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The Vacation

July 21, 2005

I grew up with the story of my family’s last vacation. I had not attended, it was before I was born. I knew that it was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and something went wrong. The trip was cut short and that is why we NEVER went on a vacation again.

I learned last year that my 3 sisters and parents went on a trip to Biloxi to see the Ocean. Now I hear you, it’s the Gulf, but if you’re from Tennessee, it’s the ocean. They drove in our blue Ford. I know it was a Ford because my father has never purchased anything else.

The trip down was apparently uneventful. Arriving in Biloxi the family found a motel with a pool. My sisters said they were SO excited. They had only swam in lakes and rivers. They went to the beach next. My mother said, “That’s it! We came all this way and THAT’s it.” Things got worse.

They left the beach and found a restaurant that offered seafood. My father let the girls order whatever they wanted. This turned out to be a mistake. My sisters don’t remember how it moved from the restaurant to the motel. But this they remember.

Somehow my mother had managed to get into the room without the others and had locked everyone out. Including my youngest sister who was an infant at the time. She was angry that my father was “showing off”, “who ever heard of letting children order whatever they want”. For hours my father tried to get into the room. Somehow she eventually came out. They loaded up the car that night and drove non-stop back to Tennessee. They remember being hungry and eventually there was one stop made. Everyone stayed in the car but my father who emerged with a loaf of bread and some slices of bologna. They guess it was his way of hoping this would be a cheap enough meal.

They got a dry boloney sandwich and nothing to drink. I got a father that drank and no vacation.

I only learned of these detail a year ago. How it all came out is what I hope to share.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2005 6:48 pm

    Even though you weren’t born yet and weren’t there, I’m sure the effects of that fiasco greatly colored your family’s life from that time forward in wide ranging ways, like a pebble thrown in a pond that ripples outwardly seemingly endlessly.

    It is so sad, too, for all of you. Terribly sad. I hope sharing it with us will be of value to you in some small way.

  2. July 21, 2005 10:00 pm


    That sounds like a story from my life! It is wonderful to be able to break the cycle of dysfunctional parenting. Keep moving forward!

  3. July 22, 2005 9:39 am

    My family went camping to Colorado, and my dad borrowed a home made pop up camper from his boss!

    We were returning from Colorado to Waco, and in the middle of West Texas, near Muleshoe, the top of the camper blew off and pieces scatterd up and down the highway.

    I remember walking up and down the side of the hot highway picking up camper parts!

    To top it off, it was the end of our vacation, and we were always short on cash. My dad stopped at a store in Muleshoe and got Bologna and bread. We ate and I remember him telling us bologna was Oklahoma Round Steak!

    In spite of having to go back to work and tell his boss, “ugh, your camper is in ruins,” my dad had a sense of humor about the incident.

    Your comment on bologna and bread triggered that memory.

  4. July 22, 2005 9:06 pm

    Holidays were just about the only time I was guaranteed a mom who would not go ballistic. It was much safer holidaying than at any other time. Maybe because we were in public. Holidays were safe.

    But this post did make me think of one holiday that was wretched. Going have to mull that one over.

  5. July 24, 2005 10:52 pm

    It is interesting how particular events color everything else that happens…good or bad.

    I have written some about my dad … but it is very painful to sort through. I always find, though, that there are many men around who have suffered separation from their dads … whether in distance or emotion.

    Share with us what you can. You are not alone.

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