Sunday, 17 April 2011

Reminiscing

Yesterday was Postman's Knock arrival day and the postman did knock, at about 9.30 while I was writing a few blog comments.  He had this package for me.

I patiently photographed it before opening and carefully cut the paper not ripping it off, which I usually do. Inside was my second window postcard, this time from Jane
It was 3D and depicted a beautifully draped window - very realistic, with clear cellophane panes looking out at a beautiful garden.  There is no way I can photograph the view without dismantling it, so I am the only one privileged to fully appreciate the work that has gone into this lovely card.

 Clicking on the pictures should give you a close-up view.
It is lovely.

My contribution this time was to the theme "Yee Ha! Ride'em Cowboy" which got me rummaging in the back of the cupboard for the bag of memorabilia I had kept after my epic USA trip in 1977, in which I travelled round the US on the Greyhound buses.  My old bus pass, timetable and a map centred on Colorado formed the main body of the postcard and an old book about cowboys belonging to Mr T provided the buckaroos. As the US is such a large place I wanted to convey this, so made a folding card to get as much map as possible.



I then distressed it as I wanted it to look as if it had been stuffed into a traveller's pocket for a few thousand miles!

The fact that I had kept my bag of memories intrigued a few comment writers on Postman's Knock so here are a few more details.  In 1976 after being in a long relationship and encouraged by an adventurous flatmate I advertised in Time Out magazine for a companion to spend 4 weeks the following summer touring the USA. It was something I really wanted to do with my new freedom, but none of my friends wanted to join me, I certainly didn't want to go it alone, so advertising was the only alternative.  After meeting several prospective travelling companions - male and female (But that's another story) I finally linked up with Cathy, another teacher from London.  I had relatives on Long Island, friends in Santa Cruz, Cal, and my flat mate had met a couple of lads from LA whilst she was camping in France.  We put them up while they toured the UK and I was invited to stay with them.  Cathy and I flew to NY and after a free night (due to a special deal with Thomas Cook) at the Statler Hilton (Telephone Number: PEnnsylvania 6-5000), now renamed Pennsylvania Hilton, we visited Dad's cousin on Long Island. From there we started our 8,000 mile round trip of the states.  I kept a diary as we spent many hours on the buses and the long straight roads made it possible to write while on the move - not usually possible on buses here. (Why didn't I keep a sketch book too? I ask myslef now)

Using the bus timetables it was easy to log our mileage as we went from NY to New Orleans - via Washington DC and Chattanooga (bit of a Genn Miller theme emerged here). Then to Houston - popping over the border to Mexico at Al Paso; then the Grand Canyon; a memorable night in Las Vegas;  Los Angeles and a stay with the lads we'd met; Santa Cruz; San Fransisco; Salt Lake City; Denver and a day trip into the Rockies; Chicago; Niagara and a quick pop into Canada for an hour or so; Boston and then back to NY - are you exhausted?  Think how we felt, as we spent every other night or so sleeping on the bus.  So perhaps you can see why I have kept all this stuff with my diary - and no I don't think it would make a very exciting book, although we did have a few adventures.
I met Cathy once after the trip when we exchanged some photographs, but not since. We got on well at the time, but had little in common apart from the trip. I quite like it that way. Somehow it means I own all of the memories. Shortly after I came back I met the future Mr T, who is not greatly fond of travel, so that was my GREAT ADVENTURE and I am getting plenty of mileage out of it still.

15 comments:

Joanna said...

As you know, I adored my Yee ha! Ride 'em Cowboy postcard - your email explaining how you had kept your USA memorabilia since 1977 certainly intrigued me, and this post has been really interesting. Happy memories for you.

Jane's 'window' postcard is superb. The standard of Postmans Knock is quite staggering (*gulp*!).

Gina said...

What wonderful memories of your trip and a super postcard as a result.

Jane Housham said...

Hi Jill. I've really enjoyed reading about your big adventure. It feels very alive, still, for you, which is wonderful.
I've just been looking at my own old notebooks and thinking how very strange they are. But I'm so glad I've got them. The accumulation of experiences is surely a large part of our make-up.

Eileen said...

Fascinating. Thanks, as always, for sharing this with us Jill.

laurie said...

that sounds like a fascinating trip!! i love hearing about people just taking off, discovering new places and finding out more about themselves.

Heloise said...

Sounds like a great adventure with plenty of good memories. The window postcard is amazing.

WrightStuff said...

Wonderful story of your adventure. I keep old tickets and things too. I'm glad I do. Must make them into something soon!

Printed Material said...

NOW I understand why you kept it all these years. What a great experience. I am even more impressed now that you were willing to use it on the postcard rather than keep all the memories in one place. Lovely to read about your reminiscences. Lesley x

Jill said...

Aah Lesley - I am afraid I am not that altruistic, I made copies on the trusty scanner.

Emma said...

I did wonder how you could let it all go - a lovely story of your trip. The window pc is great but I love your pull out pc.

Thanks for your kind comments - quite enjoying the departure & feel a series coming on...till I fancy something else ;)

Jane said...

What a fanatastic trip - I admire your bravery in going with a companion you didn't really know. I can see why you kept all the memory pieces. Loved the postcard.

Sandra Hall said...

A fantastic post Jill! I enjoyed reading about your exciting trip and I LOVE the postcard contribution you made this time :D Your own windows themed one is lovely too.

bad penny said...

I really enjoyed reading this Jill. I once met a retired man who had advertised in Yachting World for a sailing companion - female of course ...they got married !

My daughter has supplied me with a couple of bits & bobs from her New York trip ...isn't it useful what we keep ? Lovely cards - the swap is such fun.

Menopausal musing said...

What an amazing trip to have taken part in and how lovely of you to share it with us. I too wondered about the ephemera you were generous enough to put on your card, but I see you have already answered that question. This postcard project is turning out pretty wonderful, isn't it?

Amelia said...

wow - what a great story! It's inspired me to do something similar but maybe I will have to wait until the kids are grown and left home! As for your postman's knock piece I LOVE IT!!! You are making me think maybe I could include something similar with participants on the experimental art e-course ie posting some art to each other whilst doing the course - hhhhmmmm, food for thought and thanks for the inspiration! I will now have my thinking (cowboy) hat on! he he :)

Amelia.x