Tuesday, January 6, 2015

July 3rd, 2014

Here is an entry from my travel journal when Xavier and I were in California:

Up at 6am and leave for San Jose by 7:20 - arrive 8/8:15ish - parky lot is empty and The Winchester Mystery House opens at 9 - head down the street to The Breakfast Place til 8:55. The place seemed Latin-run and was empty til one regular showed up (as we were leaving though). Back to the Winchester House (there from 9am-12:30pmish).
Mansion tour at 9:20 with a large group of like a dozen people led by Wayne! who is either from NY or Boston (he says gah-din instead of garden) & is an utter delight. He tells us that he is naturally very cheery and therefore wldn't make a very good undertaker. A nice woman with short grey hair and a floral top in her late 40s said my Jump From Paper knock-off purse was "Just as cute as it can be" & asked Xavier about his Pursuit of Hoppiness shirt - she gave him a thumbs up. So nice!

-Saw 110 of the 160 rooms in the house  
-Mrs. Winchester played the piano, organ, and violin
-the rooms were mostly empty b/c the furniture had been sold anonymously at auction after Mrs. Winchester passed away. The Tiffany windows were fabulous but I was hoping to see more weird rooms or steps to nowhere. Oh well. 
-the sinks were slanted so the water stayed leaning to the drain and didn't waste water. 
-Mrs. Winchester was very clever and Wayne told us that there were no blueprints because Mrs. Winchester designed the house as she went along.

Wayne told us that the plaster walls were originally there for insulation and people don't realise that it came about for a purpose, not just to look good - like hair. It's there to keep you warm but we style it. Me: "So what you're saying is you like my hair." Wayne: "Yes, I do." (smile!)

After the tour and everyone left, I shook Wayne's hand and thanked him. I asked what four languages Mrs. Winchester spoke - English, French, Turkish, Spanish - she was very well educated. Education was to make the women more desirable for a better husband. Wayne told me and Xavier that he wouldn't get married (if he were a lady back in Mrs. Winchester's time) and be someone's property - have children and lose his gorgeous figure. I said, "You'd be the spinster aunt?" Wayne: "No - I'd have fun, travel, and see the world. I'd be a bitch." Me: "You'd be a sassy, hot bitch."

Next up!
The Behind the Scenes Tour at 10:40 with Jim. Ugh - we're supposed to wear hard hats. I just hold it above my spikes so as not to flatten m'hair. This tour was kinda dull, Jim is nice but lacks Wayne's pizzazz! (sp?) Until...we reach the furnace room and unlock a childhood secret about...The Clinker!! A clinker is a loose, black deposit consisting of coal. The coal burns and the waste that doesn't is metallic and molts together in a clump then bangs around the furnace making a loud clinking sound inside the furnace and can be heard thru the pipes all over the house. A Christmas Story secret revealed!! - "It's a clinker!!!"

Tour the garden, which is lovely, and take pix - hit the gift shop then to Carl's Jr. in Santa Clara.


Back to Prentiss by 2:15 to relax. Facetime with Mum at 2:40ish - watch the beginning of Ghostbusters - get stuff out of the car and meet 98 year old Joan from the pink house next door to Josh & Virgine. Yeah, she thinks I'm Virgine. She's nice but with a dodgy memory and totally overshares. A lot. She moved here in 1954 and raised three kids - her husband left her after six years but said he'd leave the kids his money but she'd have to raise them. This went on for at least 20 minutes til Xave rescued me. I leave him w/Joan and run inside and grab my stuff for our evening. Finally manage to get in the car and wave goodbye. Later Xavier told me that she said, "The gay men are nice but the girls are, you know...I tell them not to touch me." Very matter-of-factly Xavier says to me, "Really? You're a disgusting old hag. Nobody wants you." Ha! Drop postcards off at the Bernal Heights USPS on Tiffany Street then drive to Anchor Brewery. The last tour was at 1pm and they don't even have a place for Toby to have a glass and try their beer. Lame. Go to Speakeasy at 4:30ish (so Xave can try their brew - he gets to chat with some locals and his disappointedness (hey - I made up a word!) about Anchor Brewery starts to fade.)

Head down to the Castro Theatre at 5:30 - park on Market St. again - head down to Castro St. and Xave and I wait outside the weird outdoor public loo that's very English looking (this time it's Xave that needs to peepod and not me!) - chat with two ladies waiting and decide to abort and try the loo at Marcello's Pizza - arrive and see the line at the theatre across the way and head straight over. Chat in line with the two people in front of us (Filipino perhaps?) - his wife's name is Rita and the woman he was with was older than Rita's hubby (I can't stand that I was too embarrassed to ask their names - but it's like is an introduction necessary since we will only be chatting for ten minutes and then never again?) and maybe the lady was his cousin or cousin-in-law? She's from San Diego. 

Get tickets at 6:15ish and sit in the back row - Rita's Hubby and Diego Cousin wind up coming in later and sitting in the row in front of us! - The lights dim and the Wurlitzer and its player emerge from beneath the stage and play from 6:55-7:15 - lots of classic George M. Cohan songs and ends with I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Jaws from 7:20-9:25 in 35mm and was awesome! After, we head across to Marcello's so Xavier can grab a slice - hit the car - back to Prentiss - finish Ghostbusters and to bed by 10:30pm.

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