The Long Road Home

If I were able to close my eyes and wiggle my nose so I would be allowed to go back in time, I wouldn’t hesitate even for one minute.  The first place I would return to see would be my family around the swimming pool in Miami, Florida.  I would return to the summer when I turned seven and we were staying at the same motel as we had the year before.  SInce my birthday falls during the month of August, and we ended up taking family holidays then it usually was a good time had by all.  The reason I wouldn’t wish to return to the prior year, is due to the fact that as soon as we arrived I went with Daddy to the supermarket where I knocked out both of my front teeth.  OUCH!  So I return to the summer I celebrated number seven.

The motel had a kitchen and dining/sitting room area.  My Father was a marvelous cook and as soon as we had enjoyed another of his tasty meals, we had to wait for a whole hour before we were allowed to jump into the swimming pool.  We all sat around the pool enclosure enjoying being in Florida, basking in the sunshine and sipping juice from freshly squeezed oranges.  Even the air smelt tangy because the ocean was literally two miles to the east.  This was such a different aroma from the ocean and bay of NYC.  We would the beach the next day and then later, we would meet up with White and Ruth, our Grandparents.  They lived year-round in Miami and our Father was excited about seeing his parents again.  We all were because we would get to visit, eat fresh churned ice cream and bite into the loveliest sun kissed peaches.  But for the moment, we all sat on the pool’s edge with our feet and legs dangling into the refreshing blue water.

Because we had driven down from Staten Island, NY we got to visit our cousins, aunts and uncles in Richmond, VA.  We also dropped off my Mother’s Mother, Mama, so she could stay with her sister, my Aunt Myna.  One state down we always stopped at South of the Boarder, where they had such cool and inexpensive trinkets and souvenirs.  We usually got Mexican Jumping Beans and  by the time we reached Miami we couldn’t get them to jump any longer.  I still wonder what made them pop about.  There were the cotton fields where we would stop in Georgia and have photos taken with my sister’s Brownie Camera.  She won that on a game show called Haggas-Baggas.  In fact, she won all the prizes that day as she is very smart.  There were always oblong dark seeds in my cotton ball and we would pull the fibers of the plant off to investigate just how it grew.  We never made any clothes out of this cotton but it was memorable.  We loved looking at the Spanish Moss hanging on the trees.  This was a strong sign we most definitely were in the State of Georgia; and my Father said to never, never drive over the speed limit there because the troopers were known to do bad things to people that broke the law.  I never want to go to Georgia even to this day.

We talked about our trip down, the visit with relatives and I started toying with the idea of placing the bathing cap on my head.  These caps were made of soft rubbery materials and they sometimes pulled your hair, which would hurt a lot.  Sometimes I would become frustrated and shed a few tears.  Mother would get it to behave properly and then snap the chin strap shut.  Glad caps are no longer necessary.  I like the feel of the water against my skull and the streaming flow of my dancing hair.  It was time to jump in and I can almost feel the delight of plunging in and shooting to the surface to grab a fresh breath of air.  The glad expressions on everyone’s face told me we were truly happy to be together and we were ready to have some good clean fun.  Yes, I miss the good old days when everything was simply  yet perfect.


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