We decided to add a week-long super-vacation to the front end of the trip to San Francisco to my cousin Alvin’s wedding on May 17.
We flew in to San Jose on Friday May 9, and my brother picked us up and we headed into Santa Cruz to his house. I thought we were going to stay with William, but he said the house was not set up for guests and that he had arranged that we stay a B&B run by a friend of his. He gave us the address and we plugged it into the GPS and headed over to drop off our luggage. William was going to pick Stella (daughter, age about 7) up from school.
We easily found the house, packed among other upscale homes located a few miles away. As we brought our bags in, we were very impressed not only by the size of the house, but also the elegant furnishings. William said there were about five rooms available and that it had a stellar reputation on TripAdvisor. I can imagine!
We spent the rest of that day and part of Saturday with William and Stella who, after mounting some butterflies and insects they had recently caught, helped William create a pizza dinner. William cooks bread in an outdoor bread-oven that he’s constructed. Actually, he’s an internationally known expert on breads and the author of the book: “The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking — 100 recipes for the fireplace or camp” and maintains a Facebook page called: “Bread History and Practice.” It’s an interesting site.
William loaned us his car and we headed south on Interstate 1, heading for Monterey and beyond: down to Big Sur, one of my favorite places in California.
We had reservations at Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins (http://www.bigsurcamp.com/sites.html). I wanted to give Master a sense of camping combined with the comfort of being in a cabin. These are tent cabins, not log cabins. They have a little general store and they are right in the middle of the other little stores/shops in Big Sur. We stayed there three nights and spent our days on mini-excursions. The “excursions” were for photography… this was May in Northern California—everything is in bloom
We planned an excursion was to the Point Sur Lighthouse (http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/pointsur.html). They run only one or two tours a day, depending on the day and the season, but not every day of the week. I had carefully planned our touring in order to be able to see this lighthouse.
I also had picked out a few restaurants that seemed interesting. These included Nepenthe, Deetjen's Big Sur Inn Restaurant, and Cafe Kevah. I will say, Deetjen’s is a very special place: if we ever are again in the area, I’d certainly want to go back. (We got lost trying to find it. When driving south on Highway 1, it’s tucked into the trees on the left side of the road as you’re making a sharp right. This highway is very curvy, and I was so focused ahead of me that we’d driven about 20 minutes looking for it before I phoned them to ask directions. It’s easy to see driving north on the highway because from that angle you can see the entire structure.)
When our Big Sur time was up we re-loaded the car and headed back up-coast. We returned the car to William so he could drive up to San Francisco for the wedding at his own pace, and Master and I rented a car and continued on, arriving at our appointed hotel around 4 on Thursday. Friday was to be a time for us to look at kink stores and visit with Angela (sister).
On Saturday, May 17 my cousin was married. In and of itself, perhaps not spectacular. In this case, though, my cousin is gay, 12 years my senior, and has helped me in many very important ways since I was in 11th grade. He “came out” in the living room of my father’s home when I was about 21. He was frequently in and out of my life since I was a small child and visited us fairly often when we lived in DC (when Father was at the Pentagon). We HAD to go to this event.
Alvin is marrying Robert, his long-time companion and lover. And, the wedding is to be held at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio (http://www.presidio.gov/venues/golden-gate-club). This is serious high-end wedding stuff.
I suppose there were 200 family and friends there. There was a string quartet during the post-wedding socializing. The catering and decorating and logistics were magnificent.
Relatives and friends had flown in from all over the US to attend and to honor Alvin. My sister had come down from Portland, my brother had driven up from Santa Cruz. There were cousins here and there that I’d never even heard of. The accolades went on and on, every one of them fascinating and giving breadth to what I knew of Alvin’s life.
And, he’s had quite a life. He is the youngest son of my father’s mother’s brother, Alvin Sr. who was responsible for handling our Family’s financial affairs starting in about 1935. He and my father spoke regularly up until his death in 1960s. (Alvin Sr. was the founder of “Selected American Shares” one of the early mutual funds in the US. His office was about two blocks from the Chicago Stock Exchange.)
Alvin Jr. was a Harvard-educated attorney who went back to school in his mid-30s to get a city planning degree—also from Harvard. He worked with Diane Feinstein for many years as a city planner in San Francisco. Alvin had always been active in San Francisco’s gay community, and at age 50 he decided that he liked counseling other gay men so much that he returned to graduate school and took a Masters in Social Work from UC Berkley (just across the bay from San Francisco).
All of this is to say, the wedding was spectacular; an event I will always remember.