I toured the monstrosity called the Winchester House, with two other women. I’d accompanied Aileen on business a little while ago and encouraged myself to be a solo tourist but it was much more fun to go somewhere with others.
Last week I flew to San Jose with Andrew and I knew that I’d be solo touring again. So I hit the San Jose Art Museum and saw Annie Lebovitz’s Pilgrimage and some Chihuly for as long as I felt like it. Leibovitz’s ability to tell a story through a small selection of photos. was inspiring. Another day I spent hours and hours in the Egyptian museum- again alone. And I liked that too.
But the thing that I have come to love the most about new places, is the new people. I met all the conference people playing bocce, eating tasty foods, and drinking the night away.
One evening Andrew and I drove to Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center (which reminded me a bit of Spectre of the movie, Big Fish) to meet a woman we had met briefly 17 years ago. She was now 84. Her husband had died 5 or 6 years ago and she still missed him so much. She couldn’t believe he was really gone. And Andrew’s thick gray hair reminded her so much of Ralph’s. She lived in a house that they’d bought as a cabin and converted it to a permanent residence.
During our dinner, she brought out old photos of her father a pilot in WWI for Germany. She thanked us for caring to look at them and all the while we are feeling so honored that she’d show us. We learned of her being stabbed seven times with a bayonet by a Russian soldier and left for dead at the end of WWII. And she told of leaving Germany after WWII in search of a job in Canada. It was there that she met Ralph, another expat from Germany. She showed us the photo of his family home in Germany and explained that they would never have met had they been in Germany, he was of a higher class. But there in Canada where he could barely speak English, they were equals. They fell in love and married.
And one day a girl came knocking at their door while Ralph was at work and told Lanette all about her Savior. Lanette listened and believed the truth of it. She hoped her husband would come around to this understanding and she waited. And then he did. And they went back to Germany to be missionaries to their own people.
And now she was living the rest of her days at Mt. Hermon and we had the privilege to spend the evening with her.