Jul 25, 2012

Heads Up, Memories in the Making

My last few posts were all photos, and this one is story time. If you feel like a story, then grab a coffee, or a lemonade and join me  - or just wait till next time to see more pretty photos. I won't be offended. I know there are readers and then there are lookers. I am just glad if you stop on by once in a while...

It is pretty much right smack in the middle of the summer and I am feeling very nostalgic lately. I was driving in my neighborhood the other evening and I saw my neighbor and his cute little boy playing in the sprinkler. 

I haven't seen that in some time. His little boy is six, and was wearing goggles and a snorkel and their dog was also joining in the fun. I idled my car and rolled down the window and felt the blast of heat hit my face as I leaned out and called out to them, "Now that looks like a good time!" And Mackenzi (the little boy) smiles big behind his mask and motions me to come over and play with him, and yells, "Why don't you come on in?"

Photo by she is Dallas

Yes...why don't I? I tell Mackenzi I will jump in next time I stop by.

Then only a day or two later, I am on the sofa, typing away on my laptop and I hear that familiar "thump" that only a kid's head hitting a sidewalk can make, and I pop up and look out the window, and it is Jacob, the little three year old across the street, and his overturned tricycle on the sidewalk. He has his head down, crying, and his arms up in the air, as he walks slowly down the sidewalk towards his father. He can't see where he is going at all. Head down low, his arms high in the air waiting to get picked up as he makes his way down the hot sidewalk. His father, smiling, slowly reaches down to pick him up as the "thump" was not life-threatening. And as I stood there watching for a moment, I smiled too.  Oh, how I miss those days when my world fell apart and all I had to do was lift my arms and not even know where I was going, but felt very secure in knowing that I would be picked up and all would be well again. I can still do that with my heavenly Father, but many times, I just don't.

And sure enough, before I left the window, Jacob was scrambling to get down out of his father's arms so he could master his tricycle once again. 

Summertime, in the heat of the heat, really makes me think of my youth. Having grown up in Texas, I didn't grow up with air conditioning - nope. Nada. Not once did we have a summer as a kid, where I could sit in a cool house. But as a kid growing up in the 1960's and 70's, I really didn't know much differently. But we did have fans. You know, those minty green, oscillating fans that would clank ever so slightly if the blade was off. They weighed a friggin ton.

Photo by W5RAN

I was recently talking to a friend of mine, and she and I were talking about how much even the simplest of things have changed in our short lifetime. I know my readers all know this, but it isn't until we stop a moment and really think about it, it is sort of amazing, how something as simple as a car trip can change the family's dynamics.

Our family vacations never, ever, included plane tickets or fancy hotels or fancy restaurants. There were five kids, but since one was much older, usually "only" four of us kids went on vacation, while Mark, the oldest, was in Vietnam. Our vacations usually entailed a 15-hour car ride from Texas to Nebraska to visit relatives or when older, a 9-hour car ride to Padre Island for a beach vacation. Either way, it was a very hot and long drive. 

Mom would pack up the station wagon the night before (many things packed on the roof rack) and then wake us kids up at 3AM to get "an early start." We all would be excited in the car for about 5 minutes and soon would be zonked out and asleep in the back, stretched out on blankets and pillows for the next four hours.  

No seat belts - just stretched out in the back of the wagon, still in our pajamas. We would change into our shorts and tops at the first rest stop, or sometimes, right there in the car. Yes, while moving.

We didn't have water bottles back then either. We had a big, red, round thermos with a large handle. It also had a screw-off spout cap that was held on with a metal chain. I was about five, my brother Bill, four, my sister Louisa was seven and my brother Andrew was nine. We would pass this large thermos around that mom filled with ice and I remember hearing it slosh around.  My brother Andrew had to help hold it as we sipped from it and we had to time it that we would sip it on a road without potholes so our teeth wouldn't get knocked. 

This is very close, not quite like the one we had, but pretty darn close. Found on Ebay!

