Eighteen years ago today was a special time we had with our friends, Dave and Marlene Cole. You see, Ann and Marlene were born on the same day -- July 13, 1935. They didn't know each other until they arrived at Pasadena Nazarene College in September 1953. They sang together in a ladies trio/quartet for the college raising money for endowments. The two are like sisters and have been close friends since the day they met.
I wrote a story about that incident 18 years ago and it was published in the company paper at my work in 1990. I was writing a series of articles on "Marriage 101 - How To Keep Your Marriage From Getting Stale!" At that time we had been married for 35 years and now if you would just reverse those numbers you will see that this year we are celebrating our 53rd year together.
Here is the article as written ---
Same Time, Next Year
You probably remember the movie or play of the same title. Well, this story is different, but the outcome was very much the same.
In order to properly set the scene, we have to go back to 1952. That is the year I left Missouri and came west to California to attend Pasadena Nazarene College. (The college has been relocated to Point Loma in San Diego since I attended there.) In my freshman class was a guy from El Paso, Texas, named Dave Cole. We knew each other but didn't become friends until the next year when our respective spouses-to-be came to the college as well.
Marlene Webb and Ann Edwards started with the new freshman class of 1953. This college had singing groups that traveled representing the college to help raise money for its needs. Those traveling in one of the groups would have their tuition, room and board paid the following semester. Ann and Marlene traveled together in a ladies trio/quartet over the next two years and became close friends. Dave also traveled in a male quartet and became acquainted with Marlene. I knew Ann since we both came from Kansas City living 1 1/2 blocks from each other. We attended the same high school and church.
Well, in June 1955, Dave and Marlene were married. In July of the same year Ann and I were married. We have been close friends these last 35 years (ed note- now 53) and seeing each other when possible. The Coles live in Yuba City where he is superintendent of schools, and distance doesn't allow frequent contact, but when we are together we don't miss a beat.
An interesting fact is that Marlene and Ann were born on the same day. This year they celebrated their "55th". Earlier this year, the Coles were in Orange County on school business, and Dave called me at work. Our schedules didn't allow us to get together, but we discussed the upcoming birthdays and wanted to do something for them without their knowledge. We came up with the following plan.
Dave called for reservations at the Blue Dolphin Inn on the beach at Cambria, which is 18 miles north of Morro Bay on Highway 1. He told Marlene that they were going away for that weekend. No further details would be given. I sent Ann a "formal" invitation printed on my word processor at home which read:
In honor of your 55th birthday, July 13, 1990, you are invited to a delightful three-day two-night trip by car. Please clear your calendar July 13th, 14th, and 15th. You will love it! No further details will be given until July 13th. Happy Birthday! Love, Dick.
From the time she got it until we left, questions, questions, questions. She pumped the kids who didn't know anything. "Will it be cold or warm"? What do I pack? How long will it take to get there? Have we been there before? I learned to be very evasive in my answers.
On the day we left, I gave her a birthday card. She knew beyond any doubt that the card would divulge where she was going for the weekend. But not even a clue! She had some destinations in mind but started eliminating them as we drove. The traffic through LA slowed us up, so we were behind schedule.
We neared San Luis Obispo, and I told her that it had been a long time since we had been in Morro Bay so we should drive over there. All we did there was to take some video pictures and drive on. Now she was really confused. Up the road a ways we saw a sign about Cambria. Several years ago we stayed at a motel there called Cambria Shores. She said, "Do you remember the little town of Cambria?" I said let's drive through the town and see it again. At the end of town I had to either drive on north on Highway 1 or cross the highway to the frontage road where the motels are located. We drove across. I turned in four motels later at the Blue Dolphin Inn. "Is this where we are staying?" I said, "Yes, but that's only half the story". Now she was really confused! I asked her to stay in the car while I checked in.
Dave and Marlene were in the tearoom, and he saw us drive in. They went for a walk and headed for our car. I heard a scream and saw the two gals flying towards each other. We laughed that entire weekend.
The Inn had an agreement with a local restaurant called Stratos to come and pick you up in a limousine. I made reservations for 7:00 p.m. and another surprise for the gals. We were driven to dinner in a white stretch Cadillac limo, were made over by the restaurant personnel, and enjoyed a leisurely dinner and a limo ride back to the Inn. What a birthday party! It was something they will never forget.
Limo ride for the Moores and the Coles
Our table for 3 hours at Stratos with the Birthday Girls
The rest of the weekend was spent seeing the area and just being together. Since we used to sing together, we ended our visit Sunday morning on a log by the beach singing for a while. As we parted, both couples said "Same Time Next Year." This will be an annual event.
We did get together the next year at the same place and did somewhat the same things we did the year before. Different restaurant since Stratos was out of business. The following years we went to different places for our birthday weekend. This went on for a number of years but our schedules sometimes had us missing a year or two. The last time we were together was in November 2006 when we attended the 50th Reunion of our (Dick & Dave) graduation class of 1956 which was held at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Great times, great memories, great friends.