I finally got my facts straight. The space launch that we saw was Apollo 15, which took off in summer 1971.
Less than 20 minutes after liftoff, the Cape was drenched with a heavy rain. I could understand why Mim & Elsa were pacing before launch. It moved in really fast. There was not much talking as we waited in the car to get into the long stream of traffic. There was so much to think about and too few words to express it.
I do not have many memories of the drive home, aside from looking forward to a wonderful treat - Mim would swing home via Williamsburg so I could get a glimpse of the marvelous restoration. I was so excited. I pictured us walking the Duke of Gloucester Street, checking out places from favorite parts of Elswyth Thane's beloved "Williamsburg" book series - Dawn's Early Light, Yankee Stranger and Ever After are my three favorites. I practically knew them by heart. I could not believe that I would be on the Duke of Gloucester Street, stroll past the King's Arms, gaze at the Palace and Bruton Parish Church, take in sights that I had seen hundreds of times in my mind's
eye. I intended to make the most of the few hours we could spare.
Mim made my day by driving right up to the Williamsburg Inn, which was every bit as elegant and world class as the pictures. Elsa dashed in to check on if we could get a cup of tea. When she came back, she and Mim were flashing each other big cheeky grins. Actually, come to think of it, they had been very excited about this short stop-over in Williamsburg ever since the thought first came up, back on our first night's stopover in Weldon, NC.
Mim guided the van past the Inn's portico and back out onto the street. I practically had conniption fits when she, bold as brass, parked right behind one of the colonial houses, even though a sign CLEARLY warned, "For Guests Only."
I clucked with worry, "The sign says this parking is for guests only. We will get in trouble." Mim looked over at me with a very satisfied smile and said, "Only if we weren't guests. We're staying here overnight."
Well, I just could not believe. I do not mean that lightly - I really could not believe it. I could not believe it when the girls took the luggage out of the car, I could not believe it when they took out a key (that was what Elsa was really getting at the Inn), could not believe it when they set our bags and baggage inside the Orlando Jones law office. It was a dream come true.
The girls had dreamt up the whole thing on the first lap down, after I had gone and on about how much I had always wanted to see Colonial Williamsburg. They had called from our motel in Weldon, NC and managed to get reservations for a small residence – it was once the office for a colonial law practice - with two beds, one upstairs for Mim and Brooke, one downstairs for me and Elsa. They had made dinner reservations at Christiana Campbell's and breakfast reservations
at the Inn.
It was a magical time, especially when it turned out that the back yard of the law office bordered that of the music master's house, so we had a concert that night practically right on our own back doorstop. I can see and hear it still.
One of my happiest memories was being able to walk into a colonial home and call it our own, for however short a time. It really did feel like Tibby Dawes or Julian Day might go past us at any moment, that we would spot St. John Sprague with the beautiful Regina on his arm.
We were pampered the next day at breakfast. What wonderful service in what a beautiful setting. Breakfast at the Williamsburg Inn is still a favorite memory of mine. I hope to enjoy it again at least once before being reunited with Pete.
Special does not begin to describe that stay. I was very lucky to have the sort of daughters who recognized a dream when they heard it, then did their best to make that dream a reality. I blessed them then, I bless them now for the loving thoughtfulness and generous natures they revealed to their stunned and happy Mom.
Am about to don my night cap and wend my way up the wooden hill.
Love to you all - Grammie Kay