January is remembered because once again Dr. Welsh recommended that he operate on my vocal cord. My voice hadn't improved and Dr. Welsh said the polyp was back for some unknown reason. The pre-operation examination was on the 13th and the operation was on the 20th at Holy Redeemer Hospital. This time my voice was considerably worse after the operation and it was obvious that something else had to be done. I question why the sudden change for the worst.
Our niece, Robin, was in Philadelphia organizing a meeting as part of her new job responsibilities and she took us and Carolyn out for a nice brunch in town and we had a nice visit.
Mary Liz continues her physical fitness program and she has made many nice younger friends. We have enjoyed their friendship socially and enjoyed meeting Camille's parents. Her father is an EE graduate from the Moore School of the U of P and also has a larynx problem which is more serious than mine.
My voice problems are making me desperate. Early in 1992 I had an examination by another specialist, Dr. Lowry, at Jefferson. After an MRI and a an examination of my throat, he had nothing to offer except that I try another operation. I returned to Dr Welsh which resulted in the January operation. After three operations and several follow-up visits, Dr. Welsh confessed that he didn't have any idea what was the cause of my problem. Fortunately it is not life threatening.
The big event in February was the decision to purchase a new car. We purchased a champagne color Buick LeSabre Limited. A great car with a nice leather interior. We took delivery in March and gave Carolyn the Olds Toronado.
In desperation, I decided to try Voice Therapy and had several sessions through March and April with no positive results.
March 11th was the first snow and we learned that our young neighbors were moving and the possible new owners would need an okay to restore the old store building and to carry-on a home craft business. We attended a zoning meeting and gave our approval to the project.
The new owners were newly weds with parents nearby. They did a great job on the property and we enjoy being their neighbors.
My work at Rohm and Haas has increased to about a day a week.
We had a different Easter. The Park Bakery, owned by the Allios, was a bakery that made wonderful pastry and provided employment for many of the young Seaside Park girls. Carolyn was one of them and became good friends with the young Allio children. The Allio's started a new year round bakery in Flourtown and we stopped in a few times. This year they invited us to their traditional Easter party. It was a good party with gifts for all of the children and a tremendous egg roll with hundreds of eggs and many children.
April ended with the death of another old friend, Bart Higham. He was one of the Shore non card playing bridge club.
I sure am glad that we did as much traveling as we did, mainly in the 70's and 80's. The fact that Ed moved to the West coast resulted in our travelling over practically all of the major roads of the USA and Western Canada. Then Mary Liz's interest in genealogy started our trips to Europe. As a result we have been abroad nine times.
In more recent years we find the airports, airplanes, and people make travel more difficult and expensive. I compare it to "The Law of Diminishing Returns". It's more and more trouble for less and less satisfaction.
Invariably whenever a place is mentioned on the news, Mary Liz will say "she's been there". It must be Spring. Once again Mary Liz has convinced me to travel. This time it was a Grand Circle tour to Italy. She has always wanted to see the Vatican and I must confess I was interest in the prospects of the area. Also she hadn't been there.
It seems that I am writing too much about our trips and our memoirs are becoming a travelogue. Maybe so, but I don't any see any reason to repeat year after year about the pleasures and details of our social life with our many friends. During the last 30 years, our travels have given us so much pleasure and many memorable experiences that I feel they are a more interesting part our memoirs.
We left from Boston on May 25th. and arrived at Catania Sicily the next morning.
Grand Circle always has many optional tours and as usual we signed up for most of them.
Our flight landed in Catania, Sicily and we travelled to our hotel, Sant 'Alphio Garden in Gaardini Maxos, via motorcoach. The hotel and it's facilities were excellent. There were beautiful flowers everywhere and a view of Mt. Etna from our balcony. It was a pleasant area for walking and there was a beautiful pool. Once in awhile, we enjoyed a beer and the views while sitting at a pool side bar.
Our walks around Giardini Naxos included a visit to the archeological digs dating back to the 6th - 7th century BC. Naxos is considered to be the most ancient Greek colony in Sicily
Another tour was to a town, Taormina, that can be seen 700 feet above sea level. It is a quaint 358 BC town which is now a popular resort. We explored the narrow streets and shops and especially the very interesting ruins of a large Greek theatre
An optional tour was by motorcoach to Mt Etna. Mt. Etna rises 9190 ft. above sea level. The tour took us through the fertile valleys and the vineyards to the lunar-like landscape of the Silvestre crater. We walked the lava dunes and explored the area.The most recent eruption was in 1983.
Our second optional tour took us for a full day to, Siracusa, one of the greatest cities of ancient Europe once on a par with Rome and Athens. We explored impressive Roman and Greek ruins and the Quarry of Paradise. A cave, The Ear of Dionysius, was in the quarry which had a special shape and acoustical qualities.
Siracusa has special climatic conditions required for the growing of papyrus and our tour included a stop to learn about papyrus and to see how scrolls are made. The walking tour through the town was interesting and included a visit to an unusual cathedral built on top of the ruins of a Greek Temple, it's original columns are clearly visible.
