They went on a vacation

gandle(4 NE)November 29, 2011

The year was 1940, summer when my father asked me if I minded staying home and taking care of the place. Dad was gassed in France in WW1 and his lung problems had affected his heart and by 1940 he had rented out most of the land and really all the chores I would have to do was milk twice a day take care of the poultry and dogs and cats. He did have 2 horses left but they were in pasture so very little care needed except seeing that the windmill had the watering tank full.

I had been to Yellowstone park the summer before with my grandfather and uncle. Grandma had just died and the uncle thought granddad needed to get away. Grandads brother took care of his farm while we went.

I said sure I'll stay. He said I'm going to take the rest of the family to the Black Hills, we want to see Mount Rushmore. I think there were only 2 heads at that time, not sure.

I talked to sister about it and she said dad had talked about it for a week. They had never, ever been off the farm overnight for at least 15 years. She also rolled her eyes and said that ought to be fun. I knew what she meant. Much younger 1/2 brother got car sick seemingly just looking at a car. From where we lived near the Kansas line it was going to be at least a 350 mile trip.

I had ideas of staying up most of the night listening to the radio. The huge old console radio had at least 3 short wave bands. I was the only one that ever listened to them and it had to be after everyone else was in bed.

The time went uneventfully on the farm but when they came home a day early I couldn't wait to talk to sis about the trip. I asked about Mount Rushmore, she said it was great. I asked about the trip. She rolled her eyes again and said if you don't mind stopping every 50 miles to let Tom out of the car it was O.K.

Step-mother told me later that little brother was sick so often that the trip really wasn't all that much fun except for Rushmore. She said we tried everything, made him lie down so he couldn't see the scenery going by. We tried singing, tried reading to him, tried to get him to sleep nothing worked.

Guess he got over being carsick though, when he was going to college he worked all summer driving truck.

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I was so intrigued, I looked it up. Here's what I found:

"The faces of the presidents were finished one by one, Washington in 1930, Jefferson in 1936, Lincoln in 1937 and Roosevelt in 1939."

I hope that helps you. I love your story! I can just picture you by that huge radio. I too am motion sick with everything I do. The trick is to never take your eyes off the scenery. If you see it going by, it jives with what your body is feeling. That keeps me from being quesy. What an awful trip for everyone, but especially poor brother. My baby sis and I could make those eyes at each other and we didn't even need words, we knew what the other was thinking.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 4:53PM
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What a great story for us and great memories for you, George. Travel in the 40s was very different, b/c there were no interstate highways.

My first time of seeing Mt. Rushmore was in the early 60s; it was an inspiring sight; it's still impressive and awesome, and I hope another figure is never added to the four who are there, now.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 6:01PM
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My grandfather was too old to be a soldier in the First World
War and so instead volunteered to go overseas with the "Y"
(YMCA). The Y played a very important role in the care of
the "Yanks", as our soldiers were commonly called at that
time. For some reason, the "Y" men were called secretaries,
and secretaries were not supposed to be close to the front lines.
But they delivered food and supplies and he wound up being
in the path of mustard gas. For the rest of his life, he coughed
very often and it sounded like it was coming way from his
toes. I'm sure that it shortened his life.

I believe that the place of the Y in that war has largely been
forgotten in history. I have some of his letters from 1918-19
that he sent home to his daughter from France. If anyone is
interested, some day I would like to write about some of the
important work they did. Or maybe I should just write it and
let you see the unexpected duties they took on. I believe that
it would not be boring.

The year that I was 12, our aunt and uncle would take us kids
out in their big Studebaker to see the beautiful mansions in a
far suburb. I was the only one who got carsick. They were
Christian Scientists, so I felt that I couldn't tell them that I
was sick. My brothers and I had to sit in the crowded back
seat and I spent the whole "treat" trying not to cause an
accident in their elegant car. I never did, but the trips were
always a nightmare.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 7:31PM
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I enjoy reading your childhood memories, gandle. We have been to Mount Rushmore, and it is awesome. I vote to keep it the way it is now. No new faces. That was then and now is now.
We finally got a memorial to the WW11 veterans at the mall in DC. That's the one I want to see. I don't like flying these days, but I may get over my own issues and pay tribute to my heros, the us soldiers.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 8:10PM
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I always enjoy reading stories of your childhood.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Enjoyed your story too. If I remember rightly the cars bck then had the seats made like overstuffed furniture Very hot and stuffy And of course no A/C It must have been a real "trip"

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:30AM
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How nice of you to take over the chores so that the rest of the family could go. Even if the trip was a bit of a challenge, there are smile-evoking memories yet today. I like very much to read your memories. More!!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 7:26AM
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I'm usually a purist, but I don't think I would mind adding Kennedy's and MLK's faces to Mt. Rushmore. No one else, mind you. They certain made the largest strides in recent history. But if they left it alone, that'd be great too.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Thanks for the story Gandle. Saw Rushmore in the 50's on one of the family vacations. We checked out most of the national parks and monuments each summer over the years. Would like to see some again.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 11:52AM
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pris(8B TX)

Loved your story. It brought back memories of the trip my family made in the late 40's to my GM's for her final illness and funeral. We didn't have a lot of money and the car we had was ancient old even then. I spent the whole 600 mile trip sick as a dog. Mine wasn't motion sickness but rather carbon monoxide poisoning leaking into the back seat. Probably would have killed me if the car hadn't been drafty enough to dissipate most of the fumes. After that I would get sick on any trip longer than a few miles at a time.

I've only flown over Mt. Rushmore and would dearly love to drive out to see it. Maybe sometime.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 12:58PM
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