Genealogists and family historians get a lot of satisfaction from chasing their ancestors’ stories. Finding a diary, a message on a postcard, or a photo with a name attached is like the sun coming out after a storm. One day we will be somebody’s ancestor. We need to leave our descendants a little bit of sunshine too. So here is my story told alphabetically, not chronologically: Growing Up in Cradock.
is for vacations.
Nobody I knew ever took a really swanky vacation. Nobody took cruises. Nobody flew to Cancun. Nobody took the kids out of school to go skiing in the winter. Family vacations meant visiting grandparents or camping. Had the term “staycation” been coined yet, a day at Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks of North Carolina would have qualified.
Our family vacations were of two types: (1) trips to Shenandoah to visit relatives, and (2) tours of historic sites in Virginia, mostly battlefields.
I looked forward to visiting my cousins in Shenandoah, but getting there was NOT half the fun. Today with the Interstate highway, we can make the trip in 3.5 hours. Back then it was a 5-hour drive, the majority of it on a 2-lane rolling highway, up one hill and down the next, up and down, up and down. It could have been delightful watching the geography change from flatlands to piedmont to mountains and valley if it hadn’t been for those darn fuel trucks. When they were full, they couldn’t handle the posted speed limit on the uphill grade. As a result, the ride became a constant game of “Chicken” as we edged into the next lane to see if it was safe to pass. All that with no air conditioning. Momma and Daddy were both smokers, so the ash they flicked out the front window blew in through the back window all over my sister and me.
But it was all worth it just to see my cousins. They always had some puppies to play with. Plus the Jenkins girls across the street became my friends too.
Often during those trips we included a ride along the Skyline Drive. We stopped at some of the overlooks, one of which looked down on my 3X great-grandfather’s land along Naked Creek in Jollett Hollow.
A few hours away from the Drive was Natural Bridge. Supposedly the land once belonged to our family. My 2X great-grandmother Martha Willson Davis was born near there, so I suppose it’s possibly a true story, but I have not been able to prove it.
|At Natural Bridge 1965|
We toured homes of some of Virginia’s presidents including Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson.
Of course, no summer vacation was complete without a tour of a Civil War Battlefield.
While our parents were successful in showing us the wonders of Virginia and can be credited with making us appreciate all that Virginia has to offer, the best part of the day was staying in a hotel with a pool.
|Mary Jollette and Daddy|
Belle Meade Motel Harrisonburg, VA
|Mary Jollette and Me|
Mt. Vernon Motel Charlottesville, VA 1965
These were simple, low-luster vacations, but the together time made them memorable.
Don’t vacillate now. Why don’t you venture over to the venerable vanguard of verisimilitude in the vernacular at the A to Z April Challenge to view a veritable vortex of veracious verbalizations before they vanish?
© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.