Thursday, May 28, 2009

Growing up: Pre California

My sister and I were born in Indiana but left in 1957 which made me seven-years-old, her 14. We had both sets of grandparents and a myriad of cousins, aunts and uncles, and assorted friends of the family and one Aunt and Uncle in California and no friends. My parents being the friendly type they had no problem with the latter and as crazy as both sided of the family were leaving the former seemed ok, too.

When told about the move, which was only a few weeks before, I never remember feeling sad at the thought of leaving all this. Though only as far as the first grade in my education I still had friends I'd made but I can not remember even one day in California that I yearned to return to Indiana. My sister might have had different feeling, maybe my Mom but my Dad, nope he knew what he wanted and it was to get the hell out of Indiana. He was stationed in Southern California during World War II and he never got over the fact that the weather was so nice. No snow in the winter, no bugs in the summer. I remember watching something about President Eisenhower at his Palm Springs Western White House and Daddy commenting on the fact we had feet of snow and they had yards of sunshine and they were golfing right there in January, hitting the ball is short sleeves. Our time had come to move. Yes, I remember President Eisenhower, I'm that old.

It was June 1957, we had a new Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, ours was two-toned copper color, and after selling everything in our house we loaded up a few things and off we went down Route 66, heading West.

That was an adventure for a seven-year-old who'd never been further than Chicago. Momma planned ahead for me she had books and paper and crayons so I had things to keep me busy but I did enjoy seeing the country whiz by my window and every night, Daddy would find a motel with a swimming pool for us. I thought life was grand.

We had one near tragedy. When my parents sold everything they took the money with them. The cash was in a wallet and Momma kept it in her purse or in the glove box when we were traveling. One morning, for some reason she put it in the pocket of her jacket. As the day went on and the weather brightened she removed the jacket but had it in the front seat.

Often we'd stop and get gas and that meant we could get out, stretch our legs and make a potty stop. We'd all done that and were back in the car and ready to head down the road. We were only about fifteen minutes away when Momma screamed. Her jacket must have fallen out of the car at the gas station and all our money was in the pocket.

I never saw my Dad drive so fast and when we pulled in to the station there was the jacket lying on a stack of tires. He waved to the attendant, said it was his, grabbed it, then got back in the car just as fast as he could. He couldn't look but handed it to Mom and yes, all the money was still in the wallet. That was the first time I'd seen my parents cry. Daddy found a motel early that day, he was way too upset to go any further.

1 comment:

  1. instead of a shift lever the transmission was changed by push button and I thought that was just so cool. Remember I was a tween so to me everything was cool.

    The story about losing the wallet, gads I remember that so vividly and yes I remember the tears. But I also remember seeing things along the way, some come back to me vividly after reliving the trip to California with Sister. And every time I hear and drive on Route 66 I think of that trip and the good times.