Sunday, 3 October 2010

Autobiographical Travel - Part IV

Links to Parts I, II and III.

H-2 grew up with a career Air Force Dad who eventually settled his family in Bakersfield, CA. His grandparents were from Port Washington, WI. All his siblings were settled in the Kern County area, bar a sister who was majoring in aerospace engineering at up in San Luis Obispo. I flew to Bakersfield one Christmas Day to meet my future in-laws, having insisted on spending my usual Christmas Eve with Mom. After the wedding, we had an inexpensive week in Petit Jean, a state park in Arkansas. On our first anniversary we had a long weekend in Dallas, where I ate at my first Hard Rock Café and visited the Holocaust museum, which I can recommend.

I loved the old farm at Port Washington, the first place I ever heard of kohlrabi or snapped green beans. The grandfather was a charmer, just like his son and grandson. It was also a family re-union, but even more overwhelming: mother-in-law was one of 13 kids; H-2 was one of 75 cousins. I clearly married into a different culture, me, who could just barely claim 3 by adoption, none by blood. Being severely outnumbered has distinct psychological disadvantages.  I remember hearing that Bakersfield was also known as ‘Little Oklahoma’ because of the dust bowl, and I read The Grapes of Wrath for the first time soon after that. 
(One of the banned books list, courtesy of Toad).

The trips to California were shorter after we moved to Salt Lake City, one of the considering factors for the move, not to mention I got a nice raise and a foot on the management ladder. I got on well with father-in-law, a big flirt, and he took us all to Disneyland once. Even better, he also took us to San Simeon (AKA Hearst Castle). I’d had grand ideas about the lifestyle I would have with H-2, which would include loads of travel, but this was somewhat curtailed when we unexpectedly were given custody of H-2’s 20-month-old son on day 17.  Unfortunately, H-2 had a marked preference for going deer hunting and other manly pursuits with his boss and cronies at weekends. I learned to like venison OK, but grew weary of being a single step-mom. When I was 38 I bought my way out and set about finding a job somewhere other than Utah.

To be continued…

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