Today is the last Monday in May, which is, among other things, always Memorial Day! It’s the dawn – or unofficial start – of summer. It’s the eve of June Eve! After all, April had showers that brought us May flowers, but the month of June can’t come too soon!
Friday was National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! It was also the start of our first “extended weekend” of the year. A lot of people (me and my husband included) packed up coolers (and some other things) and hit the road for our first long getaway of 2022.
Outdoor activities are on the rise again, especially as the weather is getting warmer and more summer-like; plus, the days keep getting longer. As such, June celebrates, among many other things, such as National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month! Two of my husband’s and my favorite things – (like Mom and Dad) especially since we became “empty-nesters”!
Not that it wasn’t fun camping as a family. In fact, very soon, the kids will be out of school for a few months, thus June is when a lot of families start taking road trips and vacations. Whether it’s to a favorite somewhere they’ve been before or exploring someplace new, vacation times are some of the best memory-making times!
Below is a story Mom wrote for her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter. I think, from the descriptions of us on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes, it’s from a long summer vacation we took in 1971, to West Virginia, to see our relatives from Dad’s side of the family.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
No Laughing Matter, by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1970s)
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR KIDS (And Live to Tell About It!)
I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST traveling with our kids – as long as we can go in separate cars. A current poll, taken among the mothers of the Sears Sandbox symposium shows 10 to 1 in favor of going around Harsens Island on a skateboard, as opposed to traveling anywhere by car with their kids – even to the mailbox at the end of the [200-foot long] driveway.
For one thing, any trip is going to be automatically rated ‘X’ when, before you can get out of your own driveway, you must first settle which child is going to sit next to a window and which child won’t. Before the trip is scarcely underway, we can always depend upon the child who rolls the window down, because they need some air, to be sitting next to the child who wants the window up because they’re cold.
The Sunday supplement ads for vacation-minded families, who want matching luggage, are a waste of time. Who wants matching luggage, when it should, by all rights, be packed in a U-Haul truck and immediately be disorganized the minute you unlock the motel room [or cabin] door…
Because this is usually the exact moment I have to find a clean shirt and slacks for the one who spilled their Dairy Queen [treat] all over themselves. If I told him once, I told him a hundred times: ‘let me hold the shake for you while you drive, Honey!’
The real trouble with packing, I feel, is that you usually end up taking all the wrong kind of clothes. When you leave home in the middle of a driving snow and the skies are icy grey and bleak, it doesn’t occur to you that 450 miles south you’ll be shedding the snow jackets and galoshes; wishing you had brought those shorts and tennis shoes, after all.
It is completely ridiculous to allow any child to pack their own suitcase. Chances are, they will try to convince you that one change of underwear is going to be adequate for a 10-day vacation – and that’s when I visualize myself spending all of my time sitting out the duration of our trip, watching my enzymes and bleach race their way to the dirt and grime in some out-of-the-way, ‘coin-op’ laundry [facility].
Some of the motel rooms we’ve stayed in, have been pretty nice; but then, there are some others that left us feeling we could have had the same conveniences, for which we were paying $50 per day, for free had we stayed at home. If [I] can’t wash 6 days [worth of] dirty underwear in the wash basin, [we] can’t stay there!
Not one of the lovely travel brochures I read showed ‘the happy family’, as they pull up to the Pennsylvania turnpike gate without realizing that the baby ate the toll card along the way. I can say, with all honesty, that we intimately know every public restroom on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes… not to mention, 3 plazas in West Virginia and several in Niagara Falls.
Another thing about traveling with the kids is that, invariably, the best restaurant is always just around the bend, after you’ve [already] stopped at the worst [one]. We are further engaged in the constant inquiries of the children who will, at annoying intervals, in the perfect unison of an acapella choir ask: ‘When are we going to get there?’
The remainder of the trip is spent… painfully telling them that I never wanted to read the roadmap for [Daddy] in the first place; and how was I to know that he wanted Exit 7, not 11! And how do you explain to the service station attendant that you were foolish enough to let your wife read the map and now you’re lost?
I’ll be darned if I know – but, before we take another trip with the kids, we’ll have a bumper sticker on our car that reads: ‘Approach with caution – driver under the influence of children!’
I have so many great, childhood memories of summertime vacations with my family. We frequented many Michigan tourist destinations like Tahquamenon Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Alpena, and Tawas. Other nearby, one-tank, map dots that we often enjoyed included Toronto (Ontario), Niagara Falls (Ontario), and Cedar Point in Sandusky (OH).
Mom took most of the pictures we have of our family vacations. However, every once in a while Dad took a few shots of us with Mom. That was long before the digital age – back when we used rolls of film, which had limited numbers of pictures that could be taken. Additionally, you never knew whether any or all of the shots were good or not until you had them developed into hard copy pictures.
I’ll always best remember one particular summer vacation that we (Mom, Dad, me and my younger sister, Cheryl) took in 1979. We were staying at the Grand Hotel, on Mackinac Island. That same week, a movie crew happened to be there, filming “Somewhere in Time”; starring Christopher Plummer, Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour!
We actually got to meet and talk to the stars. What a special treat that was for all of us to experience! Unfortunately, a lot of our pictures from that vacation didn’t come out very well – over exposed or something.
In honor of May, still being National American Cheese Month for a couple of days, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Macaroni & Cheese, like Beefeater’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Eating Out At Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1978, p. 22)!
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
Some of May’s observances include… Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
Wednesday begins the month of June, celebrating, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!
Thursday, June 2nd, is… National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Day! Plus, it’s also National Leave The Office Early Day – unless June 2nd falls on a weekend, then it’s celebrated on the nearest business day!
June 3rd, is… National Egg Day, National Repeat Day, and National Chocolate Macaroons Day! Plus, as the first Friday in June (for 2022), it’s also… National Doughnut Day! In honor of the first two, here’s a repeat of Mom’s “Deviled Eggs” recipe from her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 68).
June 4th, is… National Cheese Day, National Cognac Day, and National Hug Your Cat Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in June (for 2022), it is also… National Trails Day, National Bubbly Day, National Prairie Day, and National Play Outside Day [which is the first Saturday of EVERY month]!
…22 down and 30 to go!