|Yosemite valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
My parents often opted for some rather eccentric vacation ideas when I was a kid. It was rather typical for my father to use his vacation time to have our theatrical agent book a summer tour of fairs where we would perform our juggling act. This was fine with me as it always proved to be a novel and fun experience.
In the summer of 1961 we took a more traditional vacation trip throughout California. By this time my parents had my sister Joy and me and our two year old twin brother and sister Jay and Joni. Piled in our station wagon with no air conditioning had to have been hot I suppose, but since that's what we always had, we must have been pretty accustomed to traveling that way.
We started the trip with a brief stay in Las Vegas. The oasis town was glitzy then, but nowhere near what it has become. Vegas had a sort of small town feel then with lots of entertainment and nightlife. It was definitely an adult oriented place, but there was still plenty for us kids. The highlight of that visit was getting to go see the early family edition of a show featuring singer Gogi Grant. That year she'd rereleased her 1956 hit "The Wayward Wind" and it had become a big favorite of mine. I can't recall much of the show, but I do remember Gogi Grant singing the song for which she was most famous.
After our brief Las Vegas visit we continued on to Yosemite National Park. We stayed in permanent family tents that had wooden floors. It was the closest to camping that I had ever experienced by that time. We took in the famous landmarks by car. My parents weren't too keen on much walking with two year old twins.
Next we went to Tracy, California to spend a few days with my aunt and uncle and cousins. They always came down to San Diego to spend a couple weeks with us so it was a twist to see where they lived. I recall staying up late with my cousins as we told scary stories and had a generally good time.
During this trip I gave a big boost to my postcard collection. I picked up several cards from Vegas, Yosemite, and Central California. The one that I prized the most depicted the decapitated head of Joaquin Murrieta, bad guy or hero depending on one's point of view. The gory head was actually a wax reproduction from a museum which we were not able to visit much to my chagrin.
I still have all of the post cards from that trip of fifty years ago. I only wish I had more vivid memories of that vacation. Childhood flies when you look at it in retrospect, but seems to last forever while you're living it.
What are some of your favorite vacation memories? Did you visit relatives at vacation time? Did your parents ever take you to any memorable shows or concerts when you were young?