I was doing some odd jobs like working in a large wholesale nursery filling thousands of plastic pots with soil, picking avocados, and house painting. Basically just getting by. I didn’t have a car so I had to bum a ride into town or hitch hike up Pacific Coast Highway to get to town. I was also limited to surfing the beach across the street unless someone offered to take me with them on a surf trek elsewhere. It was on this beach one hot sunny afternoon in the summer of 1975 that I met Carroll. She was a beautiful women of Italian and Mexican heritage. She was tall about 5’7” with a beautiful olive complexion and long straight dark hair down to her narrow waist. She worked as a waitress at a local mexican restaurant in Carpinteria. I had gone to this restaurant several times so I recognized her lounging in her sand chair soaking the afternoon sun. I noticed she was reading a book that I had just recently finished called “Stranger in a Strange Land” “How do you like it so far?” I asked her. Huh? she said as she looked over to where I was parked. “That book your reading, how do you like it so far?” “Oh it’s great she said, have you read it?” “Yes, I just finished it.” “Hey don’t you work in Carp at that mexican restaurant Casa Ayala” I added. “Yes” she replied. “Yeah I go in there every now and then” “Yes I know I’ve seen you but I’ve never waited on you because your never at my station.” “Well how do I get your station?” I asked. “Next time you come in just let me seat you.” “Are you working tonight?” I said “Yes, in fact I need to go in about an hour. I start at 3:00” “I’ll come up tonight for supper” I said. “I’ll look forward to it” she said. We talked until it was time for her to go. Then I helped her with her beach gear and walked her to her car. “I’ll see you later on.”I said “OK I’m there till 10:00” She slid her long sexy legs into her Opel Manta as I closed the door. “See ya later” she said. “Count on it” I said. That evening I got cleaned up and put on my Guatemalan embroidered peasant shirt , my best Bermuda shorts and my “Rainbow” flip flops. Style n for dinner.
I walked out the front of my house, down the steps from my deck, across the frontage road, and across the railroad tracks to the side of the highway and stuck out my thumb. I got a ride right away into town. I walked down Linden Ave. to Casa Ayala and walked into the front entrance. Casa Ayala was a family owned restaurant that had been a fixture in town for many years. It was a modest place that seated about 40 people. It had a nice atmosphere with tall maroon upholstered bench seats at every booth offering privacy. The lighting was dim but not too dark, and the food was consistently excellent! As was apparent by all the locals that frequented the place. I often saw many of my surfing peers chowing down when I went in to eat. “Hey Keith!” “Hey Brad, Hey Mike!”
I went up to the hostess, a beautiful girl named Elsa I told her “Carroll’s going to seat me tonight” “Oh so Carroll wants you all to herself” Elsa replied. I chuckled “I hope so” Carroll came through the double sided flapping kitchen doors carrying dozens of plates of food for one of her tables. She caught my eye and gave me a big brite smile. She was glad to see me. She came over to me and in a cute way like she had never met me said “Where would you like to sit sir?” “how about here” I said as I took a booth all to myself. “Perfect” she said as she gave me a menu. “Would you like anything to drink while your deciding?” “Yeah, I’ll have a Modello please” “Coming right up” She walked back to the bar to get my beer. I was checking her out as she turned to walk away. She was wearing a short black skirt that really showed of her legs and a white embroidered peasant top tucked into her skirt with a wide black belt around her waist. She was wearing some sandals with a slight heel on them that complemented the whole package. I liked what I saw.
I ended up going to Carrolls apartment that evening. But it wasn’t what you think or what I expected. We talked into the wee hours of the morning and when it was time for some sleep she told me I could use the couch so I agreed. You see I found out that Carroll was a good Catholic girl so I respected her wishes and in fact liked them. I gave her as big a kiss as she would allow then curled up on the couch and crashed. In the morning we had omelets, coffee and english muffins then she gave me a ride home. She asked me if I would like to come back over to her place the next evening for a home cooked meal, naturally I agreed. Things where about to heat up both physically and emotionally.