The “Trophies” of Europe! Belgium lace from Brussels, Belgium, Kid Gloves from Florence, Italy, Cashmere Sweaters from London, England, Cuckoo Clocks from Lucern, Switzerland and countless other trinkets from here and there!
These are my “Trophies” of my long ago trip to Europe! Lace and Kid gloves to my dear Mother and Cashmere Sweaters to my dear Dad and pictures and pictures and pictures for my own collection! It was a time of joy, adventure and excitement, like no other! To see “The World” perhaps for the first time was a real “eye opener” for me, that could only be described as “Marvelous!”
I was well educated, well, I was being educated at the time, only a neophyte to the exposure of the world, but, a ready and willing pupil. A sojourner of unique and unembellished learning at the time, who had lived and grown up in the protective environment of my family and close proximity to home. By now, I was in college and away from home by at least a year and had began to see that all that glitters is not gold, although it looks a lot like it!
Early that summer, I “remodeled” a house, as was a customary activity among my many entrepreneurial efforts and we, my family and I, in our real estate business, had successfully re-sold that house for a tidy profit. This profit funded my trip to Europe in the later part of that summer. Even then, that type of traveling was fairly expensive!
Soon, I was off to New York City, at nineteen years old, by myself, for a three day visit to the “Big Apple,” and, big it was! I stayed at the downtown YMCA for $3.00 per day in middle Manhattan, where I got room and board too for just pennies more. A hot shower, in a shared bathroom, and a private room (small) to sleep in my own bed.
During the day, I was off to see everything I could in 72 hours, the time allotted, before boarding my plane to cross the pond! Gray Line Tours are the best and I saw everything, everywhere – China Town, Radio City Music Hall, The Rockettes (not performing), Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, The Natural Museum of History, The Metropolitan Opera House, The Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, Grant’s Tomb, several hundred miles on the subway, up and down and across Manhattan, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty (went into the crown, WOW!), the Empire State Building, (this was before the World Towers were even built), Harlem, the Bowery, Greenwich Village, Central Park, two movies (at night ???), and I don’t know what else, and then it was time to go see Europe for three weeks!!!
Just me, I met up with 28 girls and 5 boys, and two lady chaperones of theirs, and one other girl from my college, who I just barely knew Lynette Stein (Emory at Oxford of Emory U.), yeap, we met for the first time, boarded the 707 Boeing (four engines) and we took off for 48,000 feet on our trip across the Atlantic into Munich, Germany, via Sabena World Airlines. It was quiet a trip and gave all of us a little extra time to get to know each other. You would think for friendships that would last a life time, but, for me, this was a singular trip, and after Europe, I would never see or correspond with any of the other travelers ever again, except that I would see the one acquaintance from my college on occasion, but we rarely, if ever, talked about our trip! Strange, I know, but all the others were High School Seniors and Lynette and I were college and even we had little in common. Very strange, but that was the way it was! Oh, we were all friends and all on the trip, but I established no long time, lasting friendships there. It (Travel & Sites) were all business!!!
There were many memorable occasions, of course, and times that will never be forgotten, like the time Bridget climbed the balconies between the two rooms, three stories up or Melonie and her clickist friends and how they carried on. Three weeks, as intensive as it was, was still not enough time to break into the inner circles of these other kids who were all together. I was the older guy and a “Nerd” I guess! But, I was a happy nerd and I washed out my socks and under ware at night, like the rest of them and we all survived one hell of a trip! Day and night, non-stop!!!
The entire trip was such a “Rush” that you wouldn’t believe it! We traveled by Bus, most of the time, by Train, by Boat, and by Airplane! I still have my little grey suitcase and treasure it fondly! I had obtained two travel suits from Muses’ in Atlanta, one dark and one light, which I wore alternately, no-iron perma press shirts, several ties, and comfortable leather wing tipped shoes. I was stylish and well dressed, every day! They probably thought I was a chaperone, I am sure! And, that was okay, by me!
A million and one things, could be said about Europe, but, I will share all of that on another occasion!
Alas, the trip was over, and we returned to the good old U.S. of A. and New York City, where I met my parents for another two weeks travel in New England and that too was awesome, in the Little Beaver Travel Trailer of 13 feet!!! My, my, my, what a trip, what a traveling summer that was! When I finally got back home, I barely recognized the humble beginnings of my world. My world, now, was a lot bigger and broader and contained so many wonderful and wonder filled things, it was truly unbelievable!
The “Trophies” are now “Treasures” and the long, long, ago trip is still with me and a reminder of just how big this old world really is!!!