Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Spring 1967.  Unpacking the luggage from our 1963 Chevy Bel-Air.  

We were returning home from a cross-county road trip from Ohio to California and back to visit my brother who was stationed at Ft. Ord, California, near Monterey. It had been a wonderful trip but a grueling drive both ways.  No seat belts in those days, no A/C, and a radio that picked up only local stations along the way.  No CD players, cassette players, or even 8 tracks at that time.

We weren’t world travelers.  We were farm folks and this trip to us was like a trip to the Moon.  We stayed in cheap motels along the way.  We packed food and ice in a picnic basket and ate at roadside rest areas.   Our first night we slept in a little motel in Tucumcari that had pink neon lights trimming the entire roofline.  We were exhausted from driving almost 3 days straight.  At Ft. Ord, we slept on the Army base in a barracks set aside for family visitors.  There were no trips to fancy restaurants and no pricey tours or events.  Just simple living as cheaply as possible.  We saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time.   We traveled through a desert.  We explored San Francisco and saw the Golden Gate Bridge.  We drove through Carmel, looked at the beautiful homes, and dreamed of what it must be like for “the other half”.  We got lost in St. Louis in the middle of the night and our water pump went out on a Sunday morning in Albuquerque .  We teased my mom when she pronounced San Jose and Mojave with a “j” sound instead of an “h”.   We were totally out of our element but loved every minute of it.

The joy in my mother’s face as she unpacks the trunk is priceless to me.  This picture was “lost” for many years and just recently discovered.  It’s how I love to remember my mom.

Glad to be home.  




About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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23 Responses to Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

  1. Oh, Ruth, this all made me smile so much. I love the pictures of your mom. That she climbed into the trunk to gather items is funny and sweet at the same time. What a wonderful adventure it must have been. … At fifteen, my parents dragged me kicking and screaming to Canada – to go fishing! And boy was I mad that they let my 18-year-old sister stay home by herself! But I had a wonderful time … and I met a boy. 🙂


  2. Wonderful photos of your mom. And that journey! It really must have been extraordinary then.


    • It was in retrospect. The funny thing is… I didn’t even want to go. I was almost 16, the prom was about 3 weeks away and my best friend and I were in charge of prom decorations. (Back in the day when we decorated the gym to look like something) So I begged and pleaded for my parents to let me stay with my best friend and work on all the decorations while they were gone. They made me go and boy am I glad they did!
      But I was not a happy camper on the first leg of the trip. By the time I got to California, I had changed my mind….


  3. ollie204 says:

    Road Trip Postmark: We stopped by! Thank you. Wonderful interpretation of the dp challenge. But even a better picture of visiting the Fort Ord area. I love hearing about how it was in the 1950s. It sure has changed.


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  6. riverman1953 says:

    You brought back memories long forgotten. Reminds me of trips to the smokies and eating at roadside rest areas. Thanks for bringing forth those sweet memories.


  7. Maxi says:

    Your photos are real “heart tuggers” and the story is one of those “never forget” nostalgic memories. Too precious.
    blessings ~ maxi


  8. Love the memory and the photo – her smile is priceless. We travel with food and a cooler in the car just like the old days in order to meet medical challenges for family members. It takes more planning and packing, but in the end we eat better and feel better. If you visit New England and want a picnic table, just ask because I probably know where one is for you. 🙂


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  10. lucewriter says:

    What a sweet story and great memory. I love the pix!


  11. Great memories and photos! More proof that the best times are often the simplest..


  12. I love those pictures, Ruth!! Priceless. What a great memory. I remember those long car trips with provisions! Haha! The one of your mom in the trunk is a hoot. I think I would enlarge that a bit and hang it on the wall. You’d have to smile every time you walked by.


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