My friend pointed out that back in those days, sharing thermoses and cups helped build our immune system and there was no such thing as sanitizing gels. Just a wet napkin that mom first licked and then used to wipe our faces. That's about as clean as it got until we got to a rest stop on the side of the highway where we could really get "sanitized."

Yes, we actually not only stopped at rest stops, but used them to wash up back then.  We would all pile out, use the bathroom, which actually had paper towels, not hand dryers, and mom would take the paper towels and "dab" herself under her neck and put on lipstick and tie her headscarf on neatly. The kids would run around and then go read the giant map that was framed behind glass. We would go inside the information building, because back then, most rest stops actually had real buildings you could go in and get real maps and get real information from a real person. Some still exist, I know, but they are the exception, not the norm. 

Postcard found on Ebay

Mom and dad always had fun noticing how many different license plates were at the rest stop and wanting to see which one was the furtherest state away. "Wow...all the way from Georgia! Wouldn't want to pay their fuel bill..." my dad would say, referring to gas prices. Back then, there were quite a few different state plates parked and people actually would sit on the benches and picnic tables and eat homemade food from their own coolers, not fast food. Mom usually made cold fried chicken and had saltine crackers and some cookies for us. And we would see other families eating their lunches as well. 

The last leg of the drive was the hardest because it was the hottest and everyone is getting tired. The inevitable, "Are we there yet" begins, and that is how I became an excellent navigator. Now, I can't find my way out of a box, but give me a map, and I can get you from here to Tibet and never make a wrong turn. At a very young age, mom would hand back the map over the bench seat and let us figure out how far we were to getting to our destination every time she heard, "Are we there yet?"

Photo by View Liner LTD

We also didn't have any videos or personal DVD's to occupy or time on our drive. No, we had good old fashion talking or games. Crayons, Etch-A-Sketch, barbies.... and I always got out the hairbrush and braided my sister's hair. And at some point, I would stand on the seat (yes, stand) and lean on the seat in front of me, and start "styling" my mother's hair. Mom would put a towel down on the seat for us to sit on because the vinyl would become hot and sticky on our bare legs; like I said, no A/C in the car either. Just roll down the windows for nature's air conditioning (no button to push, we had to roll). 

Photo by Ads by Dee

My friend reminded me that on road trips, as a kid, she remembered having to drink her bottle of Yoo-Hoo really quickly because she would have to put the bottle back in the rack - I had forgotten about that! But in  my case, it was orange crush. We would also play eye-spy and car tag games. Mom would carry a fly swatter to reach behind her and start swatting like crazy when we four would all start acting up and going nuts in the back seat. She was really fast with that thing. I learned to duck pretty quick.

We all learned that we had to "simmer down now" when dad was in traffic in "a big city" and he "must concentrate." But these things taught us to respect driving, our dad, and to pay attention to things we would surely have missed had we been texting, or plugged into our own DVD movie, or blasting a song with our own earbuds. Sharing the thermos and having our big brother "hold  it still" while we sipped it, meant we had to hold onto his arm to brace it, while trusting someone else to look over the bench seat, at the road up front, and yell "NOW!" because it appeared pothole-free and safe to take a drink.  Mom would laugh and dad just sat there, putting up with a kid who had no idea that he/she was yelling in his ear.

Photo by DOWDEL Folk Art 

It was an era of blissful stupidity too. No seat belts meant freedom to roam and climb and play, but also sudden death. It was a time where mom was always smoking and would smash her butt and toss it out the window, along with gum wrapper, with no thought at all, along with the rest of the population. We wouldn't want to dirty up the car, now would we? It was a time when we didn't lock our car doors when we went into the grocery store before we went to our relative's house - or ever really - mom just tucked her purse under the seat....that will trick'em. 

It was a time where a billboard advertising "The Reptile House only 3 Exits Away..." would illicit excitement from the back seat and then grant a tired dad many hugs around his sweaty neck when he agreed we would all stop to see snakes and lizards and apparently the largest alligator this side of the Colorado River. It was a time when billboards might have advertised smoking, but I don't ever remember once seeing "Gentlemen's Clubs" or "XXX" billboards strewn across the interstate highways like I now do between Rolla, Missouri and OK City. 

