For almost any kid in school, I think field trips must be the most fun thing to do. Not having children myself, I could be wrong about that. I speak from experience only.
I remember my first field trip was to the University of Louisville to hear the symphony.
I was in 5th or 6th grade. My young boyfriend was a good-natured person. He was such a sweet, kind boy. I liked him a lot.
It was so exciting sitting next to him on the bus all the way to Louisville and back. I don’t remember anything about the music or sitting by him at the symphony.
What was memorable and so endearing was walking into the auditorium beside him. He ever so lightly and tenderly, almost imperceptibly, placed his hand on the inward curve of my back to guide me in. What a gentlemanly thing to do at such a young age.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but later knew this was a new feeling — someone gently touching me in what seemed a caring way. Another feeling entrenched in my being.
Bacon’s Department Store
We drove to Louisville quite often. My mother and I went to Bacon’s to get my hair cut for 1st Grade. Up until then, I had long hair just a little past mid back. Bacon’s cut it all off to where it barely covered my ears.
I liked my new do for one main reason. No longer did I suffer the agony of my mother brushing out my hair, tangles and all. Her touch was not soft. No more painful rubber bands. Scrunchies weren’t around in those days.
Bacon’s was a neat store. At the entrance, you were overcome with the aroma of warm nuts.
Remember the different kinds of nuts in the gold tray rotating under a hot light. Mother usually got some and they were the best. I remember cashews.
This was a treat. Many times when my parents and I were in Louisville, we ate here. The seafood restaurant was a little paddle boat on the Ohio River.
It was known for its large paddle wheel. My parents loved eating here. My introduction to hush puppies. The restaurant is still open and has been for 70 years.
Kentucky State Fair
Yes, another fair — Whoo-Hoo! What is it about a fair that gives me such a kick? The fair was held at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Didn’t enter anything in competition. That was way above my level. I remember looking at a lot of livestock and homemade clothing. Quilts and crochet. Jarred goods.
We walked the midway. I usually came home with salt water taffy. Black walnut was my favorite flavor.
I rode the yellow double Ferris wheel at least once — there were two standing side-by-side in neon yellow as I recall. They could be seen from a far distance, especially at night.
Each time we went to the fair, we attended the rodeo. This was the highlight of the fair for my parents. We watched bull riding and calf roping. There was barrel racing.
According to Wikipedia, “American bull riding has been called ‘the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.'” Clowns were running all over the place to keep things from getting out of hand.
The Grande Finale was my parents’ favorite part. This was when the entertainment strutted its stuff around the dirt arena.
Here comes the Ponderosa Family: Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, and Pernell Roberts. I’m pretty sure they were on horses.
All energized and smiling and waving as if there was not a place they’d rather be than right there with us. It was a great cap off to an exciting rodeo show.
This was another enjoyment for my parents. We would leave for Louisville on a Saturday or a Sunday. It was always a day trip.
Most of the time, we would do two movies in one day. I thought that was so cool — now it’s so common.
The screens were humongous. There were elaborate twin spiraling staircases on each side of the seating area. When the red curtains were drawn back, they were so lush and flowing. Those were the good old movie days.
It probably was not as big as I make it out to be. We know that places where we hung out as children usually seem smaller when we revisit as adults.
We rarely got refreshments. My parents were careful with money. They didn’t go overboard with it though.
I never wanted for anything except an Etch-a-Sketch, a Spirograph, and The Mouse Trap game. Sure sounds like a whiner to me. Funny one remembers things like that — what I didn’t get.
Of course, I could never go anyplace without getting in trouble. My mother told me, when asked by the ticket taker how old I was, to say I was 11. The price of a child’s admittance increased if you were over a certain age.
I say I’m 12 and that puts me in a new category. Mother was trying to pull a fast one. I got in trouble — and this coming from a person who taught me to always tell the truth.
She couldn’t understand why or how I did not do as I was told. Her thinking was “is that so difficult?” It was so easy to just say 11, but not for me. I can’t believe I disobeyed her.
One last movie story. We were watching The Graduate. I was seated between my parents.
I can’t remember which scene, but it was early on. Mother leans across me and asks my dad if we should leave. To which my dad says in a calm manner, “No, I think it will be okay.”
Mother loved music. On up into her 60s (doesn’t sound so old now that I am in that age range), she was a rock ‘n roller and enjoyed the classic country music — Weylon Jennings being her favorite.
One time at the state fair we attended a performance by Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner. I love Dolly — some do, some don’t. I’m not familiar with her music, but I think she is a kind, pretty authentic, and generous human being.
Mother loved Credence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty, Don Henley, Moody Blues, Ray Charles, and more. She also enjoyed symphony/classical music. She had a number of soundtracks.
She and I went to an Ike & Tina Turner Revue show one time. There’s hardly anyone better than Tina Turner. She’s in a league all her own.
We made a trip to Louisville to see Andy Williams. And as if that wasn’t enough in and of itself, Henri Mancini played at the piano while Andy swooned Moon River. The ultimate!
Holiday on Ice
Seems we went almost yearly to see this show. I remember we always had great seats — second row one time. Mother loved Holiday on Ice.
This was the time a skater danced by her. He stopped and cusped the side of her face for a brief second. We were all over this. She loved the grace of ice skating. Beautiful costumes.
The previous mentions of Louisville were childhood memories. I have an adult memory, just a little one.
I drove to Elizabethtown from Atlanta by myself to visit aunts, uncles, and cousins. I so loved my mother’s family. Paul was flying up later. I guess this was when I was introducing him to the family.
Mother had already met Paul. One of the first things one aunt asked was, “Does Wilma like him?” I nodded. This was the green light. Things were good.
In fact, they got on fabulously because she lived on a farm. Being the nature lover that Paul is, they did a lot of sharing. He enjoyed checking out the old black barn and roaming around the green pastures.
She raised cows, had chickens. My aunt was so knowledgeable about running and living on the farm. They shared a love of gardening.
But that’s not the Louisville memory. The memory is while I was waiting at Louisville’s airport for Paul to exit the plane. Who enters the waiting area? Ray Charles!
It is so hard not to stare — but Ray Charles! He was there for a few minutes waiting with his aide for a small transit vehicle to get him on his way.
I had great fun in Louisville (and Elizabethtown). Good memories. These trips were just another reason why I enjoyed living in Eminence.
It was nice being close enough to a big city for entertainment. I liked coming home, though, to my smaller life. I thank my parents for these experiences.
Did You Know?
The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.
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