Traveling parents were on the road again - and again Walt's Way
Members of my family are all very peripatetic. By contrast, I stay home to look up in the dictionary that "peripatetic" means that they like to travel.
I suppose they came upon this roaming tendency naturally. After all, if our ancestors had not been travelers, I would have been writing this column in Slovak, Irish or Polish. (People have a hard enough time following this when it's in English.)
The traveling gene must have skipped a generation, because all of my grandparents pretty much stayed put in my hometown. However, my parents more than made up for their parents' stay-at-home philosophy.
Dad got his real start on heavy-duty traveling involuntarily. He was drafted and joined the Seabees of the U.S. Navy in the midst of World War II. The long-time promise has been, "Join the Navy and see the world."
My Seabee Dad did not see the entire world, but he did get to visit the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Tinian and Okinawa. Other than Honolulu, I don't think he did much sightseeing.
But, on the plus side, he got to see Okinawa and Tinian well after the battles for those islands had been fought. Freedom from worrying about being shot more than made up for the lack of sights to see.
When he returned after war's end, he eventually met and married my future mother. She immediately became a willing partner in Dad's wanderlust.
On the day they were married, they got in the car and drove to Alabama, where Dad served as best man for his Seabee buddy, "Abe" Lincoln.
This set the stage for annual drives across the country, starting in June when Dad finished teaching for the school year. This was hard-core traveling at its best because there weren't a lot of comforts where they went.
Motel 6 couldn't leave the light on for them because it was still many years from being created. Often, my folks ended a long day's drive by sleeping in their old Dodge sedan.
Every few days, they would splurge and stay at a motor court with little "guest cabins." Forget a TV, air conditioning or other frills. My folks were happy if there was a bed and a bathroom.
It was finally me who put a stop to all that driving. My birth was followed every other year after that by the arrival of my two brothers and eventually by the appearance of our sister.
Instead of our parents driving themselves, we were driving them - crazy.
Of course, they never got over the travel bug. This was seen in their "day trips."
The early cross-country ventures got them in shape for such marathon jaunts. It was nothing for Dad and Mother to get up an hour before most roosters have their alarm clocks set.
They would put one or more of us kids into the car and drive five or six hours to a destination such as Stone Harbor, N.J. After spending a long day on the beach, they would pile us back in the car and complete the second half of their journey.
We fell asleep hoping that Dad would not do the same while behind the wheel.
Once most of us were in college, our folks had a relapse of travel fever.
Their ultimate trip was when we sent them to England for a month. Dad had always wanted to go there, so he wanted to see everything he could as they crisscrossed England, Scotland and Wales on trains.
I don't know how many pairs of shoes Mother wore out trying to keep up with Dad, but I do know that the next time he crossed the Atlantic to the British Isles, he went by himself.
My folks' vacation to Hawaii worked out much better. Oahu is a relatively small island, so there was only so much walking that Dad could do in any direction before he wound up in the Pacific Ocean.
Years later, my mother had to travel on her own, and that didn't slow her down. When it came to travel, few things did slow her down.
When my brother Dave and his family lived in suburban Washington, D.C., our Mom would brave the Russian roulette expressway know as the Capital Beltway. There are NASCAR drivers who are afraid to do that.
She wouldn't think twice about driving solo for nearly for hours to visit my brother Phil and his family in New York. That ride included the macadam roller coaster known as the Taconic State Parkway.
Traveling to various plays, shows and other attractions, she logged more time on buses than many Greyhound drivers.
Every now and then, she would embark on a major travel adventure, such as a trip to Ireland or a return to Hawaii.
Her most impressive trip would have to be a cruise to Alaska made a few months after she had both knees replaced.
Just recalling my folks' love for travel has inspired me to take a trip of my own - across the room to a recliner from which I can watch the Travel Channel.
(Walt Kozlowski, a freelance writer from Mount Carmel, composes Walt's Way for each Sunday edition.)