Photo by Cardigan Empire

It was a time when we kids would whine, "I'm hungry," and parents would actually say, "No. You will spoil your supper, and stop whining," instead of just reaching into the purse and handing out candy to shut them up, or pulling over to the next fast food joint at the first sign of revolt. And the kids actually would stop whining and just waited as told. It was a time when gas stations were service stations. We would pull up and an employee actually came out in uniform and would check the air in the tire, the oil, and pump the gas all while dad always felt like he had to get out of the car and stand there and watch for some reason. It was a time when kids would pump their fists at the truck driver - a common signal - and he oblige with a loud toot of his horn and we would all cheer and laugh. And then the driver would give a little two finger salute to mom and dad as he drove off. It was a time when you weren't afraid to look at the driver next to you; and when you did, you actually waved or smiled, and they actually waved back at you. 


Tinted windows were not introduced yet. 

If we ended up spending a night in one of the roadside motels due to bad weather or traffic, oh what a treat! There would be a tiny, tiny swimming pool, but to us, it was the Ritz. The flashing neon light was Las Vegas to us, and air conditioning! Many of those motels did not have TVs back then, and certainly in those days, the Internet was not yet born. But we somehow managed. No TV, no cell phone, no Internet, no movies....sigh. 

Photo from Viewliner LTD

And yet, we were happy when mom came back to our tiny room with a bucket of ice and our little paper cups were filled and we shared a bottle of soda. A real treat after a swim in the pool. Dad wasn't much of a swimmer, so he headed out and brought back a bucket of chicken from the old reliable colonel. I didn't care so much about eating, I wanted to be in my fancy pool. No slide, no music, no special waterfall, just a cement hole filled with water in a parking lot. I was in pure bliss.

But that was 1968.

A very different time. 

It was a regular station wagon (not a huge van or SUV) with six people in it and lots of luggage and don't forget the pillows. But somehow it seemed roomy to me. No A/C, no electronics of any kind. I think we all thought we were "advanced" because dad had cruise control. We had a thermos, a cooler with snacks, a map (no GPS), and if lost, we just found our way. If we got a flat tire in the middle of no where, we (rather Dad) changed the tire. No cell phone or auto service GPS to find us. If serious car trouble? Then dad had to walk to get help while we all stayed behind and just had to wait. 

Photo from Spare Parts and Pics

Just had to wait.

That is something the current generation, I think, got cheated out of.

There is something about learning to wait that develops your character. 

All those road trips and there was a lot of waiting....

waiting to take our turn for a sip...
waiting to take our turn to look at the map....
waiting for supper instead of getting a snack...
waiting for the next rest stop to use the bathroom....
waiting for dad to come back with a can of oil...
waiting in line at the toll booth...
waiting for my turn to sit by the window and not be stuck in the middle...
waiting for my turn to play with the one Etch-A-Sketch...

It's good to wait when you are young. After all, that is when you have the time. 

While it is easy to forget all the rotten things about that time period and just reflect on the good, maybe that is the fun part about growing older. But I can't help when on the rare occasion I see a young neighbor and his father simply running through the sprinkler, and just like that, memories of my simple childhood pop up. 

It amazes me how something as simple as a road trip can change so drastically in as little as 40 years. Something as small as tinted windows, water bottles, GPS systems, and earbuds have drastically changed how we relate to our environment, to our family and to our society. We no longer even think to acknowledge the other driver, because we can't see them, nor want to. We no longer would even think of sharing a thermos with six people, we have our own bottles. That does nothing for sharing, conserving, or thinking of others. We have a mechanical voice telling us where to go and no longer even share our adventure with our family, as the mechanical voice tells us where to turn. But that doesn't really matter because the ear buds block out her voice in the first place. And because we are so rushed, and on a tight schedule, we rarely make our own food, and with the growth of fast food, we simply pull up to a window, order food and eat out of a paper bag while keeping our ear buds in place while letting the mechanical lady tell us where to turn next.

