The next day, Mother offered her advice. “Carol, give the poor man a chance.”
This time, I was determined to allow my training and faith in God to provide the lead.
I needed all the help I could get after so many miserable years of being ripped apart and
psychologically dismantled by the men in my life. Armed with my restored self-respect,
however, I felt more than ready to weather whatever challenges another reunion with Ian
The morning of the 14th arrived, and I started the day with prayer. I continued to pray
as I readied myself for the trip to airport, again asking for Divine guidance that would
prevail over every hour Ian and I spent together. “And please,” I implored, “give me a
sign that this get-together is meant to be.”
In the next instant, I heard, “Because. Be Wise. Become.”
Ian arrived with a garment bag containing his dress clothing and one suitcase for
everything else. He looked like a man on a mission. We chatted about his plane trip, the
weather, our daughters, and everything else that wasn’t personal. Since it was close to the
supper hours, it seemed ridiculous for me to simply drop Ian off and drive home.
“I thought we could have a drink together and then have dinner in the hotel,” he said.
“Unless you’d prefer going somewhere else.”
“That’s fine,” I said, taking my hint from him. We would take it slowly this time and
not get carried away. Talk and more talk was necessary. Of course, it was equally
important to see if our former attraction for each other (and our passion!) still remained.
“I’ll wait in the lobby until you check in and take your things to the room.”
We had an amazingly relaxed and enjoyable evening talking about President Carter,
the Bee Gees and Donna Summer’s newest hits that played every hour on the radio, and
even about which movies we intended to see during the summer.
“High on my list is Moonraker with Roger Moore as James Bond. I’ve been a fan of
every 007 film since Sean Connery played Bond in Thunderball, back in 1965,” Ian said.
“What about you?”
“Probably Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood,” I said. “I’ve been to San
Francisco so many times over the years; it feels like a requirement to see the film.”
And so the evening went, as we tiptoed into the waters polluted by time, distance,
evasion, and uncertainty.
After spending Friday together as a family, beginning with breakfast, we chose the
acclaimed Benihana Restaurant for dinner to celebrate Ian’s 39th birthday. It was new to
the city and had received rave reviews. What fun we had. Ian and I enjoyed every bite of
the tender Kobi steak and even the chicken, giant shrimp and assorted vegetables
prepared right in front of us on a teppanyaki steel grill. Our highly trained Japanese chef
royally entertained us with his intricate knife work, theatrics, and magical tricks that
completely delighted the girls as we perched on stools to dine at a narrow counter that
separated us from him. Laughter punctuated our dialogue and I didn’t want the evening to
The girls had been fond of Ian since their first introduction, and with every hour they
spent together, their bond appeared to grow. He was far more attentive to each of them
and to me than on previous occasions and seemed genuinely interested in our activities,
including the daily dog walks. He even asked me, “Do the girls need braces before they
get much older?” What kind of question was that?
We spent all day Saturday taking in some of the tourist sights, again with the girls. Ian
had asked, on our trip from the airport to his hotel, that we drive to Malibu on Saturday
evening and have dinner at some restaurant where we could watch the setting sun
reflected on the waters of the world’s largest ocean. Just the two of us. His plan was to
leave Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon and fly directly to Washington, D.C. for a
meeting with union lobbyists. Here we go again.
I had no idea what was going on in Ian’s mind. He had seen plenty of sunsets over the
waters of the three Great Lakes, whose shorelines formed the rims of Michigan. Perhaps,
he was finally . . . . No! I would not go there with my thoughts. I had been disappointed
too many times, and that’s putting it mildly.
I called Ellen Lehr, Marcia’s daughter, who planned all the great parties in Los
Angeles and asked for suggestions.
“I can think of only one restaurant that meets your requirements, Carol,” she said.
