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Me with Patti, my sister. Real time: 1952 Memory time: Only yesterday Real place: A cottage in Connecticut Memory place: Oz

Just got back from a great family vacation (Patty, Jenn and Bryan and grandchildren, Jillian and Brielle; and Nick and Court. Hopefully in the summer of 2012 Jeremy and Sarah and Andrew; and Kieran, will be there with us.)

Early on in this year’s vacation, my son, Nick said, after I made a number of references to past events from my childhood, that I was taking a vacation down memory lane. And he was right. I was guilty as charged. But you want to know something? Taking a trip down memory lane is one of the privileges you earn when the YBR behind you stretches way back.

There are a number of advantages to taking a trip down memory lane: You don’t have to arrive three hours prior to departure; you don’t have to bring any luggage so there are no surcharges; you always leave and arrive on time; you don’t have to stand on-line to check in at your hotel; and best of all, you can travel all over in the blink of an eye and never have to get one of those damn Disney Park fast-track tickets.

(l) Why did my parents put me in the outfit? (c) Waiting for high tide in Conn. (r) Some vacations take ‘fort’itude.

I have been blessed with a wonderful memory. An honest one at that, meaning I

don’t engage in revisionist memory-making. That doesn’t mean my memories are ‘swear to God and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ accounts. No. I remember things the way they were as I remember them at the age I was when they happened.

My father was big on vacations. I can’t recall a summer growing up that we didn’t go somewhere during his two-week summer vacation. Living on Long Island, some summers stayed close to home and only have gone to Sag Harbor or somewhere on the Connecticut shore; most times, however, we’d get into our 1948 blue Chevy (tank) and follow the YBR through New England, upstate New York, or around Pennsylvania stopping at every historic site imaginable and at every farm stand my father saw. (My father was also big on taking tours of maple sugar factories or where they made fresh apple cider.)

There were a few years when my father would take advantage of his railroad privileges and we’d either take the train down to Miami or out west where one summer we went to every canyon there was in the southwest. (Nothing compares to a long-distance ride on the rails. Eating in a real dining car and watching the countryside roll by and ¬†sitting in the observation car looking out at the wide expanses of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are priceless.)

As far as I was concerned, it didn’t matter where we went or how we went. I just wanted to “went.”

Place: Down memory lane

My vacation memory bank continues to compound with interest on a yearly basis. The smell of maple sugar, the feel of sand on my feet, the majesty of the Grand Canyon and the thrill of traveling the YBR to Oz when I was a kid all add up to a scrapbook of vacation memories I want to share.

I only hope my children…and grandchildren…will one day take a trip down memory lane. It’s a beautiful trip.

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