Driving down the road this time of year - summertime - I see so many huge SUV's with windows up, A/C blasting, young heads down, and a bright, florescent light reflecting on their little faces, from their electronics no doubt, and earbuds in their ears. When it was probably only just a handful of years ago those young heads were down, but their arms were up, crying for their parent's to carry them.  

And now? Little heads are still down and they are being carried....but do they really have any idea what they are missing on this ride?

And when I say they, I am not referring to the kids...

May you know that all rides are carried by The Father who loves us even when we don't have the best rides or memories. But we can start making the kinds of memories we wish we had for those around us who are too young to know what they might be missing.

from my house to your house,



arneta said...

Love thIs post....: we must be about the same age.... Those could easily be my childhood memories :) we have become quite impatient... and the father is so gracious with us isn't he? That was fun to revisit some of those days in our family of 7 on our station wagon... thank you!

Linda at French Hollow said...

Elizabeth, You just spoke my thoughts and shook my emotions - in a good, nostalgic way. Thanks for sharing - and don't forget to run through that sprinkler - you don't get an invitation every day you know!



amy of studio four corners said...

yes, it does seem that we have lost something in all that we have gained...but your story is a good reminder that we can stop, take a minute, share a drink...and wait. thanks for giving me a moment to remember childhood summers...

Linda at French Hollow said...

What a wonderful, touching post. Switch Kansas for Texas and it could have been my family vacations. Thank you so much for sharing. Now go outside and play in the sprinkler!


Mourning Dove Farm said...

That was really a great post, Elizabeth. Really enjoyed going down memory lane. Now I am going to grab my 12 year old granddaughter (who is visiting) and read it to her!

Donna Reyne' said...

You are such a gifted story-teller! I was right there beside you in that station wagon for a bit waiting for the etch-a- sketch and my turn next to the window!
You have blessed me today!
hugs from here dear one!

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

E, you have truly captured the memories of my childhood too, station wagon and all. My husband and I even had a station wagon when we first married. And honestly if I would allow him, he'd buy one today! Thanks for allowing me to walk down memory lane with you, oh what a great time it was but you now I don't think it was nearly as hot then as it is now. Happy Summer my friend.

Cindy said...

What a fun post! It brought back so many wonderful memories of my childhood family vacations in the station wagon! The way you describe the journey, I think we were in the same car! But instead of a fly swatter, mom had a hair brush! Thanks for the trip down memory lane

Burlap Luxe said...

Elizabeth Ihave been waiting for a post like this, and why did I not think of it first. Your story was mine, same station Wagon same color and 4 kids fighting along the way.stopping and going and asking when are we going to get there, are we there yet?

I try my hardest to introduce my daughter to the things I so enjoyed about my past and in many ways she sometimes so gets it. Do you remember that we had to make our valentine cards if we were going to participate in passing them out in class, so while Hannah was growing up we made them :)

I found myself choked up reading deep between the lines of your memories growing up and reminded that like running through the sprinklers or down a slip and slide and a real treat was hoping we had a dime or two for the ice cream truck so we could buy a snow cone.

Simple pleasures are gone and as sad as it is I long for those times again. I could go on and on now that your post has reminded me of all the treasured moments tucked away, good or bad it's those moments in time that made us who we are.

It's truly a blessed morning for me to have read your post, it's added something to my day.

Blessings to my insightful friend.

Gail said...

I so enjoyed this post, so many memories (good ones at that!) of my own childhood.....much of it in Texas also!
I remember Dad getting us up too when it was still dark outside for that "early" start....he was a military man!
And our treat were powdered doughnuts....yum!
Thanks for the memories!

Curtains in My Tree said...

