I’ve written a lot about family over the years, but my newest essay is definitely one of my favorites! It’s my first for The Week and it’s all about the family road trips that marked my childhood in such a powerful and profound way! I originally wrote it back in March and I’d been trying to place it for the last couple months. Summer was coming to an end! I was worried I’d have to save it for next year and then…BAM!!
Summer is a season that evokes such incredible sense memories, you know? When I was writing this, even all the way back in the cold days of March, I could just feel summer with every word I typed. That summer vibe, complete with its warm sun and fresh-cut grass smell, just filled my soul with childhood nostalgia. It actually made me yearn for a bygone era and those classic days of yore.
In fact, after I wrote the intro paragraph, I remember thinking, “Wow, I’ve certainly seen America, haven’t I…” I say this to my mom a lot, but I am so grateful to my parents for the childhood they gave me — a childhood full of life and adventures. That’s a gift that I will carry with me forever! Those family road trips were so magical!
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I namedrop my love for a certain late ’90s teen pop queen whose music I still bop to all the time — music that, to this day, still reminds me of those family road trips…
It was quintessential America — a snapshot of the United States. Wrapped up in these vacations was the perfect history lesson. My parents saw it as a way to bring history to life for my sister and me. But these trips are also our family’s history. It’s the story of our journey and our past and the story of our family.
It’s those summer memories that bring me comfort as I continue to mourn the loss of my father, 15 years after his death. It’s those memories I’m keeping alive. Those days of sitting in the backseat, pillow over my lap, just watching the world go by through the car window. In the sticky Southern heat of summer, the kind of heat that sticks to your back and sends beads of sweat rolling across your forehead, we were making our own history and planting the historical markers of our lives.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo