My son recently arrived home safely from an awesome nine day trip to Ireland with his dad. My two friends arrived home safely from an equally awesome visit to England for 15 days. They were all kind enough to “take us with them” via pics on Facebook and I am delighted for all!
It does, however, remind me of another visit to England many, many years ago. It wasn’t me – it was my mother! My dad had a trip planned to Paris for business and they decided it was a chance of a lifetime so they made arrangements for my mother to fly separately and they would rendezvous in England.
It was my mother’s very first airplane ride and it was all the way from Philadelphia to England – by herself. My dad was flown curtesy of the federal government – his employer so my mother was on her own.
They, too, had a delightful time. I know from the pictures that were later developed and printed. There was no long-distance communication back then – no cell phones, no texting, no Facebook and international calls cost a small fortune. They were gone 3 1/2 weeks.
So while they were gone, there was the matter of what to do with the children – my two brothers and I. It was decided that my brothers would stay with my grandmother, aunt and uncle and cousin in New Jersey. It was the home where my mother was raised and they had a barn to play in, woods to explore and an attic full of treasures to find.
Me? I was farmed out to my aunt and uncle and three cousins (all boys) in Philadelphia. I was nine years old.
Did I mention my cousins where I had to live for 3 1/2 weeks were ALL BOYS?
Actually, at that point, all my cousins were boys, but these cousins were the type that we cringed when we knew they were coming over to visit. Not disciplined, loud and into everything. Apparently I didn’t get a vote and my mother had a mind lapse!
Suffice it to say I had a lousy time. 3 ½ weeks is a long time to be away from my family when you’re nine years old and it certainly seemed longer where I was staying. My cousins were put out because they all had to bunk together since I needed a room of my own. My uncle was the gruff type – used to relating to boys. I was miserable. My aunt seemed to be the only one enjoying the arrangement. She finally had a little girl living under her roof. Whoopee!
The oldest cousin was a year older than me and he basically did the hanging out with me. We could walk to the local movie theater so went one day to the matinee. It was a scary movie – to me. And I got so upset that I demanded to leave in the middle of the movie. That meant he had to leave too. He was quite angry with me. The other two boys were younger and a real pain in the ###. They teased and tormented nonstop. A lot of tears were shed in the confines of my bed during the night.
But my aunt was having such a good time. She bought me dresses and gave me my first perm. You may remember those home perms in the 50’s? The ones where all your hair is put up in pin curls with bobby pins all over your head and then this stinky stuff is applied all over followed by a plastic bag to cover it all. And then you sit for what seemed like days feeling nauseous from the fumes and being teased by the boys. Sigh.
Finally the 3 ½ weeks ended – the longest most wretched 3 ½ weeks of my life!!! My aunt took me to the airport to pick up my mother. It was back in the day when we could actually go to the gate. Her plane arrived and the folks exited the plane on the tarmac – no fancy contraptions that go out from the gate to the plane door. I was at the window and my nose was peeled to the window. Finally there she was! THERE SHE WAS!!! I waved and waved. I could see her looking up but she didn’t see me! She didn’t recognize me with my straight hair now all curly and with a new dress on! I think my aunt was a bit hurt that I was so excited at my mother’s return.
When she entered the terminal she spotted my aunt and then finally me.
She was bubbling and going on and on about her trip and her plane ride – all the way back to my aunt’s house and through dinner with them. I just wanted to go home!!!
We did leave eventually and I was so relieved. I imagine my cousins were too. But my aunt, she was sad.
My mother is still apologizing. I’ve forgiven her but I haven’t forgotten! 🙂
Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation,
And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places;