One of mine is travel. I suppose it’s because I spent my childhood in the backseat of a car with my sister and grandmother – often a Volkswagen bug – with my parents in the front seat, acting as pilot and co-pilot. School vacation was synonymous with road trip. Since my father was an English teacher in a neighboring school district, he usually had the same days off that we kids did – and so off we’d go.
Our home was on Long Island, in the suburbs of New York, which was a great starting point for traveling all over the eastern half of the United States. The five of us explored New England, Florida, and just about every state in between. (Eastern Canada, too.) We saw the big cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Montreal; historic towns like Williamsburg, Virginia, and Salem, Massachusetts; and places that were just plain fun like Hershey, Pennsylvania, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
In fact, Florida was a favorite destination for spring vacations. The drive took about three days, including stops at every Stuckey’s and Horne’s we passed along the way (a blast from the past for those of you who had the pleasure of putting those on your itinerary before their demise). Once we were there, we also stopped at every attraction. This was still the 1950’s and 1960’s, so Disney had yet put in an appearance. But we found plenty to do: alligator farms, orange groves, Cypress Gardens, stores selling everything that could possibly be made with seashells, and the glitzy hotels of Miami Beach, where we strolled through the lobbies and pretended we were wealthy enough to stay at them.