Traveling Through Time

Facade of Mission San Jose in San Antonio
I was not an only child, no matter how hard I prayed for God to take away my siblings. We did not have a lot of money so when we went on vacation all of us were crammed together into tight quarters in the family car. We slept on the floor with family/friends or in sleazy motels (think roaches and cigarette burned coverlets) and survived on McDonalds (you could get a sack of five burgers for five dollars). If we were super lucky, we got to take my grandpa’s motor home and ate hot dogs every day unless it was too wet for a fire, in which case we got spaghetti. 

Oh, there was bickering. Lots and lots of bickering…

Stop poking me!

Mo-ooommmmm! She’s looking at me again!

He’s breathing on me! Make him stop breathing!!!!

My father had a government job and my mother was a stay at home mom. As such, when we went on trips over the summer it was for 2-3 weeks at a time. I travelled all over the US learning things. I don’t think there is a place with educational merit in the continental United States that I have not visited except for things in the state of New York which I was told was “the den of sin and iniquity and the home of  those damn Yankees”. I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty something fierce but as far as my parents were concerned NYC in particular was not worth our time. 

I saw the VLA (Very Large Array) radio telescope years before the movie Contact made it famous. I learned about hydrology from the huge scale mock up of the San Francisco Bay Area complete with working wave maker built in the 1950’s by the Corps of Engineers. I learned about the Civil War at Gettysburg and Texas independence at the Alamo and Washington on the Brazos and fossil dating from Dinosaur Valley and the Petrified Forest. 

There were the obvious places like Yellowstone and Glacier and Mesa Verde. The contrasts of natural and man-made, like the arches in Utah and The Arch in St. Louis. And the obscure, like the Helium monument in Amarillo and what is left of Route 66 (no one cared about that back then).

I have so many good memories of those trips. For all of the bad my parents may or may not have done, they did get one thing right… those family trips. 

Well. Except for New York.

So now, as I am weighing an expensive trip to Disney World with my kids vs a cheap road trip with them somewhere more… interesting, I think about my own childhood. I have the means to make my kids’ dreams come true, if I wanted to, but do I really want to? I never did see Disney World but I think I ended up with something even more magical, an understanding and appreciation of where I came from… my own history and the history of others. That is what I want to pass on. 

So maybe Disney World is better left in our dreams and our imagination?


157 thoughts on “Traveling Through Time

  1. Ah, all my trips growing up had major components of ‘education’ in them. Being quizzed in the car after made it impossible to let the experience settle in. I always went home anxious to return to the comfortable structure elementary and middle school held. I didn’t care which states were Union or Confederate. I was unimpressed with how small Plymouth Rock actually was. And no one let me touch the etchings inside the caves of the Los Alamos mesas, so, blah.
    I’m forty minutes from Micky Land. Cost wise they do take advantage of tourist, however, there are aspect of Disney that will make your kids eyes light up in a way that will just tickle you.
    And, you have a place to stay ๐Ÿ™‚ if you ever want to see The Mouse, seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

      • We moved down when I was about seven. Due to budgeting, I went as a kid about 5 or six times, then a few extra when extended family came to visit.
        I took my daughter three or four times, realized she hated crowds, but adored Pluto and Goofy, so I got a pass, took her in early evening on week nights for a little spin through there, and made her endure going to Epcot with me!
        Disney was growing a lot when I was a young parent, so there was always something new to see.

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  2. Pingback: Writing Links 3/20/17 – Where Genres Collide

  3. Maybe you can do both? I did take my kids to Disney when they were teens. Barely. We also traveled extensively by car in Mexico when they were “littler”. Almost every week-end or holiday. Schedule a week-end road trip one day. A cabin maybe? (North Alabama has beautiful spots.) ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Bon voyage, whichever route you chose.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Very. But it also takes training. small children get bored easily. So we had all sorts of games planned inside the car: count white (or black) cars on the road. Riddles. Songs! We had loads of songbooks to sing with them during the trips. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. When we travelled the US in a car as children, we went to heaps of places. The only thing I remembered about Disneyland was that I wasn’t allowed to buy all the merchandise I wanted or go on rides because I was too short. Whereas I remember fun times spent with my siblings at the beaches we stopped along the road trip.

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  5. This is one of your old posts so doubtless it no longer applies (or maybe it will to future vacations (there! I remembered to say ‘vacation’ instead of the confusing-to-Americans ‘holiday’! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but I say take kids to things that they will find magical first, and educational as an extra. My dad was always taking me to museums, and trying to take me to see trains (when there were still steam engines, which I was terrified of!) and anything else he could think of that HE loved. Mostly they bored me witless, because I was and still am a dreamer. But it’s small things that trigger the imagination in both kids and, when they allow themselves, in adults. In one of the museums we went to, the dinosaur bones my dad adored bored me witless, but the marbleized remains of a tree trunk in the museum’s entrance hall sent me into a mental and emotional wonderland that I’m not sure I’ve ever left! ๐Ÿ™‚

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