I am one who likes to read a little but look at all the pictures

however I read your entire story of family road trips , been there done that like we use to say
oh how i always wanted to only take trips in cool weather but i never remember us going anywhere in cool weather,
my sister and i was just talking last night about when we was kids and how HOT it was and we only had a window fan , I cried a lot I remember that because I was always a HOT child and hated summer and really hated our car trips from Mt Vernon Ill to Sikeston Missouri to visit family, that was all the vacation we had.
I don't remember the thermos, i don't think we drank LOL

back in the good ole days ??? NOT

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Donna!

I bet we would had loads of fun together as kids....glad you enjoyed the "ride" today.

Big hugs,
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi My Sweet T,

I think you are right - it seems hotter now than then. But I have a friend, Bet, who grew up in Texas, and she said that when we were little, we were always moving, moving, and moving. Now as adults, we don't move as much and so we notice the heat a lot more...she might have a point!

Good luck with the Marburger move!
Big hugs
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

My Special Dore,

Oh, yes, I do remember the Valentines cards! I also remember decorating the shoebox that sat on my desk for the valentines to be dropped into! I would cut out all sorts of things, glue them, sparkles, and tissue paper. I think I had more fun with my box than the cards!

I laughed when I read about you mentioning the ice-cream truck....my mom would rarely let us buy from the "hippie" who drove it.

She always said, "No, you can't have any...they put dope in those things..." all because he wore shell necklaces, no shirt, and had long hair and a headband. Hahahahaha. But dad would slip us a dime or two and made sure we brought a bullet pop back to him.

Thanks for the memory!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Gail

My dad was a military man too! He wasn't much of a talker in the car, but when I got older (much older) mom shared with me that when we were very little and asleep in the back on those long road trips, she and dad would do a little.....in the front seat while they had a chance....

....and I covered my ears (I was about 18, I think) and I yelled, "MOM! I don't want my memories tarnished!!"

But now, when I think about it, I smile because I can only imagine that with four kids, there wasn't a lot of "vacation" for my dad I am pretty sure ;-) so it is nice to remember that my parents had spunk, even at 3 AM with kids conked out in the back .

Thanks for sharing and lots of hugs,

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Janice,

Well, I am honored that you read my entire post - it was a longy!

Yes, it was hot! The one thing I remember, was when I was very little, I would take off my shirt (or my brother's shirt) and roll it up in the window to make my "sun shade" with it. I only hot wind blowing in my face, so I would rather have no air and no hot sun, than hot air and hot sun - such a dilemma.

Of course, that is when we would do "trades." I would trade my window seat for the shaded middle seat, and give up the Etch -A-Sketch or whatever treasure I could barter with. Maybe that is how I got good at the markets later in life???

Big hugs,
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Linda,

Several comments were in my spam folder! Have no idea why suddenly spam is getting comments. The sprinkler sounds very good today - extra hot!

Have a great weekend,
Big hug

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Yes Amy, I agree, I think we have lost while we have gained. I guess every generation says that. But while we can't turn the clock back, I am sad to think that what we have lost is something that could have easily been saved, had it not been for so the speed of the gains these past 30 years or so.

Maybe that is why so many of us in our age range want to "slow down" so much? Not sure....

Thanks for stopping by!
Elizabeth :-)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello Mourning Dove,

When you said "12 year old granddaughter...." I had to click on your photo - you look WAY too young to have a granddaughter - much less a 12 year old one! thanks for stopping by and I am curious what she will think about the story....must sound strange to her in her young, technically-filled mind?

If you have a report to share, I would love to hear :-)

Glad you stopped by,
Elizabeth :-)

Cyndi said...

Elizabeth, I remember all the car rides to my grandparents, which was a 4 hour ride. We would leave of Friday night after my Dad got off work and when we were almost there and on a dark country road, I would hear this clicking noise. I knew it was my Dad, because he and I were the only ones still awake. I would count in-between clicks - and there was no pattern. I just figured he was the smartest man in the world to know just when to click. I never asked him what he was doing - I was too busy counting! I learned later that he was turning the bright lights on and off! I still think he is the smartest man in the world and one of the sweetest. Thank you for the memories. Cyndi

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Yes, Arneta, we have become impatient. Boy, have I! But The Father is good and waits for us to come around...thankfully He knows how to wait :-)

Seven in a car? Guess that was just more to make trades with :-)

Thanks for sharing,
big hugs,

Elizabeth Maxson said...

