Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Vacation Snapshots



JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING:  I just got back from our family's summer vacation. Living in Maine, we don't go far; up the coast to Pemaquid, where, thanks to the generosity of our friends Dan Hunter and Mary Anne Moison, we stay at a former salt water farm overlooking Pemaquid Harbor.

There's no cell phone reception and extremely limited internet access, so our time there starts to resemble family get-togethers of a generation ago (if families a generation ago marathoned AMISH MAFIA.) We walk to the beach, to the local Point of Interest (Colonial Pemaquid), to the breakfast cafe, to the seafood restaurant. We go kayaking and read on the front porch and play croquet and Trivial Pursuit and endless card games. The only time we need to get back into the car is when making a food and supplies run to Reilly's, a general store with wood plank floors and a screen door than bangs when customers walk in and out.

My kids say they love these trips - at home we sometimes have to chivvy them to spend time together, but here they happily spend hours every day playing, laughing and joking with each other. My hope is these family holidays will be a well-loved memory for them as they become adults, and something they will recreate with their own families (or with us, when they bring the grandkids back to Maine!) (Someday.) (In the distant future.)

How about you, Reds? Did you/do you take family vacations? Do you have any vivid memories of trips you took with your parents?

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Alas I am an orphan and childless to boot. When I was young we were so
poor that my mother had to draw swimsuits on us. But I do like kayaking and Trivial Pursuit so maybe Julia will let me come on her family vacation next year.

Seriously (sort of) we have over time brought Bruce's sons to Africa, Jost van Dyke, Alaska and Yosemite. We keep trying but then we are reminded of what one of them said once when we pointed out the rather spectacular wildebeest migration - "Yeah, Dad. Scenery."

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Julia, that sound so idyllic!  I want to come, too! (Or maybe you could introduce us to your friends???)




JULIA: I know. We have great friends.

DEBORAH: The summer vacations of my childhood mostly consisted of long car trips to different parts of the country, and often to Mexico, which I loved.  Then in my teens, my parents owned a house north of Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was a big golf/retirement community, but there were lakes and swimming and canoeing, lots of just sitting on the deck and reading, nature walks through the piney woods. Sometimes we'd drive up to Lake Quachita (pronounced wash-ee-taw), the largest lake in Arkansas, and eat right-out-of-the-lake catfish at a little place on the shore. My dad loved cards, and if there were at least four willing people, there was always a game of 42.

Our problem now with summer vacations (besides time) is that we like to take the dogs, and it's hard to find rental cabins that will take two big pups.  And it's also hard to find somewhere less than several days drive where we can get away from the heat.

Suggestions welcome!

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm on one of those vacations right now, using the wifi at the "lodge" on Peaks Island, a short ferry ride from Portland Maine. The weather is gorgeous and I am sitting in a tower room (windows 3/4 of the way around, circular walls) looking out on Casco Bay. Tonight we'll buy lobsters from the lobster shack on a dock at the ferry landing (they haul your lobsters up from traps in the water). Beach, walks, bikes, ping pong... what more do you need?

RHYS BOWEN: Julia and Hallie. That sounds like my idea of vacation. My daughter and family go with friends to a lake in the Sierras every year and have exactly the same experience--swimming,boating all down time. When our kids were young John was with an airline so we went to exotic places--New Zealand, Barbados, Grand Cayman. We stayed at nice hotels but the only problem was we couldn't afford to feed the kids at hotel prices. So there was a lot of peanut butter and jelly in the room!



We've been on our long trip this year to Turkey, Egypt and Greece... and no, we didn't start the riots in any of those places. In September we're planning a short trip to Canada for fall colors and lobster. Mmmmm.
 
Hank and Nina on a bear somewhere, PARTICIPATING
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN
: Oh, family vacations. They were a big deal at out house, five kids and two parents, and hilariously, although right now I would tell you they were wonderful, I remember sitting the rear seat (the "wayback") of the station wagon, my eyes glued to MAD Magazine instead of the scenery. I remember at various beaches, my stepfather yelling: PARTICIPATE! PARTICIPATE! as I sat with my nose in a book.


