|Mom and Dad in Florida, 1979|
When my mom died in June 2008, our whole family gathered at my sister's house after church. It was raining outside, so we were all sitting around the family room when someone brought out a box containing some of the notebooks my mom had kept of their travels. Since my parents retired, my mom would keep a record of all their travels, neatly typed up and placed in those 3-ring report binders. She would take a little spiral notebook with her on trips and keep track of details in that, and then when she got home she would type them up on the old typewriter in the spare bedroom. She liked to include all the little things, what time they left in the morning, where they stopped for lunch, what they had for lunch, how much gas cost, which hotels they stayed in, friends they stopped to see on the way, and then once they got to their destination, what they did each day. She loved to play tennis, and she would write about who she played tennis with in Florida (and who won). They liked to travel, went to Florida every winter (usually with my brother and his family), to Canada for many years, and visits to see us in Virginia. Before they retired, they also traveled to Hawaii and Turkey and many other places, but I don't think she kept journals of those trips. It was only after she retired that she had the time to write about their travels.
We had such a good time on that sad June day. Many of us had a part in some of those trips, so it was fun to read about some of the details of a trip that we didn't remember. My kids loved hearing about their grandparents coming to see them when they were little (often on the way home from Florida). I liked hearing how my mom loved my flower gardens. My nieces and nephews got to hear how much fun she had spending vacations with them. I think it had an effect on us, because now several of us write about our travels in online blogs, and I think we all realize we got this from Mom. I carry a little notebook with me now when I travel, just one more thing I find myself doing as I get older that is just like my mom. I think my mom would be so happy that she got us started on this, and she would be reading every word.