Road Trips –

A departure from my “Detours”

You know it’s dangerous to think too much, but here I am thinking.

Today, I am detouring “Detours”.  I’m going to share something fun I hope.

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Snow.

As I may have mentioned before, my sister “D” and I are best friends. She is far more “spiritual” than I, in a good way and that’s a good thing. She makes up for me missing church and I cherish her emails.

Today, she shared something that put a smile on my face because it brought back some long forgotten memories of us as children.

She started out saying how “even though we need to be aware of what’s going on in the world, we also need the feel-goods, those precious things in life that make us laugh and want to hug people.”

I couldn’t agree more.

She proceeds to tell me how as she was driving yesterday she passed a park and saw a line of children walking, perhaps part of a summer program headed to a nature trail nearby. In the line, a few of the girls were waving at the passing motorists and the motorists for the most part paying them no mind.  “D”  however responded with a smile and wave much to the delight of the girls, who immediately began hopping up and down waving even more furiously. What heavenly innocence!

I thought how amazing that such a small gesture could mean so much to them.  And in “D” s words, “it made me laugh.   They were thrilled because someone acknowledged them.   That was a feel-goodEmoji  Luvu”

As I was reading of her experience, it reminded me of the many little things that would delight us as children many, many years ago. One such were road trips.

On the road.
On the road.

In the old days, long ago there was law no such thing as seat belt requirements. No law prohibiting children from bouncing around loosely in the back of a pick up truck. Long gone are the days when we kids would pile in the back of a borrowed pick up truck, “borrowed” because we didn’t own one, so it had to be borrowed or we were with someone my parents knew and we’d either be sitting and/or standing if it had rails. And, it was not uncommon to see us wave vigorously at passing motorists trying to get their attention, all the while doing our best to maintain our balance. When “D” mentioned the delight of those girls, it brought back to me the warm feeling I would get inside when someone smiled back. In those days, we frequently got wavers and interestingly I remember the profound sadness I would feel if someone didn’t wave.

On long trips, the four of us would often be seen lined up on our knees in the back seat facing the cars behind us and oh the giggles we kids would break into seeing the responding friendly faces. Occasionally, parents could be seen talking and pointing when suddenly their children would emerge from the back and crowd in from behind all of them waving enthusiastically.

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Farmland
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Beach in Florida

Then there was the thrill of the horn blast of a trucker who responded to the arm signal to”blow your horn” . We actually got to see the country. Dad would point out landmarks and tell the history behind it and/or a story of an experience he had there when he hitch hiked across the country as a young man. It was interesting to us.

We’d entertain our selves in many ways. Sometimes we would count cars or see how many different state license plates we could spot. I’m sure we tired our parents out with several renditions of “99 bottles of beer in the wall” (my favorite) and I don’t know how many more of “Old MacDonald” and “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly”, devising so many interesting things to kill the old gal with or how many varieties of animals we’d give good ol’ Mac.

We delighted in reading Burma Shave signs and whoever spotted one first got to read them.  Being the oldest and able to lean in furthest over daddy’s shoulders, of course I got to read the most.  My brother was next in line. “D” being far younger and not quite able to read as quickly just sat back and enjoyed the rest of us reading aloud. “S”, even though she is barely 13 months younger than I, got to read on occasion. In those days we thought she might be retarded because she was “slow” but she could read even though she wasn’t as quick as us. She was a scrapper. If I said I found it first she’d get in a dither and shout angrily, “nahuh, I got it first!”   I speculate now that she has a form of autism, we just didn’t have a name for it then.

Oh, the squabbles we would get into in that back seat. Yes, the memory of them makes me smile.

When we would get too out of hand dad would reach in back with his club-like hands and thump us on the head and tell us to “sit down!”.  I don’t recall that he ever pulled over to pull down our britches and beat our behinds. It was interesting that something that would have driven me crazy didn’t bother our parents, who in normal circumstances could be exceedingly violent.  Trips for some reason put them in a tranquil mood and they were generally calm and pleasant to be with.

Road trips, once on the journey were usually our fun times. Even a day trips to the mountains, the beach or a park could brighten our day. EIMG_2403ven mom’s.

How simple those days were… the days before hand held devices now being used to keep kids entertained. The days when we actually saw the sites.

Some will never see what a beautiful country we live in.

Addendum:

Just so you know, my detour posts are designed to be cathartic to me and no one else. It will culminate in where I find myself today and hope to be soon.

For all practical purposes, I am throwing it (my demons) out into the universe to be done with them. I know it’s a selfish act and a means to an end.  Little by little even if you find these blogs depressing I hope it will bring the demons I have quarreled with for years to an abyss I can throw them in. Perhaps my journey will mean nothing to anyone or everything to someone else; if it does then that’s an added plus.

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Detours – Part Two

In the summer of my junior year I lost my virginity.  It was not a fun experience sad to say. It wasn’t what I expected.  Truth is, I don’t know what I was expecting.

