I’ve kept journals since the 6th grade. 1996. A while ago. I’m not as consistent as I was, but I enjoy looking back through them occasionally to see where I’ve come or just remember some details I would have otherwise forgotten! It pains me, however, to read from about 1996-1998. 6th grade through middle school. I wrote some really stupid things. I cared about some really stupid things. I picked up some very bad language from time to time. I almost want to trash those years because I don’t want anyone reading them when I’m dead anyway. It’s embarrassing. If I have a girl someday, I’m not looking forward to ages 11-14. No, not at all.
Anyway, I wanted to look through 1996 so I could recall our summer vacation that year. My dad had a US Dry Bean Convention to attend, so we would take about two weeks, drive out to Durango, Colorado and back, stopping at various places along the way. Here’s what I found (mind you, some of the story – in quotes- is directly from the ramblings of 12 year old Ali; italics are present day Ali). Enjoy.
July 14, 1996
11:36 am “Well, we’re on the road to Iowa. (We’re going to stop at a Comfort Inn.)…We’re stopping in Indiana to eat lunch…Sam is counting barns because Dad is curious. Mom and Liz were playing a type of Bingo. Dad is driving and I am writing…” Wow. Nice ploy, Dad. Keep the kids busy by counting barns. Because your “curious”. As a parent I now know what you were up to.
4:05pm “…we ate in Indiana at a rest area on a picnic table. We had relay races. Barf…” Apparently running around after eating was one of the first lessons I learned in my young tween life.
In Iowa “we swam in the indoor pool. The next morning we left for Amana Colonies…then we went to Winterset, John Wayne’s birth place. On the way I noticed I left my camera in a store in Amana, but it was already an hour away.” Strike one. “JW’s birthplace was closed.” Strike two. “We got pictures though. We had eaten lunch in Ox Yoke something.” Strike three. “…we drove to Lincoln, NE and stayed at Fairfield Inn. We ate dinner at Boston Market.”
“At breakfast at the Fairfield Inn and saw a cute boy. I thought he was looking at me, but it was probably the food table.” Yeah, good call, young Ali, if he was looking at you, it was only because he thought his family brought him to see the world’s largest pair of glasses. Strike four.
“Anyway, we’re heading for Grand Island, NE. We’re going to see some historic thing there, too.” Hahaha, “some historic thing”. Oh the many historic things we saw as kids, and in all seriousness, I’m thankful for it now.
“We walked around Railroad Town and looked in old houses from the 1800s and played old games. Ate lunch in an old restaurant and went on a carriage ride. We each got to drive the horses!…We also visited the first settlement house in Nebraska (1859). The tour guide there told us that the owner way back then and his wife and three kids were in the house one night when lightning struck the chimney. The three kids were asleep in the loft of the cabin and the six year old boy died instantly- was really torn up. The other two boys were unconscious. So was his wife. He took his dead son and buried him quick, for fear of his wife seeing their boy like that. His other sons woke up, and his wife was okay too. We’re staying in Kearney, NE and going to some sporting goods store.” Way to show emotion about a horrific story there, Ali. I like how I jump right into visiting Cabela’s.
July 17, 1996
“Stayed at the Best Western and it was nasty. The pool was good though, we played with Sam’s nerf ball with a couple other kids. In the morning we ate breakfast at their restaurant, Apple Annie’s. Gross. I found a spider on the table and killed it, they got our orders wrong and the waitress seemed bored with us. All of it was crap.” Such language! I feel like as many nice places as we had the opportunity to eat in, we had the equal amount of one star duds on our list.
“We’re going to Uncle Harold and Aunt Shirley’s tonight and the next night. They live in Franktown, Colorado. Then to Durango. We ate supper with them, then in the morning we packed a picnic breakfast and ate at Castlewood Canyon State Park. We hiked 2 miles along the 7,000ft mountains, it was great! Then we went to Colorado Springs to the Air Force Academy. Lunch at Wendy’s then Garden of the Gods. Then shopping at the Trading Post. Dinner at a Mexican Restaurant.” I love all my great uncles and aunts. I have the blessing of knowing them all fairly well, and they all are so interesting. Having traveled the world, volunteering in awesome ways, or running a housekeeping-cottage campground, they all are dear to my heart. My Uncle Harold (Buzz) and Aunt Shirley were the ones we visited from time to time out in Colorado. They are in such great shape and would take us hiking around the beautiful area they lived in.
“We got back to the Bowers’ 5 acres and I walked around and found a little kitty that I named Tiger. Aunt Shirley said it was the neighbors cat.” Probably the only time I really liked a cat. Or at least didn’t sneeze or get scratched by one.
We left the morning of the 19th (Day 6 of our trip) and headed for Durango.
(Part 2 tomorrow)