Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gonna take a sentimental journey . . .

In the summer of 1959, two very brave parents loaded their four children (ages 6-14) into a station wagon and struck out from Chattanooga, Tennessee, for California and the vacation of a lifetime. Three weeks of camping out in state and national parks, soaking up the countryside, living on Spam and capping it off with a trip to Disneyland - what were they thinkin'?

The itinerary was impressive. Bro and I worked it out as best we could remember:
1. Chattanooga, Tennessee (home)
2. Chickasaw State Park, Tennessee
3. Sallisaw State Park, Oklahoma
4. Amarillo, Texas
5. Glorieta, New Mexico (a fancy church conference center; yeah, we had to go to church)
6. Mesa Verde, Colorado (cliff dwellings - my favorite!)
7. Grand Canyon (South Rim), Arizona
8. Big Bear, California
9. Anaheim, California (yea! Finally, Disneyland!)
10. Zion National Park, Utah
11. Salt Lake City, Utah
12. Moab, Utah (to see friends of Mother and Daddy)
13. Grand Junction, Colorado (we're unsure of the name of the town)
14. Somewhere close to Kansas City, Kansas (just a big old lonely field in back of that motel)
15. Granite City, Illinois (to see the Nash cousins)
16. Nashville, Tennessee (to see the Frazier/Greene cousins)
17. Chattanooga, Tennessee (home)

Makes me tired to think of it, but only in retrospective. As kids, it was a great adventure. No planning on our part, of course; we just fell in line and piled into and out of the car when told. Imagine the months of organizing that went into this trip! I wish I'd asked Mother and Daddy about it.

So. This year marks the 50th (50th!!) anniversary of that wild Frazier vacation to California. Tomorrow I head for California for 2 1/2 weeks, mostly for work. But I start it off with a visit to Lil Sis, who now lives in Yorba Linda, right next to Anaheim.

And on Thursday, she and I and Bro-in-law will pay a Golden Anniversary Commemorative visit to Disneyland. I haven't been there since 1959, though I've been to DisneyWorld in Florida lots of times. I do wonder how Disneyland of 2009 will stack up against the memories of an 8-year-old Tennessee girl. Will the Matterhorn seem as big? Is the bucket ride still there? Will Mr. Toad's Wild Ride still be, er, wild?

Dear Mother and Daddy: Thank you for stuffing us into that blue and white Chevy station wagon and taking us on the most incredible, memorable vacation that was ever known to four children. It was fun and educational and unforgettable. I'll even forgive the camping and the Spam.

Wonder if I can get a pair of gold Mickey ears?


Ale Trillos said...

It sounds an adventure for the parents. Unfortunately the children were in a different page. However I bet it was a memory to remember for all the children as we can (your audience) feel! Again, I don't want you to be put in the spot but how many years after ...??? a flashback is waiting for you during General Convention? Mary...you are wonderful I really enjoy this blog.

Anonymous said...

I can remember coming to your house to see the movies .
I felt as if I was magically taken there. Back then that was a world away . I can't believe it's been 50 years..Mary we're not that old. Give Cindy and Buck my best.Ask Buck about our band at Castle Heights.

chux said...

I love Disneyland in California. I think of it as the 'Real Disney', the original, the real deal.

I showed my wife your video from back in 1959 and we loved it! That trip on the boat with moving animals is still there, so I hope you are having another go on it for old times sake. Thanks for sharing this, it would have been a wonderful adventure for any kid. I wish I had a memory like that, but nothing beats Dineyland for kids. I had to wait until I was 24 before I got to visit...but I still loved it.

Anonymous said...

Looking back 50 years is so weird! The trip out west was probably one of the big landmarks of our family. The Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Disneyland were the high marks for me. Not only Disneyland but we did a fair amount of tourist things while we were in Calif. I know Dad took you and lil. Sis to Knotts Berry Farm While David and I squeezed every moment we could out of Disney. We also body surfed at La Jolla, drove through Hollywood and could have probably seen more if Daddy hadn't been so paranoid about getting off the freeway.
Before we went on that trip Dad got a prescription for tranquilizers from his doctor. He was probably stoned for most of the trip but VERY calm. Mother was VERY organized. Great trip! Great memories! Thanks Dad and Mom. Thanks Sis for remembering. You two have fun in S. Calif.

MaryB said...

Ale - Are you coming to General Convention? You know where to find me!

Jay - Buck told me all about the Mahatma Gandhi whatever band. He sends greetings and his very best to you.

Chux - Yes, I see from your profile picture that you're a Disneyland fan! Yes, we took the Jungle Cruise again. I'll write more about the trip later.

Bro - we missed you! You should have come along with us. Disneyland is so much smaller than DisneyWorld and very "do-able" for us old codgers. Great memories!