Like probably most young teens in the 60’s, it was in the back seat of an old, but nice Chevy. It was a titillatingly hot summer. I don’t know what moved me to “go all the way” other than hormones, but I’m sure there was more to it than that.

It is said genetics plays a big part in how we respond to events. My dad’s side of the family is known to have a strong rebellious streak and I’m sure mine is as strong as any of them.

Mom in the meantime had remarried, we were moving to the other side of the county twenty miles away. The anxiety of going to a new school my junior year and then the new step parent were all challenges.  Mostly, it was hard adjusting to a new step parent – he was trying too hard and he wasn’t dad.  Why that was important, I don’t know.

Sex can throw you off track. Needless to say I went “searching for love in all the wrong places.” I could no longer focus on school and my grades continued to suffer. I was in a self destruct mode.

Despite that, I managed to graduate high school and quickly got a job.  I’d had a new boyfriend my senior year, broke up after a few months and pined for him the remainder of the school year and probably most of my life.  You could say I had sex and love confused as my first husband pointed out, but then I learned that it’s because men don’t have to love to have sex. I think women in those days didn’t have sex unless they thought they were in love or so I believed.

My next love was this Adonis, as I would later describe him, a bronzed, fair-headed deity that would help me pick out my classes when I enrolled in college. Unfortunately, I fell prey to his charm and fetching smile and barely finished the semester because of morning sickness. When the semester ended, he was gone.**  Another detour.

**Years later my beautiful baby girl was reunited with him.  After their first meeting, she said, oh mom I can understand why you fell for him, he is quite charming. They have bonded and we are now dear friends even though I’ve not seen him since.

HELL TO PAY –

Mom agreed to let me stay at home, but I had to get a job, “you have a child to support”, so I did. I will not describe the hell mom put me through for my errant ways, but she loved that grand-baby and would constantly refer to her as “her baby”. She was always threatening to keep her.

Many times while I was at work, I’d worry that she would find a way of making that a reality. I am certain that had she not just given birth to the only child she would have with her new husband, she would have tried. My little brother and T are 5 months apart.

COFFEE, TEA OR ME?-

Well, no but I did get a great job as a flight attendant. It paid very well and I bought my first car. I eventually got an apartment but still, I had sitter problems.

T got sick and ended up in the hospital twice. Once due to a toxic reaction to too much penicillin. She was allergic and seeing her with hot red hives all over her body, I was terrified. In those days they didn’t let parents stay with their children and I will forever remember the frightened look on her face, crying, her little arms extended to me as I left the room. The nurses impatiently insisted she would calm down once I left. In her little prison crib I left her as she cried.

The second time, she was struck with what the doctors say was rheumatoid arthritis. Again she got red splotches, only this time, her body had blown up like a balloon and she was in agony when touched. After many tests RA was the diagnosis, however after about 24 hours, maybe more it miraculously disappeared. They informed me that it could come back at any time but that if she had not gotten it again by her 20’s, she would probably be fine. She’s fine.

Mother thought the sitters dogs had mauled her, but she was angry because I’d left her with someone other than herself. The doctors ruled that was not the case.

Still, I do believe I never left her there again. “T” was the love of my life.

In the two years I flew, I dated a number of worthy prospects, but they just didn’t move me.

Finally, I met a pilot. We dated about a year before I learned I was not exclusive so I attempted to break up with him but he wouldn’t have it and forced himself on me resulting in another pregnancy.  I was sick about it because I did not want him in my life at all!

Another detour.

Because he was a young pilot still on probation, had the airline learned what he did, he would have lost his job. So, he campaigned to mother about how he had proposed and I refused despite the fact that I was pregnant with his child!!!  Oh – my – god!

Well, I lost.  We were married in Las Vegas and he made sure I knew that if I didn’t stop acting like I was going to a funeral instead of a wedding, he would turn the car around. Needless to say I had few options open to me and returning to mother would have been the worst of them.

So, I sucked it up and became the best bride you could wish for. I learned to cook and sew.  I could turn a $.25 piece of fabric into a beautiful frock for my girls. I started drawing and painting. It was the start of my creative side, I was the envy of all his pilot friends. I got involved with my church and made friends.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Before long  he was back to his old ways, drinking too much, staying out late. I suspected him of straying, but it would be three separations and two divorces before he was out of my life for good.

The first time, it was a lousy settlement. We had one attorney for both of us. His idea.

The second time, I got my own.  We didn’t ream him because that’s not my style nor was it my attorney’s, but it gave me a start.

The problem was I didn’t know how to handle money. X had done it all and because we were well off, I could spend whatever I wanted to each month and not worry. Now, I was constantly running short each month. It was stressful. We (the girls and I) did okay, but I could have invested and done a few things differently. (Secure assets) The one good thing I did was buy a nice house, so we were set there.

More detours.