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In a jet black Plymouth Fury, built before air conditioning or seat belts were standard equipment, the vacation of a lifetime began.
The massive vehicle would accommodate four adults, three children and a baby on a trip to California to meet Mickey Mouse. At 8, I was the oldest of that pack of kids.
Disneyland was a novel concept in America. A new idea that became known as a theme park.
In our household, summer vacation was a novel concept. It came about thanks to the prosperity offered by my father’s first factory job.
Nowadays, the Disney experience is a common one. Disney World and Orlando beckon hundreds or perhaps thousands from our communities alone.
But when our California vacation began, the central Florida area where Walt Disney’s dream expanded was little more than swamp land in those days.
Interstate highways also were not part of the equation either. We drove across the nation on two-lane roads, stopping in places like Joplin, Mo., and Amarillo, Texas, and eventually heading west across the fabled Route 66.
Driving at night, we saw the Hoover Dam fully illuminated like a magical concrete wonder emerging from the hillsides.
There was a stop at the Grand Canyon but as a child I never really got to see it. The moms kept pulling us back away from the edge.
Eventually, came the day to see Disney. The giant characters, the amazing rides, the Hall of Presidents. All the promised attractions seen on the televised tours of the park were alive and in living color before my very eyes.
We’re taking the grandkids to Disney World in Florida later this summer. The oldest child in the group is 8; the same age I was on that earlier trip.
Recently, I mentioned those plans while visiting my Aunt Minnie and Uncle Earl. Along with their daughter Vicki, they rode along with us on that California journey.
The stories began and suddenly the years folded away. Uncle Earl offered one memory that seems stunning today. He carried $500 cash on that 12-day trip and came home with money in his pocket.
Now that’s my kind of vacation fantasy.
Actually, the budget is not my department. I find these massive vacations are much more enjoyable if I remain blissfully in the dark about what everything actually costs.
Whether you are planning your once-in-a-life trip or packaging fun into a series of “staycation” activities in and around Hardin County, enjoy the summer.
Minnie and Earl reminded me that nothing is more valuable than the memory making.
Ben Sheroan is editor
of The News-Enterprise. He can
be reached at (270) 505-1764 or email@example.com.