There was no planning. No saving. No big dreams of leaving it all behind, and wandering.
I broke my neck and nicked my spinal cord.
Life was going to be different now.
My carry on is packed.
The house where I have been house sitting is vacuumed and dusted and ready for her owners return.Tonight I will Ooo and Ahhh at fireworks with my grandchildren and squeeze them tightly knowing it’ll probably be a month or so before I see them again.
My little ones and I enjoyed a day at the beach. We conquered fears of the water and the waves. We caught minnows in our hands and dug for sand crabs. What a beautiful day I was given.
Flights look good in the morning, I should be back on the west coast by late morning. I’ll have just enough time to get situated in my mini RV (read SUV with a bed) and begin my wandering again, down the coast. Excited about the time I’ll be spending in Southern California. And that I’ll be only 2 hours from my beloved Yuma.
btw……Isn’t he a cutie. I claim him….he’s my Grandson
I wandered a ghost town off Hwy 395. At the end of a 12 mile dirt road I found a treasure.
The left behinds. Bedding, cookware, books…a stocked bar, empty caskets at the undertakers. Patiently waiting for the miners return.
But if you listen closely, and stay very still.
You will come to realize, they never left..
Its been about 6 months since I decided that wandering for awhile, with no actual home, was exactly the path my life should take (no time limits, no expectations)
Traveling, it has always been a part of my life.
Joining the USAF, and then moving on to a commercial airline made my yearning for far off places possible.
(My children grew up thinking everyone flew to NYC for lunch…)
25 years in the airline industry and I have friends all over this planet. Friends who say,”there is always an extra bed for you.”
This is a way of life for us “Non-Rev travelers”…
*Definition:Non-Rev~ a non revenue/non paying passenger. Someone who flys standby. Airline employees, their families and friend’s (only friends you completely trust…lol)
We are always ready to go.
We know how to pack.
We understand the importance of the words, “close the doors, close the doors”
One carry on, that holds everything we need for a months journey, that includes every climate imaginable.
We understand someone may show up looking for a place to sleep without notice (With a friend) And that we will more than likely do the same.
There will be cars available to use,and Pilots will have cheap rentals for other “airline employees” to enjoy, in exotic localities.
This has been my life since I was 18 years old. And its been a wonderful ride.
Tahoe, Hilo, Tucson, Orlando, Barcelona and Panama City (yes, the country) are all on my schedule for a visit in the next 6 months.
Is this life for everyone?
(Its hard for me to understand that, but I am trying)
Living the life of Riley.
On the budget of Fred Sanford.
Go see the world.
If that’s too big of a step,
Start in your own backyard.
I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find, that you never knew was there.
and remember, I want to see pictures.
Mrs K and Snoopy.
They walked the neighborhood each evening and I was always invited along
Our walks turned into invitations to come to her home. Which I did daily. There were dinner dishes to help her with and cartoons to watch on Saturday mornings. And car rides to the store…. I cherished those. I always wanted to go to the store with my Mother. Unfortunately that never happened. But with Mrs K, it did.
The days I missed school because of an illness, there were goody bags with things to keep me occupied.
Gifts on my birthday’s and at Christmas. And her attention, always her loving undivided attention.
Her four children were older and seemed to understand my presence. Her oldest John and his friends taught me how to play baseball and football.
I was always included in the back yard games. I adored these “older boys” who were all of 18, And my 7 year old heart swooned over many of them. To this day I still believe those innocent crushes were the absolute best.
My daily visits became a few a week as I entered my teens. But I always knew she was there for me
And then after graduation from High School my family was transferred back to the Midwest with my Father’s job…..
And my few times a week visits now became cross country trips.
I am now in my 50’s and I make the trip twice a year to visit my “Mom”
Our phone calls are usually very similar now. She tells me she has dementia, and I hear the same tales and stories. And that she doesn’t remember names and faces anymore, but she knows she should know them because of how happy the people’s faces are when they see her, so she must know them.
Then in the middle of her telling me all about what she’s forgotten…..
She begins telling me of 7 year old Beth, and the adventures she and I had. All our memories.
Then of 12 year old Beth, and 15 year old Beth….
She promises me she will not forget me…
I pray she is right.
As I said previously, the things I am most proud of, the things I like the most about myself, I learned from my Surrogate Mom..
I’d like to change direction and start at the beginning.
What brought me to this “Wandering” Phase of my life.
So find a comfy chair, grab a drink. And follow along.
I will tell it as I remember. So check back often, there is a lot to tell.
Ready? Here we go…..
That’s me, all of three maybe four years old and my Mother. We had just relocated to the East coast from The Midwest. Dad was a traveling salesman and Mom was a stay at home Mother. That is pretty much how it was in the early 60’s. Big families and Mom at home.
I was the youngest at this point. There were four of us kids, with a 9 year age spread between my oldest brother and I.
(Or is it, me? I’ll throw in a blanket apology for the many grammatical errors to come)
Mom was pregnant with my little brother in this photo, but no one knew yet.
I remember my Mother being sick during her pregnancy. So sick she was admitted to a hospital in NYC for evaluation. Dad was terrified, Grandparents were 600 miles away. My older Brother and Sister stepped in as surrogate parents.
Her diagnosis, Chronic Hepatitis..liver damage.
And in 1964, almost a death sentence.
My memories from this stage forward are of my Mother in a hospital bed in the family room and constantly being told to be “good” because Mommy was sick.
I was lucky, it seems I was a survivor. At four years old, I knew what I needed and went looking for it. And I found it, in the woman my Father hired to help us, Christine. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, the next door neighbors and Sally, who always had candy for me from down the road.
All whom I hung onto desperately, wanting to fill the void my sick Mother left.
I have two memories of my Mother. I remember it being Spring and the windows of the house were open and a lovely breeze was blowing through. Frank Sinatra was crooning about “Flying with him” on the stereo HiFi.
She had called to me to tell me it was time for my nap and to go with Christine and lay down. I decided to hide, to avoid the nap, and was watching her from behind the sofa.. She knew I was there, but pretended not too. She looked like an angel. It was one of the few times I remember her happy. She had gotten out of her hospital bed, and was dancing. My dancing Mother, The Angel. I fell asleep, behind the couch, watching her dance.
My other memory is of the four of us, ages 13 down to 4. Sitting outside the bathroom door. Listening to our Mother cry. And all of us telling her, through the locked door that we would be good. To please stop crying and we would be good.
Looking back I know that her tears were out of fear, desperation and sorrow. Not because of anything we four had done.
Our home was this huge old farmhouse my Father rented for $120 a month. It was cold and drafty. And a great place for children to get lost in. Closets had been added here and there, the one in my bedroom had been built over a window. We were convinced the house was haunted and usually made our nightly bathroom visits two by two.
When I was 6 we moved to the neighboring town. Dad had purchased our first home.
And there we stayed until I graduated from High School…..
I was starting first grade and had my work cut out for me. I was in need of another “Mother” figure.
Little did I know that the woman I chose, the neighbor who walked her dog each evening through our neighborhood and invited me along. Would be the woman who to this day I refer too as My Second Mom. And she, well, she taught me all the things I like the most about myself. I thank God for her, everyday…..