When I was a little girl, I would go bowling with my mom on Monday mornings. I loved everything about it, from the team shirts to the smoky smell to lunch from the bar.
Imagine going back to a place where you have some of your fondest memories, of a time when you were a small pig-tailed girl with nothing but time on your hands. I recently had that opportunity to stroll down memory lane with my mother and older sister.
Actually, it was a 1,900-mile car ride through the Midwest, with me at the wheel. I visited blasts from my past, with my traveling companions filling in gaps that the years had faded. With each city visited, I was reminded of the people, places and events that helped forge me into the woman I am today.
We gave this trip to my mom for Christmas, ostensibly so she could visit her college roommate. But we made much more of it, and among our many stops were Massillon, Ohio, where I lived while in elementary school, and Lafayette, Ind., where my mother’s cousin and her family live. Lafayette is where my maternal grandmother grew up, and mom spent summers at a nearby lake.
Our trek reminded me of a Navajo blessing ceremony: The tepee is set up with great reverence as it symbolizes the womb from which we all emerge, and the tent poles are “the bones of our mother.” The ceremony pays homage to past matriarchs and celebrates those still alive, demonstrating the importance of each generation.
Of course, our tepee happened to be various motels, but the exchange of wisdom and love from mother to daughter can never be forgotten. I know not everyone can or even would want to spend a vacation with an aging parent, but I encourage it for the opportunity to experience the amazing human mind at work as it retrieves names, faces and places from long ago.
Among the rest areas, gas stations and scenic views, we left no words unspoken and no hurts unhealed. As the old Virginia Slims ads said, “You’ve come along way, baby.” I am humbled by and appreciative of my roots, and feel blessed to have had the narrator and curator of my childhood riding shotgun as we drove into the past.
I hadn’t bowled for years, but we found a little alley on one of our stops. Mom wanted to play, and she whipped us. She loved the evening, which magically transported me right back to 1965.