Central Park Bench Dedication-

Saturday, Oct. 26th, 2002 (Day Two)







The next day it was raining in Manhattan, but we are intrepid explorers and we traveled in three vehicles to the Bronx where we saw Guy’s sign on the Bronx Walk of Fame.  It was not raining in the Bronx, thank goodness.  Guy's sign is high on a street lamp in a very nice location.  I recall Wendell’s words of the previous year, when he kidded in Los Angeles, “We look up to our stars….”   Indeed you had to look up.  As I had missed that event in 2000, I was thrilled to be able to now see this ‘sign’ of Guy’s popularity.   I rode with Maureen and her mother, and thoroughly loved it.  What lovely, lovely people and what a wonderful conversation we had on the way from the hotel.   And Wendell, the gentleman that he is, took pictures with everyone’s camera as we all stood under the lamp post.   



 Kathy, Mary, Alize, Jo, Julia, Paulette, SueZZ, Jill, Maureen, her mother, me. 


Then we traveled to Wendell’s apartment where we were treated to the fifty-cent tour of his collection.  (Inflation!  It was a dime tour when I first visited with this dear, kind man.)   And what a collection it is, with even more than there was almost a year and a half ago, when I first met Wendell.  We also were able to see, feel and experience Jennifer Schooley’s incredible anniversary quilt.  I could feel the love in that quilt, the love of every fireman whose patch was carefully placed and sewed onto the squares and panels.  I found all the Tennessee patches, telling the others the stories behind them.  Others in the group did the same with patches from their home places.   Wendell showed the patches from Vega, from Disneyland and from where he was born.  We looked at the signatures and messages on the back, took our pictures and reluctantly let Wendell put it back into its carrying case, which also had patches.  Oh, Jennifer, what a work of art!   Then we were treated to pizza, ala a Guy lunch theater, watching the episode of The Lone Ranger that Guy guest starred on.   Who could ask for a better lunch? 


       The bottom of the quilt.  The dedication.                               The quilt in all it's splendor! 












Driving in the Bronx.  Wendell or Maureen?  Picture by SueZZZ.



Then we headed for the Zorro ballet in Queens.  I give homage to our drivers.  I would never have made it out of Wendell’s neighborhood, much less to another borough.  As it was, we got turned around and were a little late, but we still made it!  (Thank goodness for the big American flag on the back of Julia Brook’s SUV!)  It was a darling ballet, taking liberally from the original story by Johnston McCulley.   Don Diego was particularly foppish with his tasseled hat and mincing steps.  The capitán was particularly evil and dastardly and his adjutant, Sgt. Garcia, while not fat, was nevertheless a hapless buffoon.   Overwhelming taxes, bad swordsmanship and a beautiful daughter that both the capitán and Diego de la Vega wanted to marry, beset the luckless Pulida patriarch.  I have never seen a ballet of any kind, but was entranced by this one.  Good subject matter, good performers and nice explanations made it a delight to watch.  And David Fernandez was terrific.   Poor Diego tried so hard to win over the lovely lady, but she was enamored of Zorro.  (Gosh, sound familiar?)  The expressions on her face were priceless as Lolita contemplated marriage to the boorish and crass capitán and the foppish and effeminate Don Diego.  In this version she discovered Diego’s secret when she came upon his Zorro clothes where he had left them behind a shrub after a quick change.  She decided that Diego wasn’t such a bad fellow after all.  There were several sword fights, well choreographed and exciting, and the final one, before which Lolita reveals her newfound knowledge to a delighted Diego.  I particularly liked the ending where the narrator announced that although the evil capitán was gone, and life was better, Zorro would always be there to help in time of need.  Out dances Zorro to save some people from bandits and out follows Lolita, dressed in black, masked and wielding a sword…….   Delightful!




We decided to retreat to Forest Hills, the area in Queens where Sgt. Garcia’s is, even though we were early for dinner.  We did some shopping while we waited.  Pat and Ginger joined us for dinner, (after their tour of several New York museums), and we had a delightful time together in the restaurant.  This was my second trip to Garcia’s, but it was just as delightful as the first.  George, (the owner of Sgt. Garcia’s), is such a wonderful host.   As Alize mentioned, he kindly put on the Gay Caballero tape and we enjoyed it, whether directly or reflected in the window.  (Several of us wondered why Jo kept staring out the window . . . thinking that maybe some handsome caballero might be there.   I guess there was; Diego looks just as good reflected as he does on a TV screen.)  SueZZZ gave George a Zorro shirt and we gave him a mug.   He was delighted.  

Since there was not enough room in the cars, I went with Jill on the subway.  Again, it was delightful and we returned to the hotel more than a half hour before the others made it back, (although we weren’t treated to quite the same sights that the others enjoyed.)  We all met again in Mary’s room when everyone was safely back at the hotel and enjoyed more Zorro tapes and conversation.   This time we decided to have the champurrado that I had brought with me, only to find out that the stove didn’t work.  Hmm, fire codes, the front desk explained.  Then why have it there, was the question that we all asked.  There we sat with my champurrado and Maureen’s blender. (It was in the form of compressed tablets and had to be made in a blender with hot milk.)  Undaunted, Mary arranged for someone to come and get the milk and heat it for us. It took two trips. The champurrado was delicious and went very well with Z-friends, Z-videos and Z-conversation.   Even though it was the end of daylight savings and we had an extra hour, I was beat and retired early……  in bed by one.   Another delightful and fun-filled day. 






                  At Sgt. Garcia's


                      New York subway



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