In Washington DC, though, we had the grand tour, and I was captivated by the FBI. My  annoyed mother told me years later I complained the whole time...but then called all my friends when I got home and told them it was wonderful.


We had a house in Acapulco, for years, where we all went, and that was sunny and gorgeous and terrific. (The site of my world's worst sunburn.) My parents would play gin rummy, with us kids as the prizes. We were big on Monopoly and Scrabble--for which my sister Nina and I would create new "rules" for the little kids so we would win.

  
Now, we go to Nevis and Truro. I remember we HAVE done that. Now I just work.

LUCY BURDETTE: Hank, after THE WRONG GIRL comes out, you must take a vacation!
PARTICIPATE PARTICIPATE!

I have fabulous memories of childhood vacations. We frequently went either to the Jersey Shore or later, Hatteras, NC, with our family and my mother's sister's family. So weeks and weeks baking in oil on the beach, then giant card parties, cocktail parties with stuffed clams for the grown-ups, and mobs playing kick the can after supper. The adults were serious about this game, occasionally dressing up in weird costumes and sidling up to the can as if they were strangers. Then BOOM! The can was kicked and the prisoners released...


JULIA: Lucy, that makes me remember the huge games of "Murder" my kids would get up when we had summer get-togethers with other families. The adults drinking beer or gin on the porch and the children running around in the dark with flashlights. I never did actually get the rules of "Murder," which is kind of ironic, considering.

How about you, dear readers? What are your favorite vacation memories? I'll have an Advance Reader Copy of THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS for one lucky commenter!

41 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

“Vacation” has always been a non-traditional thing in our family. We never traveled when I was a child and in the early years of our marriage, “vacation” meant going home to visit family . . . . Somehow we managed to finagle time off for all of us to go home together whenever there was a baby to be baptized, but most visits home were summer jaunts for mom and the kids while dad went off somewhere with the Navy. Later, our annual vacation became parents’ weekend at the Air Force Academy; then it evolved into a trip to visit grown children and their families. It has always been about family, so it’s all good . . . .

Marianne in Maine said...

Julia, I think we may have passed yur vacation spot the other day. We took the Kennebec River cruise out of Boothbay. I thought of you as we sailed by Pemaquid. You had great weather.

As kids we looked forward to the time my Dad would spend with us. He always took the last 2 weeks in August as vacation and I remember family trips (in the wayback of the atation wagon, like Hank) to upstate New York. The St Lawrence Seaway locks, Niagara Falls, FrontierTown. My sister as a toddler crawling around at a friend's house and eating out of the cat's food bowl. Another sister discovering - to our displeasure - that she was allergic to eggs. Ahhh, memories. Now it's a big deal when the four sisters get together. (No cat food and the allergy has been outgrown.)

Now, we rarely take long vacations. One of the joys of retirement is the ability to wake up and decide that it's a great day for doing something. So we drive to the coast or to the White Mountains in NH. Or sit in the yard and read a book.

Brenda Buchanan said...

Julia, your vacation sounds lovely. We're just back from a 10-day Maine getaway to Brooksville, on the Blue Hill Peninsula. The log cabin we rent from our friends has a screen porch perfect for reading, no TV, no internet and spotty cell phone service.

It's August heaven.

We swam almost every day, took many wonderful hikes, browsed the local farmer's markets (which feature crafts as well as locally-grown and -produced food) and read, and read, and read.

When I was a kid, we went in with another family on a large beachside house at Hampton Beach, NH. Nine kids (not counting tagalong friends), overseen by two Moms (and our Dads on the weekends, no fools, they).

Our favorite activities were swimming (of course), skitboarding along the shore, hiking out the jetty and flying kites after supper, competing to have the highest one on our stretch of beach.

Marianne in Maine said...

Brenda, my husband's family is from Brooksville. We visit there a lot.

So many Jungle Reds in Maine recently. We should have had a meet-up.

Jack said...

