Children’s Diary – The First Day – June 26, 1974
We said good-bye to Grandma Green and Poppa Green and Grandma Ward and Poppa Ward. They cried. We love them.
We still have several stops before leaving the Sarasota Bradenton area. The rain continues to fall as do the tears. The children have been waiting so long to “go camping” and we aren’t even near that idyllic place. We still have several storage drop-offs and more good-byes. Our belongings are strewn all over the state of Florida and what we can’t store has been sold.
On to Sarasota to say good-bye to my sister Judi and her new boyfriend Pete. Her kids have gone to camp and Judi has a sad smile on her face lately. The pressures of living in a new relationship and starting a newspaper with him begin to weigh heavily upon her usual footloose and daring self, “Man, I wish we could come with you,” she sighs as we kiss and hug good-bye.
“Get a wild hair and do it. I love you sis.”
Next we drop Scooter’s hearing aid at the dealer’s. It was bound to break right after it was serviced and made ready for the trip. We no longer have an address so we’ll drive 2,000 miles to pick it up in Colorado Springs. The kids think that’s pretty exciting!
Our itinerary for the first day is to get as far as Tallahassee where Ray’s sister and husband live. We drive in the continuing torrential storm that follows us the whole way. The St. Petersburg Skyway Bridge looks enchanted suspended in foggy rain. The children are spellbound.
Nicole is jumping up and down on the back seat, “Mommy, it looks like Cinderella’s Castle ‘cept it’s a bridge.”
“Can we go back and do it again, Daddy? It’s like the best ride at Disney World.” Scooter is the daredevil.
Ray likes to honor his deadlines, “No, sorry kids. We’ll never make it to our first destination. Auntie Carol and Uncle Jeff are waiting for us.”
We arrive at dusk, eat dinner and begin to put the children to bed. By now they’re cranky and Scooter’s confused. “Aren’t we putting up the tent, or sleeping in the van?”
I explain, “Oh not tonight. We’ve got nice beds with sheets to sleep in tonight.”
Scooter whines, “but you said we were going camping. We always sleep in beds. That’s no fun.”
I smile, “Tomorrow we’re going to have some fun. Auntie Carol is taking you to the children’s museum and the zoo.” Nicole is too tired to complain. She loves to go to bed and is asleep as soon as she snuggles in.