You know, back in the day, there weren’t overnight accommodations such as we have today. Hotels were expensive. Motels were few and far between and meant only as a place to sleep. My mother never trusted that such motels were clean. (At a motel, I was not to touch my feet to the floor unless I had my slippers on, a rule so ingrained in me that I still abide by it.) So, when you traveled, you planned to stay with friends as a means of cutting expenses. And if a friend or relative asked to stay with you, you were glad to help them out. It was just the way the system worked. And you believed this system the very best way all around, not just because of the expense but because hotels/motels weren’t comfortable. And besides, you were glad for the opportunity to visit your relatives or friends, and you believed they were glad to see you.
Until recent decades, the destination vacation was out of the question for most people unless they could stay with friends. Travel was for the affluent and was exceptional if it happened for the common man – worthy of mention in the home town newspaper.
I remember my dad sitting in the kitchen at the farmhouse after harvest in 1959. The harvest had been a good one and he was happy – joyous even – and he felt like celebrating. “I tell you what I’d like to do,” he said. “I’d like to go to San Francisco.” And so we made a late summer road trip to San Francisco in our ’55 Ford Fairlane. Daddy had friends there and so did Mother. Both couples had lovely homes. We spent several days with one and several days with the other. On the way home, our route was planned so that we stayed in the home of another friend. We could not have afforded the trip without the hospitality of these friends.
But the destination vacation didn’t happen often in our family. Seven years later, when I graduated from high school, we went to Disneyland. Again, we stayed with a friend of mother’s who had invited us to come. She had visited in our home several times.
Often the impetus for travel was to visit a friend or relative. The sights you saw were relative to where you were going. For instance, my Uncle Earle, my dad’s brother, lived in Idaho Falls, so he took us to Yellowstone while we were there. And Mike and I drove with our family to Arkansas three times – and flew once – so that we could visit Mike’s mother and other family members. Those visits included a stay at the family cabin on the Ouachita River. As we drove across the country we stopped at various points of interest. We wouldn’t have dreamed of any other sort of vacation. I’ll never regret that Mike was able to show the children where he grew up and how he spent his summers as a child.
Today, though, it’s different. People are more affluent – or less conservative – and willing to spend for travel. It’s not just a matter of more money but also of vacation allotment.
All of this is glittering generality, of course. After marrying in the ‘30s, Mike’s mother and dad delayed their family for seven years so that they could make some road trips. But here again, I know some of those trips were to visit family.
[I try to match my posts to my pictures, but this one fails miserably. Nevertheless, I wanted to show the lovely wild roses out on Curfman Road with the snow-capped hills in the distance.] KW