Why do I want to travel? You either understand the urge or you don’t. Ever since I was a kid, maybe ten years old, I have wanted to see the world. So did my mother, my Mimi. Every year she would store up her energy so we could travel in the States for the two or three weeks my dad had for vacation. This was no small feat for her. She had what I guess we would say was chronic tuberculosis throughout my childhood, but every summer she would summon all her strength and we would GO, one year to the east coast, and one to the west. One year we went to Mexico, to Monterey, just before she had to have an extremely serious operation to remove a lobe of her left lung, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease to the other lobe. But I remember that trip still.
In 1955, she was down to breathing on one lobe of one lung. Heedless, I’d been planning a trip for the next summer, to go to Europe with good friends of mine, a boyfriend and his mother and sister. In that summer of ’55, Mimi had to have what we knew was a last-ditch operation. Before she went into the operation, in which she died, she told my dad that she wanted her life insurance to go to me for the trip. She had never made it abroad, but she wanted me to go in her stead. And so I did, in 1956, thinking of her all the time.
What with marrying Lincoln and having three kids, I didn’t get around to going abroad again until 1985, when Jeannette and I went to Greece, on our own. And after that I’ve continued to travel whenever I can.
There are many people who do not want to travel. They are content in their own environment, or maybe in that home plus a time share in Florida. They consider the effort or dangers or cost of going somewhere foreign not worth it. But for me, it has always been what I must do to feel that I have lived completely. The rewards have been great. And now that I can go freely again, not worrying about Lincoln or Jeannette or the “boys”, I intend to do so.
Mimi and I at Bellingrath Gardens
in Mobile, Alabama, about 1950.