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Article: Traveling This Summer During Covid – Going Back to the Past

SUMMER 2021 NEWSLETTER

Summer travels--a globe, small suitcase, rickshaw and aeroplane, with photo of the newsletter author at age 5
Greetings!

I don’t know. I mean, regarding – COVID and now its invading relatives. Is the pandemic really over? I am not so sure about that, so I’m playing it safe this summer and will travel, but only via my memories back to the past. So here are a few old photos from my earlier travels with their corresponding commentaries. I hope you enjoy them. Maybe you hold similar memories. 

Enjoy our Summer Newsletter

Lorena

Lorena, world traveler at age two.

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Article

 

TRAVELING THIS SUMMER DURING COVID – I'M GOING BACK TO THE PAST

Travel – The Way It Used To Be In My Time

Traveling was different back in the early 50s. It was still sort of a novelty especially airplane travel. Before WWII most people stayed put, down home. After the war Americans suddenly had money, big fancy automobiles, brand new highways and we were restless.

The Lost Generation

I remember in 1956 the Nat King Cole Trio scored a record hit with their rendition of Bobby Troup’s jazzy tune, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”. Its lyrics were captivating in a sort of mystical way, rhyming towns that were set along the original 1926, 2,448-mile highway. Its catchy hook about getting one’s kicks along the way lured our youth like crusaders bound on making the obligatory journey along a.k.a. Main Street of America’s motorway. Still to this day iconic Route 66, or rather what’s left of it - and its kicks - beckons.

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Then in 1957 Jack Kerouac’s adventure novel, On the Road, was published. It defined the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations of living life on the go with jazz, poetry, and drug use. It was Kerouac’s hip chronicle about his cronies and travels across the USA from New York City to way-out-there, free-spirited San Francisco. Wow! So, the rest of us took heed and hit the road to seek our own Bohemian experiences. So long innocence…

Here are photos of me making like Jack Kerouac; my first trip across the US from Florida to California.

Arrived from Florida to Weirs Beach, Laconia, New Hampshire.  A 1958 French Panhard sedan packed and ready to continue the journey. 1964

Balboa Island, Newport Beach, California. Posing with my

English 1955XK 140 roadster Jaguar. 1966

Colorado. Me and my English 1950XK 120 coupe Jaguar

dwarfed by a spring snowbank. 1964

Years later at a Monterey California Classic Car Show.

Remembering my same model Jag. 1985

Early Accommodations For Out-Of-Town Motorists: A Bit Of History

The first motel in the world opened in San Luis Obispo, California in 1925. Its full name did not fit on the signage, so the words, motorist’s hotel, were abbreviated to the now familiar coined word, motel. Mom and pop motels soon popped up everywhere on busy U.S. highways offering quirky accommodations such as teepees, railroad cars, windmills, charming cottages, etc. to attract tourists. The rate was about $5 a night.

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A fashionable 1920s motorist.

By the 1950s roadside motel architecture became Mid-Century-Exaggerated-Modern style. The gimmicky motor courts of the 20s and 30s gave way to sleek, rocket ship-looking, all concrete, two-story single structures with lobbies, interior corridors, elevators, meeting rooms, restaurants and other amenities that seemed more like hotels than motels.

Travel & Learn

Traveling was an educational experience. Post-war, most U.S. towns, scenery, roads, local gentry, etc. were still quaint. Grit? What’s a grit? I’ll have an order of hushpuppies, please. (Whatever they are.) Lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise on kosher(?) pastrami? Ketchup on hot dogs? Hmmm…

Dressing for the Occasion

Traveling meant observing a dress code. Oh, yes! We would never venture away from home in sweats & flip-flops.

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Proper attire to be worn outside the home: hat, man’s Palm Beach tie,

woman’s spectator shoes. 

