Saturday, June 8, 2013

California Dreamin': July 30-August 14, 1970

Day 8 of 100 Days of Blogging

In 1970, my grandparents arranged an amazing trip to California for my sister and me. I was 13 years old. My sister, Joanne, was 11. My parents used the trip to motivate us to get all A's and B's on our report card and I got a C in one of the subjects. What were my parents going to do? They couldn't cancel this trip and disappoint their parents! So, I received a "punishment."

My punishment was to write a report on our trip. Punishment? Are you kidding? It was one of the things that made the trip even better. Collecting postcards, menus, brochures, sugar packets and documenting this trip. I still have most of the scrapbook and the report.

We flew to San Diego and drove up the coast of California to San Francisco. My grandparents lived in San Jose and they connected the trip to a work trip for my grandfather.

My report starts out:

My California Report
Andrea Hylen (age 13)

July 30, 1970: It was a wet and chilly dawn when I awoke from my sleep. Excitement was ringing in the air. I leapt out of bed and threw on the clothes I had put out the night before. Little did I know about the exciting day planned for me! On the plane trip, the stewardess gave us the best of Western Service. I got Jr Stewardess wings and Western is going to send me a diploma of some sort saying that it was my first trip on their airlines. After the ride, Nana and Grampa picked us up at the San Diego Airport. In San Diego, the airport is very close to all the tall buildings and houses so when you land it seems as if you'll crash or else land on a tall building. I'll say this much it sure was scary!

(Note:  I wrote about a Harbor cruise and listed lots of facts. I am skipping to the 11th fact and the rest of the evening.)

#11: One of my favorite facts is about Marines. Marines are probably the best men in the service because when I waved to servicemen, Marines were the quickest to wave back. (Note: My Dad was a Marine in the reserves.)

After the Harbor Excursion we went over the San Diego~Coronado Bay Bridge and found the most adorable ice-cream parlor. The name was Tent City and when you went inside it was like you were in a great big tent. Nana and I ordered banana splits but Joanne only had a vanilla milkshake.

As soon as Nana and I had finished making pigs of ourselves we went back to the Motor Inn and waited for Grampa.

For supper we went to a Chicken Pie Shop and the food was delicious. You probably won't believe it but after that we went up in an inside glass elevator then we crossed to another building by standing on an escalator sidewalk. After we got to the other building, believe it or not, we went up in an outside glass elevator! On the way home, Grampa pointed out some trees with big, shiny leaves. They're called magnolia trees. All in all it was a good first day."


As I read this 25 page "report", I remembered how much I loved being in California. Everything seemed magical. I was filled with wonder and curiosity. I felt so alive and connected to myself. No wonder I continued to travel back to California as an adult and why I moved here three years ago.

I can also see how this trip was a foundational piece that I would bring into homeschooling many years later. Learning on the road. Going to museums.  Feeling the excitement of a different location. Mixing it up with food and nature and people watching.

And lastly, with my first grandchild on the way, I am reminded of how a grandparent can impact your life with a banana split, a ride in an elevator and a walk in nature.


  1. It's all about those little things - the firsts, the magic if we as parents or grandparents can help our kids appreciate that, then we're doing a great job.

    1. My grandmother was like Mary Poppins to me. We moved away from her town when I was three and so I would see her every other year. She would arrive with a suitcase of costume jewelry, a mink stole, and big hugs for me. I adored her. I will be a techno grandma (YaYa). I have Facetime on my iPhone and SKYPE for singing songs and reading stories. And flying in every once in awhile for some of those hugs!

  2. I love so many things about your story...I'm right there with you, really, as if I'm sitting on the plane, eating the ice cream...
    And I especially LOVE how you repeatedly say, "believe it or not."
    Believe it or not, here you are 40+ years later, writing to the world about the unbelievably magical things that happen in your life!

  3. I had so much joy and compassion about this teenager who was so confused at the time and the "believe it or not," was so precious. I am so happy that I saw the value in saving this piece of history of my life. I wish I had some of the journals/diaries from that time, too. Loving the reflection. Thanks Jacke!