A trip down memory lane

Avis Anderson
Sunday, November 14, 2021
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Off and on throughout my 70+ years I have kept a journal or a diary. Now the word is “blog,” but either way you are recording what happened to you, describing emotional and historical events. I have kept some, while some written during traumatic or stressful times in my life I destroyed. I have some brief diaries my Dad kept during World War II which even in their brevity tell of another world long ago and far away. Mom, then 15, had a little pencilled travelogue from a trip she took with her parents to the West Coast to visit family and friends in about 1930. They traveled by car. It is absolutely fabulous to read about their adventures through Montana, Idaho and Washington in those days.

I found a snippet I had written about European railroad stations when traveling in Europe in 1975. Of course traveling then and traveling now would be entirely different, but it was great fun. I was 27 and it was my first taste of the world beyond my front door.

“The stations are small cities within cities. They run from late to early or early to late, whenever your train arrives. Most shops, Information and exchange centers are open to 8 or 9 p.m. some to 12 and then re-open by 6, 7, or 8 a.m. The types of shops available are endless, but most popular are the food shops (Coke, FANTA, fruit, candy and bakery) and the book or news shops. The larger stations, like Oslo, usually have International shops where English, French, German, or native tongue books are available. Of course for Americans, an English newspaper is a scarce, but welcome commodity. Other shops handle tobacco and souvenirs; hair salons, drug stores, flower shops, and boutiques. Restaurants and cafeterias are also in abundance along with an occasional post office and the usual train necessities

The people. As Walt Whitman commented, “Ah! The people!” The cross section of humanity is as fast moving as blinking your eyes or turning your head in the opposite direction. One moment you are discussing room costs with a young boy from Bremen and the next you are helping a Japanese with a backpack who speaks only English in a German-speaking country. There are students with long hair, blue jeans, T-shirts and backpacks with the flag of their country sewn on — U.S., Canadian, Swede — take your pick. Then there are couples who dress at the hight of fashion. Young man in smartly tailored white suit escorts a young girl with below the knee dress, platform shoes, and carefully manicured nails. But serving as the background to all of this are the grandmothers in kerchiefs and black scarves and short round-faced old men in lederhosen and Tyrolean hats, or whatever else the custom of the country allows. There are dark complexioned children with big, round brown eyes, contemplating you with a deeply thoughtful stare; there are grandmothers with back packs and groups of chattering women. Always there are the silent people, sitting with downcast eyes or brows set in a deep frown.”

Reading this reminds me of who I was, what was exciting and what I was learning, all creating the me I am today.

Avis R. Anderson is a retired member of the Glendive community. Her online blog can be found at www.prairienewdays.com.

Reading this reminds me of who I was, what was exciting and what I was learning, all creating the me I am today.