It Had To Be the Del
Weddings and honeymoons abound this month, so I am happy to share the funny honeymoon excerpt below from It Had To Be Us, an award-winning romantic memoir my husband and I wrote under the pen names of Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence. Enjoy!
"Why don't we stay somewhere special next Saturday night?" I asked Harry as we finished breakfast one bright California spring morning. Our re-marriage ceremony was to be held the following weekend, and I thought we should make at least some plans for our second honeymoon.
Harry looked up from his newspaper. "What did you have in mind?"
“I think the Hotel Del Coronado would be perfect,” I said. “That’s where they filmed Some Like It Hot and The Stunt Man, two of our favorite movies.”
“Isn’t it rather expensive?” Harry replied. I smiled, thinking to myself how much Harry’s frugality annoyed me when we were married before, and realizing it was just a charming eccentricity to me now. The first time Harry and I got married we were barely out of our teens. Our marriage lasted for 24 years, and we raised a wonderful son and daughter. Our divorce lasted almost as long -- but we accidentally met again, rediscovered our lost love, and decided to try it again.
I answered Harry as sweetly as I could, reminding him our stay at The Del would be for only one night. After making reservations, I waited eagerly for our romantic night at the world-famous hotel -- whose former guests included such luminaries as Marilyn Monroe, L. Frank Baum, Charles Lindbergh, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, ten U.S. presidents, and the future Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Intrigued by the brochure description of The Del not only as the number one wedding destination in the U. S. but also as “an American treasure with over 113 years of stories to tell,” I was thrilled to think ours might be one of them.
The great day finally arrived. Our Mobile Marriage ceremony, witnessed by six devoted friends, was simple and fun. However, when we went to our car, we were surprised to find a large “Just Married” sign on each door and colorful balloons filling the back seat. “Isn’t this a bit much?” I whispered to Harry. He shook his head and rolled his eyes. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I said softly, “I’ll take care of it as soon as we leave.”
Because Harry wasn’t used to California traffic yet, I was doing the driving that day. After going about a mile, I pulled the car over to the curb, reached in my purse for a rat-tail comb, and vigorously stabbed all the balloons with it. Harry seemed stunned. “Have you gone mad, Elizabeth?” he said. “What if people think you’re killing someone with a knife? I feel like I’m in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.”
Always amused by Harry’s off-the-wall observations, I couldn’t stop laughing at the ridiculous picture he put in my head. “It had to be done. I need to see out the back window to get us to the Hotel Del safely,” I explained when my laughter subsided. Nothing would stop me from making sure we reached our exciting destination.
Finally, The Del’s majestic red and white towers loomed above Coronado’s main street -- like beacons guiding us to a safe harbor. Built on a picturesque peninsula surrounded by water on three sides, The Del is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. As we walked through its lush grounds (thought by some to be L. Frank Baum’s inspiration for the colorful world of his Wizard of Oz adventures) and into the enormous Victorian style lobby, we felt like travelers in a time machine who had gone back to the late 1800s.
I couldn’t wait to see our room! While Harry visited with the desk clerk about our reservations and luggage, I decided to go on ahead. After obtaining our room number and key, I opted not to take the elevator and practically ran up the first staircase, walked briskly up the second one, then slowed down a bit on the third. I searched all around for our room number but couldn’t find it. However, I did see an unmarked door. “Maybe that leads to another part of the hotel where our room is located,” I thought to myself. I opened it and stepped through the doorway.
A few minutes later, Harry tried to hide his amusement when he found a hotel security guard helping me off the roof. “How was the view?” he asked nonchalantly. But I knew he was chuckling inside.
Did my little mishap spoil everything? Not on your life. From our charming room – furnished with old-fashioned white wicker furniture, we marveled at The Del’s spectacular moonlit beach and the soothing sound of ocean waves rushing against the sandy shore. And we rejoiced at the miracle of being husband and wife – again.
It Had To Be Us, a Kindle Ebook -- which the award-winning CAKE: A Love Story movie is based on -- is available for $5.99 at Amazon's Kindle store by clicking here. The film can be seen now on Amazon Prime.