Thanks Julia for reminding me of those wonderful weeks we spent at the beach in Oceanside every year. My parents retired there and the summer swimming, fishing, and extended family barbecues continued all through Mom's life. Major memory: My father ALWAYS won the game of Trivial Pursuit, even when we started teaming everyone else against him alone. I remember Pop reciting, in order, the European countries through which the Danube flowed from mountain to sea.

Brenda Buchanan said...

Cool to know you have a B'ville connection, Marianne.

We stay near Buck's Harbor, hike a lot the Holbrook Sanctuary and also on Deer Isle, where the local land trust and the Nature Conservancy maintain wonderful trails.

Barbara said...

During my childhood, we always went from our home in Oklahoma to Colorado for vacations. Earliest memories are camping in a fold-out tent trailer, later a travel trailer. We usually camped in state or national forest campgrounds, with an occasional stay in a commercial trailer park to charge batteries, empty and fill tanks, and do laundry. We always found a church to attend on Sundays, and saw a wide variety of worship styles. We did a lot of fishing, sight-seeing, and hiking. I had two brothers, and a three to five week vacation was a lot of family togetherness!

Unknown said...

Ever since I was a child, our extended family would gather at a state park in Oklahoma to play cards, eat too much and tell stories on each other. One of the years, my mom had a Styrofoam cup next to the stove; she walked into the other room to yell at us kids and, yes, it tipped over onto the stove, catching on fire. The fire spread to the curtains and we were shooed out of the cabin lickety-split. I believe she put it out with flour, but don't know for sure. I'll have to ask her now.

Unknown said...

Ever since I was a child, our extended family would gather at a state park in Oklahoma to play cards, eat too much and tell stories on each other. One of the years, my mom had a Styrofoam cup next to the stove; she walked into the other room to yell at us kids and, yes, it tipped over onto the stove, catching on fire. The fire spread to the curtains and we were shooed out of the cabin lickety-split. I believe she put it out with flour, but don't know for sure. I'll have to ask her now.

Erin McPhee said...

As a child, all of our family vacations were taken in lump sum during the summer - one month of driving from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Idaho, to visit both sides of the family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins ...). We went a different route every time - once through Banff, Canada (I remember the beautiful elk!); once through New Mexico and Arizona, as we read a Tony Hillerman novel based in the same area and visited a Hopi pueblo and the Grand Canyon. One year we happened to spend the night at a cabin in the Badlands on July 3rd and had the most incredible light show (thunder storm) that I have ever seen, to date. Then, of course, there are all those family memories of playing with cousins, cuddling with grandparents, going to the Magic Valley Rodeo together and riding the rides, worshiping God together, eating too many cookies from Grandma's cookie jar (which was always full), playing card games (Grandpa was a card shark!), and so on. You're right, Julia, the best kinds of vacations are the ones spent with family.

Janne said...

Thx for sharing this - brings back memories to our last family holiday three years ago. We went to the Isle of Mull (Scotland) and it was clear that this would be the last holiday as a family, since our kids were all in their late teens and longing to spent holidays with their friends rather than their "elderly parents".

But like you mentioned - being in other surroundings without any calls or sms to interfere made playing games or even going for a hike together all in a sudden very special.

Ahh, wish those times could be repeated...

Deb said...

Now I want to take a vacation. Sigh.

And no pics from me, as my entire childhood photo album is missing...

Julia, lovely to see you and and Ross and the kids.

And Lucy, you were too cute!

Kristi said...

Hank, your 'nose in a book' with Dad yelling "Participate! Participate!" very much sums up what I recall of summer vacations. The worst was one year when I took a hardback omnibus copy of 3 of Shakespeare's plays (who did I think I was kidding?) and sought to read it as we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park. And got carsick doing so, of course. It's amazing they let me live, you know?

Julia, is Murder a card game? I can NEVER remember the rules to card games? I think it's a specialized skill, perhaps a super power, but I've seen absolutely no linkage to plotting or detecting actual murders, so I think you are totally safe!

Marilyn said...

