“National Lampoon’s Vacation” depicted the family vacation from hell. We all have stories about family getaways, some memorable; some not so.


Part 11: Road Trip – Did your family go on vacations? Tell us about one of your favorite trips. A jaunt to the local beach could have engrained lasting memories. Even a traveling horror story of your own may stay with you forever. Write about your vacation. Don’t make me turn this car around!


AS I RECALL (haibun)

Dad was a teacher. Mom was a homemaker, in the truest sense. Their bank account held no vacation funds, I’m certain. They allowed me to accompany my heart-rich, generous aunt and uncle and their kids on vacations of their own. My little home-body heart was comfortable on the road with my extended family, who felt more like siblings than cousins to my sister and me. I got to experience the ocean in Nahant, Longwood Gardens, Hershey, and Gettysburg, PA., and cherry blossom season in Washington D.C. I have memories of Aunt Peg trying to convince a Whitehouse guard that I was Jackie Kennedy’s niece. Though truth-be-told, I’m not entirely certain that is my own memory, or if it simply became real to me as family reminisced and laughed through the years. But even reminiscing about memories that are not truly ours makes for grand remembrance, doesn’t it? Funny how what I love to look back on is not where we went, or what we saw … it is simply time spent with those I love … those who returned to life right across the street from us when our vacations were done.

to reminisce
to journey in my mind
where love leads



Uncle Harry was a sailor; a submariner with tales to tell. Our families would alternate visits from one summer to the next. Dad’s blue Plymouth Belvedere wagon was the magic carpet that swept the eight of us (Mom, Dad and six kids) up to Kittery, Maine every other year. The following summer Harry and my Aunt Marianne would bring their six kids home to Lackawanna. Sixteen of us cramped into whichever house served as accommodations.  Sometimes relations would strain toward the end of even the happiest of visits, but it was what it was. The cousins paired up closely in age and we played, fought, talked, shared, loved and cried when the time came to return home. Did I mention Harry lived on Love Street? No matter how our visits had gone, we always hated to leave Love behind.

My brother Ken was a sailor; a submariner with tales to tell. Serving at the same base, the place brought back memories and afforded us a chance to return to Love once more in our adulthood. It is equally heart warming and sad to be one of your own memories.

Embers of love live
in the hearth of kith and kin;
always glows within.

Copyright ©  Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

NOTE: Marie and I both wrote our pieces as a Haibun. Coincidentally, it is NOT a requirement of this prompt! Strange things happen when you share the same brain! Walt.