Saturday, June 18, 2011

Remember When ~ Summer Vacations at the Grandparents

When I was a kid, every summer vacation was spent with both sets of grandparents. Occasionally, there was an additional side trip to the beach or to visit friends of my parents. But mostly we went to visit the grandparents.

I have lots of good memories associated with these visits -- long walks in the woods, going to "the country" to see (really old) relatives, playing with my cousins, swinging in the hammock, going to the outhouse (at one grandparent's; the other had indoor plumbing, and a very scary basement).

But that's for another time, today I'm talking about getting there.

I grew up in Louisiana; my grandparents on my mother's side lived in Alabama (in Tuscaloosa where that tornado hit -- but the house is OK) and my grandparents on my father's side lived in a tiny town called Bascom in Florida. Its claim-to-fame is that Faye Dunaway was born there -- her grandmother and my grandmother tried to get Faye and my brother together (he's 12 years older than me) but it never worked out. Whew!! I hope you followed all of that!

So, every summer it was Alabama and Florida.

We would leave very early in the morning because we would drive all the way through to Alabama. I don't think my mother ever drove -- my dad was a real "50's kind of guy" and it would never do to have the little woman drive.....  Anyway, there would be a thermos full of coffee and another with water.

Retro Thermos Collection by Inspired Salvage.

My mother always packed a picnic lunch to eat at the roadside tables. We didn't have a McDonalds on every corner like now, or those signs that say "Food, Gas, Lodging." This was back in the dark ages of the mid-50s, you see.

Traveling Family Photo by Vintage Warehouse.

I can tell you this -- my mother would have been in a dress and my dad would NEVER wear a tie!!

I would play in the backseat with my cars, racing them over the hump that was part of the floor board. No seat belts back then -- how on earth did we ever survive??! If it rained I would race raindrops -- pick out one and watch it all the way down the window, seeing how many others it would gobble up in its path to the bottom of the window.

The main thing I remember on these trips is The Boat.  We would go through the tunnel at Mobile, Alabama -- it was big and round and silver. It made a weird scream as you drove through. I was never comfortable with that tunnel! Either before or after the tunnel (I don't remember which) we would look for The Boat.

Retired Fishing Boat by Michael Prior Photography.

Every year we would look for that boat. Every year it would look more and more beat up. Every year it would sink lower and lower. Until one year, it just wasn't there. I was so disappointed. I really looked forward to seeing The Boat .....