My family is from Quebec and when I was young we would go to Old Orchard in the summer. (It's where Quebecers go. My mom went with her friend when she was in her 20's.) Now it's a special pleasure for my husband and I to drive along the coast. He takes photos of lighthouses and I taste test lobster rolls! :)

Kristopher said...

I think all vacations should come with a no-cell/Internet reception clause. That is just heaven in this "too connected" era.

Like Hank, I was always getting accused of being anti-social because my face was always in a book. But can I help it if the fictional characters were more interesting than the real life folks?

I did love the miniature golf outings at the beach though. ;)

Lisa Alber said...

Julia, I'm reading your ARC right now and loving it! I was in danger of not getting anything done over the weekend. :-) In addition to the suspense, I love the complexity of your series characters' relationships and lives.

Anyhow...family vacations? Besides, the odd long weekend down to Carmel, I recall exactly two bonafide family vacations. My dad had his restaurants and couldn't leave easily. My parents must have decided that we girls finally needed to get to know our extended family (or the extended family browbeat my parents...I'll never know). The summers after 6th and 7th grades we traveled to Chicago and Michigan to visit our relatives. I found the whole thing stressful, because we had grown up just the five of us in California. The notion of big family and big drama and big family rules regarding proper behavior unsettled me and big Catholicism unsettled me.

Hank--I spend ALOT of time not participating. Holed up with my first adult mystery, as a matter of fact: Agatha Christie's THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES. Barely understood it, but I preferred it to playing badminton with my cousins. :-)

After two years of family vacations to the midwest, my parents gave up. :-)

Diane Hale said...

Memorable vacations? Hmm, was it the one where we were traveling by car and I fell trying to get up from sleeping in the back seat, got tangled up in the blanket and hit my mouth on the door handle, splitting my inside lower lip (the poor waitress in the restaurant rushed out with a towel wrapped around ice as the blood poured down my chin and shirt). Or a visit to Tacopa hot springs, where I saw a woman who's lower leg was grossly swollen and almost black from a scorpion sting (I was terrified of scorpions after that).

I was so much younger than my half-sibs that we didn't have "family vacations". As an adult, my two favorite family get-togethers/vacations involved fishing, once in someplace in Montana my brother and sister-in-law loved--gorgeous place, didn't catch much fish, and once at Lake Martinez in southern Arizona. Caught the most fish, paid for it by having to clean them all. Then came home, saw the doctor, and had my broken ankle that I'd been hobbling on officially diagnosed. *Anyone see a trend here?*

Kathy Reel said...

Talking about vacations when growing up reminds me of trips with my parents and three siblings. One of our repeat destinations was Lake Erie(this would have been in the late 50s, early 60s) at Sanddusky, Ohio. We stayed in a grand old hotel, one of the old places from the glory days of grand hotels. The beach was just like being at the ocean, and I have some great snapshots of that. I, also, remember there was always a big band, and one night, as the whole family walked along a path, the band was playing Stormy Weather, one of mother's favorite songs. I read that they have restored this grand old hotel, and I hope to someday visit it again.

Another memorable place was near Fort Meyers, Florida. My father was experiencing some respiratory problems, and his doctor advised a warmer climate for a while. So, the four kids and two parents traveled from Kentucky to Florida where my dad rented a house for a month in February. I was only three and had my fourth birthday there. The rest of my siblings had to go to school during that time, but I got to play and just have fun.

Thanks for jogging my memory about those good times. I've had great vacations with my husband and kids, too, but it was nice to think back on when I was a kid. Julia, your vacations with your family sound perfect.

Unknown said...

Hello Ladies-
Maine sounds lovely Julia. So nice your kids agree.
I was one of eight growing up so I can only recall one "real" family vacation. We rented a cabin in the Adirondacks with my cousins (male cousins). The day after arriving someone in my family came down with the Mumps-not me. Seeing as the males in the other family had never had them -not even Uncle Stoney-our vacation was cut short as we all vamoosed.
Now we just dragged our kids on trips when they were younger. The most memorable was the 14 days , 3000 miles and 3 teenagers in a motorhome out west. Now that was a family vacation. We all survived!