“Paradise Cove. You know the area. It’s still a privately-owned property in Malibu, but it
has that restaurant built by the original owner, the Sandcastle. It’s right on the beach, not
on the cliff overlooking it. You will have an expansive view of the famous pier, the
equally renowned beach, and the ocean while you dine. If it’s a clear night, you’ll be able
to gaze at every minute of the quite spectacular sunset. But, Carol, I would strongly
advise you to call the Sandcastle today and reserve a window seating.”
“Paradise Cove. Of course. I’ve known about that area for a couple decades, Ellen, but
never visited it in person. I feel like I’ve been there dozens of times, though. Gidget and those other bikini and surfing movies of the 1960s were filmed there. Sandra Dee. James
Daren, Frankie Avalon. Right?”
“The one and only. And if your guest is a fan of the Rockford Files television series,
he may find the history of the cove even more to his liking. The trailer home used by the
detective, played by James Garner, still resides in the Sandcastle’s parking lot.”
The Sandcastle. I couldn’t remember Mother, Sandra or any of my friends speak of the
place. Fishing and surfing had never been our forte. But Paradise Cove was the backdrop
for the Beach Boys album cover of Surfin' Safari. That I could remember.
Even after I made the restaurant reservation, I couldn’t get the name of the place out of
my mind. Sandcastle. Of course! A Charlie’s Angels episode early in 1978 was called
“The Sandcastle Mysteries.” The Angels were relaxing at Kris’s seaside home when they
learned a strangler in the community was burying his victims in the sand and one of them
was a friend of Kris. Charlie Townsend, their never-seen boss, gave them permission to
conduct their own investigation when the local police were stymied. The filming took
place on the beach right in front of the Sandcastle Restaurant and the Paradise Cove Pier.
I loved movie history then and still do.
After spending the majority of two days with Ian, either alone or with the girls, I
looked forward to my last evening with him, even if much of it would be spent in the car.
He dropped the girls and me off at the house, after another day of fun, and then headed
back to his hotel to clean up and change clothes. I needed to do the same. As soon as I
unlocked the entrance door, the girls dashed to their room with the dogs sprinting after
them. The mailbox by the door was full and I gathered up the contents to take to the
As I tossed the mail onto a counter, I noticed a letter topping the usual weekend
advertisement fliers. That’s odd, I thought, recognizing the handwriting. Ian hasn’t said
anything about writing me a letter. After scanning the first paragraph, I went to sit at the
table. My legs felt too weak to hold me upright. I started over and read more slowly.
A DIVINE ACCIDENT
June 10th, 1979
I will soon transverse more than two thousand
miles to renew a relationship, memories of which defy
logical explanation. I will submit myself, once more, to
the presence of a woman so complex and so joyous
that she, in a few months and so long ago, vastly altered
and gloriously transfixed my self-perception. I write, of
course, of you.
Thoughts cascade through my mind as I approach
Thursday. I ponder the impact of my return upon your
mind and anticipate the excitement and joy which will
pervade mine when at last I see you. My visit will be
painfully brief, but I sense that, notwithstanding its
brevity, it will be momentous. To once again share with
you your presence is an event to which I impatiently
When I arrive I want to maximize the time with
you and do not want to explore the geographical
highlights of LA. Rather, I wish to enter your mind so
that we might reverse the circumstances which created
the void which has marred the last eighteen months.
As I will explain when I arrive, I expect that
within the next few month’s developments involving my
professional activity may occur that will delay any
judgment of a more personal nature. Commitments,
therefore, to more sensual and profound interests will
be compelled to wait the emerging destiny of my working
life. I trust that Jennifer and Lisa are fine as well as
the canine members of the Crystal family. In
conclusion, I look forward to seeing all, but in
particular I desire to see you. There is much to say
and feel when I arrive. I will, thus, delay any further
dialogue until that splendid moment.
With deepest love,
It was a beautiful letter. A complex letter. Full of nuance that was hard to define. It
was too late to take back the hours we had spent exploring Los Angeles with the girls. He
hadn’t shown irritation with me, though. In fact, I was impressed at how well he got
along with Jenny and Lisa and seemed to welcome their affection. The rest of the letter
was confusing. In one sentence, he seemed eager to put the past eighteen months behind
us, and in the next, he was warning me that his business would still keep him busy half a
country away and our future didn’t look any rosier.
