In the week that my new book is published I have been in the land of my first, going on an American road trip of my own, though nothing like as ambitious as the one undertaken by the ‘Bedpans and Bobby Socks’ nurses. We began in Los Angeles, where the five nurses lived for a few months, squeezing into a tiny apartment meant for two, made possible only because they worked different shifts – though they did sometimes resort to sleeping on the porch. LA is constantly changing; the spot on La Cienega where it meets Sunset Boulevard which is where their block once stood – see photo – is being redeveloped, and few of the nearby buildings look as if they have been around since the 50s, though the Farmers’ Market where they did their shopping still has some of its original features.
Gwenda, Pat, Molly, Maureen and Celia nursed film industry folk and stumbled across location shootings as they went about their business; we had to make do with walking past the queue for James Corden’s show at the CBS studios. But LA does have something special about it and we will be returning later in the trip, during which I am also going to catch up with the man who proposed to Gwenda almost 60 years ago and the daughter of Bob and Mary Ann, the couple they met in the Grand Teton National Park, who was a baby then.
It’s very hot here, even in Yosemite where we are now and were expecting it to be a little cooler it’s hitting 100 every day. Apparently it is only in the 60s in San Francisco, our next stop, so should feel more like home.