Vickie Radford said...

We took many trips up to see my aunt and uncle at their farm. My dad loved to drive the truck when they were harvesting wheat. Farms seemed like a great deal of fun, especially if you were just visiting. It was only a three hour drive from Kansas City, so an easy long weekend trip.

We went to the Lake of the Ozarks once, a real vacation. We went on tours of some caves, climbed outlook towers, even went on a small plane for a look at the lake.
But that was the only time, my dad worked construction and summer was too busy for him to take off much.

Years later I took two trips to Yellowstone with groups of friends. I loved it and would love to travel more.

I have always been able to read in a car, so I did read on vacation, but usually when riding down the road. It certainly made the "getting there and going home" time go faster.

Karen in Ohio said...

We took a lot of vacations with our kids, especially to my brother-in-law's weekend place on a ski lake in Nebraska. The girls learned to drive there, and to water ski, and to enjoy doing not much. It was worth the 13-hour drive each way.

My family never took vacations. Too poor. So my vacations were all imaginary, via books.

Except for the summer before I was 15, when my aunt came up to Ohio for a visit, my two younger boy cousins in tow. Somehow she managed to convince my mother that she needed me to go back to Maryland with them for two weeks. It was heaven. We took in all the DC and surrounding area sights, and I still had plenty of time to read. That was the summer I discovered Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery magazines!

Then my uncle, who was a Chief in the Navy, came home from his long stint on the submarine. He and my aunt had been high school sweethearts and they had never had other loves. The kiss they shared when we met him at the train station still lives in my mind as the single most passionate moment I've ever witnessed.

Karen in Ohio said...

By the way, I hope no one thinks flour is a good way to put out a fire. It's highly flammable, almost explosively. I'm pretty sure that is not how Anonymous's mother put theirs out.

Darlene Ryan said...

Like Rosemary, there wasn't any money for vacations when I was a child. We didn't draw on our swimsuits but we did "paint" our toe nails with a pilfered Magic Marker. Not a good idea.

Vacation was a day spent at Oak Point beach, six kids bouncing around the back of a neighbor's Ford Fairlane--no seatbelts--alternating between singing along with the radio and punching each other. The smell of Coppertone and seaweed still makes me homesick.

Linda said...

Weeks at the beaches along Lake Huron or Lake Michigan. Cabin rented and friends of my parents also rented the same weeks, bringing "cousins" for me to play with (an only child at the time). Lots of sun (and sun burns, of course)good food, chasing the sandpipers on the beach, bobbing around near the shore in floats, fires on the beach at night. Really, really missed this type of vacation when we moved to MO.

However, as the queen of motion sickness, I did get sea sick in a row boat one year. Had to take me in to shore and drop me off to walk back to the cabin.

Pauline Dudley said...

Dad worked construction and in Arizona that was downtime - so we frequently took month long camping trips. I remember Mom stocking the back of the station wagon with canned goods. We had a little tiny cargo trailer that held sleeping bags, suitcases, camping gear, and we put the rest on the roof rack. Those were the greatest times - we went to Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington - and of course our favorite state of Arizona!

Debbie Learson said...

I moved to Maine 21 years ago to do residency. Why go anyplace else for vacation in the summer? That's why we put up with March/April. My family (three generations) goes up to my uncle's camp on Sysladobsis in Washington County. We used to have to get to the camp by boat, but they extended the road a couple of years ago. 26 people, 2 Newfies, 4 boats, 3 hammocks, a cabin designed to fit (maybe) 6 comfortably, gas lamps and fridge, battery run pump for the sink water, one outhouse, my sister comes up with a daily drink of the day, sliding down the wooden planks of the dam (if the water is high enough), swims across the lake, nightly camp fires and some small mouth bass fishing. This year I only had to treat poison ivy, a bad ankle sprain, some minor cellulitis, and a strep throat. Last year was a fish hook in the thumb (me) which required a trip to the hospital in Lincoln, where I forgot I was wearing my "Drinks well with others" T shirt, and I smelled rather like fish and wood smoke.