No, he used the word delay. That wasn’t the same as end.
I didn’t mention receiving or reading the letter when Ian picked me up an hour later. I
didn’t want to discuss it during the long drive on the Pacific Coast Highway unless he
asked about it.
Ian and I reached Malibu and searched for the private road that would take us to
Paradise Cove. Thanks to Daylight Saving Time and a predicted sunset of 8:30 p.m., we
had plenty of time to peruse the full expanse of the beach and the 820-foot pier
constructed in 1945. As soon as we caught our first glimpse of the pier, we started a one-
upmanship game to test our memories of specific movies and TV episodes featuring it as
a location site.
The Sandcastle didn’t fit the image I had created in my mind. It was definitely on the
sand—the beach extended from the water’s edge to just below the row of windows that
faced west and measured at least fifty feet. But the Cape Cod exterior, including a steeply
pitched roof, low profile and white clapboard siding, seemed impracticable, considering
“The style is entirely suitable for this location, if you consider the reason for the
builder’s choice, Carol.” Ian walked around the car to open my door and help me out.
“The Cape Cods of New England were designed to hold up in stormy weather and
clapboard is layered one over the other to prevent the entry of water.”
When Ian opened the entrance door, we were greeted to the blaring sound of the
Village People’s YMCA, which had reached the top of the Pop Chart earlier in the year. It was Saturday evening, disco music was still the rage of the decade, and the casual beach
atmosphere pulled in guests who thrived on the upbeat tempo. And volume. We had to
lean towards the hostess to hear what she was saying to us. Somehow, we were able to
place our drink orders. At the same time, we turned to peer out the window.
Ian reached across the table for my hand. We sat there, without trying to talk above the
music. Donna Summer’s Last Dance. Was it an omen?
When the waiter came for our dinner choices, Ian asked him if it would be possible to
turn the direction of the bar lights so that they wouldn’t reflect in the window and inhibit
our view. I will never forget his dinner choice for us. Sand dabs. I had honestly never
heard of them and couldn’t image Mother asking for them at the seafood counter of our
local grocery store.
We were told that sand dabs were traditionally served only in restaurants and were a
California seafood specialty. Ian was enthusiastic about trying anything that couldn’t be
caught on a fishhook in one of the Great Lakes. Despite the name sand dab, which did
nothing for my vivid imagination, we both found this small flatfish delicate in flavor and
very moist. It was served pan-dressed and grilled.
All the while we ate our dinner; we kept our eyes on the fiery red star called the Sun as
it slowly dropped behind the distant horizon. Maybe it was because I was seeing it with
Ian, but I concluded it was the most glorious sunset I had ever seen. At first, the sun at
twilight created a magical streak of glittering gold light that reached directly towards us
across the water. Then the continually changing colors of the sky, from vivid crimson to
every shade of pink, washed the water in the same shimmering colors. Too soon, the last
sliver of the sun disappeared as the earth rotated. The show was over.
The moment was Zen-like in its intensity. Drama personified. Perhaps, if I paint my
version of this moment, I’ll tone down the colors ever so slightly, I thought.
Ian tightened his grip on my hand and gazed lovingly at me with his penetrating gray-
blue eyes. Practically shouting over the music’s volume, he said, “Will you marry me?”
It was like someone had snapped off the music and dimmed the lights at the same
time. I couldn’t hear or see anything but Ian. This was the moment I had waited for,
prayed about, believed would happen. “Convince me,” I said, in an equally loud voice,
never pulling my eyes from his. “Why should I marry you?”
Was I crazy? What kind of answer was that to such an earnest proposal? I reached for
my glass of water and sipped daintily from the rim, just enough to wet my lips and
prevent another regrettable word from slipping through them.