That is such a sweet story Cyndi! I can just imagine the clicks! Funny how we see things when we are little.

My dad would get silly with us at times, and he would do this little "jig" sort of thing by opening and closing his hands together while standing up and dancing around some when we were little. I just thought he was playing. But it was always the same way...opening and closing his hands as he moved his feet...just funny stuff.

But YEARS later, one day, just matter-of-factly (I was in my 20's I think) mom said just in passing conversation, that dad used to play the accordion in a band in a dance hall, when he was young!


How did we not know this all our lives? But looking back now, his little hand movement makes complete sense. His hands were playing "air accordion" and his feet were moving as if he were in a band on stage. And he just exaggerated it for us to make us laugh.

Funny how we just really don't know our parents....

Thanks for reminding me of these memories,

Elizabeth :-))

trash talk said...

Girl, we share so many same memories I'd swear up and down we shared a brain as well. 'Course I know that ain't possible. You got the right half and I got the left...overs! LOL!
Seriously, the station wagon, pimento cheese and fried chicken in a picnic hamper, sweet, sweet tea out of a thermos (just like the one you pictured), the smoking mom, the fight for the window in the back...all of it. I can't believe we survived our childhoods, we were so active in a moving vehicle!
Loved riding in the poodle seat with you today. Anytime you take a trip down memory lane...I call shotgun.
P.S. I think we survived the Texas heat for a number of reasons.
a. We didn't have a choice...do or fry.
b. We didn't know any better.
c. Our internal thermostats were set different back then. No in and out of a/c. Quoting my mother..."Either you stay outside or in. You're letting in flies!"
and finally...
d. We were Texans through and through...nuff said!
Love ya girl!

Anonymous said...

Just wonderful Elizabeth. Born in 1956 I am going to be pondering all the ole trips of my youth today. It was exactly as you wrote. One year we drove to California (dad in the military) and stopped in Las Vegas the second night. Mom and Dad went to Casino's and left me and my brother at hotel alone! I remember swimming in the pool after midnight watching hundreds of people walking the flashy lit up street. Wasn't even scared, had my big brother to watch me - as long as he didn't lock me out of the motel room just to harrass me. Thanks for the memories. We had that very same thermos! Always had sweet tea in it.


Elizabeth Maxson said...

My Texan Deb!

I was hoping you would stop by because I just KNEW you would add something to the story ...that and make me laugh...which you did! "do or fry" hahahah

And yes, you are right, we didn't have the whole "in or out of air conditioning" so we were probably conditioned to the heat.

The only "air conditioning" we got was when we opened up the fridge (or "icebox" as dad would say) and stand there looking for a snack and dad would yell out from the den, "Close the damn door, you will let the cold air out!"

I now realize, dad being born in 1916, on a farm in Nebraska, he truly did have an ICEBOX, and was conditioned to have it closed, or the ice would truly melt, and yelling this out was just reflex for him. I don't think it really sunk in that this "icebox" was plugged in and could make more cold air! LOL.

Thanks for stopping by - always love hearing from you!

Big hugs

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Tracy

Oh what a great story. Isn't it crazy that we could be left alone back then? Nowadays, no way! What freedom we had (or lack of sense?) either way, what fun! I envy you being able to swim after midnight with your brother...what a grand time that must have been.

I think all of America back then had that same thermos...I remember at the rest stops looking around and seeing the mothers carrying them to the picnic tables as the dad's lugged the big red coolers (just like the one we had). No wonder most kids were skinny back then - they were all running around like maniacs while the moms set out the lunch and yelled at them to come and eat - homemade food, not fast food.

Thanks for sharing your story - love these stories.

