Back in 2007, I started a Wikispaces page called “Collective Memory” in hopes that family would take advantage of it to create a sort of family memoir. It didn’t really work out very well, as most of the family were not up to the challenge of participating in a Wiki, and it sort of petered out. I will be migrating the stories to this blog, and eventually adding to them, as time permits. Some family commented to me via e-mail, and I integrated their comments in manually, while a few technically adept souls actually used the Wiki. I will add those comments at the end. The first was the story of our 1966 family vacation to Wisconsin.
1966 was the first big summer vacation, and sort of the granddaddy of them all. All us kids went, except Bonny, who was already married by that time. This was also the summer we moved from Daytona Beach to St. Augustine, so I’m not exactly sure of the timing, and I’m not exactly sure whether we had actually made the move yet, so consequently I don’t know if we left from Daytona or St. Augustine. * Robin says we left from Daytona. She says school had already started when we moved to St. Augustine.* *Charlene also recalls leaving from Daytona.* When we were up there we attended the wedding either of David or Roger Peterson. Both got married that summer, David in June and Roger in August, so that would nail down the exact time we went. We also had bought a new car a few months before we went. I recall all of us loading in the car one night and cruising the used car lots in Daytona after they had all closed. We picked one out which Dad went back and bought during business hours, that, of course, being the 1960 Buick Invicta 8 passenger station wagon. A mighty boat it was, and definitely required with nine people inside and luggage for two weeks on top. *Robin recalls always getting a window seat due to her car sickness. She also remembers the Invicta as the car she took her driver’s test in, especially parallel parking it. She also says Dad fabricated some sort of tray the full width of the back seat so the kids back there could eat, etc.* *Charlene also remembers this tray Dad made, and says he did the same thing when they moved down from Wisconsin.*
I’m pretty sure in those pre-interstate days that the trip took three days, and I know for a fact the folks decided to leave very early in the morning. I also know that we got no more than an hour or so down the road before Dad started feeling drowsy, and the decision was made to pull off to the side of the road and sleep until sunrise. For some reason, we pulled into a rail yard and did just that, hitting the road when the sun came up. Giving where we probably started from, and how long we drove, I’m thinking the rail yard could only have been the one on the south side of Jacksonville on Phillips Highway where Phil Johnson briefly worked. *Charlene says she thinks Gary [see comments at the end] is closer to being correct, though she’s not sure why we would have gone through Palatka. However, now that I think about it, I remember that we went a great deal of the way on US Highway 41, and looking at a map pre-interstate, you can see that the straightest way from Daytona to pick up 41 in Lake City would be on 100, right through Palatka.*
I don’t remember if it was going up or coming back, but I’m sure we all remember the saga of Robin’s granny dress, which flew out of the roof top luggage carrier and was run over by an eighteen wheeler, leaving impressive tire tracks. *Robin remembers this, and says she had made the dress herself.* *Charlene says we were looking back and laughing when we saw clothes flying down the highway, until we realized it was our car-top carrier that had popped open, and it was our clothes.* I remember that coming and going we had to go through Monteagle, Tennessee on old US 41. As a kid the name alone fascinated me, and the folks made a big deal of how steep the road was going up to it and coming back down.
In Wisconsin, we stayed in a rental on Silver Lake. *Robin recalls renting a paddle boat, and now that she mentions it I do believe I saw a picture once, although we also did paddle boats at Vogel State Park in Georgia the following year.* I don’t remember if it was on Chicago Point, but I think it was. *Charlene says it was Chicago Point. She also recalls an incident in a boat as happening on this trip between her and Gary, but I spoke to her and refreshed her memory that it was on the same lake in 1978 with me and her in a boat. That will be covered in notes on that trip.* The house was high up on the shore, and there were stairs leading down to the lake. At the bottom of the stairs was a dock, with a rowboat tied up. We fished off this dock, and took trips out in the boat. This was the dock where Malorie was fishing and got pulled in to the water like Leviathan was on the end of the line. Karolee dove in off the end of the dock and pulled her out. Malorie would have been 8, and Karolee 11. * Malorie remembers this, though only as a blur, then being cold, wet, and crying.* The trips I remember was going to the gravel pit next to Dad’s old childhood farm, and to Uncle Clarence and Aunt Phyllis’s house, where I spent a lot of time in the basement, where it was cool and quiet, and where they had a pool table and a lot of books. We also went to visit Grandpa Grant, the only time I ever met him. I remember driving back onto some property, well off the road, going over some railroad tracks. *Charlene erroneously recalls Grandpa’s house as being very near the Leach Corner cemetery, but it was not. She may be remembering where he lived when she was a child, but in 1966 he lived much closer to Spring Lake, not too far from Flynn’s Quarry.* There was a house there. where he lived pretty much alone, though there were some Grant cousins not much older than me who either lived nearby, or had come to visit with us. Grandpa’s house was dark and cluttered, and being only six, I wasn’t too interested in him. *Charlene also recalls the house as dark and cluttered, just like she likes it. She says she recalls him dipping, chewing, and smoking, but not at the same time.* I remember Mom saying it was her Dad, and me shaking his hand (I think I was damn near as tall as him already), and then excusing myself with the rest of the kids to go and play in the field behind his house. That is my only memory of any of my grandparents. *Malorie also remembers Grandpa, but primarily s a wet kiss on the cheek in a dimly lit house.*
I recall the wedding (Roger or David?), and the reception or something was, I believe, up on Mt. Morris. I also remember Gary and Dennis horsing around with some more Grant cousin girls by swapping clothes with them. Viva la cross dressers! I don’t recall myself, but Dennis tells of going out drinking with Uncle Donald and Grandpa Grant and Mom getting pissed. *Charlene also recalls Mom getting furious at this incident.* I can’t remember if this was the summer we visited Aunt Avis on the chicken farm. *Robin remembers going to Aunt Avis’s farm. She also remembers some cousins earning extra money by shearing pine trees, which she says was a hot, nasty job.* *Charlene also says we visited Avis and Cal at the chicken ranch. Her memory is that the two cousins who sheared the pine trees were Diane Woodward and Lynda Peterson. I pointed out to her that it was cousins from two different sides of the family working together, but she insisted it was them.*
Gary added in the discussion page: We left Daytona and stopped on the side of the road in farm country in Palatka, not a railroad yard, although I believe there was a railroad track nearby. I remember it was a very foggy morning when we all woke up and continued on our merry way (I suspect it was SR 100).
It was David’s wedding (his first wife was hot and very cute). We did stay at the lake but don’t remember much about the house other than a large back porch facing the lake, it made that much of an impression on me.
I cross dressed with Diane Woodard; there are some pictures somewhere I believe. This was back when she was my favorite cousin before she crossed over to the dark side.
Most prominent memory. Donald and Marion coming down from Green Bay and taking Grandpa Grant and Dennis (they decided he was old enough) out to Camp Waushara. Grandpa got all liquored up or Drunk as Cooter Jones as the expression goes (as did Uncle Donald) and Grandpa Grant ultimately ended in the road in front of Camp Waushara directing traffic. Ma and Dad were major pissed and Dennis was totally big eyed over the whole episode. I also remember Grandpa dipping, chewing and smoking a pipe, all at the same time. I’ve always assumed that was why his hair stayed black for so long; it was the tar leaking out. I concur with the balance of your twisted corporate memory.