Ian didn’t hesitate. He told me everything I wanted to hear, but this time, his words
were rooted in clarity and purpose. I listened and sipped the water and felt my pulse
increase and my heart thump harder. A good time later, Ian said, “I want you to become
my wife because it’s the wise thing to do, Carol.”
Because. Be wise. Become. This was the moment I had prayed for. Believed would
happen. My prayer for a sign to signify that Ian was, indeed, my soulmate. Because- of
love, be wise, become -Carol Hunter. It made perfect sense. This wonderful man was
willing to accept me as I was, with two daughters and three dogs and a large extended
family that would likely inject itself into our lives in ways he could never imagine. I was
a different, new and better me. Because of our deep love and increased wisdom, I could
become Mrs. Hunter.
“Yes, yes, yes. I would be so happy to marry you, Ian.” We were still talking over the disco music and had to laugh like teenagers experiencing their first summer love. I was
Gidget and Ian was my Moondoggy.
***Ian and I had waited for so long to make this decision; we didn’t want to spend any
more time away from other. We made plans to marry in July so the girls that Lisa and
Jennifer would have a month to acclimate themselves in their new environment before
returning to school right after Labor Day in September.
“One month? How can you possibly we do that? Surely you’re joking.” Mother looked
at me with a pure sense of panic reflected in her eyes.
“We can do anything we decide to do,” I said. “You’re an experienced party giver and
attendee. You know what’s necessary and what isn’t. It’ll be fun.”
I still had in mind finding a periwinkle blue chiffon dress. This was one task I couldn’t
relegate to anyone else, because I didn’t know my current size. When Sunday arrived, I
piled Lisa and Jennifer into the car and headed, once again, to Bullocks in Century City.
The three of us went directly to the bridal department to search through the dress racks.
Not a single one in periwinkle blue. I selected three styles in different shades of pink and
took them into the dressing room, mainly to see which size fit me best.
“Nope, these won’t work,” I said. “They’re better suited as a prom dress.” The three of
us trooped back to the racks with the dresses.
“Mom, look! A blue dress. Is it periwinkle?”
“It’s soft and billowy, just like you said. Is it the right size?”
I was as excited as the girls. There it was. The dress in my dreams, a perfect shade of
periwinkle blue and made of exquisite chiffon, with a soft floral design and handkerchief
hem. I was in total disbelief. How had we missed it on our first perusal of every dress in
the department? “Where did this dress come from?” I asked the salesclerk who also
appeared out of nowhere.
“A customer retuned it while you were in the dressing room,” she said. “She had
purchased it for her daughter and it didn’t fit.”
Another miracle. “I’ll take it,” I said, holding it against my body and peering into a full-length mirror nearby.
This demonstration of faith took approximately ten minutes. I emphasize this time
element for finding my wedding dress, because it took three years for the demonstration
of my faith to ensure Ian was my true soulmate and would become my forever husband.
By the way, I have worn my periwinkle blue dress for every wedding anniversary, and as
I write this book (2016), the dress will be thirty-seven years old. Incidentally, since the
waist was elasticized, it didn’t require much alteration to fit me. The dress is still
Only one bakery could create the wedding cake I pictured in my mind. Although it had
been several years since I’d been a customer, I knew their desserts were noteworthy. I
selected an all-white, melt-in-your-mouth, iced two-layer cake with a surprise chocolate
mousse filling. The exterior was covered in white flowers of several varieties and sizes,
including roses, calla lilies, stephanotis and jasmine.
Mother took care of the luncheon menu and decor, as it was an early afternoon
ceremony that would take place in our Sorkin family home. I planned to slowly wend my
way down the staircase and onward to the far end of the living room where our loving
family and dear friends would be watching and commenting on my look of utter joy.
Ian flew from Michigan to Los Angeles on Wednesday to enjoy the pre-wedding
festivities taking place before our Saturday ceremony. Auntie Martha was so sure our
marriage would never take place; she refused to buy a new dress until Friday. Ian’s
mother, Vera, and niece, Kathy arrived on Thursday, as well as Ian’s best man, Colonel
Dick Meacham. This was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Dick and found him
a tall and elegant gentleman who would grace our ceremony with his very presence. His
wife, Leila, could not attend, but they have become our cherished family throughout the
past many years.
