We didn’t get out much as kids but I do remember us making a couple of trips to visit our great grandmother in Tyler Texas. This was in the hill country and about three-hundred miles from where we lived on the farm. What a trip, as you can imagine, with seven kids making a constant racket about something all the way there. I don’t know how our parents kept their sanity. It’s probably why we only went there every few years.
We tried to amuse ourselves by playing all kinds of made up games, such as finding the letters of the alphabet (in order) on the road signs as we drove along and looked out the window. After we finished that, we started doing the same game with license plates, or seeing how many different states license plates that we could count. I’m sure we probably had some games in the car too, such as Chinese checkers and other peg games or perhaps coloring books.
One of us always had to go to the bathroom every time we passed a rest stop, so it took a few hours to get there. Plus my sister, Tedo, always got car sick so we had to stop for that too at least once coming and going.
Once we reached the hill country, our eyes were glued to the scenery because we didn’t get to see hills and big trees much where we lived, and certainly not any red dirt. We wanted some of that for our mud pies.
Tyler State Park
Our great grandmother lived in town too so this was a treat to get out and walk on the sidewalks in the neighborhood around her house. There weren’t any sidewalks in the country.
Once my sister, Scherri, and I reached twelve and thirteen, we met a couple of boys on our walks, so we would hang out all afternoon talking to them. If I think about it, I can still picture us back then. The guys were real cute and nice. I can see them as clear as day in my mind. I even remember what they smelled like.
In our teen years, our grandmother (Mama’s mother) would take us with her (two at a time) and we would spend the summer in California. We all looked forward to this trip, which entailed traveling out of the state for the first time. None of us had ever been on a trip that far from home. It was exhilarating.
The first stop was going to be Tyler to visit great grandmother Kersh. Mamaw would drive to Texas, as she did every summer, and then drive back to California. When it was our turn to go, it was going to be my sisters, Scherri and Bonni, and me. But at the last minute Scherri decided she couldn’t leave her boyfriend, so as much as I tried to talk her into going, she wouldn’t budge. We had no choice but to leave her in Tyler for Mama and Daddy to pick up.
Bonni and I were anxious to get started. For one thing, we drove the whole way, so we saw lots of country we had never seen before. None of us had been out of the state of Texas before and never farther away from home than Tyler.
Mamaw (Mama's mother) at 92
The thing with being in the car with Mamaw though is she was so short that she had pillows to sit on and pillows behind her back. She drove with a foot on each peddle (gas and brake), so you would go down the road in a jerking motion. She would hit the gas and let off, hit the gas again, etc. all the way to her destination. Many times, we wondered if we’d get there in one piece, but we did and had the most wonderful and exciting summer of our lives.
I was ready to stay, but Mama and Daddy wouldn’t hear of it and wanted us back to start school. Unlucky for us, the airlines were on strike and we had to take the Greyhound bus all the way back to Texas. That was the most miserable three days I’ve ever spent. Someday I’ll have to write a post about that trip.