Remember when summer vacation from public school began before June 1 and continued until the end of August? What stands out in your memory of those long summers?
For some of you it might be Vacation Bible School, which usually lasted a week. But I grew up in a rural area with no churches large enough to have VBS.
For me the highlight of several summers was spending a week with an uncle and aunt who lived in town. As a country mouse, I had much to learn about the ways of city mice.
One of my motherís older brothers, Uncle Bernice Jones, had given up school teaching and moved to Lake Jackson, where he worked for Dow Chemical Co. in Freeport. He had a son a dozen years older than I, who during his teenage summers had spent several weeks on our farm. As payback to my parents, I was given the opportunity to spend a week in Lake Jackson for a couple of summers when I was nine or ten.
An interesting part of my first visit to Lake Jackson was getting there. It took place in several stages. First I traveled from the farm to Houston with a different uncle and aunt (one of my fatherís brothers and his wife). Uncle Bernice Lincecum and Aunt Euphenia lived in Houston, and they let me ride home with them after they paid visit to Bald Prairie.
After staying with them a few days, I boarded a bus to make the trip from Houston to Lake Jackson. This was the tricky part of the journey for me.When I first saw the movie version of Horton Footeís play, Trip to Bountiful, the scenes in the Houston bus terminal brought back memories. Just imagine a nine-year-old boy traveling alone for the first time.
I had the money for my ticket, but Aunt Euphenia purchased it for me and stayed in the waiting room until the boarding call. She then walked me out to the bus and talked to the driver, asking him to make sure I got off at Lake Jackson. This was 1951, and an unaccompanied child could travel much more easily than now.
I was scared but tried not to show it. Making matters worse, there was an older lady up front who knew the bus driver and insisted on talking to him, despite a sign which said, ďDo not talk to driver while bus is in motion.Ē
The bus passed through several small towns, including West Columbia and Clute, and not being familiar with the route I did my best to make sure we were not in Lake Jackson. I felt like the driver might have forgotten about me.
Sure enough, we finally arrived and a fun-filled week started in Lake Jackson. Among the new experiences for me were a Piggly Wiggly supermarket, a city swimming pool, the beach at Freeport, and freshly caught shrimp to be fried and eaten.
When my parents came to pick me up, I had a lot to tell them. The scary bus ride had been worth it.
A retired English professor, Dr. Jerry Lincecum teaches classes for older adults who want to write their life stories. He welcomes your reminiscences on any topic: firstname.lastname@example.org