fyi-it's a loooong way from Colorado and New Mexico to the Garden State.
My parents had four kids and lived on a budget. I feel like hubs and I are constantly booking flights, boarding flights, removing shoes, belts and jewlery for security, synchronizing calendars with daughter1 and daughter2 for their flights here-there-and-everywhere, driving to and from airports large and small, managing frequent flyer accounts, and zippng suitcases.
Does reading that make you a little bit tired because living that makes me a little bit tired?
Anyway, back in the 60's and 70's such was not the case. Flying anywhere was something of a luxury so we didn't visit my grandparents every year. Both sets typically made the trek to our house once a year or maybe even less often than that, but we only went out west as a family every few years. I remember it feeling like such a big trip and I guess it was. We would fly to Colorado and visit my dad's family and then after a week or so my grandparents would drive us over to New Mexico and we'd visit my mom's family for another week or so.
I used to get so excited when it was time for the plane ride. Ha-I guess some things don't change. Back then we dressed up to fly and never considered wearing sweat pants and slip on shoes in case we had to exit via the emergency slide. We wore our church clothes and our best manners. My brother was usually the lucky one who got to sit next to the sister who puked. Too graphic? My brother would say not graphic enough. I remember taking Dramamine sometimes but I was also very well acquainted with the little paper bags in the seats. Mom-why did you ever let me fly without Dramamine? Big brother wants an answer to that question too!
My dad grew up on a farm in Colorado. If you stood in the dirt drive and looked out you saw this-
Amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesty. I believe the person who wrote America the Beautiful may very well have been standing on a dirt road at the edge of a Colorado farm. Even as a little girl the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains inspired awe.
That backdrop doesn't even look real.
There were two places on the farm my younger sister and I especially loved to sit and talk and sing. I remember us singing. Must have been that mountain air. It made us happy I guess, and oftentimes a cousin would join us-
I think this was a water tower of some sort, but I'm a city girl so I might have that wrong. Whatever it was it was just the right size for kids ages 9, 10, and 11. And that sky....the sky is bigger out west or at least it was when I was a child.
The other sittin' spot we loved was here-
At the end of the farm drive grew the worlds most perfect climbing tree, and my sister and I spent hours in its big branches. I loved the freedom I felt on the farm. We could wander around and explore and we especially loved prowling around the old barn.
I have to laugh at some of the pictures I took back then. No picture of the barn but this cat sitting in front of the barn was special. She was well loved and had kittens every single year. Her name was Frisky.
I didn't make the connection back then, but yes, I get it now.
At one time there was a big swing that hung from the top of the inside of the barn. The swing allowed you to fly across the open space from one side of the barn to the other. I don't remember ever actually trying that but my older cousins did and it looked like scary fun. I suppose I was too young or possibly too chicken. That last one sounds about right.
One of the things we looked forward to most when we'd visit our Colorado grandparents was a day up in the mountains. We'd head out early in the morning and once we'd climbed a bit we'd get out of the car and cook breakfast beside a stream. I kind of remember my dad and his brothers doing the cooking but my mom might correct me on that.
My dad had three brothers and they all had a few kids so it was a great big mess of family. Perhaps it was the mountain air or maybe it was all those aunts and uncles and cousins and the chatter and laughter that made me feel all was right with the world. There is no better smell than bacon frying over a fire beside a Rocky Mountain stream in the cool crisp air. That coolness was a novelty too. We'd be dressed in shorts and loved going high enough into the Rockies to see snow in the middle of summer. That never happened in NJ!
That's my brother in front and I'm the one with the pigtails. You'll notice I'm wading in the stream but manage to stick close to shore because at age nine I was nothing if not cautious. Hello Daughter1!
My older sister is on the rock beside me and that's my grandma in the background. She raised four big strappin' boys on a farm and could wring a chickens neck. Not a lot of things in this life fazed her.
My younger sister isn't in this picture but if I had to hazard a guess I'd say she's out in the middle of the stream standing on a rock. She somehow always managed to get soaking wet on our treks into the mountains and I think I've mentioned here before that she was a little bit of trouble.
Hello daughter2! Hello younger sister!
Here's a picture of my dad that I took on the farm in the summer of 1976. My dad was a Marine officer and later worked for a university so in his day to day life he wore uniforms and suits, starched and pressed.
I think this was the real him.
I wish now I'd asked him more questions about life on the farm. My dad wasn't a big talker so unless you asked he didn't really share. No blogging, no digital photography for most of his life, and I guess it didn't really occur to me to ask a lot of questions about his growing up years.
Oh, we have plenty of stories that are told and retold because my dad was something of a rascal back in his youth, but what I want to know about now is the everyday life kinda stuff. One of the things I love about blogging is that stories are told. People often say their lives aren't interesting enough to write about, but the ordinary is what I enjoy reading most. I share a lot of memories on my own blog and hope one day my daughters and future grandchildren will look back and read them with a smile.
And now here we are many paragraphs later and I haven't even gotten to New Mexico yet. The other side of the family will be in a post next week.
Dear future grandchildren-
I use too many words to be a legitimate blogger.
I blog anyway.
I know you're glad.
Ask your mamas to explain why the cat was called Frisky.
Your Future Grandma