On our way to Kansas one year, we took the southern route. Our trips included many friends, family and then the camping. After one trip when we met so many "Army Buddies", my dad's older cousin, Gordon Likens came for a visit. I asked afterwards if he was an Army buddy. The Thompsons weren't big on family reunions, I guess.
In Kentucky, we parked our camper outside an apartment of old neighbors. Charlotte was my sister, Gerri Lee's friend, who right after graduation went to Transylvania University and got a job teaching in Lexington. I remember on class day, G. Lee told me about all the "gifts" the kids got regarding their future and Charlotte got a stake and as a 6 year old, I thought she meant "steak", so then I learned the vampire lore. Charlotte's grandmother moved down with her and continued her retail career.
I was entranced by the Southern belle feel of being in Kentucky. My long hair was starting to wave and I pulled the curl to one side, feeling very pre-Civil War. My school library had these wonderful biographies with black etched illustrations and the past year I had read about Mary Todd Lincoln's childhood. I'm not sure how accurate these biographies were, I'm remembering they were based on the famous person's childhood, before the American Girl series.
Well, Mary grew up in Lexington, KY. My father, in his nature found out where her childhood home was located, drove us there. With those fancy ball pictures in my head and curls on my head, we arrived in the slums. There was a faded plaque, but the house with a bag of half eaten oranges on the step was abandoned. A promise they were moving it to Ashland, a beautifully restored house on the outskirts of Lexington was the only ray of hope. We couldn't stay long because of the location. But Dad did get a picture.
We had been to Ashland earlier. My memory of that was a quilt, where all the quilters signed their names from like 1840 or something. One girl was Mollie and I thought her signature looked an awful lot like mine. I was quite impressed. I loved visiting all the old homes we did. Now as I'm older and realize how much this all costs, I'm doubly grateful to my parents for saving for these vacations and never giving me an inclination of the money spent.
We didn't make it to Churchill Downs, but visited Keenland, another horse stable. Kentucky is such a gorgeous state with the bluegrass and white fences. I love horses and the stables were fabulous.
My mom and I went back another time in 1978 with a girls group, but to Louisville. The women we were with also wanted to go to Lexington. Truly a wonderful state. I think it is time to visit again.