May 29, 2021
Happy May-almost-June to everyone out there in the cyber world of blogginess! Since my hubba hubba Bret is now retired and the pandemic is somewhat under control, we decided to take a trip beyond Corbin, beyond Lexington, and even beyond Kentucky to celebrate. Guess where we went—I’ll give you five seconds to contemplate. . . . .
We journeyed back to our old stomping grounds, as we’ve done nearly every year since we’ve lived elsewhere, which is a looooonnnnggg time. First we stomped around northwest Arkansas where we lived for five years while Bret was doing his doctoral work, and where his parents and older brother and his wife live now. We’ve been there many, many times since we moved away, but it is still mind-blowing to go back to what used to be several small towns that have transformed into a major metropolis. Mercy! That place just keeps on growing, thanks in large part to Sam Walton and his Walmart conglomeration. We got out just in time!
After a couple of days there, we traveled up to Kansas City, Missouri to stomp around a bit, visiting cousins of mine that we hadn’t seen in six years, and then down to Warrensburg where I was born and lived until we moved to KC when I was eleven. We lunched with another couple of cousins of mine there and then drove around a bit looking at my old hometown. It’s not like I hadn’t been back there fairly recently, but good grief!! It also seemed like a mini-metropolis to me.When we drove past my old house I barely recognized it. It had definitely gone through some kind of alien shrinkage machine, along with the hill it is situated on that I used to risk my life skateboarding down. And then we drove past where one set of grandparents had lived. I knew what I was going to see, but I had to go there anyway. The whole block where I used to play on my grandparents’ yard swing (that is now in my backyard) is a parking lot. The college has taken over most of that area of town. Why did I do that to myself?
From there we traveled back up to KC to visit with Bret’s younger brother, his wife, two of our nieces and three of their sweet little kids. That was a happy pick-me-up after the parking lot experience! From there we headed home, stopping by in Sedalia (an hour southeast of KC) to visit for a couple of hours with a friend of mine since first grade.
It was a nine day trip into my “ever present past” as a Paul McCartney song phrases it. I learned all kinds of tidbits about my family that for some reason I had never heard: My sweet grandma, that lived where the parking lot is now, actually lost her temper sometimes and even hit my grandpa over the head with a skillet once! My other grandparents spoke Swedish (grandma) and German (grandpa). And evidently my dad was in the thick of things in WWII. I knew he had been sent to Europe somewhere towards the end of the war, but all he ever said was that he ended up in the ocean at some point and didn’t know how he made it to shore. My cousin who had been in the military said my dad was probably involved in a sea to land invasion, although if it had been D-Day, surely he would have said that. But maybe not. He didn’t talk about it.
Anyway, it was a slightly different trip home than we’ve made in the past, since we had more time to see more people. Returning to our roots has been the travel theme of our lives, but one of these days we are going to strike out for sights unknown!