Our wanderings

Our wandering path

Origins of Jeannine Tour (8): Hanover

  • Hanover's main street, a street that was always sparkling with lights and candy-cane decorations as we crested the hill for our annual Christmas visit.

This summer we took Mom in The Epic Van on a tour of all her old Kansas haunts. We’re calling it the Origins of Jeannine Tour.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

Hanover is where my mother’s memories merge with mine and my sister’s. It is where her parents, Harley and Ida Prichard, moved while she was in college, and it is the place I visited every summer and Christmas until we moved to Hawaii when I was in junior high. For me, it is inseparable from my fun-loving, adventurous, industrious grandparents.

Tears for ‘The Fitz’ at the Shipwreck Museum

  • A picture of the Fitzgerald plying the waves of the Great Lakes.

When I think of the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in Michigan, on the treacherous southern shore of Lake Superior, I will remember Jack Champeau’s tears.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Beware the Kraken

  • The Giant Pacific octopus in all its glory.

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath the abysmal sea,
His ancient, sleepless, uninvaded sleep,
The Kraken sleepeth …
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I remember the day I first saw a real octopus with a hazy, cinematic quality, like I was in shock, transfixed, short of oxygen. It was the same when I went to the Tentacles exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium recently.

Pricetags

Red pepper jelly for the brie: $15; Our pick of sites in deserted campground with view of crashing Pacific waves: $25; This amazing Roadtrek life in The Epic Van: Priceless.

Blacktop excursions: 10 dramatic drives

  • Sheep grazing in Paradise Valley on Montana's Highway 540.

As we traverse the country in The Epic Van, we are drawn to historic sites, roadside attractions, and odd museums, but sometimes the best thing is the landscape sliding past the windshield. Here are 10 (with one bonus) of our favorite drives.

Perfectly precious poodles on parade

Last Saturday, in Carmel, California, was poodle day, starting with a poodle parade in the morning, moving to the beach in the afternoon for a poodle swim, and ending in the evening with poodle-friendly cocktails.

“The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately,” said Thomas Paine, one of our country’s revolutionary founders. “One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.”

He would not have been able to turn away from this poofy spectacle, with poodles dyed pink, turquoise, purple and polka dot, dressed as French floozies, Western sheriffs, and supermen, and with owners whose aviator glasses reflected the blue of the California sky.

Origins of Jeannine Tour (7): University of Kansas

  • Mom with Phog Allen.

This summer we took Mom in The Epic Van on a tour of all her old Kansas haunts. We’re calling it the Origins of Jeannine Tour.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

Mom’s first exposure to the University of Kansas was during five summers spent in Lawrence when she was a kid, four when her father was working on his master’s degree, one when he was rolling gunpowder for the war.

Origins of Jeannine Tour (6): Winifred, Home

  • Mom in Winifred at the site of the big house that burned to the ground.

This summer we took Mom in The Epic Van on a tour of all her old Kansas haunts. We’re calling it the Origins of Jeannine Tour.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

In Winifred, Mom found the spot where her grandfather, Gottfried Keller, built what everyone called the big house, a place where the family gathered for Christmases when Mom was a little girl.

Origins of Jeannine Tour (5): Summerfield

  • Mom sitting on the steps of the house where she lived in Summerfield, Kansas, in grade school.

This summer we took Mom in The Epic Van on a tour of all her old Kansas haunts. We’re calling it the Origins of Jeannine Tour.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

It was in Summerfield, Kansas, in first grade in 1935, that Jeannine became Jeannine, which is actually her middle name. Up until that time, she had been Carol, which sounded a lot like Harold, her brother’s name, a coincidence they used to their advantage as in, “I thought you were calling Harold,” and “I thought you were calling Carol.”

So when her parents delivered her to Miss McDonald’s classroom, they told the new teacher that her name was Jeannine, a development that came as a complete surprise to Mom. “I wondered what the heck was happening,” Mom recalled. It was thus, ever after.

Origins of Jeannine Tour (4): White City

  • Mom in front of the now-abandoned house where she lived in White City in high school.

This summer we took Mom in The Epic Van on a tour of all her old Kansas haunts. We’re calling it the Origins of Jeannine Tour.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

In White City, Kansas, we visited the house Mom lived in in high school, now abandoned, peeking in her bedroom window. She remembered swinging on the porch swing, watching the cute boy next door come home from dates. Her mother fed hobos from the train tracks behind the house on their back porch.

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