to use. I don't remember if we had anything to eat before we went to bed.
The next day we wanted to make the last 20 miles in possible. They advised us that the plow would be coming through soon and that we could follow it to the bus garage about 12 miles up the road. That the bus to Timberline Lodge would be along in about another hour and we could take the bus to the lodge. So we did that. After about a worried hour or more wait, the bus finally came along. We got on with our two large suitcases, a cosmetic case, my purse and a box of Kleenex. There were about a dozen other passengers, all dressed in ski clothes and carrying their skis. The bus was nice and warm after waiting in the cold garage. A rotary snowplow was ahead of the bus, but we were only going about 5 miles per hour and occasionally the bus had to reverse itself to get traction to go ahead. This went on for a couple of hours though it was only a 6 mile trip. Finally, the bus driver said he couldn't make it any further, and that we were just across the parking lot from the Lodge, though you couldn't see a thing. He told us to get out that it was only a short distance to the lodge (it turned out to be a quarter mile).
When we got out of the bus, we stepped into snow almost up to our waists. And I was in nylons and high heels. We didn't go even a block when we were exhausted and so cold. Finally Maury just threw the luggage, my purse and the Kleenex onto a snowdrift and came to help me. We were just trying to follow where the other people were going. Maury having been in Alaska during the war was in a little better shape than I and had more appropriate clothes. I didn't think I would make it and kept wanting to stop to rest but Maury said I would freeze if I did. I kept thinking what a beautiful way to die, on one's honeymoon.
Fortunately, just about then a Ski Patrol member came to rescue us. Apparently either the bus driver had alerted them to the trouble or some of the bus passengers had reported our problem. I couldn't go another step, so the young man from the rescue squad said to get behind him on his skis and hold on. Maury had to continue to walk on his own. We finally came upon a snow cave about the length of our house that was the entrance to the lodge. I couldn't even get off but just collapsed very dramatically and said, "help me, please help me." And several people came to help me up and into the lodge where they practically carried me to the First Aid room.
Word had spread of the trouble we were in so they were prepared for us. They put me on a bed and tried to take my wet clothes off and get me warmed up. Our clothes were frozen on us. Maury's eyebrows and hair were covered with frost even though he had on a hat. We were given hot liquids while the men and women tried to peel off my nylons. They saw that my feet were frostbitten as were my hands. So for the next several hours we spent trying to thaw and warm my extremities in water and in snow, but I couldn't feel my fingers or feet. Then they started to thaw, and it was very painful. After awhile they said I could go to our room as it was about 8 or 9 pm by this time.
Someone had rescued our luggage, my purse, and the Kleenex which wasn't even wet because it was so cold. Finally, they helped us to our room, but instead of the room we had reserved it had twin beds, instead of a double bed, but we were too tired to think of moving again. Maury helped me into bed and got his pajamas on. Then he went to get into his bed and found that it was WET. Apparently, someone the night before had had too much to drink and had passed out in this room. Of course, there was not a phone in the rooms at that time, and as Maury was in his night clothes we decided to both try to sleep in the twin bed which, because of the pain in my hands and feet, was not all that wonderful. And the only pain killer I had was aspirin.
In the morning, Maury dressed and went to tell them of our predicament. They were very apologetic and immediately changed us to a very nice room with a view, a fire in the fireplace and quite luxurious, considering. And they didn't charge us for the first night.
We stayed there for five days, and each day I could walk a little better but my feet had been so swollen I couldn't get my shoes on for three days. However, we were quite the popular couple as everyone had heard of the young honeymooners and their experience.
Finally, the snow did stop and we were able to take the bus to get our car. When we got to the unheated garage, we found that a package with 2 bottles of soda water left in the backseat had exploded from the cold and shattered glass was all over. We did the best we could to get it out but didn't have much to work with other than our gloved hands. And thank goodness without too much trouble the car did start. So we started back.
There was still much snow on the road and little traffic. Then we noticed the car was starting to overheat. We worried it down to Portland. And eventually did get home from our memorable honeymoon adventure. It took several months for me to get my two middle fingers on my right hand to have any feeling in them but all ended very happily.
Geraldine Jeanette Hickey 1926-2009 RIP
Monday, June 29, 2009
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