Distractions, Diversion, The World A to Z, travel

A Trip Into The Rearview Mirror

When you can hear your wanderlust ticking like a biological clock (think Marisa Tomei’s performance in My Cousin Vinny), you know you have to find something fun and different to do. I decided to dig into some old memories and take a trip through my past.

A little background: Growing up an Air Force brat, we moved often and we were not allowed to keep a lot of “stuff.” Typically, my parents limited me to one box for memories. When I got my first apartment, my grandmother gave me her old steamer trunk. It became my new memory box and I’ve tried (and often failed) to limit my memory stuff to that trunk.

Yesterday, I opened the lid and started pulling out my past. The last Air Force uniform I wore is in that box. I took off the name tag and ribbons and put them in a frame, but the uniform is there. I held it up and wondered how it shrunk so much just being tucked away in that trunk.

Next up: My high school letter jacket. I went to two high schools. The first was in Wiesbaden, Germany and I lettered in cross country. No more long distance running could have something to do with why that uniform shrunk so much. 

A dug into the pile of scrapbooks and bundles of letters from old boyfriends. Yeah … I kept those. I sat on the floor and read about a dozen of those letters. Happy memories of sweet, younger times came flooding back. I’m lucky to have stayed friends with a number of old boyfriends … oddly, none of those letters are from the guys I still call “friend.” I found a box of ticket stubs and souvenir postcards from travels in my 20s and 30s and made a mental note to spend some time organizing them into another scrapbook.

Then the photo album. When did my friends and I get so old? Were we ever really that young? Yep! I have photographic proof. Haha. I considered pulling some of them out, scanning them and posting them here, but some things are better as memories. 

Before I knew it, I checked the clock and realized I’d been digging through that old trunk for about four hours. I thought about how all that digging was like a long drive on a sunny spring day. I felt a little refreshed and found myself smiling often as I wandered through my memories. I snickered a few times – like when I found the souvenir grass skirt my mom brought home from a trip to see my dad in Hawaii in the late 60s. It was a great distraction from my ongoing planning for future vacations … and gave me a few ideas! 

… good thing there’s room for more memories in that trunk, cuz I have LOADS more memories to make.

After all, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored, some of it may be behind you. Think of it as taking a trip into the rearview mirror.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2020

Diversion, Uncategorized

Time Travel

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the concept of time travel and love movies like “Back to the Future” and “The Final Countdown” that explore what would happen if someone were to go back in time and mess with the potential future.

But that’s not what this blog is all about.

No, this is about actual travel in the present day to explore a long-lost place, or to bring back memories from the past. This idea struck me a few nights ago when Judy and I watched “Xanadu” starring Olivia Newton John. While panned by critics and a box office flop, the roller disco fantasy movie also starred a place that brought back strong childhood memories … the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District.

Pan-Pacific_1956
The Pan-Pacific Auditorium in 1956

Built in 1935 in a Streamline Moderne architectural style, the Pan-Pacific Auditorium lived a long life hosting sports events like hockey and wrestling, radio shows, and political rallies. It pre-dated the much-larger Los Angeles Convention Center downtown. It was also the place that held the first sailboat show I ever went to with my father (we would attend later shows at the Long Beach Convention Center). My dad taught me how to sail and, along with building and flying model airplanes, this is where my dad and I “connected” at a time when his availability to spend time with me was limited. Going to the boat show was a special treat. As kids do, I dragged dad from model to model, firmly deciding that “this” boat was the one to buy so that we could race, cruise, or just hang out in the marina.

That first visit to the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was also special because I was fascinated by the architecture. I still maintain a strong attraction to the Art Nouveau and Streamline Moderne styles of the 30s and 40s. So I wept when the evening news 30 years ago carried live aerial footage as the facility, long in disrepair, burned to the ground.

I want to go back to where the Auditorium once stood, now a park. I want to relive those moments in the past, explore the smaller re-creation of the auditorium built on the grounds as a reminder of its golden age. I want to eat at the famous Farmers Market across the street, bringing back the sights and smells of the food we ate after the show.

Judy and I have done this before, visiting places we’ve read about in history books, seen the old photographs and maps, or simply heard about … places like Gettysburg and Route 66. We’ve visited other places of my youth, like the site of Montreal’s Expo ’67. It was there as a lad of only six, I marveled at the unique cubist Habitat 67 apartments created for the show and which remain residences today. In each instance, I try to transport myself to the past in my mind, remembering what it once was, and what it has become.

They say you can’t go back, but with a healthy imagination, this time travel brings happy memories and a unique perspective, one that makes even day trips fascinating. So the next time you have a some time to kill, hit the road and go see something from the past.

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Go see it…and travel back in time.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2019