We made good use of everyone closest to us. Our daughters could hardly wait to dress
up in their flower girl dresses and practiced walking in a slow and measured step several
times. Sandra served as my matron of honor and Jacqueline my bridesmaid. Charles
escorted Mother. Donald took Daddy’s place and escorted me from the bottom of the
staircase to meet my groom. Dick, his best man, and my cousin, Judge Jess Whitehill,
A DIVINE ACCIDENT
who would officiate, stood waiting and watching our procession. Ian was dressed in a
dark blue suit with the blue-and-silver-patterned tie we had selected to coordinate with
my dress. Very handsome. Very irresistible.
Like any bride, I was glowing with the deep love that threatened to overflow with a
rare burst of tears to express the depth of my happiness. I felt beautiful in the periwinkle
blue dress of my dreams and my upswept hairstyle decorated with white jasmine flowers.
In my year-long wedding research (when I was strengthening my faith in God) I learned
that star-shaped jasmine is worn by brides worldwide and considered a symbol of love
and romance. In the Philippines, some couples exchanged necklaces of jasmine instead of
rings, believing they meant “I promise you.” And in some Asian countries, brides
believed the flowers’ fragrance infiltrates the soul and opens it with a euphoric response
that communicates trust and an affirmation of commitment to the groom. Yes, while
white roses have special meaning, too, and are used by most brides as a symbol of their
(supposed) innocence and purity, but jasmine spoke of everything my heart wanted to
As soon as I was an arm’s length from Ian, he took my hand in his and never let go.
While Bob Walters, Daddy’s longtime orchestra pianist, played the Paul Williams and
Roger Nichols song, “We’ve Only Just Begun,” (recorded by The Carpenters in 1970 and
played many times by Daddy’s orchestra at the formal parties of Hollywood elite) we
gazed into each other’s eyes. “So much of life ahead; We'll find a place where there's
room to grow.” My cousin asked the traditional questions, we gave our resounding I
Do’s, and Jess pronounced us “man and wife.”
Our mothers, who were seated on chairs next to the couch and surrounded by Uncle
Moe and Helen, Uncle Jack, Auntie Martha in her new dress, and other family members
and dear friends, smiled at each other. As Ian and I kissed, they applauded and rushed to
A DIVINE ACCIDENT
hug me and shake Ian’s hand and offer their congratulations and best wishes. I voiced my
silent gratitude to God for this demonstration of what a deep faith can provide.
When everyone had enjoyed the champagne and hors d’oeuvres, which were
substantial enough to amount to a full meal, it was time for the cake-cutting ritual. I
gazed at the stunning beauty of each flower variety appearing as realistic as the fresh
flowers on the tablescape. It was picture perfect. Ian and I posed with our hands on the
silver cake knife handle and smiled at the cameras. I received his approval of the cake’s
magnificence, although I must say he was far less interested in its appearance than he was
in eating his measured slice. The customary bride and groom figures topped the cake and
I already had plans for preserving them.
Auntie Helen, Uncle Moe and Mother at our wedding
I knew the cutting of the first slice of our wedding cake, with both our hands on the
knife, was symbolic of the beginning of our new life as partners who depended upon each
other for strength, and that the feeding of a small piece of this first slice to each other was
thought to bring good luck and fortune. I also knew that our faith in the strength of
Divine power was the most important source of all.
The eyes of all our guests were on us once again. Ian and I cut into the cake and then a
second time. I placed the knife on a tray provided for this moment, picked up the cake
server and used it to slide the sliver of our wedding cake onto a plate. The heavenly
aromas of vanilla and chocolate swept over us. Pure ambrosia for the gods, appealing and
mouthwatering, I handed Ian a paper napkin, with our names and the date printed on one
corner in silver, and kept another for my own use. Then we each took up one of the small
squares of the cake slice to feed to each other. We posed again with our mouths open to
receive the cake. Ian knew in advance to ensure nary a crumb would touch even my lips.
