What is a vacation anyway? The dictionary says a vacation is: Freedom from work or study; a time of recreation. Being free from work sounds like what most people think of when they dream of a vacation. First, to be free from work, you have to have a job that is considered work. So, my first real vacation was in August of 1955. That’s because I had just finished my first whole year of work at the courthouse and was eligible.
The one thing I remember about that vacation was meeting up with some friends who were on their vacation from college, and we played a lot of records while they smoked. When some of my friends went away to college, they came back after that first year and were smoking cigarettes. I remember the day well. We were at the home of one of our friends and playing such songs as “Mr. Sandman,” and then there were two songs by the Everly Brothers called “Bye, Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie.” Do you remember those 45s? As they were all smoking, they thought I should be smoking, too. I had no desire to smoke. But, do you think they let me just sit there and not smoke? No. So I tried it. I can’t explain how terrible I thought it was to put that cigarette up to my lips and think I was going to inhale. But, I did, and it was not anything I could stand to do. I didn’t drink either, so I was already known as “Miss Goody-Two-Shoes” by the people I worked with. But, now I didn’t smoke either. So, what was I going to be called next?
I’ve had several nicknames over my lifetime. My first was when I was called “Mopsy” starting in the fifth grade. (At that time, there was a comic strip by the name of “Mopsy.” It was about a young woman who had a mop of hair.) My brother-in-law took up a collection, and paid for me to get my hair cut and have a perm. To get a perm meant to go to a beauty shop and have your hair curled around hot and heavy electric curlers. These electric curlers were attached by wires and hung from a circular base above your head. You have to see it to believe it! As I was sitting there, with those hot heavy curlers in my mop of hair, a man came in the door and jumped in front of me with a huge flashbulb camera and took my picture. I never did know why.
I think if you want a real vacation, you have to totally leave your own home. One of my vacations was to go with all my siblings to Elvis’ home in Tennessee. We were all adults at the time. All seven of us stayed at a nice motel and ate out together and toured Graceland. Now my vacations consist of going to Florida to stay with our older daughter, who has a “Daddy-do” list of jobs that need to be done around her home. We don’t work all the time. Mostly we take day trips and eat out somewhere different every night. I have found that when people say they “Winter in Florida,” they mean they spend the whole winter there. So far, there have always been too many chores to be done to actually “Winter” in Florida. Here’s hoping that sometime soon we can winter there, too.
When do people stop taking vacations? The sad part might be when you no longer have anyone to go with you. I have read about how to “Take a vacation and stay in your own home.” It had to do with cleaning your house first. Then buying special foods that do not involve any cooking. Or have carryout delivered. Have several books to read that you know will be good. Turn off your phone. Tell only a very few people what you are doing. Don’t answer the door. And have some day trips planned that you would like to take by yourself.
Everyone needs a vacation. Whether it’s with family or friends, whether you travel or stay close to home, here’s hoping you have your dream vacation and enjoy every minute of it. When I go on vacation, the first thing I like to do is buy postcards to send. So, when you have your vacation, send me a card at 223 S. Main, Ashley, Ohio 43003.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.