Another Trip Down Memory Lane

I know sometimes I reminisce too much, but what can I say. Today I received a friend request from one of my first cousins who I haven't heard from in maybe 20 years? She lives in Texas now. So of course I started thinking about that side of the family. This would be my mother's side.

We weren't as close to that side of the family as we were to my father's. I think it was because there were a lot of miles between them, not so much in today's terms, when you drive around like I do, nothing seems very far anymore, but back when we were kids, an hour was a long way. This branch of the family lived in Connecticut, and New Jersey. The third member of my mother's side lived close to us but after a car accident which took the life of my 16 year old cousin that side of the family seemed to drift away.

I can remember when the cousin who contacted me today lived in a house not far from the beach. We would hop into the beech wagon, you didn't call them station wagons then, and drive for two hours to get there. We didn't have DVD players in the car to entertain us in those days, my father wouldn't even put on the AM radio most of the time so we would find other ways to keep from getting bored. My sister and I would sit in the back, back seat, facing rearward watching the world go by backwards. In hindsight, this could be why I turned out the way I did, always looking back. I recall the two of us could name any car that was approaching us from the rear by the grill and anyone who approached us from the front by the taillights (don't forget we were facing to the rear). Try to do that now in these days of all cars cut from the same mold.

My mother loved to sing and we would all sing songs during the ride. Even my father would sing occasionally. Usually there would be at least one chorus of Alouette, an old French-Canadian song. I recall it being a long ride as there was no interstate for quite a bit of it, just a two lane road through the Connecticut countryside. There was a small old fashion general store on the way, sometimes we would stop on the way down, sometimes on the way back, which sold ice cream. The man's name was Trask, and at the time he seemed pretty old, but when you are seven everyone seems old. The store isn't there any longer, nor the building, but I can still remember the smell of the building, the musty smell of old pine floors, worn from many shoes and boots crossing over them. And in those days there were only four flavors of ice cream - vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and coffee, and two kinds of cone, plain or sugar. There was a counter full of penny candy, which at the time was really a penny and newspapers and pretty much anything else you might need. It was the perfect store for the area, much as it must have been for the previous hundred years I would imagine.

Then there was the alphabet game we would play. This required everyone to find a sign beginning with the letter of the alphabet, in order. It was pretty easy for the first part of the trip, then two things would happen. First we would get off the aforementioned two lane highway onto the interstate which cut down the signage considerably. And second, by that time we were usually at the letter U. There aren't a lot of signs which begin with U. There were no umbrella stores but there was a upholsterer. And we did make an exception for X and Z, these could be anywhere in the word.

The time would pass and before we knew it we were at our destination. Today, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who knows of the alphabet game or many others. People drive along, each kid with an IPod or the DVD player going, not even noticing the world outside their steel cocoons. The parents each in their own little world, each talking or texting on their cell phones, not bothering to make memories. I feel bad for these kids becasue when they get old, they won't have a past worth dwelling in.
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One Response to this post

  1. Big Mark 243 on September 2, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    I don't think you 'look back' too much or without reason. I think that is what helped you hold on to the house on the lake, because of the memories and the history.

    Now you get to share it with your lady love... I can only hope to be so lucky!!

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