Monday, April 6, 2015

1960 Trip Continuation 3

I guess by now you have figured out that Dad would take any route to try and drive through as many states as we could on this trip. This meant that some states we passed through completely like New Mexico and others we might just catch a corner or at four corners, put a foot and hand in one of four states at the same time.

Our last story we were trying to get out of Arkansas and touch Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida's most western corner, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and to Look Out Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I stop here because I remember very little about this part of the trip. It seems like we were trying to make as many miles per day as possible. Maybe it was due to Dad being from this part of the country or his time table had been pushed up.  By now the camp tent was becoming cramped for the six of us. 
I remember Look Out Mountain because of the view and the cannons. Standing there looking down at Chattanooga and seeing the terrain that the Civil War soldiers had to traverse to fight was nothing more than inspiring to my 15 year old brain. We traveled on from here to Aunt Snows house in West Virginia. I covered that visit in a prior post.

Our next goal was Washington DC. It turned into night as we approached the city and Dad found a campground but we were told they were full. I remember he decided that we could stay in a motel for the night. I am not sure where it was, but it was in the district and it was not much of a motel. Dad had been the Superintendent of Building Services for the Santa Monica Post Office for a few years and had generated a friendship with Congressman Donald Jackson who's home office was located within the Post Office building. Thanks to my brother Terry for reminding me how Dad had arranged for us to get a special behind the scenes tour of the Capitol Building.

This tour included Congressman Jackson's office and the floor of the chambers that we all see during the State of the Union addresses. Our tour guide took us behind the velvet ropes and we all felt a special pride in our country and our Dad. These first looks at our nations capitol always leave a special impression on a youngsters mind. Years later when I took my sons to see the capitol, little did I know that a year later I would be working there everyday.

Our next stop would be the city of New York. I am now wondering why I have not mentioned the remaining members of our little tour group, the Leasures. That is due to the fact that after our stop at Aunt Snow's, Elmer decided to leave us and go directly to see his oldest Daughter Nancy and her family near Concord New Hampshire. Ultimately that would be our goal to meet them and continue our trek West.

Back to New York. Again we stayed in a motel in New Jersey which provided us with access to tour the city at a much lower cost than trying to stay in the city. How we did that remains lost in my memory, but a few things stand out. Again Terry has triggered my memory with his recollection of the Auto-mat food vending store near Times Square. Today it seems kind of quaint but in 1960 it was like WOW! Food behind glass doors that opened when you put in enough nickels! Then there was the boat ride from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty and our thwarted attempt to climb to the top. A disappointment to us both at the time and still today.

We left New York and headed to Boston. Our main goal was to see the The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist. We had attended the Christian Science church in Hermosa Beach California for most of our lives and our grandparents were members of the church in Santa Monica. Today the church has provisions for parking and tours. If my memory serves this was a problem in 1960. Seems to me that the city streets were very close to the church and parking was not available near the church. So a drive by of the church is what I remember as we proceeded to the harbor to see the USS Constitution.

Joshua and Jason in the ships Armory
Having been to see “Old Ironsides” with my wife and kids in 1983, the 1960 visit is erased from my limited memory bank. So I'll insert a couple of photos from the 1983 visit.
We now headed towards Concord New Hampshire to meet with the Leasures.

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