I lifted my napkin to dab at my lips and surreptitiously deposited the cake into it.
That’s right. I never tasted a single bite of my magnificent wedding cake. And, no, this
wasn’t carrying a good thing too far. Would you ask an alcoholic to take just one sip of
his or her wedding champagne? Sugar was my alcohol. I was a sugar addict and I had
come too far to indulge on even such a momentous occasion. I thought of my daughters
and the example I was setting for them. I thought of Ian and the woman he had fallen in
love with. I thought of all those with whom I had shared how Science of Mind was
providing me with the incentive to seek Divine assistance and to deepen my faith in
possibilities. Resisting the strong urge to taste what I had spent so much time selecting
for the enjoyment of our guests gave me a lifetime example to call forth on other one-of-
Over the years, Ian and I have traveled extensively. In Vienna, I turned down its
renowned Sasher Torte; in France, I turned down everything from éclairs to mousse and
crème brûlée; and in Munchin, Germany, the famous kaiserschmarrn, a delectable
caramelized pancake with run-soaked raisins. I never felt deprived, because there were
many other gastronomical specialties to taste, including savory spinach and ricotta
croissants, which have no sugar.
Mother, bless her, was a wonderful cook. From the time I was a young teen and
beginning to care about how I looked and felt, she would say, “Just taste it, Carol.” And I
would, over and over again. Each time, I would kick myself for having so little self-
discipline. Each time, when Mother held out a spoonful of the dessert of the day, I would
think I was stronger, more in control. I could resist. But I would give in and give Mother
the response she needed for her efforts. Then I would be right back where I started. It
didn’t matter how many months of success I had achieved or how much self-satisfaction I
had with my ability to say no, without feeling regret or guilt. Subconsciously, I wanted to
give in. To test the boundaries.
I remember struggling for nine months and reaching my goal . . . the loss of forty
pounds. Then, I tried one teaspoon of regular Jell-O. ONE. The consequence? I regained
all forty pounds and a couple more for good measure. One little bite always led to a
second and a third, and before long, I wasn’t tasting. I was devouring. That serving and
many more after it.
Millions of people worldwide have the predilection for some substance that triggers an
addition detrimental to their health and too often to their ability to form and maintain
close relationship with family members or friends. Their primary ‘love’ is the sugar,
nicotine, alcohol, prescription or illegal drug, or even sex; each has the ability to create
comfort or to block out painful thoughts.
With Divine help, the same hand that picks it up can be the one to put it down. When
we come to know ourselves and our weakness and seek help through prayer, it is possible
to resist temptation and to avoid putting our self in situations that will set us up for
failure. It takes time and practice and patience. The building of a mental muscle, as it
were, can and will support and guide us until we succeed.
My mental muscle helped me plan what I would do with my piece of wedding cake,
after the ceremonial ‘feeding’ by Ian, with as much care as I had selected the cake’s
recipe and icing flower embellishment. I knew it would be difficult, but this time, I would
not give in to my curiosity about the texture or taste. I was on a sugar-free pathway that I
A DIVINE ACCIDENT
designed. I would continue to follow it, regardless of the challenge.
***Ian and I spent our honeymoon at the Mission Bay Hilton Hotel in San Diego and
marveled several times at our quite extraordinary chance meeting in its bar. We laughed
over the vehicle he had rented for the occasion. Ian, who represented the Car Haulers
Industry, somehow ended up with a clunker without a horn.
Our children had attached colorful streamers to the back bumper and a sign on the
trunk lid that read Wedding of the Century. And it was. Other passing drivers tooted their
horns at us all the way to the hotel and on the streets of San Diego. We didn’t need a horn
to blare our response that we were madly in love. They could see it on our faces as they
peered through our open windows.
Ian and me on our honeymoon
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