Saturday, November 14, 2015

Travels of the Mind

     The horrific events in France resonated with our family.
My daughter's former college roommate married a Frenchman and has lived in Paris these past twenty years. 

     Our hearts go out to all the families in France. 

                                     In a simpler time:

          As a little girl, I used to make cakes in our 1950 green Ford. 
      It was summertime and we would be on our way across country from Virginia to visit my grandparents in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a long trip in that pre-electronic era. There was no movie playing on the monitor in the headrest in front of me (and in fact, no headrest), there was no Leap Pad to distract me from obsessively kicking the back of my mother’s seat, or Game Boy to teach me that electronic friends were better than the flesh-and-blood variety.

          On the plus side, there were no pesky booster seats or seat belts to hamper free range of that big back seat. We’d sail along, state after state, the hot summer air from the open windows pummeling us, and my sister reading or doing some other boring big-sister thing next to me.

 I’d make cakes.

I’d sit there with my mixing bowl (a shoebox) and assemble the best cakes ever. The empty ashtray held flour, the crank to roll down the window emitted chocolate if I pressed the center circle, the push button to release the triangular vent window squirted whipped cream. If I was a little vague on the ingredients necessary, I found any number of objects there in the back seat to provide them.

At some point, my mother would pass back sandwiches or deviled eggs wrapped in twists of waxed paper. I was ready with dessert, if everyone wasn’t too full.

It’s too bad that today’s kids are so insulated from boredom that they rarely experience the cozy monotony of letting their minds wander while they stare at their parents’ heads and listen to the muffled murmur of grown-up conversation.


  1. This is true. I think we should have days when kids must just use their imagination!

  2. Wonderful memories you have. I remember my childhood of listening to the stories the grown-ups would tell. As you say, simpler times and oh how my heart aches for the people of France today, and those in Paris especially.

  3. Twists of waxed paper--
    The world will never be so simple again.

  4. my parents didn't do family vacations. they would go off somewhere once or twice a year leaving us kids behind with a baby sitter. we did once or twice drive across the state to visit my dad's family in Lubbock and what I remember is my dad yelling at us to get our noses out of the book and look at the scenery as it passed by.

  5. Oh the memories this post evoked. Thank you.

  6. I remember making mud pies that were chocolate "mud" decorated with flowers. They looked so good! I don't know if kids ever do that sort of thing any more. Love your memories. And we all stand with Paris today.

  7. You have a very valid point about our kids today. I think they have been changed greatly and I' wondering what kind of adults they will be. Certain basic skills will be missing. Cute story of your being a little girl.

  8. Ah, our summer trips were from California to my grandparents in Vian, Oklahoma. We had a station wagon and I would ride in the back with a book and travel to other lands. Never thought of baking a cake.

  9. I think we really need days like those again.

  10. I remember Sunday drives with three of us in the back seat, me usually in the middle and desperately trying to focus on a single point of the horizon, or upchucking into the ice cream bucket on my lap. They weren't fun.
    I did my 'cake' making in the backyard instead with dark mud for the cake and lighter mud (a bit of real flour helped here) for the icing and decorated with fancy leaves and grasses.

  11. I do worry that kids don't have the freedom of imagination that some of us grew up with. But I'm glad we have seat belts now. :)


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