Family Time

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Our Tuesday Fox asked, “What is your fondest childhood memory?”

I’ve always loved to travel and see new places. I think that enjoyment began when I was young. My family didn’t travel much – I think Dad enjoyed it more than Mom did, because Mom likes to have things done just so, and one can’t always have them like that when you’re on the road with three young kids. But one awesome summer, when I was around ten or eleven, Dad talked Mom into going on the road to Washington DC. We spent several days visiting Dad’s good Army buddy, who lived in Arlington. In the years after the Korean War, this friend had stayed in the army and worked his way up to the rank of colonel, and he worked at the Pentagon. 

I was excited about the trip, but became even more thrilled when I learned that on the way from Michigan to DC Dad planned a stop at Gettysburg and Mammoth Caves National Park and on the way home we would visit Niagara Falls. We’d be gone for almost two weeks. My brothers had never been out of our state, and other than my journey TO Michigan when I was a year old, I hadn’t either.

The battlefield at Gettysburg was a moving experience, and I still remember much of it to this day. I also enjoyed the tour through Mammoth Caves, and all the sites at our nation’s capital. Niagara Falls was impressive, but I got more enjoyment from visiting the museum at the site. My younger brothers, then aged nine and five, probably didn’t get as much out of the trip as I did. I’d always enjoyed learning about American history, and I think that stemmed from these visits. 

Since this trip took place about 55 years ago, I don’t remember a lot of details about the trip itself, but I remember a few things I learned:

  • Many states have roads that you have to PAY to travel on (there are no toll roads in Michigan)!
  • Stores outside of Michigan don’t like it when you pay for things with Canadian money (here, it’s no big deal to use Canadian coins, although they often don’t work in vending machines).
  • Not everyone refers to a sweet carbonated beverage as pop.

I also learned that I like to collect things. I remember buying decals of each state we went through. By the time we returned home I’d collected about a dozen, and couldn’t wait to get more. Unfortunately, it was several years before I left the state again, and by that time the decals were no longer important to me.

We never took another family trip. I think the stress was too much for Mom to handle. But the memory of the experience was one I cherish, and when my kids were young I tried to provide experiences like this for them. I’m glad to see my daughters continue this with their kids.


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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10 Responses to Family Time

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    when I was a youngster, my dad went to a lot of out-of-state conferences. He’d take the travel money for a plane ticket and use it instead for gasoline and (cheap) lodging. We went all over the SW and SE… as far NW as Washington state and as far NE as NYC & Wash D.C. Of course we took in all the Gulf coast. Dipped my toes in the Atlantic and Pacific.
    I found that I DIS-liked the TRAVEL (& all the uncomfortable inconveniences that went with it)… but usually loved the destinations, once we finally arrived.


  2. Nice! It IS stressful on the moms who have to make sure that everyone has everything they need. (I did a post on ‘Nice, relaxing trips to the mountains” that we used to take. I miss them, but it was so much work!) Road trips can be fun, though. Now, all the kids have devices or even the littlest ones have movies playing that they have seen s many times, it is sad that they miss so many interesting things. My son engages his daughters when they travel. Now, only one usually goes with him.


    • My girls were good little travelers. They knew when to let me concentrate on road signs (since we didn’t have GPS back then) and they got along with each other for the most part. We’d play word games while on the road and do a scavenger hunt with the billboard signs – “Find a sign with a chicken on it!”


  3. Diane Burton says:

    Great memory, Patty. We took that same trip when our kids were in 5th & 6th grades, except not to Niagara Falls (we’d been there before). We hit several Civil War battlefields besides Gettysburg and learned a lot about the war. I loved traveling, still do.


    • I’m so looking forward to traveling again! A college friend and I have plans to visit a mutual friend who lives in New England. There ought to be plenty to see out there! Thanks so much for visiting.


  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    That’s such a nice memory for you. Hopefully you and your friend will get to go on that trip to New England.


  5. That trip sounds like a wonderful experience! I would love to do something like that with my family. I think Wyatt especially would love it, he enjoys history.


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