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A Memorable Place

Life Story Club Contributor

I just came across some photographs that were taken when we were in Venice and I haven’t traveled in Europe much. We planned this trip to go to Italy and my mother and father had gone to Italy, particularly Rome when they went on their honeymoon. So I wanted to go there and see the Vatican and see the you know the church and everything.

And I had on just about all my clothes because we hadn’t planned on it being so cold there so I was freezing. And I remember we toured this giant opulent Opera House. It was just stunning. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was all golden and huge and beautiful and everything. Then we went across the courtyard. And we saw this cafe or some kind of a bar or something. And I remember it was just completely covered in gold inside. All these people were sitting around, they looked beautiful. They had all this incredible food in front of them. I was freezing and I was looking through the window just for a minute and I felt like The Little Match Girl or something. I thought, how can I go in there, looking like I was? It was unacceptable to me.

But I was freezing and we were hungry. So we sure enough, we went in and it was fine. Nobody noticed us they sat us in this incredible place. They said that after Caruso sang at the opera next door in the evening, he would come over there and eat. I just pictured him, people being completely in awe of him, and I can imagine him maybe breaking out in song or something, you know? Who knows? But more or less holding court there.

My friend ordered a normal, kind of big salad, and it was beautiful. The food is beautiful. And like I said, I just saw the pictures. It really was beautiful. It’s not because we were just starving. I ordered this pot of hot chocolate and it was honestly just kind of melted to a hot degreed thick chocolate and a tiramisu. She was eating a normal meal, and I was just eating the most opulent dessert I’ve ever had in my life. And it was so awesome. We took pictures and send them to the kids. And I don’t know. It was just, it was surreal. And it was just so romantic, you know, and just stood out. I’ve tasted the food in my mouth ever since.

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A Lifelong Friend

Life Story Club Contributor

May 6, 2020

My name is Michelle Doran and I’m in Anchorage, Alaska. As a matter of fact, I’m in the house that I have been in since I was eight years old. My mom passed away and my father went to a Senior Living Center. I bought the house because I’ve always been really sentimental, and I just couldn’t let the family home go, so I was the lucky one. Another sibling wanted it but I got it, so I was lucky.

I’ve been lucky enough to raise my kids here, but I grew up in Anchorage. Back then, it was really small, like if you went to the movies you knew everybody there. Now it’s a huge city and it’s entirely different, but it’s still home.

Growing up, my best friend was Becky Stone. We went through kindergarten, all the way out, graduated high school together and then remained friends. She lived just half a block away still until she passed away. I remember I was excited because they had moved in on our street and they were kitty corner literally one house away. I remember going over there and asking if they had any kids my age and if I could play with them.

I ended up meeting their daughter who is my age: Becky. We were in the same kindergarten class, so we just started playing with each other every single day and back then, almost all the mothers were stay at home, but her mom wasn’t. She worked outside the home, which was unusual, but it was good for us because we would always play at her house because her mom wasn’t home. I wasn’t allowed to do that. My mom wouldn’t allow me to play at kids’ houses where there wasn’t a mother home. I remember us squabbling over it many times. But she finally must have given up because I went there every single day and hung out there all the time.

We would play at my house sometimes, but my mom was like an eagle. She saw so it wasn’t any fun.

But where I grew up, we had this place called Earthquake Park. It was a bluff and then a beach and then the inlet it, which is a huge body of water and it went for miles to this place called The Point, which is still there, but it’s much different because we had the big ‘64 earthquake. If we weren’t at her house, we’d go there and I remember getting in trouble every single evening, because I’d be late for supper. As soon as I could get out of my mom’s clutches, I’d go get Becky and we’d run down to the bluff and every night I’d be late for dinner, and my mom would tell me every morning, “Don’t be late for dinner.” But, you know, I couldn’t help myself. Every day was just jam packed with adventures and fun. We had so much fun.

We got a lot of trouble. We were like gasoline and a match. When we got together there was inevitably fire. I couldn’t tell you who is always the instigator, but it was probably a mutual thing.

We went all the way through school together and graduated together. After that, I went on to nurses training and she just worked. She was into horses so she basically did jobs around that. But in high school, she got pregnant and had a baby. She ended up having three little kids just sort of boom boom boom, and then moved away for a while. But we always stayed connected.

I remember she was in real deep trouble in her marriage. I understood that her husband had abandoned her, and when he come back around, he would beat her. And I just couldn’t stand it, so I kept trying to get her to come home and she wouldn’t. She couldn’t. The church down the street was taking care of her and her kids. I finally just flew out and convinced her to come home and she did. And she stayed home.

She had a tough life actually. She got heavily into drugs and alcohol and that became a real problem, especially for the fact that she had little kids around. She was a good mom. She always had a kid on her hip, but she had that addiction and it was hard to stay connected after that. And it was like that for the rest of her life.

But I always loved and adored her. God, we went everywhere together. We were in camp together. We were in Bluebirds. Went to camp. We swam at the local pool every day in the summertime. We just were closer, I think, than sisters.

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