A feature of the tour was having lunch with a typical Sicilian family. The tour took us "off the beaten track" to towns and citrus groves and to Motta Camastra, a quaint hamlet perched atop a steep hill. Some filming was done there for the movie Godfather and it sure looked like the "real McCoy".
We joined Viola and Sydney for lunch with our Sicilian family in a nice home. The whole family was there and they understood little English. We had an enjoyable time and a good lunch. Later their son drove us to see another near by town and then to our motorcoach for the return to Naxos.
On June 2nd. we crossed the Strait of Messina and continued to our hotel, The President, in Sorrento. Again it was a beautiful hotel high on a hill. Our balcony overlooked the town and the lovely flowers and terrace. The only criticism was that it wasn't within walking distance of town.
There were 37 people on the tour and by this time we were getting to know each other and to select couples we preferred to be with. It was a nice group; however, we usually were with Bill and Virginia Murrell, Gail and Juanita MacMorris, and Dan and Naomi Cavalier. They also were taking the full tour which included Florence and Venice.
Our first optional tour in Sorrento was by motorcoach along the cliff hanging winding roads along the beautiful Amalfi coast. Along the way we made stops at the "Grotto Emeralds", the Cathedral of St. Andrews, and the quaint town of Amalfi. A point of interest was a view of Sophia Loren's house perched on the side of the cliff a way below the road.
At lunch time we stopped in Ravello and enjoyed a breathtaking view of the entire Bay of Sorrento. We enjoyed lunch in these relaxed surroundings and then followed a steep winding road to visit the medieval "Villa Rufolo" with its romantic and peaceful gardens.
The pleasures of the visit were abruptly brought to an end when it became known that the oldest member of our tour had died of a heart attack while paying for an ice cream cone.
We had about a week in Sorrento and one day the tour took a ferry to the Isle of Capri. It is a small beautiful mountainous island and the town is visited high above the harbor via an inclined railway. As usual we explored the quaint shops along the narrow twisting streets. We enjoyed a rest stop in a nice cathedral.
Once again we had the pleasure of being invited to have lunch with an Italian family. We ate at a table with the two young daughters that were experimenting with their ability to use English. It was a pleasant experience. The family was very hospitable.
A highlight of the trip for me was the chance to see Pompeii and Herculaneum. I have always heard of these ancient towns and about Mt. Vesuvius but never did I expect to walk through these 79 AD. towns.
I was amazed at the large area that has been cleared and the detail that still exists. We walked endlessly along the streets and the tour director pointed out the bakery ovens, large courtyards, amphitheaters, and large homes and gardens of the Pompeiians.
The streets were paved with cobble stones and there were walkways along the side almost like our modern streets. The plumbing that still existed was lead which might probably caused lead poisoning of most of the population.
In A.D. 79 Pompeii was very quickly covered by 17 feet of ash burying the city of 20000 persons. It was discovered in 1748 and since then 100 acres of the 163 acres have been excavated.
After lunch we visited Herculaneum which was buried by the Mt. Vesuvius eruption with a solidified muck in some instances 85 feet deep. Excavation was started in 1927 but only a relatively small area, 8 square blocks, has been cleared because of the need to use power equipment to dig through the hard muck.
Wealthier than Pompeii, it's houses are more sumptuous, often with finer frescoes, mosaics, and statuary, and their gardens and foundations have been accurately outlined and some of the architecture has been restored.
We travelled to Rome via the Motorcoach and moved into the Grand Hotel Ritz. What a misnomer that turned out to be. There were many complaints, no air conditioning, poor food and service, dirty noisy rooms; too many problems to mention. I complained and we received a voucher to be used on a future trip but I doubt that we will make use of it. It was the first bad experience we had with Grand Circle Tours.
Our Hotel was a considerable distance from the points of interest and we soon became reasonably expert in using the public transportation to tour on our own.
We enjoyed the Trevis, Bernini, and many other beautiful fountains and statues plus the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, St. Peter's, Bernini's Fountain, etc. These sights are so full of history and beauty that it is impossible for me to describe them. We walked and walked around these icons of the past. We enjoyed the beautiful architecture and the artistry of Bernini and Michelangelo.
The Basilica of St. Peter and the Vatican are beyond description. We spent considerable time viewing these examples of the greatness of the Roman and Greek civilizations. We never expected to have this opportunity and I wish that I had a better appreciation for the art and sculpture that was everywhere.
The Vatican was a little disappointment because it was very crowded and I found it difficult to keep looking up at the Sistine Chapel frescos. Unfortunately the Vatican was closed the day before our visit which was one reason for the crowded conditions. I found St. Peters to be my favorite.
The basic tour ended in Rome on June 13th. When it was time to leave, our group was reduced to 13 persons that went on to Florence and Venice.
We extended our tour 5 days by visiting Florence and Venice. A motorcoach took us to the Hotel Croce di Malta located on the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. It was within walking distance of the major attractions. Unfortunately the Uffizi was closed due to a bombing. However, there were so many other examples of the Renaissance art and architecture that I can't believe we missed much. By this time the four couples in our group explored the sights together and enjoyed having a relaxing lunch or drink together at interesting locations.
