Memories of Childhood Travel

My mother and I have always gone on ridiculous “vacations” together. There was one weekend we road-tripped three hours into the mountains to one of our favorite tourist spots while only speaking in Pig Latin. Upyay, igpay atinlay.

One of my mother’s few quirks is her enjoyment of a live televised auction put on by our local Public Broadcasting Station. That PBS auction and member drive was on our television all day for a week straight every year, probably more like just a three-day weekend. We never really bought too much, but we had a few traditions. We had to buy tickets to the Renaissance Festival and drink homemade Orange Julius. But, one year, they were auctioning off a travel package to a multicultural festival. We lived on the border between the USA and Canada, and this trip would take us to Canada for a few nights of lodging and the festival. I was young enough that this was VERY exciting. We called up the telethon and won ourselves a package, including tickets to the heritage festival with lodging.

Driving up took hours, and upon arrival… well, it was an A-frame lodge. A tiny cabin barely large enough for two people and almost impossible to fully stand anywhere than the center of the room. There was a single bed, a microwave, a chair, and dead spiders in the corners. The curtains weren’t sewn; they had been hot glued together out of horrific floral prints. There were a few of these tiny cabins lined up next to each other in a small clearing surrounded by woods. We laughed it off. However, the next morning we drove to the festival, and if memory serves correctly, our “large multicultural heritage festival” was in a school gymnasium… we laughed it off. When we got up to the ticket counter and told them they should have tickets waiting for us, they did not have any idea what the hell we were talking about and the old lady was rather cranky about the whole thing. We laughed it off. They eventually let us in and the only stall I remember, of the few there, was one where they were letting kids make paper flowers.

We laughed it off, but you know what, I’ve used that paper flower making skill-set many times throughout my life, including at my job at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


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