Call it Salvator and Hortensia's great adventure -- and, for one anxious night, their son's worst nightmare.
Late Thursday afternoon, Octavio Norman reported to Baltimore County police that his elderly parents, Salvator and Hortensia Norman, had failed to return to their Cub Hill home from a customary late-morning, one-mile walk to North Plaza Mall.
The family notified police about 6 p.m., and officers searched along Joppa Road, including malls and businesses, without success. Mr. Norman, 85, speaks English but suffers from dementia, and his 75-year-old wife does not speak English.
While their family sweated out the hours, however, the elder Normans enjoyed a leisurely dinner at the Mount Vernon Hotel, the old YMCA on Franklin Street, where city police had taken them after the couple had a mix-up with a city cabdriver, said the son.
About 11 p.m., county police put out a news release reporting the couple missing. Overnight a photo of the Normans was shown on television.
It wasn't until early morning that city police made the connection and called the Normans' son, who went to the hotel to collect his parents.
During their walk, the younger Mr. Norman said, his parents had decided they needed money and flagged a cab to the Citibank branch downtown. "They took out $200 and spent all of it, but I still don't know where they had lunch," he said.
When it was time to go home, he said, they had hailed another cab but couldn't give the driver a clear address. The driver stopped Central District Officer Pierre Khoury, who helped the Normans pay and check into the hotel.
Khoury saw their photo on early-morning television yesterday, and city police, after checking with Baltimore County police, telephoned the family.
"They had a great time," said Octavio Norman, but he added, "I didn't sleep much."
Pub Date: 1/24/98