Tuesday, March 15, 2005


My father retired from GM when I was in 3rd grade. My mother, being fed up with the cold Michigan winters had already decided that we were not going to spend another winter in Michigan if she had any say about it. And considering she wore the pants in the family, mom's decisions were final. Mom's sister, my aunt Belle and her husband were already spending winters out in Tucson, AZ so that was our winter destination. The idea of moving was scaring the bejesus out of me and it didn't help that my great Aunt Flossie's new husband Bob told me to watch out cuz the Indians out there would scalp me.

Up to this point we had lived out in the country on our 40 acre farm in between the two very small villages of Lees Corners and Smith's Crossing. Every Sunday Mom and I went to the little Methodist church in Smith's Crossing which was right down the street from my elementary school. Most of the kids I knew came from farming families and everyone knew everyone or close to it. It was your basic three degrees of separation.

It was all planned that we would leave after Christmas and drive out there in our old green Pontiac and get me in my new school just when all the kids were coming back from Christmas break. My parents decided instead of having to find a place to live when we got out there, that we'd just bring our folddown camper and live in that for the season. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that mom's other sister, my aunt Jackie was going to go with us, so that made 3 adults, 1 kid and a poodle all living in a camper.

Anyway Christmas came and after we opened up our gifts we tore down our artificial tree and packed all the Christmas stuff away and prepared for our trip. The day after Christmas we were on our way out west and so began our new Christmas tradition of being snowbirds. The trip basically broke me of my normal carsickness. Aunt Jackie and I sat in the back seat and played tic tac toe most of the trip which helped keep my mind off of being carsick.

We stopped in Colorado to visit my Aunt Bea. She was the widow of my Uncle Du, who was one of mom and Aunt Jackie's brothers. Uncle Do and Aunt Jackies husband Uncle Clem both died of cancer around the time I was born. Aunt Bea's youngest daughter Carol was my age. Carol was very clumsy and always getting hurt one way or the other. (years later we found out that Carol wasn't clumsy at all, that in fact she was getting beaten up by Aunt Bea). That afternoon the adults visited and caught up over cocktails. Mean while Carol and I hung out in the back yard and she told me the story of how she fell down an embankment, explaining the reason for the bruises on her arms and legs. During that visit Aunt Bea told a story of how she was seeking guidance from her minister since she was windowed with 4 kids to raise. She said that he told her, "Bea, you just have to pray" and she told him right back, "You pray...I did...and God don't give a dam!" Man, did that make my everyone laugh.

We got to Tucson and found a travel trailer park called Ramada Camp Inn right off the highway at the end of Prince road and that's where we decided to call home. I got enrolled at Walter Douglas elementary. The school was bizarre, unlike my school back home which was one building, each grade at Walter Douglas had their own round building with wavy clam shell type roofs. I was taken to my class and introduced to my teacher Mrs. R.. She showed me to an empty desk and explained that all the kids were at recess and to just take a seat because they would be coming back shortly. And sure enough the kids started filing in soon after each one eyeing me as they walked in. A girl wearing a butterfly sleeve top with layered shoulder length hair who was bordering on being popeyed sat next to me. She turned to me and proudly announced in one breath, "Hi I'm Georgianne my mom's a stripper".


Homer said...

I've done an archaeology project right next to that RV park.

Michael said...

There was some abandon buildings next door when I lived there. It was layed out like a motel but there were no windows and the doors locked from the outside. Kinda creepy like it was an asylm or something.