Summer is quickly coming to an end and families everywhere have made great summer memories that never seem to fade away. The right photo sure can stir up sweet memories, memories meant for sharing. We would love to share some of ours with you in this Summer Vacation edition of Throwback Thursday.
Jennie Looks Back ~ 1976
We didn’t go on a lot of vacations when I was a kid. Most summers were spent lying around the house watching reruns of old sitcoms (Gomer Pyle USMC seemed to be…well, not a favorite, but ever present, at least) or in St. Kevin’s Summer School Program. All I remember about the Summer School Program was that we made a lot of God’s Eyes. (Does everyone know what those are? You make them with yarn and two sticks. I’m not sure what the purpose was. Decorative? Keeping antsy kids busy? Probably the latter.) Also, I think I got a couple of hellacious sunburns on our occasional pool that have yet to morph into skin cancer, but there’s still time. But I digress.
One summer (when I was…seven? eight?) my mom and aunt planned a special vacation for my sister and me – we were going to Disneyland! Oh, the excitement – I think at that point I’d been out of the Bay Area *once*, to visit my friend Tara who had moved to San Diego. Since it was all a long time ago and I am old and forgetful, I don’t remember much about the trip but a few hazy highlights:
– We stayed at a hotel called The Quality Inn. I believe it is now closed, due, I’m sure, at least in part to a lack of fidelity to its name.
– My mom was indignant that we were not allowed to bring fresh fruit into Disneyland; at that point the fare inside the park was not as varied as it is today, and after day one with no healthy options, she had bought some fruit for snacking on so she didn’t have to feed us children overpriced crap. Alas, Mickey nixed the idea – no banana from THE OUTSIDE WORLD was going to befoul The Happiest Place on Earth. Of course, you can get fresh fruit inside the park these days, but I have the feeling my mom would not be any happier about paying $3 for a single apple or $5 for a tiny cup of watermelon cubes.
– We were taken on the Matterhorn. What is the significance of this, you ask? Well, the adults involved were extremely roller-coaster averse and had *no* idea that the Matterhorn is indeed, a roller coaster of sorts. I guess the screams echoing from the vicinity didn’t clue them in, nor did the edifice itself, rising high above the ground like, well, a big fake mountain. Once we were all strapped into the quaintly named bobsleds and beginning the first steep ascent, they began to get a clue. The adults’ fear was, unfortunately, transmitted to my sister and me. Copious tears of abject terror were wept during and after the ride, even more tears than the time my sister got soaked at the Killer Whale show at Marine World (and in that case, I think she was more mad than scared). To this day we are both afraid of roller coasters and refuse to ride them. For some reason, though, we’ll both ride the Matterhorn. I usually end up regretting it about 10 seconds into the ride, much like my mom probably did all those years ago, but I still end up riding it again.
I didn’t end up visiting Disneyland again for another 15+ years, but that first visit will always be special to me.
I have mentioned before that I am the youngest of my siblings, I wasn’t very old when my sister graduated and headed off for college. She came home for summers until she was married and then our family started using our vacation to go and visit her. I would always stay for an extended visit. What fun that was. I was happy to wave goodbye to my worried mother and my father who didn’t worry. I felt so independent and loved being away from the rules of my mom and dad. Not, that l ever did anything wild, my sister wouldn’t have allowed that. But it was a nice break for me and I always looked forward to that special time.
My sister and I would hang out, we’d make rice crispy treats and order pizza. We’d go to the drive-in, I remember seeing Logan’s Run and Network. I could accompany her to her job at a daycare or spend my days reading and watching TV. I felt very grown-up mixing with the college kids who were friends of my sister’s and her husband. I also have fond memories of learning to water-ski. That was when I was thirteen. I was embarrassed to death the first time I got up on the skis and the top of my two-piece popped a string. They all wanted to know why I let go of the rope so fast and I had to wear one of the guy’s t-shirt the rest of the day.
Once my nephew was born, I spent my days watching him while my sister and her husband worked. That was wonderful too. He was such a cutie. I remember my sister’s exasperation when I was sterilizing some of his toys and managed to melt one of them. I cried and missed him when it was time to get on that plane and go back home.
The pic is of me, my father and sister standing outside the housing for married students (doncha love those pigtails?). I love the memories of those times spent with my one and only older sister.
Camping was a big part of our summer vacations when we were kids. There was always lots of lists and prep work done in the week before we would leave. Fresh Granola to be made, tents to be weatherized, and massive grocery shopping to do. We would drive to our destination, usually somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and set up camp. There was a particular spot that we frequented several times. It was the perfect set-up, right near a stream. You went to sleep at night to the sound of the stream and woke up to the same soothing noises.
Each day we would take a hike or a drive in the mountains. We saw a ton of wildlife on those excursions, including a newborn baby deer on the side of a mountain road. Our trips were full of laughs, campfires, s’mores and more laughs. One year, we made the mistake of not securing the tent properly from any potential rain. Of course, that was the year it rained like crazy. Our tent and sleeping bags ended up flooded. It was stressful at the time, but we can laugh about it now! Those trips are some of my fondest summer memories.
Please share a memory of one of your favorite summer vacations.