Dolly felt the need to get away, so we decided we’d go back to St. Pete for two weeks. This time we’d stay at the Holiday Inn. We booked the trip for the end of April. Although we hadn’t made arrangements for Claire’s 18th birthday as we’d originally planned, we made up our minds that we would still go to Lourdes for her birthday and Emma would come with us. At the end of April Dolly and I flew to Florida. While Dolly was not over losing her little angel, she was in pretty good spirits and we were both looking forward to the break. We checked into Room 803 at the Holiday Inn and immediately liked it. We had a great view of the inland water, Boca Ciega Bay over the main road, Gulf Boulevard. From both the balcony and the bedroom window we could see the wonderful white sand beach.
We did the normal touristy things for a couple of days, including sunbathing, shopping and dining well.
I’d promised a customer of mine who was a fanatical biker that I would go to the Harley Davidson store in St. Pete to collect a part for his machine. On Saturday, May 1, we set off for town. On the way back, having got the bit he needed, we spotted a large bookstore called Haslam’s. We both enjoyed a good read and decided to stop and browse. It was a large store with an extensive New Age/Metaphysical section, which was of particular interest to Dolly. Since I’d dreamed about it some time earlier, I’d been meaning to get a copy of The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa, a man who claimed to have been a Tibetan Monk in a previous existence. I thought if any place was likely to have that book, this was it. I looked on every shelf in the appropriate section but without luck, until one of the staff members asked me politely if I could move out of the way for a second while he replaced a book on the shelf directly in front of me. Yes, you’ve guessed it; it was The Third Eye! I thought it was an amazing coincidence and snapped it up as he confirmed it was the only copy they had. Although I was unaware at the time, that was to be the first of a number of coincidences that were to eventually become a big feature in my life.