If you’ve followed my Sunday blogs for a while, you’ve probably come to understand that I’m a rolling stone. I don’t sit still in any one place for long. I come by this trait honestly. Growing up, My family and I lived in various states across the United States including Montana, Illinois, Georgia, to name just a few. No matter where we lived, we traveled, especially during the summer. We saw America. I continually thank my stars that I came from such wanderlust genes.
I married a Navy man whose family is much like my own. I think they did much more traveling than mine did, and they did it with four kids in the back of a station wagon. My hubby still tells stories about sitting in the seat at the back of the wagon that faced the other cars. I’m sure that seat had a special name. If you know the name of the seat, please leave a comment below. Hell, even if you don’t know the name of the seat, make one up. The answers should be interesting.
I’ll be the first to tell you my memory is God awful. Almost pre-Alzheimer’s kind of bad. But I do have some very clear memories of traveling as a child. My sister and I always sat in the back seat of our car. Inevitably, we also got sick in the back seat of the car. (Just because we loved to travel didn’t mean we were actually good travelers. Motion sickness plagues us both to this day. ) Keep in mind most of our travels as a family happened back in the 1970’s, long before seat belts were mandatory and people really thought about car safety. Which is why my sister and I used to sleep in the cramped space between the top of the back seats and the rear window. Yep. Just thinking about that now makes me cringe too. We also curled up to sleep on the floor of the back seat. Why we didn’t want to nap on the comfort of a cushioned seat is beyond me. I guess we couldn’t stand the thought of being conventional. But we were kids. We really didn’t think about those kinds of things.
Entertaining ourselves while we drove for hours on end was a big challenge. When we were very small, we used to make up songs and sing them over and over. I have to wonder if my parents pug ear plugs in before we left our house. Hearing us repeat made up, nonsensical songs must have drove them nuts. As we matured, so did our entertainment. I remember playing a game where we were all assigned a number. As cars passed us going the opposite direction, we pretended the car was ours based on our number. IE: the first car that passed us belonged to the person assigned the number one. The second car belonged to the person assigned the number two, and so on. When you’re traveling on a quiet country road, coming across another car didn’t happen very often, so this game wasn’t exactly riveting and didn’t last long.
We eventually started playing the alphabet game. In this game each person in the car looked for letters of the alphabet on anything that had letters including signs, license plates, etc. The trick to this game was that you had to find the letters in alphabetical order. Let me tell you, finding Qs and Zs were always a bitch.
The last game I remember playing was car bingo. My sister and I made bingo cards out of paper that we marked off into grids. In each grid space we wrong in something we might see while we traveled, such as a fire hydrant, a cow, road kill, a barn with something written on its roof. Then we marked off each grid once we saw the item. Sounds corny, I know, but I promise we spent many happy hours looking for something dead along the side of the road just so we could mark it off our card.
Snapshots of our adventures are now priceless treasures. I love sorting through these old pictures and reliving the moment. We have hundreds of pics of me and my sister, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders and grinning like thieves, standing in front of monuments like Old Faithful, the St. Louis Arch, small cabins near Deadwood, South Dakota. Good times. Good times.
I’d love to hear about some of your travel memories. What did you do to entertain yourself? What method of travel did you use? Where did you go?
Now get off your computer and go make some great memories with your family – and remember to take loads of pics.
Until next Sunday - Brenna