Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Dip in the Pacific Ocean

When my mother was growing up the only traveling she did was an occasional trip to Chicago or visits to relatives in Michigan or Windsor, Ontario. She joined the Navy during WWII and traveled first to Washington, DC and later to Pensacola, FL. During the Korean Conflict Dad was stationed at Norfolk, VA. In her younger years Mom traveled a little and she saw the Atlantic Ocean.

After I was born vacations were either to Michigan to see family or camping trips in New York and Vermont. My parents were not beach people. I have an old video clip of Mom knee deep in the water with my little sister, taken during a camping trip and Mom was wearing one of the dresses she always wore. Mom can swim, a feat I've witnessed on only one occasion. She had rented a canoe for my brother and I at a local park and when it was time to return it she paddled out and a wave tipped the canoe over. I don't recall ever seeing Mom in a bathing suit although I'm pretty sure she owned a black one at some point.

After I left home I don't recall Mom ever taking a trip to anywhere. Vacations were just not something that she did. She enjoyed coming out to our camp at Sylvan Beach, NY where she would sit contentedly on the porch while the rest of us headed off to the beach.

The summer of 1998 we decided to take a family vacation to Hawaii. My sister decided to come along but I was shocked when Mom said that she'd love to go too as she'd always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean. I love to travel and have been to many island destinations but that trip to Hawaii was my favorite family vacation. Mom's health was starting to decline 10 years ago but she could still get around OK if she took it slow. We rented a large house right on the beach, Mom got a ride in a helicopter and we all went to Pearl Harbor which was special with Mom there to share her memories of WWII.

This was written for the 49th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: Swimsuit Edition.


Jasia said...

What great memories your photos must bring back! And that beach looks sooo inviting!

Great post!

Tex said...

Aren't you glad you got to do this with your mom? It looks like fun was had by all. :-)

I'd love to know more about her time in the Navy.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Thanks Jasia! The pictures hold lots of memories. That particular beach was amazing and we had it mostly to ourselves.

Tex - I'm very glad that Mom joined us on a couple of vacations while she still could. Her time in the Navy was spent mostly at Pensacola, FL in the weather office. Her brother served in the Pacific and a cousin was on the Robin Moor when it was sunk.


What a great family vacation! What a nice memory for all of you to have and share with each other.

wendy said...

So glad your mom got to go with you to Hawaii. Really great memories you'll have!

Thomas MacEntee said...


Your photos brought back memories of how I took my Mom to Hawaii twice - in 1987 and 1997. She also went there with a group of people in 1999 and took a seven island cruise.

Hawaii and Florida were two of her favorite spots!

Terry Thornton said...

APPLE, Thanks for sharing your memories of Mom with us.

Janice said...


I'm sure that trip was one of the most special events in your Mom's life. God bless you for taking her along.