Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18th

March 18th, 1973 & 2013: We were in Lakewood, Washington, to visit dads daughter Lynn, and her family, from the 14th through the 20th. The time spent in the northwest, and with the Corys, was winding down on this date.

It is difficult to recall specifics and details from the trip. But in general terms, I remember it going well. A positive experience for everyone. It needed to happen.

Most of the time, we all just hung around Lynn and Roger's home. They had a ranch style house. I think it had three bedrooms. Rodney, my nephew, had his room, and twin beds. I slept in his room. Mom and dad probably slept in Julie's, my niece, room. Or maybe Lynn and Roger's room, with Lynn and Roger taking Julie's room. Room was sparse. It was cozy for a week.

While the grown ups did their thing during the day, talking or whatever. Rod, Julie and I would occasionally join in whatever they were doing and "bug" them for awhile.

Cory's had a collie. A good sized one. The three of us would run from the dining room, into the living room, take a leap onto, and off the sofa, and back out to the dining room. The dog followed every step. Including the sofa leap. We riled the dog up, our actions riled the adults up.

There is a state run game farm a short bicycle ride from the house. Rod and I, maybe Julie too, would ride down to the property and look through the high, wire fence at deer, pheasants, peacocks, or whatever else we could see, including some big trout hatcheries.

We also took two major side trips. One to Olympia, the state capitol. Not to see history, and how the government works. But to tour the Olympia beer brewery. The parents sampled the goods. I may have bought a souvenir. Olympia was a big sponsor of the Vels-Parnelli Jones, Indycar team back then.

We also piled into a car and drove a bit of a distance up to Mt. Rainier. Far enough up, to a tourist shelter and information station, that there was still plenty of snow. Rod and I inner tubed down the hills on the snow.

While it was fun and games for us kids, I'm sure there were plenty of serious conversations going on with the adults. I recall none of them. I didn't catch a word. I'm betting most serious talk went on at night, after the younger set had been sent to bed. Those conversations had to have been "heavy." I've never asked Lynn, or discussed with her or Roger, what went on, or what the tone was during those talks, assuming there were some.

Corys had a pachinko machine. Pachinko machines come from Japan, are a bit like pinball without the flippers. A small steel ball is launched into the playing area, and filters down through a series of hundreds of little wire pins. They're part amusement, part gambling. I had never seen one before, and was fascinated. Any free time I had was spent in front of the pachinko machine. Eventually, a machine was shipped to Pittsfield. But it arrived so badly damaged from shipping abuse, that it was thrown in the trash.

And Rod, four years younger than me, had his bedroom all done up in the blacklight motif. Posters, a couple of mobiles... He would have been 10 years old, I think, at the time. Maybe nine. He's not a hippie now, sure wasn't then. But his room was decorated like a hippie's room. Rod rubbed off on me. At some point, we went shopping. I came home with 4-5 posters and a mobile of my own. I transformed my own room into an opium den, minus the opium.

I don't remember doing a lot of homework out there. I surely took some books. A week away from school was a lot to miss. It would have been hard to catch up one week, in all my classes. And though I don't believe any of my teachers would have given me a free pass. I am sure that they might have been easier on me in some ways, due to the circumstances of the visit.

I can't stress enough, how much support we got from friends of mom and dad, my classmates. Anyone who knew us.

There were some photos made during that trip. Not many, but a few. And I find this very interesting.
Mom was still the chief "photo taker" in those days. She used a little Kodak Instamatic, 110 format camera. The flash was a four sided cube that would rotate. Four flashes to each cube.

Flash cubes were either not packed, did not go off, or were deemed unnecessary at the time the photos were taken. I don't think there were more than a half dozen photos taken on that trip. That's all I have.

The nature of the trip may have also factored in as to how many shots were made. This was no vacation. Not a joyous occasion.

All of the photos are very dark and murky. Every single one. The non believers would simply chalk this up as a technical error. Either the camera, or mom, didn't do their job. The flash failed, or mom misjudged the lighting conditions.

I find it ironic that the the photos match the overall mood of that trip. For several months a year, the northwest can be a bit gray and gloomy anyway. It was a great visit. yes. But the underlying tone was very serious. Also gray and gloomy.

It's almost as if an outside source made sure those photos were void of detail. That they were purposely made to be dark, to mask any sadness that may have been otherwise visible.

Dad plays cards with his granddaughter, Julie. Dad didn't smile a lot for photos. Check out his smile!

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