Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1956, Yosemite & Father’s Day

 Yosemite Family Vacation 1956

Even as a kid in the 50s, I marveled at the wonder that is Yosemite. What, you’re asking, does this have to do with Father’s Day? A whole lot. For several years in the early 50s our family vacations were spent camping in Yosemite – Camp Seven I think…or was it Camp 11? Our spot was always right next to the Merced River and we camped with a tent – no swish trailer for our family! As a kid then and a much older kid today, I love to be outdoors. So, being outside round-the-clock in Yosemite was heaven to me.

My mom’s younger sister and her family would always meet us so there was always someone to pal around with, which made it so much more fun. Now for the dad connection – everyday we would take a hike usually to one of the many waterfalls in the Valley. Dads, moms and all kids headed out mid-morning on the adventure for the day. Yes, moms. Remember this was the 50s, an era when moms didn’t usually don pants and sensible sneakers. But, poop to the rules – my mom and my Auntie Annie were always right there with us kids and our dads, all laughing and having a grand old time.

It’s odd, but the moments I remember of these adventures are not so much the big pix but my memories are of the moments. As you can see in the pix, I was a pretty tiny girl in the early years, which meant that on these hikes a lot of time was spent hoisting me from one boulder to another. From dad to uncle and then back to my dad – like a sack of potatoes! Because he worked in construction, my dad was very strong – on a side note, he was the one who taught me to do a handstand, to walk on my hands, to do a perfect cartwheel and follow up with a fancy round-off! Yes, that was my dad in the early 50s – not your typical dad. My Uncle Bill also worked in construction, so between the two of them tossing me and my cousin Judy up and down really big rocks was easy work! At least that’s how I remember it – I don’t remember either one complaining about it. All I remember is a lot of giggles as the two men helped my mom and aunt up and down the rocks as well.

 Yosemite Vacation 1956

While the quality on the old Yosemite pix isn’t great, I am so glad I recovered them a few years ago. The original photos, with their scalloped edges and their 1956 date stamp are as tiny and precious as the moments I remember from all of the time we spent there. While my dad left this place in 2001, my memories will always keep him alive in my heart. If you haven’t been to Yosemite I would definitely add it to your places to see. While our time spent there was long before the concrete, shuttle buses and reservations via the Internet took over, the grandness of the Valley is something to see. Every year, driving out of the long tunnel and seeing the Valley and Half Dome standing at guard never got old or mundane. The wonders of days, evenings and nights well-spent – ranger talks followed by magical firefalls, the mystery of Elmer the Bear and calling for him in the mornings, swimming in the icy cold but fun Merced River, deer in the meadow in the evenings, bears in the dump site every day, the smell of bacon cooking over an open fire every morning, s’mores and so much more are just a few of the wonderful images that dance in my head even after all the years.

The most powerful memories of all of these are of my dad showing me where to place my foot and how to move from rock to rock and his strength in carrying me when I needed it most. Thanks Dad…for all your love and for sharing your unique take on life with me. So much of who I am today is the result of your willingness to share and I will be forever grateful.
 Hermosa Beach Aquarium 1956


P.S. The third pix has nothing to do with Yosemite but since it was date stamped 1956 and includes all of the same players I thought I would toss it in. Hermosa Beach Aquarium is on the back in my mom’s precise handwriting – this I am sure was one of the many weekend day adventures that were quite common in our families. I think this is the only pix I have seen where my mom is wearing a bracelet! Oh, how I wish I knew what it was. I am wearing my Levi 501s -- this was about the age I told my mom I didn't like ruffles and pouf and at times she honored my style! I love everything about her look here. And, I just have to comment on my dad's shirt -- made by my mom and yes, the plaids definitely match. This explains my bugaboo in ready-made clothing today -- does anyone understand the importance of matching plaids and/or stripes?