Reine said...

Sailing. And Swimming in Marblehead off the float at Crocker Park. That was the best of summer vacation time when I was a kid.

Lorie said...

When I was growing up, vacations meant going home.

We were an Air Force family, moving every few years. The year I was seven we moved from Kingston, Ontario to Ottawa, but had a problem. We had to be out of our rental house in Kingston in mid-August, but were not able to access our house in Ottawa until Labour Day. We were homeless for almost three weeks!

What to do? Fortunately, my father found a cottage for rent, and one hot August day found us leaving our little house in Kingston and driving to the small cottage on one of the Rideau Lakes.

What a wonderful place to move to! There was swimming right outside the front door. There were fish to catch and eat, there were woods to explore and there were little rock outcroppings in the lake where a bookish seven-year-old could sit and read Heidi. There were rocks and trees and hills to climb and a meadow full of cows. There were cornfields with cornstalks way over my head where we could pick huge cobs of corn for supper. This was the best place we'd ever lived!

Labour Day arrived and out came the suitcases. What was this appalling development? Moving *again*?? The cat wasn't the only one howling as we drove up the road. Who cared about a new house in Ottawa, a new school or promised new friends? I wanted to live at the lake! Forever! The homesick routine I displayed over the next few weeks would have done Heidi proud.

No matter where we lived over the next dozen years there was always the special two weeks that we came back to the little cottage in the Rideau Lakes. This was home. Various extended family members rented cottages at the same resort, with the result that someone in the family has stayed there every summer since 1959.

As an adult I have fulfilled my youthful dream of living in the area year-round, only five minutes from that cottage we stayed in so many decades ago. A few years ago I started renting it for a week each spring. I listen to the loons and watch the sunset stain the sky and lake red, and reconnect with the long-ago child that recognized her spiritual home.

Libby Dodd said...

We started with camping and gradually progressed to an rv motor-home.
My father was an airline pilot (Eastern Airlines) and would set off with the four of us as we drove wherever the trip was that year. When he ran out of vacation we headed for the nearest airport and he'd "deadhead" home. When he next had 3 days off, we'd pick him up wherever we were and continue from there. As a result, I've been to most of the states.

Edith Maxwell said...

Oh, two weeks camping in Sequoia National Park in the Sierras every summer with my parents, two older sisters, and younger brother. Wonderful carefree time. Swimming in snow melt. Learning about birds and meadows and stars. Cooking over the campfire and Coleman stove. Singing around the fire at night. Sleeping in two green canvas tents.

Took my own sons camping several times, but also took them to live in inland West Africa for two years, where vacation was driving to the coast of Ghana or Ivory Coast. And their father's family beach house in Oregon was also a constant for many years.

Loved hearing the Reds vacation stories!

Hallie Ephron said...

It's with some irony I read these wonderful memories sitting in a lawn chair watching the sun set over casco bay... On my cell phone ... Smelling steaks grill

Micky said...

Favorite trips were to Toronto and Williamsburg, Virginia. I went to Toronto twice and on one trip I went to Niagara Falls. Williamsburg has three outlet centers, great for shopping! I loved Busch Gardens and the colonial area. My luggage accidentally went to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, because of an illiterate baggage handler. I took the Greyhound bus.

Judy in Owego said...

Growing up we always vacationed in August, usually with two weeks at the New Jersey shore, but always with life-time friends of my father and their families. What a grand time we had with a dozen or more kids our age. My mother kept our family on a schedule: breakfast, to the beach, back to the rented apartment for lunch, back to beach, home for dinner, and then a trip to the boardwalk to ride the rides. Looking back it was a change of scenery for my mother, but not much of a vacation as she still made all the meals. At one point she must have said something about that to my father as one year we went to a (primitive by today’s standards) resort in the Poconos. We could only afford one week, but meals were taken in the dining room and so it must have been a real treat for my mother. My siblings and I have (somewhere) some great movies my father took of these vacations.

