So sorry that there has been a bit of a lag between Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. This should be the final chapter of what I call “My Trip Out West” – or as the title suggests – “Over the Rainbow.” After all, I was only four years old – almost five. So everything about this trek from Ohio to the Pacific Ocean and back was magical!
In the last installment, Mom, Dad, and I were finishing up our time at Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and Marine Land in California. From there we drove to Victorville, California which sits on the edge of the Mojave Desert in San Bernadino County.
We spent September 21 and 22 at the home of Captain and Mrs. H.B. Alexander, friends of my parents. September 21 was my mother’s birthday. I thoroughly believed my mom was 29 because as is common, once she passed a “certain” birthday milestone, she always said she was only 29. Wow – imagine my surprise a couple of years later when I realized that she was much older than 29! I was also confused when I realized my grandparents were also in the area! They were on a tour of the western United States as well and it was probably by design that they were able to celebrate their daughter’s birthday.
Leaving the Alexander home, we traveled to the Grand Canyon. Breathtaking, beautiful, scenic, awesome are only a few words to describe what a magnificent wonder it is. When we had left California, the temperature was over 100 but as we got to the rim of the Canyon, the temperature had a drop of over 40 degrees. I remember wearing a sweater as we stood gazing out over such a majestic sight.
Leaving the Grand Canyon, we drove northeast toward Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy. We stayed with the R.G. Schuster family and toured the Academy.
While there we saw 1800 cadets marching in formation and the beautiful Chapel. It is one building I will never forget being inside. On September 26 our western trip was complete and we began the drive back to Ohio, arriving on September 28.
There are many things I remember very well about the trip – items that weren’t part of a tour or a national park or a wonder of the world. Mom had packed a hot plate because even though we were able to stay in the homes of so many family and friends, we were also in a lot of motels! The hot plate enabled her to heat up oatmeal for breakfast or a can of soup for lunch.
A lot of my breakfasts (when not at a home or in a restaurant) were Keebler Cinnamon Graham Crackers and milk (hey, I loved it and still eat it!!). I can remember restaurants we ate at or purchased food to go from: Jerry’s (I think it was like Denny’s), Kentucky Fried Chicken (before it went by it’s initials!), and Howard Johnson’s (which is a hotel chain but we’d eat at the restaurant). I remember laundry mats – and oh goodness, there were many laundry mats that Mom and I were at washing clothes. Well, she washed and dried, and I sat and watched. I believe a lot of them were a dime. Mom would always need dimes. I remember lying across the backseat of the Pontiac either sleeping or trying not to give in to my car sickness. Every once in awhile, Dad would rouse me so I could “see the sights” – something he knew that I just had to see! Except for the accident. I don’t know where it was but we were bumper to bumper on the road. As we got closer, and my parents saw the ambulance (back then, they looked like a hearse) and the emergency vehicles, my Dad realized that whatever it was – was very, very bad. He told me to keep lying down and not to look. I think later after I was older, Mom told me that it was a fatality and there was lots of blood. I also remember the little Wet Naps we always got – especially at KFC. And guess what I thought those little sudsy napkins were for? Cleaning the car windows!! That was a big mistake! Those windows I so carefully “cleaned” were loaded with streaks and probably were dirtier than when I started!
Oh – and going over the rainbow? Yes, I feel as if I certainly did! At one point, after my mother could not stand to listen to me asking if we were in Kansas and where was Dorothy’s house, she pointed to a run down farm house and said – “That’s Dorothy’s house!” I spent many years believing that I saw the actual house! (Ok, then I thought that maybe it was the “actual” house from the film until Mom told me she just could not stand to hear me ask that question one more time!) So I don’t know if we were in Kansas (which would have been on the way back to Ohio – so I think we were probably in Montana or Idaho when she did that!). I was young enough to see Disneyland as a child would but old enough to be able to remember quite a bit about that trip. And I have tons of pictures to help me remember!
I hope you have enjoyed my Travel Thursday series of Over the Rainbow! I hope to begin a new series soon!
Personal knowledge and written description published in the Beavercreek News (Beavercreek, Ohio), Oct. 19, 1966.
Wikipedia Article online for “Victorville California”, 27 July 2012.
Photo of Cinnamon Graham Crackers: Keebler.com, 2012. Kellogg.
Photo of Rainbow: Rainbow in the sky by Jonathon Coombes (Public Domain)
All Other Photos taken by Gene or Mary Amore, digital or original slide/print owned by Wendy J Littrell, address for private use.
Copyright for this blog post 2011 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog