Vacation, 1953 style


In August 1953 our parents took my three siblings and me on a month-long trip to the West Coast. It was an ambitious undertaking, as costs were still relative for that period.

I know we stayed with many of my parents’ relatives out and back, but we also stayed in a few motels along the way. This was before the big chains emerged, and you were never sure how clean the rooms would be. My mom would ask to see a room; if it didn’t meet her standards, it was back in the car until we found one that did.

Our vehicle was a four-door ’51 green Plymouth, which fit two adults and a kid in the front and three kids in the back. Our ages were 5 through 12. I’m sure everyone got tired of stopping every hour so I could throw up; I got car sick as soon as the vehicle moved.

I still have vivid memories, as a 7-year-old, of Old Faithful, Grand Coulee Dam, Glacier National Park, the trolleys in Portland, the rodeo in Cody, and the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.

I remember driving all night after the Passion play to get home and not stay in a motel one more night. I slept on the floor in the back seat and can still feel the hump of the floor in my ribs.

After we got home, my souvenir cowboy hat from the Cody rodeo got a hole burned in it after I put it on top of one of the floor lamps in the living room.

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I thought it would happen to me someday, and it has. As people age, they eventually end up with what I call a chicken neck. You know, all the skin on your neck under your chin looks like a chicken neck right out of the package but not quite as slippery. I don’t know if there is anything one can do about it except maybe oil it up somehow.

When our kids were little they would reach for the older relatives’ necks and pull on the stuff. I don’t remember our grandkids pulling on my neck because I think they were old enough before the onset of mine.

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This drives me nuts. (Pun intended.) I recently wrote about not being able to find a nut driver or socket that fit the job at hand. Sure enough, I found it later in my cordless-drill carrying case. I also found the power bit holder that also was missing; I had just replaced it.

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Sometimes a mess gets to be too big to tolerate. I have an area in our building that I call my office, but I rarely work in it. It has been filling up with stuff for the past several years.

On Saturday I tackled it with a vengeance. I went through stacks and stacks of book samples I have accumulated, boxes of stuff I was going to go through sometime later, boxes of printed material that was out-of-date, old magazines and trade journals I was going to keep because of something interesting, file folders full of stuff I can’t remember why I had it in the first place. You get the idea.

It took all day to defeat the mess, and now I hesitate to go in there for fear of messing it up again.

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I didn’t mention the obsolete computer equipment and accessories that were setting on the floor. As I began moving it for storage upstairs, I thought it would be neat to display the first computer I bought to start our business back in 1996.

So, the Power Mac 7100/80AV and accompanying 15-inch Apple monitor are in our front window for anyone interested to see.

Some of the older newspapers have old linotype lead casting machines in the lobby, so this is our “old machine.”


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