True confessions of a hotel adventurer

<strong>Priceless Gems</strong> Pat Price

Priceless Gems Pat Price

Our hotel adventures started early on. We were 15 when, for my birthday extravaganza, my parents took Mary Ann and me to spend the weekend at the Hollenden House in downtown Cleveland. The trip involved a meet-up with our favorite DJ, Jerry G, dinner out two nights in a row, and most importantly our own room. The two of us made a record at a less than classy place called Jean’s Funny House that I’d give my right arm to hear again today.

We were in 15-year-old heaven.

The first night we decided that room service was called for, so we called! Chocolate ice cream was delivered by a gentleman in a starched uniform. I was vaguely aware that he needed to be tipped, so, much to Mary Ann’s horror, I swept the entire mountain of change we had on the dresser into his ever-so-grateful hands. So much for the vending machine later! It didn’t take us long to find the indoor swimming pool where we befriended the two lifeguards. We thought we were pretty cool but they probably recognized us as a couple of giggly teenagers. At any rate, they became the focus of our weekend and of our midnight talks.

The weekend was such a success that my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Dick repeated the birthday present when I turned 16. Sadly, our lifeguards were gone. Happily, I had learned how to tip. This time the highlight boiled down to retail as they gave each of us cash to shop at the very hip Casual Corner and then take a cab ride back to the hotel. With our new outfits there was no doubt left: We were definitely cool and ready to take on the town. Of course, that didn’t happen but we could dream, couldn’t we?

Fast forward a lot of years — 24 to be exact. In the year of our 40th birthdays we were joined by fellow classmate and pal Sandy Carlson for a weekend at Saw Mill Creek resort. We ate out, talked a lot, swam, and went shopping. We knew we were getting older when the three of us, in unison, exclaimed loudly and scrambled over to a calendar kiosk all eyeing the same thing. It was a Death By Chocolate calendar. Sitting right next to it was a beefcake calendar with firemen and policemen or some such hunks that went all but unnoticed… until one of us noticed. Then the laughter began.

Ten years later, the three of us checked into the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Cleveland to celebrate our 50th birthdays. We dined in a fancy restaurant, got massages, and went to a wedding. The part of the weekend that lives on most vividly happened when we checked in and the desk clerk asked if it would be just the three of us. To this day I don’t know what made me say it — and I swear I didn’t mean it — but I immediately piped up, “Unless we get lucky!”

By our 60s, Sandy did not join us but Mary Ann and I took our husbands to Disney World. In truth, her birthday is in January and mine in February and we were there the December following. We reasoned it was still the 60th year, so we told them it was our birthday. We were regaled with free desserts and many birthday wishes as our trip unfolded. Steve and Joe were outraged, but we loved every minute of it.

Our most recent trip had nothing to do with birthdays and a lot to do with our daughters, both of whom live in Seattle. The two of us jetted out to the West Coast and took one night in the Fairmount downtown before separating to spend several days with Sarah and Becca.

Wouldn’t you know we picked the same day to stay there that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia had chosen to visit Seattle? There was security everywhere. Vigilant men in dark suits with mics on their shoulders dotted the lobby and the entryways. We stepped off the elevator in the morning and all eyes turned to us. A hotel employee scurried over to us and asked what we needed and when we told her we wanted some coffee she escorted us to the coffee shop. Our belated birthday present from our children was to attend high tea, which we did in elegant fashion and on our way out we thanked the security detail for making sure things were very safe for us during our stay. We even got a few smiles.

So, that wraps up our hotel adventures to date. I can’t wait to see what will be next. One thing’s for sure — there’s never a dull moment when traveling with Mary Ann!

Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to

Priceless Gems Pat Price Gems Pat Price