Big hug

Anonymous said...

I told you I would be pondering all day this post really spoke to my heart. As children my brother and I were not allowed candy or soda until we were much older. Well one time we took a summer trip in our big old heavy Mercury from Illinois to Chattanooga TN. Two days before the trip my mother surprised my brother and I with 20 cents each to go and buy our very own penny candy for the trip. What???? This was unheard of!! My mother said our candy was ours, we could trade if we wanted on our trip and we could eat it all at once or save it for the whole week. Little things like that I will remember forever.

When we got to Chatanooga we went on one of those touristy train rides through the mountains (hokey but not as a kid) where half way through the ride a "Bandit" riding on a horse shooting a gun hopped on the train pretending to be bad. My brother loved it as he was a cowboy, and I cried the whole rest of the train ride and hid inside my mothers sweater.

Such good times you have caused me to remember today. Thank you!


Elizabeth Maxson said...

Oh what fun, Tracy! Aren't those the best memories?! I can just imagine those little train trips! And yes, getting a little spending money for those vacations are the best as a kid.

We always got $2 for our week long trip to spend anyway we wanted. We were rich! I haven't thought of this in years. But I remember that we kids once "pooled" our money and bought mom a 25 cent ring - a HUGE gaudy green "gem" and gold band with sparkles at some five and dime store on our trip because she was the "best mom" and gave it to her when we arrived in Nebraska.

She was obligated to wear it the entire trip and of course we kids thought it was the prettiest ring ever!

You are right, things like that - we never forget.

I think so often, parents nowadays just don't understand how little it really takes to make kids happy. It isn't "stuff" - but rather the time spent with them.

Thanks for letting me ride on your train trip and hide in the sweater too - something I would have done too :-)

Big hug

Tina said...

Lovely post. I use that word with intent, we don't seek "lovely" as much as we should and perhaps have forgotten that "Lovely" is His intent for our lives. We would rather jam 'em up with stuff that doesn't matter much. I love the memories you brought up and stories you spun. Hugs to you!

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

I can't wait to have my kids read this post! Thanks for stirring up old memories...great way to start my day!

Tamra said...

Oh Elizabeth, You have got it right! So many families are missing out on so much!

We took many trips from California to the mid-West my brother and I and our parents. And even when we grumbled and complained about things, in the end we always found something to laugh about. And without todays gadgets to isolate us we were forced to do something so many families are missing out on....communicate! lol

My mom also always brought books to read and she and I always took turns reading aloud. Erma Bombeck was my favorite! You want kids to learn the importance of grammar and proper placement of commas? Have them read aloud.

The other day my husband and I were picking up a load of pea gravel and a young dad was letting his 3 small kids ride in the back of the pick up as he drove around gravel yard (at 3 mph) and the kids thought it was great! I laughed and reminded my husband how we used to ride in the back of the pick up all over town and even on the freeway! We laughed at how things have changed.

Great post as always Toots!


PS remember Magic Finger beds at Motel 6? LOL!

Charmaine said...

Love this post, Elizabeth! Your experiences mirror my own and I too think that children today are not learning how to communicate with others or how to learn about the world through observation. They're being turned into little tech robots and losing so much in the way of human interaction and interdependence. I've been an elementary school teacher for 14 years and it saddens me to see how little interpersonal communication occurs between children and families these days. Oh well, we can't change it, but we can hold our own memories close to our hearts, can't we? Thank you for another wonderful post :)

Roxanne said...

wonderful post!! I too could have been in that car but going to California to visit my family...or going camping! You do have a magical gift of writing and touching hearts Elizabeth! Always checking on your post...many blessings,Roxanne

Unknown said...

I have been following your adventures on the blog for a while now!
Today I found yours, great offices, and a photo of the transformation in the room!
It's so "beautiful"!
Thanks for the inspiration!
I've posted some pictures on my blog, so more people can have the opportunity to see the beauty!
I hope that's OK!
Best wishes from Elisabeth in Sweden

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Yes Elisabeth - thank you for asking and thank you for stopping by. I enjoy your blog as well. :-)

Big hugs to you all that stopped on by - I so love hearing your summer memories.

