Saturday, July 5, 2014

My First Road Trip ... Queens NY

Road Trips, they were infused into my Grandmother's DNA, and somehow I got a smidgen of an adventurous spirit myself thanks to her.

She loved road trips, and I don't know if it was out of a simple love for travel or from necessity, but I got to be her traveling companion on more than one occasion.

She started letting me tag along with her when I was just a little girl, and to this day I love to hit the road; sometimes with no destination in mind, I simply love the adventure. 
My Grandma Lockwood. We traveled the miles together

I was probably four or five when I took my first road trip with my Grandmother, and it wasn't just to Buffalo or Albany, no, we were going to Queens NY, where my Aunt and my twin cousins lived. 

I couldn't tell you if I was exited or not I was so little, but my Gram always told me that I sang in her ear the whole way there and all the way home again - so I must have been enjoying the ride. And once in a while when I remember her saying that, I get a glimpse of that ride.

I can actually see myself, my head popped up behind her in the back seat, music playing on the radio singing a favorite song and not missing a single word. I can see her looking at me from the rear-view mirror with a big smile on her face, asking, "How do you remember every single word to every song?" 

That is the scene in my mind. And to answer her question nearly 45 years later, "I have no idea how I remember the words Grandma, no idea."

The Queens trip would be the first time I'd meet my twin cousins. I was maybe four or five and they were a year younger, but for some reason that visit and the specific moments I remember from being there are as vivid as the day they happened.

My first favorite memory, hands down, is the Bat-Man Cave under the stairs in their basement. There was a black curtain draped over the doorway that lead under the stairs into a hidden space. I remember it was a tiny deep room, dimly lit with a light somewhere. I think a small table and chairs took up some of space in that small spot and there may have been a bit more furniture, but all in all it was a perfect hide-out. 

And we each got to be Bat Man or our favorite Super Hero for the day, with capes and masks and gloves and boots and all the bells and whistles that go along with Super Hero status. 

The complete package. 

The memory is like a slow motion, slid by slid picture show, but impressive to me as I write about it. We ran around the basement and flew through the air, lifting our capes up to catch the air, jumping as high as we could, bouncing off couches, and dropping and rolling to avoid collisions with the enemy; seriously damaging and maiming them when we did make contact, ending the encounter with their sure demise. (We of course, NEVER died). And then we would celebrate with our arms out-reached over our heads with loud hoots and howls of victory, jumping up and down in celebration of the conquering of our biggest and deadliest foes.

I can't exactly remember who the bad guys were? Hmm! I guess they never are remembered are they?

It was just simple, care-free, imaginary fun and we saved the world from the bad guys for hours.

And then came dinner and another memory of that Queens trip, it was our spaghetti dinner; And we happily shared it with the walls and the floor and the ceiling. I can remember it sticking and hanging from the ceiling and adhering itself to the walls and finding it hanging off of each of us, sticking to our heads and landing on our shoulders like long, dangling wet hair; and we just roared with laughter. 

It was hilarious! It was the most phenomenal Spaghetti War ever; We were covered in sauce and pasta, who wouldn't find that funny?

And laugh ... we laughed so hard we couldn't talk or breathe deep enough so we could keep laughing, it was that funny. And There is no way to forget something like that.

I remember my Aunt yelling, "QUIT THROWING THE SPAGHETTI!" (But I bet she had a little chuckle and grin behind her shout).  I think the plea for us to quit may have taken a couple more shouts, but we finally stopped, reluctantly, with each of us simultaneously attempting to through that last fist full of pasta. 

We were all winners in that spaghetti war. 

And that's all I remember. Spaghetti flying and us laughing. I don't think we cleaned it up or if we were even asked to help. I don't even remember getting the noodles picked off us and getting cleaned up, I just remember throwing spaghetti covered in sauce at my cousin's who I had just met, and they were tossing it back at me, and it was so much fun, and we didn't even get in trouble for it, not really, and that made it even better.

Moral of the story, chucking food can be fun. I have experienced it. I wonder if adults could find it that much fun? Maybe there would be happier adults in the world if they did have a food fight once in a while?

Who knows, maybe I did get in trouble, but my mind, my amazing mind, didn't remember that part. I would have to say fun trumps trouble and one without the other seems to be the theme for me, at least in my young life. 

Those are the only two things I remember from meeting my cousin's the first time and visiting Queens. I am sure we ate more meals and played more Super Hero games and probably even went to a park and took a few car rides into the City, but those two gems, they will forever live in my memory.

And in no time at all, we were on our way home again, me and my Gram. There I was again, singing in her ear and she was still amazed at how I could sing those songs, effortlessly. Never once did I hear her tell me to stop. She just smiled at me in the rear-view mirror and drove down the road like she owned it.

We never did go back to Queens after that visit; My uncle got transferred with his job and they moved within the next couple of years to Pittsburgh PA., and as you may have guessed, I have stories to share from there too. 

Those stories are for another time.

We shared many more road trips together, and made just as many memories. My Gram shared a love of something with me I don't think many knew about her, and that was that she loved the road and traveling, and in turn so do I. That is a kind of love for something that money cannot buy. 

I am glad she shared it with me.

So as a favor to yourself, go on a Road Trip. Forget the excuses and all the reasons "not to", and find just one "because I can," and go. You will never regret "hitting the road," no matter where "your" road may take you. The destinations are endless, be it to the Grand Canyon or to see a special Aunt you haven't seen in many years. 

You will never regret hitting the road; And the freedom and amazing memories you experience along the way will be priceless.

Safe Travels to all ... Now hit the road. 
(And take a map along for the fun of it).