Our parents must have been pooped by the last day our trip. The schedule clearly states that we would spend the day at Busch Gardens before flying home to Tampa. But that’s not what we did.
Instead, we had a leisurely breakfast and stayed at the motel until checkout time. We stopped for lunch at a Denny’s and went to a shopping mall near the airport. Mother reported that we shopped at Maas Brothers, which wouldn’t have meant much to me, but if you grew up in Florida before 1991, there is likely some nostalgia around a department store chain that started with a small shop in 1886.
We boarded our flight at 5:35pm in Tampa. By the time we flew to St. Louis and drove home to Lousiana, Missouri, it was 9pm.
The last line is Mother’s diary is “Sorry to see vacation end.”
This was our second big vacation in three years.
I wrote about our California Trip in the same #50YearsAgoToday format in 2021. The final post lists the entries in chronological order. Here’s a list of the Florida trip posts in chronological order:
- June 5, 1973: Packing Day
- June 6, 1973: Weeki Wachi Springs
- June 7, 1973: Disney World, Day 1
- June 8, 1973: Disney World Day 2
- June 9, 1973: Orlando to Cocoa Beach
- June 10, 1973: Delta Rocket and Cypress Gardens
- June 11, 1973: Kennedy Space Center
- June 12, 1973: Glass Bottom Boat at Silver Springs
Fifty years later, Dale and I have hazy memories about the details of these trips. They’re even fuzzier than I imagined until I attempted to write them.
That might be discouraging if you’re in a position to take children on vacations that you hope will create memories for a lifetime. We would encourage families to do it, anyway.
The benefits of traveling when we were young went far beyond detailed memories.
By driving to California in 1971 and flying to Florida in 1973, we gained a sense of how big the country really is. From that experience, a look at a globe helped us understand the relative sizes of the oceans and the continents. We learned that the world provides plenty of places to visit.
We interacted with locals and fellow tourists, exchanging a few words or a smile. Even when there was no interaction, we became aware that there were lots of people who acted, spoke, and dressed in lots of different ways. We learned that the world provides plenty of people to meet.
All of those people working and loving in all of those places helped us understand that there was life beyond the small town where we lived. We learned that the world provides plenty of opportunities.
The trip details may not be crystal clear, but we never forgot that our family shared these experiences together.