Big hug

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth I was just thinking about this today. Our society has become self absorbed, rude, and uncaring. I think it is because of the earbuds, and the electronics and all the texting. Too many people are off in there own little world and are in too much of a hurry to really live in the big world and know and care what is going on around them. I am thankful for my loving Heavenly Father who is always aware and pays attention to every detail and loves us no matter what and always has time to listen to us when we talk to him.
Your family vacation sounded a lot like the ones my family took in that time too. Homemade food only on the road, never restaurants. I miss full service gas stations. Those were the days, playing outside until the streetlights came on!
Jacquelene L.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Jacqueline,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think what you said about everyone being in a hurry and plugged into their own personal electronic devices and not the world around them is so true. Like you, I am very thankful for having grown up when I did, having a very different upbringing is what, I believe, helped me find my husband.

I too, was plugged into my own personal electronic device (ipod) while running in the park. I used to run back then, and always played music to help me run - that, and it was my private time and did not want to be "bothered" by anyone.

However, when I would stop at benches to get a drink from the fountain and stretch, I would always turn down my volume, as people would sometimes ask where was the zoo, or the art museum, or for other directions and I wanted to be able to hear and help them. I think that part of me, the part of me turning down my volume and willing to "plug into" the world again while I rested and stretched, came from my generation and upbringing.

And it was because I turned down my volume that one day I ran, was the day I heard a total stranger ask me a question, who then later became my husband.

So, yes, I believe the youth of today could be missing out on more than they may even realize, if those around them don't stop them, help them out, and show them the world beyond their electronic umbilical cord.

Thanks for sharing all the way from Canada. I love my Canadian readers - well, all of my readers, really!

Big hugs

MJ said...

An awesome post as always...I have been going back and forth with my husband regarding this year's family vacation. This year is Florida and he wants to fly and I hate to fly, I enjoy the roadtrip style vacation. I loved all the pics, makes you appreciate what you would miss on an airplane.

Hoping you are having a wonderful summer, and I would be in the sprinkler too.


Elizabeth Maxson said...


I would do a road trip in a second....going all the way from NJ to Florida would be a blast - if you have the time to drive. All the neat stuff to see. I drove from NJ to Texas, then to Alabama back in 1994. I was on a deadline, but loved all that I saw. Then from Alabama, to Texas to South Dakota a little later. That trip, not so great - very hot, dry, and came in contact with a tornado...another story.

Either way, you will have fun in Florida I am sure!

Big hugs
Elizabeth :-)

Paul Charron said...

Love your stories. I just did a road trip to Disney with my wife, three kids and in-laws. I miss the time-and-money-saving horrible ham and cheese with butter on a baguette sandwiches my French dad would make us eat in the car (I hated the butter). We only stopped to pee once on a six hour trip. We stopped every two hours on our way to Disney, but then again, I was the one who had to pee. I will say that the DVD system in the car kept the kids quiet...and they would watch Bugs Bunny or Felix the Cat! Although some traditions were lost, we found a way to bring back some old ones!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Paul!

I am sure your kids enjoyed the trip to Disney, and will someday be talking about their "road trips" and how much things changed once they become adults and how they wish they could bring back the "old days" as well. They may have had the DVD, but at least they got to watch Bugs Bunny and Felix the Cat....those were pretty good cartoons in our day....just don't understand all those big-eyed Japanese's cartoons with "girls" looking like hookers ....just not my gig, I guess. But oh well, I'm not a kid either, so I'm not supposed to get it. :-) Now, I'm REALLY sounding old!!

Thanks for sharing!

PCovi said...

How did I forget all that???
Those ice buckets and cups!! haha!
First thing we did on arrival, how funny. I remember us driving to Marietta, Ga to take my older brother to a Blood, Sweat and Tears concert...
Praise God for simpler times!

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