Bring Message of Travel, Reconnection and Bonding in New Memoir
Spectrum staff writer
CARMICHAEL — A
quick glance at the itinerary for Franz and Kurt Wisner’s
book tour doesn’t have Eskaton Village listed. Yet, when the globetrotting
brothers — natives of Davis — visited the senior living facility
on Feb. 26, it was clear that this wasn’t just an obligatory pit stop,
but rather a sentimental one.
As part of their book signing presentation, Franz Wisner read a passage from
his new memoir, “Honeymoon with My Brother” (St. Martin’s
Press), that referenced his late grandmother, LaRue Daulton, who was living
at Eskaton Village during the brothers’ noteworthy trip around the world.
As he read about Daulton, he paused more than once to compose himself.
“LaRue is the real star of the book, which I dedicated to her — and
Kurt,” Franz said, adding that the book ends with her 100th birthday celebration
at Eskaton. “She was our spiritual leader, our inspiration. She was a huge
love and a positive force in our lives and God bless her.”
Kurt Wisner pointed out that when they told Daulton about their plans to travel
the world, her response was nothing but supportive.
“Her generation really understood the trip, where our parents asked us
questions like, ‘What are you going to do when you get back home?’ ‘How
are you going to pay for it?’” Kurt recalled. “Her generation
was like, ‘Go! Have a good time. Enjoy!’ That really connected with
“We would send post cards home to LaRue. She had a map in her room to keep
track of our travels with little red pins,” he continued. “Her, and
her whole retirement home kind of followed our travels, so when we returned home
for short stays and come visit LaRue, it was neat meeting all the folks here
and telling our stories, and they all wanted to talk about their travel experiences
Kay Naegeli, a longtime resident at Eskaton, remembered Daulton’s pride
and enthusiasm about her grandsons’ adventure.
“When you’d go to visit LaRue, it wasn’t a matter of popping
in and popping out. She loved to talk, and she was always interested in what
other people are doing,” Naegeli remembered. “It was always a high
point, checking that map of where they were going and always referred to the
post cards and emails she was getting. That was very much a part of her conversations.
She was very proud and very supportive of what they were doing.”
“One of her most endearing traits was that she really had a connection
with a lot of people,” she added.
Franz Wisner noted, “It was as if the people here had a better view of
the big picture from a higher mountain, as opposed to our parents’ generation,
who stumble over things like insurance or getting another job.
“To a person, the people here at Eskaton said, ‘Go. You’ll
never regret it. You’ll never regret travel, or the time with your brother.’ A
lot of people said they wished they’d done more of that when they were
Joyce Wisner of Davis, their mother, was an early skeptic who has since changed
“I was in a bit of a state of shock, because individually, I thought they
had so much going for them in what they were doing. I thought, ‘How can
you cast that aside and venture into something so unknown?’” Joyce
said. “Being a public school nurse, I worried about illness. I worried
about insurance. I had the gamut of mother worries.
“But the experience not only enriched their lives, it has really brought
us all closer,” she added. “There’s a much greater bond that
exists between everyone in our family now.”
Franz Wisner, who served as press secretary to former California Governor Pete
Wilson from 1990 to 1993, finds that his former vocation provides excellent
training for a national book tour. He and Kurt have visited New York, Washington,
D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco as part of their national tour to
promote “Honeymoon with My Brother.”
“It’s feels great being a vagabond versus being a press secretary,” Franz
said. “And this feels a little bit like a political campaign as we go around
promoting the book. It’s one event after another, so actually, some of
the training from Sacramento comes in handy. But I wouldn’t change my current
job for the world.”
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