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Travels of My Youth

I love listening to your show. It's informative, fun, entertaining and always stirs some memories for me. You see, I did a bit of traveling when I was a kid. My parents were both teachers, so they had the same summer vacation I did.

From the time I was 8 until I was 15 or so, we would spend every summer traveling around the U.S. with our pop-up camper trailer trailing along behind us. We went down South to Florida and up into Canada about as far north as you can go. I rode a horse along the Bay of Fundy, hiked the Cabot Trail, camped in St. Catherine's along side the St. Lawrence Seaway with Russian freighters on the right and the rushing river on the left. I went on so many nature walks in national forests, I could give the talks myself by the time I was 11. And did, a couple of times.

We meandered around Maine, finding a little bakery run by two ancient sisters who introduced us to the wonders of Granny Smith apples and cheddar cheese served with fresh sourdough bread. We stumbled into a roadside clam bar and ended up stuffed to the gills for free because the two men who owned it needed tasters to try their new recipes. Watching my mother, a born and bred Brooklynite, try to eat her first lobster. "Bob!!! It has eyes!!! I can't eat anything that still has eyes!!!" My brother and I smugly ate our fried chicken. (She did the same thing in Chinatown in New York when confronted with her first whole sea bass.)

We had some disasters on the road, like the time the shock absorbers fell out of the back of the car in the mountains outside Quebec City and we spent the whole day at the Goodyear dealer there listening to him scream at the Levittown, NY dealer in French for his shoddy workmanship. He and his crew insisted on buying us lunch and dinner to make up for the shame of it all.

Or the time I ran a fever of 105 on the beach and was hallucinating some wonderful fantasies. Or the time a strange man yanked my brother and me out of the back seat of the car because the trunk was on fire. The time my dad ripped the bottom of the trailer out by backing over a tree stump hidden in the grass. Normal things.

But it all seems wonderful now.

We always ended the summer with two weeks in Cape Cod, MA. We would get to a spot on the highway where my dad would call out "If we go to the left, we go home. If we go right, we go to Cape Cod!" And of course, we yelled loudly to head straight for the Cape.

Now that my folks are both in very poor health and my dad has so little short term memory, it is great to sit and talk with him about those summers years ago. So, thanks for bringing back the memories and for giving me the hope of creating some new ones.



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