After many years of “looking around” for a vacation sport my husband and I have settled on Cape Ann, north of Boston. He can fish and I can read. And we eat out!

Pat D said...

We'd do different things for vacation. Mom's parents lived out in the country on a ranch. I thought it was heaven to be there. We looked for fossils and arrowheads, fished, made war on the armadillos, caught fireflies, all of it. When we traveled somewhere it was a bit embarrassing to me. I was second oldest; big brother, 2 younger sisters and baby brother. We would be lined up for the restroom at the gas station. My big brother and dad could duck in and out real quick, but not the rest of us. I felt like I was part of a zoo! We had really cool car trips to lots of places.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

OH, these are SUCH wonderful stories..I do love hearing about you all...and my fellow vacation book-worms.

Sharon S said...

I mostly "vacationed" at my grandparents' farms with my brothers. We had our jobs that were saved for us to do when we were there, or we helped with the daily chores. I met some of my favorite novels there, and fell in love with mystery series at a young age. It was fun and meaningful. When I got a little older, I'd spend a week or so with my aunt and cousins. We would go to the pool (which I could not do anywhere else in my life), play together with all their cool toys, and read as well. Even though I've never had a "real" vacation, my visits with my grandparents truly shaped the person I've become. If only I could live those trips again!

Grandma Cootie said...

Hank's picture on the bear took me way back - mine is of Sally Ann and Mary Jane (yeah, my mom could sure choose names, years of me hearing "Little Sally Saucer" and my sister being asked "the candy or the shoes?) - anyway, we sat on the bear at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. When we took a real vacation, because my mother was a widow, we went with my grandparents in their station wagon. We never got to sit in the wayback because with 2 grandparents, 1 mother, 3 kids and enough food to feed an army we were packed in pretty tight. Big thermos of lemonade at our feet. When Grandma said "pour me some lemonade" we passed that thermos like a hot potato: Grandpa did not slow down so whoever poured wore sticky lemonade for a few miles.

Couldn't have been much of a vacation for my grandmother. She cooked breakfast and lunch on the road - pork chops, fried potatoes and eggs on the Coleman stove on the roadside.

She was always on the lookout for a motel (never a hotel) with "some character." We whined and begged for a Holiday Inn with a pool.

And yes, we had to PARTICIPATE. No reading, no sleeping. We played the license plate game, named all the state capitals, sang "I Wish I Was Single Again" and "I Was Drunk Last Night Dear Mother" (I know, ????) and every time we crossed the state line sang "Back Home Again in Indiana." My kids thought I was crazy when I tried any of that on them except the Holiday Inn with the pool.

Took the grandkids on what we thought were fascinating RV trips until one of them said, "Why don't you do all the boring stuff first next time and then come out and get us." He's grown now and still apologizing.

Dotty Ryan said...

Ah, family vacations....my brother and I playing travel bingo, reading comic books and squabbling in the back seat of our Studebaker, Dad driving, Ma trying to maintain order. Our travels took us all over New England. In NH, The Flume, the Old Man of the Mountains, the Skimobiles at Mt. Canmore were favorites. We always stopped at Perry's Nut House when we traveled Downeast. Venturing further afield we visited Fort Ticonderoga, The Baseball Hall of Fame, and Niagara Falls in NY. We stayed in creaky cabins and ate at whatever roadside eateries we could . We got lost, had monumental family battles, and got car sick. Inspite of it all, my brother and I both developed a love of travel.

Gram said...

How old did the kids have to be before they enjoyed "scenery"? I can't remember them doing so until they were adults...Gram

Jim in Durham said...

Tried to post yesterday but it hasn't appeared. I loved hank's reference to the "way back" of the station wagon. That was my home away from home as we drove twice a year from Maryland to Masachusetts to visit family. We made it to NH (Hampton Beach)but never to Maine.

This summer my wife's AT hike took us through NH and into Maine, the first time for both of us. We enjoyed a nice weekend of recovering and cleaning up in Bethel. Next year will be all in Maine--can't wait!

Just started The Other Woman and am enjoying it while I wait for TTED.

RDO said...

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