Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 26 - Arizona

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge. I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.

Grand Canyon - 1976

     When my mom and I were talking about my memory slices last week, she asked if I was going to write about our trip to Arizona.  It was funny because as we were talking, we realized it was way more fun for my mom and dad than it was for me. ;-)  I wasn't even going to write about it because I don't really have fond memories of it, but then I thought that it wasn't necessary to only write about good memories.  Even the unpleasant ones help shape us.

     I was only ten when we visited my Brandt cousins and aunt/uncle there.  They were living there for a year, and my parents thought (rightly) that it would be a great chance to visit.  I love this picture because of the way I'm standing.  I'm standing that way because my cousin Dorothea would stand like that for her pictures.  Remember how cool I thought she was (I wrote about the Brandt cousins in a previous slice)?  I was trying so hard to emulate her.  I also love the bell bottoms and Dad's sideburns.  

     I remember thinking Arizona looked like another planet.  All that brown and dry desert.  The cactus looked like aliens and the food worried me.  An oft-told tale of the trip was the burrito I ate which literally turned me green around the gills, coming up unceremoniously shortly after it went down.  I remember the turquoise jewelry at market shops and trying to decide what souvenirs to buy. I remember tagging along with Chad to the pool, feeling a little out of sorts.  What of the most vivid memories was lying in a little bed at night (I think it was a trundle bed that pulled out from the guest bed that my parents were sleeping on) and feeling homesick for my animals back home.  I also remember my mom and aunt wanting me to get up to see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon and I, who have never been a morning person, deciding against it.  When they came back, they said how beautiful it was and that they saw a deer, but I was unimpressed and didn't regret sleeping in.

     My mom, on the other hand, recounted lots of fun stories about the fun she and Dad had with Aunt Jan and Uncle Rich.  It made us think about how the same trip, family, or surroundings can evoke such different memories depending on point of view.  I am glad I got to see the Grand Canyon.  It was breathtaking and awesome, but the trip as a whole was not my favorite thing.  That's what I love about this trip down memory lane this March.  It chronicles a completely unique perspective....mine.  That's what makes memoir such an extraordinary genre.  Thank you for joining me on this journey - I will be sorry for it to end in just a few days.


  1. Love that you went to Arizona when you were young. My grandparents lived out there, so I was under the mistaken belief in younger years that everyone packed up their car, and headed out to Arizona or wherever each summer. Car packed, windows down (there was no AC), and on Route 66 (before there were interstates). So many great memories. Thanks for sharing yours to help me revive mine.

    1. Karen - no AC, no interstates, and Mom remember putting me in a Pack-n-Play type thing in the back seat of the Chevy when I was a baby. Amazing we survived, huh?! Isn't it neat the way memories come back when something jogs them? I've loved remembering all these childhood things!

  2. I have enjoyed reading your memories...very similar to my Family Trove blog. I remember your admiration for your when you mentioned that you posed for the picture, standing the way she all made sense. It is amazing how each of our experiences is our own...and that the same experience can be so different when viewed by others. I hope you will continue to write such stories after March...maybe do the Tuesday blogs. Jackie

  3. Interesting how you had such a different experience than your parents. It makes me wonder who they planned the trip for. I remember trips during my teen years that were less than fun, but I think it was because I was a grumpy teenager. Or maybe just a homebody. I've enjoyed your memories and the pictures! priceless!

  4. Love the "look" of you all - especially the swanky coat you were wearing, Holly. I have a feeling that your Tuesday slices will contain a few more of these - the memories have begun to really flow!

  5. What a great slice, Holly! I love the photo and hearing your memories of this trip. It's so interesting to hear that your mother's memories are so different. A good reminder about the importance of point of view!