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V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N — We’re on Vacation

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Air conditioning in cars did not become standard until many years later. So we did what we could to keep cool. Imagine a trucker passing us, looking down at two feet sticking out of the window on the passenger&srquo;s side in front, two more feet sticking out on the left side in back, and the dog sticking his head out the window on the right.



Why is it that, today, we often associate “vacation” with long lines, lost luggage, ridiculously expensive T-shirts, and..... of course... cell phone mania?

Ah..... for the good old days.

My father hardly ever took a vacation. As a doctor, he was loathe to “sign out” to another physician. His patients were his patients, not someone else’s. For him, a vacation was six weeks in an empty house with no dog and no kids running around. I think he came to terms with that. Actually I think he kinda’ liked it.

For my mother, vacation meant piling two kids and the dog in the Ford station wagon, and getting in and driving. Where we went did not matter so much to her. It was the wild, open road that appealed to her.

My mother was behind the wheel of a car before there was such a thing as a driver’s license. I think she resented some bureaucrat half her age standing behind the counter at the DMV granting her the “right” to do what she had been doing since she was about six.

For my mother, the wild, open road was any stretch of concrete leading to or from Cleveland, Ohio. And believe me, it was wild back then. Oh, parts of the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes were in place. But what I remember most was a series of disconnected, winding, 2 and 3-lane poorly paved roads, as my mother put it, “from one ’berg to another,” up and down the east coast.

I guess we could have gone anywhere. But year after year, my sister and I wanted to go back to the same place: 1,200 miles south to Daytona Beach, Florida. That was fine with mom.

This was what the beach and the boardwalk in Daytona looked like in the mid 60s:

It actually looked much better in color, but....

Getting to Daytona Beach was a 4-day adventure. My mother loved driving. But for her, a day’s drive meant about 3 hours in the morning, and 4 hours in the afternoon. That amounted to about 300 miles a day. Thank goodness for the restaurants of the open road in the 50s and 60s: Howard Johnson’s.

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