After three nights in Florence, we moved on to Venice. I was looking forward to this part of the trip and we had nice quarters in the Principe Grand Hotel on the Grand Canal. It was very well located, had a nice deck on the canal for a relaxing drink, and we enjoyed many interesting walks in the area.
There were many water taxis, somewhat larger ferries (called vaporettos), and gondolas. We used the vaporettos to explore the various landings along the canal.
The Piazzo San Marco was an important landing where we visited the San Marco Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, the Ducal Palace, the Clock Tower, and many other points of interest. On one trip we went as far as a resort island known as the Lido.
By chance we happened on the airline office when we were in Florencee, and as usual I wanted to check on my seat assignments etc. I found that my reservations were proper, but to my amazement I found that the plane left an hour earlier than we had been told. Also, they didn't have the proper information for several of our group.
My information created quite a stir when I passed it on to the tour director and we planned to check on the arrangements when we got to Venice. We all met in the airline office and found out that I was correct. After much shouting and worse we got things straightened out but we still had to make the early morning flight.
The tour director arranged for us to go to the airport by water taxi and we piled into it very early the day of departure.
If this error hadn't been caught we would have missed our plane and, since the later flights were solidly booked, we would have been stranded.
We no sooner arrived home than we received more bad news. Another of our long time friends, Sam Garrigues, died. We attended his Memorial Service and it was a reunion of our remaining shore friends of 40 or 50 years.
I started back at R & H about one day a week and we picked up our routine social life in Bucks County.
Dr. Welsh's inability to explain my voice problems and my frustration resulted in my finding another specialist, Dr. Spiegel, and we arranged for an examination at his office on Pine Street, Philadephia.
Before we got started; however, Mary Liz talked me into a short visit to see Lib, her first cousin, and her daughter, Susan, now living in Chesapeake Va. We spent four days in the area and one day drove them over to Williamsburg and Jamestown to see the area. We enjoyed seeing it again but as usual the first time is the best.
While we were in the area, we made a short visit to the Scotts, a very nice couple that we met on our trip to Italy.
Two days after we returned to Glendale Dr. Spiegel was busy probing my throat, taking pictures, listening to sounds, and making VCR recordings. It turned out to be a very thorough examination. He scheduled a few sessions with Dr. Huer, his voice therapist, and made a test of my hearing. Dr. Spiegel didn't waste much time. On the 3rd. of August he scheduled an MRI.
1993 was getting to be a disaster. Once again another very good friend, Stan Kelton, died in early August.
Damn! another friend, Frank Connell was buried on September 11th. He too was an old Seaside friend and one of our bridge group. Our monthly luncheon group is getting smaller and smaller.
At the end of September we made a trip to Vermont to see the Fall foliage and to stay a few days with Bob and Barbara Bamman. Again they are old friends and Bob was the skipper of the Lightning on which I first started crewing in the BBRA races. Bob Bamman, Don Sayia, and I were the owners of the Boystoy and shared in many memorable pleasures under sail.
This year we made our annual trip to Seattle the end of October and only planned a short visit to Orcas. We left on the 15th. Saw Chris and went to Eddie's the next day. We stayed at Eddie's and enjoyed his new home. They have done a lot with the outside gardens. Both Eddie and Carol were busy so we had an opportunity to visit with the Suttons, Winsells, and DeLongs. The Suttons have built a lovely home. Unfortunately Sue isn't doing very well healthwise.
We left Orcas on the 22nd. and arranged dates with Chris and Scott in Seattle. Scott is doing better and is head of the bar at Azteca's, a popular nite spot. Ed and Carol came to Seattle for the weekend and we got together with everyone for dinner Saturday and for a nice brunch Sunday.
We had Monday to spend with the boys and left for home on Tuesday the 26th.
November was throat month again. Dr. Spiegel came to the conclusion that I should have exploratory surgery and to dig a little deeper for the answer. I had a choice of Jefferson or Graduate hospitals, I chose Graduate.
A preoperative examination was done on the 3rd. and the surgery on the 8th. There was nothing unusual about the operation. My voice didn't improve but Dr. Spiegel said that the biopsy indicated that I had Amyloidosis. There isn't any cure but in my case it wasn't in a vital organ and is expected not to be very active. A least I don't have anything that is considered to be life threatening.
The hospital bills were a shock. There was a major difference in the charges between the billings from Holy Redeemer in January and the Graduate in November. No wonder there is so much talk about medicare reform. I think part of the problem is that Graduate is a city hospital and my billing included a major part for the city poor.
December was a busy month with many lunches and dinners with our friends and neighbors. St. Martins had a couple of affairs that we attended. Carolyn had us to a nice Christmas at her house and we finished the year with Charley Kline at his condo.
1993 was a terrible year for investments. I tried my best but even being conservative and with reinvestment of dividends most of my stocks and mutual funds had a negative yield for the year.
next: The Nineties (1994)