Smorgasbord Letters from America – April 1986 – San Diego – Trash Can Punch and Sea World by Sally Cronin

When I was given the folder of my handwritten letters to my parents when my father died in 1996, I was amazed that he had kept them for ten years. But so pleased that he did. We tend to remember the major events, and we had plenty of amazing experiences in those two years of living in the United States, but it is easy to forget the everyday…

April 10th 1986

Dear M & D.

I hope you had a pleasant Easter and great to talk to you on the phone. Sorry it was so damp. I am not sure that I am looking forward to returning to wet winters and lukewarm summers. I do love the sunshine here.

The pool party was a huge success and there was an introduction to Trash Can Punch. A couple of us chopped up pounds of oranges, apples and pineapple and it was emptied into a black trash can (well scrubbed) and then half filled with fruit juice and ice. Then as people arrived at the pool they were invited to add a bottle of spirits or wine. As you can imagine this became very potent quickly in the heat, and it did not take long for the party to really kick off. People also bought food and a BBQ was on the go in the recreation area and just as well. I stuck to water after the first large cup full, but made the mistake of sucking a couple of pieces of orange when we got to the end of the mix at the end of the afternoon. They were well soused in booze! We all had a great time but Sunday was suspiciously quiet by the pool!

David left for Las Vegas on the Monday and then went on to San Francisco, getting to San Diego on Thursday. I flew out on Saturday morning very early arriving mid-morning and I must say I fell in love with the City right away. Sunshine of course, but also palm trees and it reminded me of Hawaii, but without the long flight.

I think San Diego makes a wonderful holiday destination as there was certainly plenty to see and do. The beaches are great for swimming and the scenery is breathtaking with rolling hills and lush plant life. As we were only there for three days we were selective about our sight-seeing and a complete day was needed for Sea World and San Diego Zoo, both of which were impressive, despite my dislike of seeing animals in cages.

I petted and fed a dolphin with some fish, and got really close to a killer whale and we watched one of the shows where the trainers were in the pool with them. A lot of water was splashed over the audience sat in the front rows, so quite pleased to be a lot further back. I would rather the dolphins and the other sea mammals were in the ocean but many of them were rescued or raised in captivity and would not survive in wild. But I have to say that from an educational perspective it was fascinating to be so close to these incredible animals.

We ate out at a couple of restaurants that were amazing including the Reuben E. Lee which is a replica paddle steamer which served seafood and steaks and then the Bali Hi which had wonderful Chinese food. Both restaurants are located on the islands in the bay with views of San Diego skyline and it made a fabulous backdrop to our meal.

One thing that is noticeable is the military and naval activity which is also reminiscent of Hawaii and we were given some pretty impressive aerial displays by naval jets on an exercise.

When I got back I took the next step in our plan to remain in the US after David’s contract is up in January, and opened a bank account of my own. The one drawback of being here is that you have to show your ID… which is my driving licence when you use cheques and the photo is appalling…. and I am stuck with it for another three years!

And a little bit of fun…I wrote a letter to the local paper as their movie critic had been very scathing about ‘Out of Africa’ and the fact that it had won so many Oscars. It is one of my favourite films so I gave him my opinion  and how disappointed I was in his review. I also mentioned that his photograph made him look very grumpy.. Lo and behold… they published the letter and his reply to it he agreed about the photo and they have changed it..

David is now in the final stages of training for his big race next Saturday and he has certainly worked very hard for it. I am sure he will do well. I am just off to play tennis with Debbie and with a run of good weather I should be able to get my hour swim each day for the next week.

Catch up with you on the phone over the weekend.

love from us both S & D…..


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the latest adventure. I am so glad we made the most of our two years in America..most of the partying stopped on our return to the UK and I was back to work full-time.