2018 Life Logs, Day 36—More to the Artichoke Story
Date: Monday, February 5, 2018
Weather: Most Sunny and Windy; High 52, Low 20 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I continue to work on my photo projects . . . miles to go . . . but at least it is truly enjoyable. My day today consisted of exercise at the gym, working on photos, running errands, and enjoying the mild winter weather. That was today, but I want to go back to yesterday when I received an email from a good friend of many years in response to my artichoke email on Saturday. That was when I wrote about having artichokes with the Goldpebbles and shared some of my story of traveling from Idaho to California in search of artichokes when I was three months pregnant with Heather. In response, Patsy Decker shared this artichoke story.

“I loved your artichoke stories. I, too, have always loved artichokes. Growing up in New Hampshire, we didn’t get them often, but whenever they were in the grocery store my mom bought them. So did my best friend’s mom. I don’t remember any of my other classmates talking about them.

In 1969, Eric’s parents were living in California. Eric and I went out to visit at Christmas and took a detour through Castroville. He had received a new suitcase for Christmas. We filled the old one with artichokes, tiny ones, small ones, medium, and large ones. A big snow storm was brewing on the east coast, flights got messed up, we lost some of our luggage, but the artichokes made it. It was very sad to think that a whole suitcase of them might have frozen! So glad they didn’t.”

I met Patsy in the mid-1980’s when Justin became friends with her son Warren. We have stayed in contact through the years, but I certainly never knew we shared the same love of artichokes. I can absolutely understand filling a suitcase with artichokes. On Saturday I wrote that I didn’t want to bore you with the details of my story, but after reading Patsy’s story, I’ve decided that I should share a bit more. All I said in Saturday’s log was that after walking to town on my birthday and finding no artichokes, we drove to California in search of artichokes. The real story is that when we walked to town, acquaintances said they were driving to California that night. Would we like to go along? We were tempted, but good sense told us to decline and walk home. Which we did. But on the way home, we continued to discuss the possibility and decided to go along. We took our groceries home and headed back to meet up with the people going to California. It was a couple with two children who we didn’t know very well. We knew Dave was an ex-con, but he was reformed and this all seemed so innocent. But at 5 am the next morning, we found ourselves in the dessert in Oregon (which I never knew existed) in a broken-down car. When I woke up, Dave was removing the license plates. I asked why he was doing that and he responded that we were abandoning the car and hitch hiking the rest of the way. Hitch hiking? Not something I had ever done or ever wanted to do, especially not when I was three months pregnant. But hitch hike we did. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. My mother went to her grave not knowing that I did this and I don’t want her find out. But it actually turned out to be a fantastic experience. Mark and I got a ride with a truck driver from Oakland, California, who took us home with him and then delivered us to a ‘safe’ hitch hiking destination in Berkeley. From there we went to San Mateo to the home of one of Mark’s public television friends. And from there we went to get artichokes. We were having so much fun that Mark and I continued hitch hiking down the coast of California to Los Angeles, then east to Phoenix, on Arkansas, and up to Illinois to visit with Mark’s sister and brother-in-law. Never in my life would I have thought I would do such a thing, but we were lucky and had great rides. Since I was pregnant, and we were out of money, Mark’s friend in San Mateo got him a job producing a pilot program for Los Angeles public television. So, we took a bus back west from Illinois to Salt Lake City. From there, Mark went to Los Angeles and I went back to Idaho to get our truck and eventually met up with him in LA. It was quite the adventure, but the greatest thing was that I was no longer suffering from morning, noon, and night sickness. The artichokes cured that problem. Thus, my life long love and dedication to that prickly thistle!