THE WINSLOW SAGA: 1981 - 1996


Names of Winslow residents have been changed.



FEBRUARY 3: After a month in San Diego preparing for overseas, Carl checks aboard the USS Dubuque when it pulls in to Subic Bay, Philippines.

Being isolated at sea in a foreign land can really put one in touch with one's inner self. Sometimes while standing watch on the ship's bridge, Carl thinks of Denise Gottlieb and wonders if he really should have taken a chance and made a trip to Winslow. Can't do anything about it when you're a third of the way around the world.

JULY 17: Noticing that they haven't run a story on Denise Gottlieb since her 1983 graduation, Carl writes a letter to the Inquisitor.

* * * DECEMBER 29: At an eatery on the naval base in Sasebo, a fellow notices that Carl is wearing a Phoenix Suns sweatshirt that Alicia sent him. The guy strikes up a conversation. His name is Harvey Steinberg, and he's a fireman aboard the USS Brunswick, also stationed there.
Carl mentions his hometown: Mesa.
Harvey mentions his home town: Winslow.

Adding irony to the whole thing is the fact that the eatery where Carl met Harvey was called (really!) the Sunset Grill, which is also the title of a song by Don Henley!

Street sign at The Corner, outside The Reminder

DECEMBER 30: Carl visits Harvey in his barracks room. Harvey asks what Carl knows about Denise. Carl mentions various items from the Inquisitor articles; Harvey says that they are all correct. He tells Carl that Denise likes old country music, and also informs him that her mother owns Francine's Diner in Winslow, and that Denise spends a fair amount of time there, especially during their Wednesday Night Specials. Thanks to the information given by Harvey Steinberg, Carl finally has a plan.
With major news like this, it seems as though trip #3 is finally in the bag -- he has something to look forward to when he goes on leave.


MAY 6: Carl takes his first leave since being stationed overseas. The car runs alright at first, and he contemplates a plan to go to Francine's Diner with Alicia and Donald. Then the car acts up again and, well, you know...

JULY: Carl has tried to get orders to the USS Tarawa, but there isn't an E-3 opening, apparently. He advances to the rank of Petty Officer Third Class and succeeds in getting orders to that ship. He is to report there some time in early 1992.


MARCH 7: Carl comes home from Japan. The first week of leave he has the flu.

He is able to convince Alicia and Donald that going to Winslow would be a worthwhile trip. He decides he'll go ahead and take the chance on Route 87, bringing the charger with him and possibly a spare battery. The only minor annoyance is a rumbling sound coming from the car's front drive axle.
The Toyota place tells him that the drive axle mounts are pretty worn, and will have to be replaced soon. Getting an estimate, he finds that these major repairs would be cost-prohibitive at this time. The car is running alright after some minor work, and a date is finally set for Trip #3 to Winslow: Wednesday, April 1.

MARCH 30: On the way to Scottsdale, the rumbling noise stops. Minutes later it is replaced by a clunking sound, like something keeps getting caught in the wheel well. He turns around and very slowly babies the car back to his parents' garage.

Alicia and Donald suggest Carl ask to borrow his father's 1989 Chevy Corsica. After some thought, his father decides he doesn't want the Corsica driven that distance (180 miles). And so it goes.

APRIL 7: Carl checks aboard the Tarawa, and learns that they will be making a six-month deployment to the Middle East beginning May 28.

NOVEMBER 25: The USS Tarawa returns home.

Remembering what Harvey Steinberg told him about Denise's musical tastes, Carl volunteers to take a couple of 4-to-8 AM phone watches so he can record some Grand Ole Opry broadcasts off KTTY and give the tape to Denise if he ever meets her.


MID-MARCH: While off the coast of San Diego for a twelve-day exercise, Carl has a nightmare. He dreams that he visits Winslow only to find that Denise Gottlieb has passed away. When he wakes up, he thinks, "Oh no, have I put this off too long?" At that point, he's sorry he's stuck at sea. Shaken by the nightmare, he puts in a request for ten days' leave in May.

MAY 10: When he goes home on leave, his father has a brainstorm: why not just rent a car for about ten days and let Carl drive the Corsica? The oft-delayed "Trip #3" is practically clinched now. Carl invites Alicia Van Dyke and Donald Winters to go with him, and a date is again set: Sunday, May 16.

MAY 13: Carl digs down in a dresser drawer and fishes out an old page from a Winslow phone book he copied in 1985. Even though it's possible that the number for Francine's Diner has changed, maybe whoever has it can tell him how to reach the place.
He dials the number. A lady answers.

"Hello, is this [Francine's Diner]?"
"No," says the woman. "[Francine's Diner] burned down two years ago."
This puts a slight kink in his plans. Undaunted, he doesn't cancel the trip, just tries to think of another way to meet Denise.

MAY 15: Alicia calls him up that evening and tells him that Donald will be too tired from working and more than likely won't go.

MAY 16: Donald calls him in the morning and says, "So are we going to Winslow or what?" Carl tells him about Alicia's phone call and how he thought Donald wouldn't go. By now, it's getting late in the morning and by the time they get there the day will be half gone. He talks them out of going and decides he'll make the trip tomorrow alone. He goes rollerskating that night in Glendale, Arizona with Barry Fitzgerald, Barry's girlfriend Gayle Eastman, and Lisa Tappetino. It's a good thing the trip is delayed -- Lisa has a seizure on the skating floor and Carl has to tend to her.

* * * M A Y * 1 7 * 1 9 9 3 * * *

The following is a moment-by-moment account of Carl's third trip to Winslow, Arizona (all times approximate):

0600: Reveille! Reveille!

7:10 AM: Winslow Trip Number Three begins. In addition to the necessities, he has packed a portable radio (the one in the Corsica is broken), the country videotape, and the 1983 Inquisitor article. After a light breakfast at McDonald's at McKellips Road and Country Club Drive, he heads north on State Route 87.

9:20 AM: He makes a short stop at a market in Payson.

10:50 AM: Reaching the Winslow Town Limits, he gets gas, drives around town, then stops to eat lunch at the Arby's on Northpark Drive.

At Arby's, he notices a photo display of various service members from the area, including Harvey Steinberg. He writes down names and commands of the ones stationed in San Diego, and considers just going home from Arby's and looking up these people when he gets back to base. But since he's already here, why not take a chance and ask someone about Denise?

12:20 PM: After thinking long and hard, he decides that asking someone about Denise is the best option. He's always been reluctant to do this before, but now sees it as a chance to practice his diplomacy skills. He calls Alicia Van Dyke from a pay phone outside Arby's and fills her in on his latest plan.

SOME TIME AFTER ONE O'CLOCK: He visits Schultz's General Store. He's heard about this place from David Henry's uncle Jim Allen, who wanted Carl to pick up a Kachina doll on his first trip to Winslow in '82.

No other customers are in the store. Carl buys something and then strikes up a conversation with the lady behind the counter, Betty Schultz. They get to talking and he eases the subject of Denise into the conversation, then shows Betty the Inquisitor article. Apparently, things are finally on Carl's side as he learns that Betty Schultz is friends with Francine Gottlieb, Denise's mother.

Betty mentions that she knows where Denise works. In a stunning show of faith, she offers to let him follow her there.

SHORTLY BEFORE 2 P.M.: Betty Schultz drives to Denise's place of employment. Carl parks the Corsica right behind her and they get out of their respective cars almost simultaneously. Beaming, full of joy and overflowing with anticipation, he boldly follows her in the door...


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