TRAVEL BUG TALES: RUTH & GEORGE ARE NEWLYWEDS
Last week we took a quick honeymoon in Arkansas with my parents. No matter how tight the finances, Mom and Dad always traveled somewhere, even if it was just a day trip. Let’s follow along for a few years and enjoy some of the photos they took.
Summer Vacations as a Couple
In 1952 my parents took their first summer vacation. They traveled to San Antonio, a place I’ve been to with them many times and which continues to be a favorite of mine to this day. They made it all the way to the Smoky Mountains in 1953.
By 1954, my grandfather was ill and they spent their vacation money traveling to and fro between, Little Rock AR where Dad was stationed and McKinney TX, where Mom’s parents still lived. We lost my grandfather in October of 1954, just months before I would make my appearance.
Here Come the Kids
Nineteen-fifty-five, the year I came along, Mom and Dad still managed short trips to Hot Springs and Petit Jean Mountain, but finances were very tight. Not only did they have a new baby, but they had helped with the expenses of my grandfather’s hospital bills and his funeral.
The newly weds were caught up in the challenges all new parents face and spent most of their time hosting my grandmother and my doting aunts. I turned five in 1960 and dad had been transferred back to Mckinney. Our little family took a trip to South Texas, affectionately referred to as The Valley in many travel magazines. Mom was pregnant with my little sister, but I doubt I had much cognizance of it. When I was older Mom told me stories of choking back morning sickness and suffering the sweltering humidity, all so we could have a vacation.
My little sister was born in McKinney and shortly thereafter we moved to Dublin GA. Our travels changed then. Every time they could afford to, we were on the road back to Texas to spend time with family. Usually Dad traveled with us, but I remember one year the only way we could get to Texas was for Mom, my sister and me to ride with another family – three adults in the front, four kids in the back. Obviously, bench seats were still in vogue for the family sedan and seat belts weren’t required.
Our Landmark Year, 1966
By 1966 Dad’s job had moved us to Augusta GA. and we took our summer vacation in Texas, as always, but we also visited Myrtle Beach SC where our next door neighbor’s family had a beach house. We made several trips to the beach with our neighbors, the Lides, during the years we lived in Augusta. Their family beach house became one of my mom’s favorite places on earth (outside Texas) and Mrs. Lide was her very best friend until Mom’s very last day.
I particularly remember that trip to Texas, because it was my first visit to Six Flags and my first taste of Tex-Mex at El Fenix’s downtown Dallas location. (Well, the first taste I can remember. When I was small, my parents frequented a little Mexican cafe in Little Rock and they swore I loved it.) Oddly however, I can find no photographic record of the trip.
While we were in Texas, Dad visited some of his fellow Canteen Officers and heard wind of some canteens in the state which would be going through personnel changes. On the way back to Augusta, Dad stopped in Atlanta, the Canteen Service regional offices, to check out the rumors he’d heard. There was joy aplenty when he returned to the car and reported we’d be moving to Dallas, TX.
Our family travels changed once again when we were finally home in Texas and didn’t make the mad dash there at every opportunity. What’s ironic is that in just a few years, my parents would start making an annual pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach to visit the Lides. Goes to show that wherever most of us are, we think we want to be someplace else. We’ll quit zipping through the decades now and slow down to appreciate the miracles of my mother’s travel planning. Next week we’ll head out for El Paso TX and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.