March 25, 2016

Travel Makes Happy Memories

By Phyllis Bonfield

Vacations are a wonderful way to make lifelong memories. When I was a child our family took summer vacations visiting states throughout our country. I am awed I think how our forefathers headed west in covered wagons. Three-thousand miles is just a number until you consider it is nearly that far from New York City to San Francisco.

1948 Buick Sedan

1948 Buick Sedan

It took my family days to drive from San Antonio where I grew up to such destinations as Colorado, New Nevada or California. The first vacation I went on, one I barely remember, was to Colorado. I was six at the time. We packed up the Buick and off we went: the goal was to drive up Pike’s Peak — which we did. It was the first time I saw snow. I don’t remember if that was so or just something my folks talked about after the trip. I think it might have been the first time they saw snow too.

While we were in Colorado, we stopped overnight in Golden to visit friends of my parents. This I do remember – as if it were yesterday. I was outdoors with their son – who was my age – when suddenly he whispered, “STOP! Stand Still!”

Pike's Peak - America's Mountain

Pike’s Peak – America’s Mountain

I followed his eyes to the ground. There, coiled up, was a rattlesnake with its rattle rattling. After what seemed like hours, the snake uncoiled and slivered off.

We probably scared the snake as much as it scared me. My friend was unfazed. I don’t remember Pike’s Peak, but I remember standing there in my jeans and boots with a rattlesnake coiled at our feet.

On another vacation, I remember visiting Yosemite National Park where we saw the beautiful fire fall. It no longer takes place, but in the evening in the 1950s, a giant fireball was dropped down the side of Glazier Point.

Firefall in Yosemite National Park

Firefall in Yosemite National Park

The fireball drop began in mid-1800s and continued until it was stopped by the National Park Service in 1968. In the summer, as the sun set, the employees of the Glazier Point Hotel would build a huge fire atop Glacier Point. As the fire burned down to embers, someone yelled, “Let the fire fall!” Originally, that someone was the hotel’s owner. With long rakes, the hotel employees would push glowing coals over the 3,200-foot cliff.

I don’t remember anyone singing The Indian Love Song or someone yelling, “let the fire fall,” all part of the show, or so I have since read. But I vividly remember seeing that magnificent fireball heading down the mountain.

The Takeaway: Life is full of vivid memories, some good and some we’d rather forget. What memories do you have from childhood – especially ones from travel experiences – to share with us? Let’s remember together. Please include your name and email address or phone number so I may contact you for clarification or if I have a question. I will not publish your name. Contact me at [email protected]

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Phyllis Bonfield

About Phyllis Bonfield

Phyllis has been writing for publication since she was an editor on her high school newspaper. After graduating with a degree in journalism, she worked for more than 30 years with educational and not for profit organizations in public relations, marketing, conference planning and development. Prior to her retirement in 2004, Phyllis was the marketing & development manager for a Philadelphia-based regional library resource network. She was in charge of web development, publications, membership recruitment and conference and event planning. Phyllis also served as vice president of public relations for an association serving the financial services industry. She directed an award-winning public awareness campaign in conjunction with the American Red Cross. She was also instrumental in developing a campaign to promote business ethics in America that received front page coverage in USA Today and recognition on CNN, ABC and other national news outlets. After she retired, Phyllis waged a personal PR campaign to curb shoreline erosion at her home on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The project included organizing other shoreline homeowners and Maryland’s elected officials to take on 17 federal, state and local agencies who opposed her property receiving a building permit for revetment. After a two-year effort, she received the first permit on Maryland’s western shore to build a continuous nearshore breakwater. This project paved the way for neighbors to receive similar permits for erosion control. Phyllis has a bachelor of journalism degree from The University of Texas-Austin where she majored in advertising and public relations.