Make way! Famous celebrity(?), disembarking ship!  Me in travel attire arriving back to Miami from Nassau in the Bahamas.1964

Before the big journey you planned an exciting shopping spree to your local department store. You pushed the elevator button that said, “Cruise Wear” and exited to a happy floor bedecked with colorful displays of the latest vacation fashion wear. Whether it was camping in the Catskills, New York or dining in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida there was a proper outfit for every occasion. I remember when we vacationed in Florida, for the evenings my father would change into one of his best Hawaiian shirts. (Today these shirts are vintage collectors’ items.)

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My sisters at a Long Island, N.Y. shopping center, shopping for the Florida trip. 1957 

Me dressed for a trip to the grocery store. Sarasota Florida. 1961

And sunning around the hotel swinging pool? – forget about it! Women dressed like glamourous movie stars. Lots of Jayne Mansfields about. Large sunhats, cat-eye sunglasses, flowing beach robes over figure flattering bathing suits, Cuban-heel beach sandals – the works. Those were the days.

Glamour Puss!

Glamour Puss!  Boycat 2021 

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Beach accessories 

The Family Trip to Florida: Beware of Cops Hiding Behind Highway Road Signs

Our candy-apple red 1956 Lincoln Premier automobile featured electric windows &  turn signals, rolled white leather seats with red piping.

In 1957 when I was a teenager, we took a long trip in our new, sleek, shiny, candy- apple red, 1956 Lincoln Premier automobile that my father had just purchased. While cruising south along the highways from New York to Florida, a Georgia cop appeared from nowhere and pulled us over. The offence was speeding. As instructed, my father got out of the car and talked to the cop on the side of the road. Within a few minutes we were free to go. As we pulled away, I remember my father mentioning something about $30 dollars. ($30 dollars is equivalent to about $296.00 today.) (Gas was .30 cents a gallon then.)

Driving 1,320 Miles & We Arrive! 

We arrived at our vacation destination, The Horizon Motor Hotel, a modern beach-front motel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The rate was an expensive $18 per night. The motel’s long, vertical neon sign boasted a swimming pool, shuffleboard courts, air conditioning, private telephones, and a color TV in every room! Such class…

We drove up the semi-circular, drive-through ramp to the check-in entrance located underneath a concrete, cantilevered porte-cochere that jutted diagonally upward like the tail fins on our 1956 Lincoln Premier. The motel’s facade was mostly glass that opened to a lobby from which you could see straight through to the lush tropical grounds, multi room levels, the ocean, and blue skies. The 68-foot freshwater pool overlooked the main two-lane thoroughfare - North Atlantic Boulevard, and the beach across the street. I couldn’t wait to change into my bathing suit and jump in.

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Horizon Motor Hotel’s sign and pool.

As advertised: see the Atlantic Ocean from the motor hotel’s swimming pool. 1957

That’s me ready for a plunge at the motor hotel’s pool. 1957

Evenings we strolled along the beach, among busy restaurants and souvenir shops while listening to the crashing ocean waves and palm trees rustling in the balmy night breezes. This was paradise. 

“Aahhh, this is the life” A New Yorker enjoying a Florida vacation. Daddy lounging poolside.1957

You Can’t Go Back In Time

Years later in 1992, I visited my sister, Ginger, who was living in Palm Beach at the time. We drove down to Ft. Lauderdale hoping to recapture some nostalgic memories of our 1958 vacation there. It was all changed of course, very congested. That two-lane, sand-blown North Atlantic Boulevard was now a multilane highway that looked dangerous for pedestrians to cross to get to the beach. A nice change, though, was the white Wave Wall the city built along the beach’s promenade. Its undulating contour is highly decorative and serves to keep the sand from blowing across the highway.

A Precious Souvenir

We walked along the busy sidewalk and stopped at where The Horizon Motor Hotel would have been. It was gone! I couldn’t believe it! A whole resort complex gone! There was nothing left but a large dirt lot and pieces of concrete rubble. I walked into the lot looking down and there in the dirt I found a tiny treasure. It was a fragment of the swimming pool’s blue tile. It was all that was left of the memories from my 1958 tropical Florida vacation. 

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Found- blue tile fragment from The Horizon Motor Hotel’s swimming pool. 1992

Have a wonderful & safe summer. 

Lorena & crew