Family Vacation Memories

Recently, Hubby & I had the 'opportunity' to spend the night in one of those motels of days gone by. You know, you motor up, check in at the front desk, and then step into a room that is not quite the Holiday Inn, Best Western, or the Hyatt -- with their ultra bland decor yet modern conveniences such as internet connections.

Kitschy Hotels

No, this place didn't have the standard issue of 2004, or even 1994. This was one of those beauties from the days of my youth, when the family went on vacation.

Sitting there in the retro room, memories flooded back of days traveling in a hot car, arguing with my sister even as my parents bickered in the front seat. I remember ill-fated trips to Mexico, where my folks underestimated the drive from Wisconsin to Mexico City. (How on earth do you underestimate that kind of a drive?!) While I was promised the chance to experience the Aztec pyramids, I only experienced one luxury hotel - where we were allowed, for once, to drink as much Coke, any pop we wanted, so long as we didn't drink the water...

While I was robbed of my dreams to see those magnificent structures, I did have nightmares of our family being robbed at gun point, of assorted intestinal ailments, and yes, I further enjoyed my parents lively debate regarding who's fault it was that this cost more in time & money than 'they' had planned.

I also received a marble chess set & a marionette.

Other memorable trips:

The time we went to Graceland, & I got sick in the car. True to my delicate female nature, I threw up into a sourball candy bag, neat & tidy, without a miss or drip, and we promptly tied up the plastic bag & deposited it in a McDonald's drive-up garbage can. That trip, I got a stuffed German Shepard dog. I remember putting him carefully on the chair next to the bed, just in case I was sick again at night. (Note: I did not worry if I threw up on my little sister, with whom I shared a bed.) I still have Sam, the German Shepard. And I still have my sister, who remembers the trip equally as vividly - though perhaps more fondly (she used to love to tell the story to anyone I dated *sigh* Little sisters.)

I also have dim memories of a family vacation where we stayed in giant plaster teepees. I cannot honestly say we stayed there (I am awaiting comment or verification from my mother on this - likely she is too busy laughing with dad over my other questions, to reply), or if we just stayed near one. I think I owned a miniature plaster teepee. Or else I coveted one. I know I don't have one now, but I wish I did...

Kitschy Travel

We weren't so much the Bradys when we traveled - we were more like National Lampoon's Family Vacation.

But with each trip, came souvenirs. Sometimes they were traditional, sometimes they were wacky. Oftentimes they were tacky. But always, they were memorable.

Now, when I am at a garage sale, flea market or otherwise hunting for junk, I run across these vintage souvenirs. And I wonder, how these folks can stand to part with them? I still have Maria, the Marionette, Sam the dog, and if I had a plaster teepee, the only reason I don't is that the plaster disintegrated...

(In fact, now I am looking for a vintage plaster teepee. *sigh*)

But more than that, I want our kids to have those kind of vacations too. Terrible, horrible, all-too-real family vacations. Where equal to the scorching sun rays through the car window & the bickering, equal to the wonderful tacky tours, Ferris wheels, and yes, even the disappointment of trips that had to be evacuated, are the comic motels & their weird rooms.

I don't think weird family history can easily be built in cold, sterile, they-all-look-alike hotels of today.

Maybe I'm just too Eastern, but I think the journey, the travel (the path), should be as important as the destination itself.

But I'm still mighty Western too -- no vacation should be considered complete until you have the perfect tacky take-home reminder, called the souvenir.

Article by Pop_Tart

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