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More Stories - The Way We Were

One of life's lessons often learned too late is that the journey is often more valuable and satisfying than the destination.   This is increasingly true in today's quick world, with rushing traffic, fast jets and requirements for multi-tasking.  Contributor Hilda Graham gives us a glimpse into the past when there were more opportunities to slow down and smell the roses - or the stinkweed, perhaps as fate sometimes decrees.  Here's an example from our frequent contributor, Hilda Graham.

Aboard the Queen Elizabeth 
By Hilda Graham

The children loved the voyage!  I am going back to the beginning of this trip.  First, we had been suffering from a terrible drought in Texas.

I will back up a little more.  My friend Sheila (as pictured in the photo below) had 2 boys and myself with 4 children.  It had been decided that we would drive from Midland Texas to New York where we would board the Queen Elizabeth.  We were going for three months, hence between us we had a lot of luggage.

We had a new Station Wagon but with 4 adults and 6 children between us, our husbands Eddie and Don decided to build a trailer to carry the luggage.  They built it out of a rear axle of a small pickup making a two wheel trailer.  Don welded a metal frame on it.  He used 3/4 inch plywood and built a 4 ft covered box, complete with drop down door.  It swung down from the top to use as a table.

We took a Coleman stove, a few utensils, frying pan, etc. and of course paper plates and Dixie cups for drinking.  Sheila and I had regular cups for our cuppa tea or coffee.  The trailer worked fine; it held all the luggage and cookware it tracked beautifully behind the wagon. 

Now where is all this leading?  Give me time I will get around to it.  (Have you ever seen a round Toit? Sheila`s sister brought one from England. It was a round plate with the words "Round TO IT" written on it.  British Humour> <G> Think how many times you say I have to get around to it when you have planned something and never do it.)

Now for the trip.  It was planned so Eddie and Don would share the driving - each one would drive for 2 hours and then stop, usually at a rest stop so we could let the children and ourselves stretch our legs and have a little refreshment.  We stored goodies in a Ice chest in the trailer.  Our plans seemed to make sense.

Wouldn't you know the drought broke!  We were to pick up Sheila, Don, and family early in the morning.  We had the trailer already packed.  There were warnings of flooding and tornadoes all around but we felt if we could just get a head start we might just stay ahead of the bad weather.   Now yours truly is scared to death of driving in bad weather.  I was ready to unpack and stay home.  You would not believe the opposition I received about this idea.  I took a tranquilizer, closed my eyes and hoped for the best.

Well, we were off to Sheila's.  We had all decided to eat breakfast before we left so there would be no delays.  Ha!  We even had to detour to reach their home because of flooding, and we had to re-chart the map so as to miss some of the bad weather.  This new plan took us an extra 40 miles out of the way.

As we reached each new state we managed to run out a lot of the bad weather.  We actually drove 900 miles the first day.  I believe the first stop for night's lodgings was St Louis, MO.  We had stopped for lunch at a small diner as we were in a hurry.  Where was McDonald's when you needed them?  Finally we found a nice motel to spend the night and thank the Lord the children had slept during most of the trip. 

Early next morning we ate breakfast, and still trying to outrun the bad weather, I believe we graced a small diner on the way.  We were lucky and were able to fix a quick lunch after about 3 hours in a nice rest area.  Then off again.  I must say Eddie and Don were doing very well driving, the children behaved very well, they had some card games and coloring books which kept them entertained.  We kept up with the weather reports on the car radio and it seemed the weather stayed about 3 hours behind but it was getting gradually closer and headed in the same direction we were taking.  ...More >>>

Copyright 2005 Hilda Graham

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