Oh say now, my most memorable travel destinations are MN & ND doncha know!
Describe an experience from a memorable travel destination you've been to:
Hmmm... this is a hard one. What makes a trip memorable? The adventure, the differences, the people, the trip there, what you did when you were there, the scenery, the occassion? I've seen beautiful scenic sights,great night life, historical locations and tiny towns. I've also had crazy adventures, and have had fun-filled trips with friends over the years. I've never travelled very far but I've visited about 22 states including Hawaii, and my only out of country travel has been to good 'ol Mexico! My favorite trips are road trips. I love to stop in small-towns and take in the local people, of-the-beaten path sites and local food. I'd prefer a hole in the wall barbeque joint and some crazy world's largest "whatever" to the top rated sites to visit in most cities.
Reflecting back, the destinations and trips that are the most memorable are the trips made to North Dakota and Minnesota. Perhaps because I have been there SO often, or perhaps it has been like a second home and respresents a second family. My mom died in May 1970 just before I was 5. I don't know if it was that summer or a year or two later but my Grandma Evelyn Smeby starting living with my dad and sister and I during the school year to help care for us, and then during the summer my sister and I were sent back with her and other family for the summer. We spent our entire summer house/family hopping in Minnesota and North Dakota. It was a far cry from Summer in San Diego that was for sure. I think we went almost every year until about my 16th birthday. Sometimes we'd drive as a family, or fly or meet up with other family to drive back. Those trips and areas have a special place in my heart and so do the families that took us in all those summers. Despite living so far from most of the family, I grew to love our aunts, uncles and cousins and I grew to love the country side there. I can't remember being bored - even with little to do sometimes. I flash back to the "the little things" - summer lightning, watertowers,morning doves, train tracks, Grandma Smeby's tiny little house, walking and exploring, farm animals, wide open spaces, cruisin' with cousins, pranks, summer cabin at the lakes, playing games, the long drive there and back, riding in the back of Grandma's Barracuda, summer crushes, fireworks, family reunions, mosquitos, summer carnivals and fairs, lefse, and sayings you NEVER hear in California :)
Grandma Smeby's House - Nielsville, MN Sis n' Me Summer 1971 Merlon & Maggies Farm
Around age 16 we had jobs and we were old enough to be alone and I quit going. I saved all my money and went back again in 1987 when I was 22 to see Grandma Smeby in the hospital. I'm so glad I did... she died a few months later. Marriage, children, money and divorce made travel difficult for years, but I wanted my boys to experience a taste of my childhood and I took them both there in 2001. Things had changed since I was a child, and kids seem to expect to be "entertained" more but the boys enjoyed the trip and got to meet family they had never met before. Grandma Lucille had reached 93 and was aging and I started to make more effort to go back with and without the boys. Each time, I'd think this would be the LAST time I'd see her, or the last time I'd travel back to North Dakota. Sometimes when I'd go, I'd rarely see family -but rather cherish time with Grandma, travel the beautiful countryside, visit locations imprinted in my mind, and visit old libraries, historical sites or cemetaries to work on family history! In 2005 despite the fact that I had never actually spent a WINTER up North, I had actually planned and made preparations to move to Fargo when fate (also known as my best friend Ruth Henke, intervened and I ended up in Texas.Grandma Smith finally passed in 2008 at the age of 100. That was the last time I have visited.
Visiting Jeannie, Lucy and Maggie Smith
Today I often listen to a CD I made that captures the times and music that remind me of my time spent up north in my youth and the people there. They are random but here they are:
Dreamin' & The Hardest Part by Blondie, Red Hot Blue Love by Rick Springfield - Sitting in my cousin Rhonda's House in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot aand Gitchy Goomy by Neil Diamond - my cousin Mitch at Detroit Lakes, MN
Paradise by the Dash Board Light by Meatloaf- driving around with cousin Lucy in Casselton, ND
The Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy - Rec Hall at the Lakes with cousin Lucy and others
Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel - playing cards at the Lakes with Maggie and cousins just before lighting hit outside the cabin
In the Heart of the Night by Poco - drawing in my sketch book at the Lakes
Prime Jive by Queen - sitting in my cousin Lucy's bedroom upstairs getting ready to go out
Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann- riding a midway ride at the Red River Valley Fair in Fargo, ND
Billy don't be a Hero - sitting in a little building behind Grandma Smeby's House in Neilsvile, MN with Sheri and a nieghbor boy where there was a Coke Bottle Machine with .$25 cokes.
Time for me to Fly by REO Speedwagon - driving up to Nielsville by myself one year with the windows wide open and taking in the fields and open space.
Good times I will never forget - thanks for keeping me out of trouble (most of the time), helping my dad to have a "break" from single parenthood, helping me to appreciate family, and giving me lasting memories and a place that always feels like home.
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This story is absolutely amazing Sandy!!! Your "flashback memories" were unbelievable and brought back so many images of my own summers.The list of songs related to where you were, how could you possibly remember all that? Just excellent!!
Sitting down and thinking brings back memories; writing things down helps to clarify our thoughts; and sharing the stories with others is a gift. You have demonstrated that we all have clear memories tucked away in our hearts and in our typing fingers.
Honey this is a movie that I just watched and it made me laugh, cry and fell all the emotions you laid out in front of us all to share. I love your style as it comes from the heart, just like a great song!