Sunday, May 07, 2006

16 years old....Second Vacation.....Florida

I had taken lots of little vacations since The Smoky Mountains; going camping in WV, going to two Carbide Camps....Cliffside and Carlyle...two weeks each year of great fun...horseback riding, rifle shooting, archery, crafts,....just fun stuff.
But when I was sixteen, I got to take my next big vacation.....early June.....a car trip to Florida. Boy was I excited! My brother and middle sister got to go to camp during this time and my baby sister went with me and Mom and Dad. It took a while to get there especially with a three old insisting you reading her books over and over and over andshe was shouting "Cow-Cow Boogey" every time she saw a cow...boy are there a lot of cows between WV and FL! Our original plan had been to travel around Florida a know the coast to coast thing....but by Jacksonville Beach we were pretty tired of traveling. So when we finally go there we decide to stay there and maybe take some day trips. We got an apartment like room three or four blocks from the Ocean. Mom didn't like the room...I think there were cockroaches, so we moved to a motel right on the ocean called The Three Sisters. I have looked for this motel after I grew and it doesn't seem to be there anymore. Bright and early we were out on the Beach each morning. The waves were so much fun. I remember I thought they were as high as our two story house. We found shells, sea animals, and shark's teeth. It rained everyday at about 11:00 so we always went out early and came back to the motel or took day trips until late afternoon. While I was there I met a Church group of kids my age on the beach...they invided us to their Church on Sunday....and we went. Every day this one boy came to the beach and we always seemed to meet up His name was Skip Hatfield (Related he said to the Hatfields in the feuding "Hatfield and McCoys") Anyway he was nice and we really got along well, my parents liked him too. He brought boards and I learned to ride the waves and all he had to do was look down and he could find shark's teeth....I'm not sure I ever really spotted one...he always pointed them out to me and I picked them up. I think our only day trip was St. Augustine and it was so boiling hot we couldn't wait to get back to the beach. We stayed close to two weeks and it was fun but sad when I have to leave the church group and especially Skippy. Skippy said he had an Uncle who worked at Carbide in WV so maybe he would come visit me. He promised to write and so did I and we did write. In August I got a surprize phone call. I was getting ready for Wednesday night church and this voice said "Hi, do you remember me?" Of course I didn't at first and he had to tell me who it was. I was so surprized! I asked him if he wanted to go to church and he did. It was good to see him again. He stayed for the whole month of August and then had to go home to get ready to start school We had some good times. But over the years we lost touch. I have been to Florida many times since that first time 48 years ago....have even toyed with the idea of living there but think I would rather visit!

Monday, May 01, 2006

My first Vacation...the Smoky Mountains

My first vacation was a family vacation with my parents and brother. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old. We went by car to The Smoky Mountains from West Virginia. We started off early, wrapped up in the back seat with blankets, books, crayons, paper and pencils. We played games like "I Spy", "Find the Alphabet Letter in the Highway Signs". "Count the Animals on Your Side of the Car", and "Name the Cars"....this was easy to play when we were young, cars were just Chevelots., Fords, Plymouths, Nashes, Buicks, etc. (There weren't so many different models and they didn't all look alike) We didn't stop at restaurants to eat....we stopped at picnic tables along the road. Poor Dad had to unload all the suitcases in the trunk to get to the food, coolors, and Coleman camp stove. Mom made homemade meals...kind of. Often eggs, bacon, and potatoes for breakfast...we even had a bread toaster for the Coleman Stove.....lunch: sandwiches and chips and Kool Aide.....dinner: things like hot dogs, hamburgers, DinnyMoore Beef Stew on noodles. Mom even had a table cloth, plastic plates, and real you guessed it...that meant we did dishes every meal. Some times Mom and Dad would do the dishes and we would nap on the blanket under the trees. We had to stop at those old fashioned gas stations and there was a baby black bear at one. It was wearing a collar and was chained to a big log. It was so cute....we all petted it and had our picture made with it. The boy at the station said it loved to drink Coke and people were buying Cokes and giving them to it. It held the Coke in his paws just like a human. On the way back we stopped at the same station. There was the collar and chain and log but no baby bear. A truck driver tried to take the Coke back from him and the baby bear bite off his thumb. We felt bad for the driver and the bear! I think the town we visited in was Cherokee, NC.
There were lots of Indians and Indian things there. I had my picture made with this Indian. It was there that I decided that I must have some Indian blood in me. My Dad must be half Indian (even thought he said he was Irish.) and I must be 1/4 Indian. I'm sure I told everyone that I was Indian for quite a few years. We went to LookOut Mountain, Fat Man Squeeze, Rock City,and lots of Places of Interest in the area. My brother sat in the front seat most of the trip...when Mom would try to make him sit in the back he would say he was car sick. Then I would have to walk him around until he felt better. I do remember one time we took a short cut over a least on the map it looked like a short cut but it really wasn't. It was longer and rougher but it was beautiful up on that Mountain. It was a great trip and I'll never forget it.