I know the picture isn’t from 1961 – but we didn’t have cameras like we do now.
Sometimes something someone says will trigger an ancient memory. That is what happened last week and I decided to write it down. Someday my kids may enjoy some of these memories.
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I was eighteen and newly married. Got married in June and my parents divorced in early December.
My mother had moved to Kansas City and my husband and I lived in a mobile home court halfway between Riverside and Parkville – just north of Kansas City.
Now my home town was Trenton, Missouri which is approximately on hundred miles northeast of Kansas City, and my husband’s parents lived in Macon, Missouri which is about one hundred, fifty miles northeast of Kansas City, but more east than north. The first leg to get to either one is north on I-35 to Cameron. Then a little farther north to Trenton, but turn east to Macon at Cameron.
Christmas that year was on Monday, and my husband and I were going to Macon to spend it with his parents.
My mother was going to Trenton to be with my grandmother.
Friday morning, they forecast snow, but not much.
When Mother left Kansas City about 2 o’clock Friday afternoon it was snowing lightly.
Saturday morning, my husband and I headed for Macon. We got about twenty-five miles on I-35 to where 69 Highway goes to Excelsior Springs and were met by the Highway Patrol who told us we couldn’t go any farther on I-35 because there were about two hundred cars and trucks (including semis) in drifts between there and Cameron.
I never gave a thought to my mother. After all, she left early Friday afternoon.
We took another route to Macon and spent Saturday night, Sunday, and Christmas morning not even thinking about the snow storm.
Now this was before everyone had a cell phone and could call whenever and wherever they were. You also had to pay to call long distance.
In the middle of the afternoon Monday, I got a call from a strange man. He told me he was an OTR truck driver and my mother knew he was coming through Macon and wanted him to call and tell me she was okay. They had just spent three days with about sixty other people in a small tavern just outside of Cameron.
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Like I said, mother left Kansas City about two o’clock Friday in a light snow. She was driving a 1960 Ford Galaxy. Nice heavy car. She stopped at Liberty for gas and there was a car full of teenaged boys. One was an old boyfriend of mine who told his companions, “I’m going to ride with Mrs. Crawford so she won’t be by herself in the snow.”
They got just past the Excelsior Springs junction, and were stopped. I’m not sure if they got stuck in a drift, or if the car stalled. A couple stopped and picked them up and they continued toward Cameron.
About three miles before Cameron, their car also got stalled. They made it to this little tavern. (I was never sure exactly where the tavern was, but I think there was a junction or intersection or something.)
The tavern owner had gone into Cameron for supplies leaving his pregnant wife and nine-month-old baby when all of these people sought shelter.
The only food in the place was the shrimp the tavern served every Friday night. Of course, they had plenty of alcohol.
One of the semis was carrying oranges from Florida, and the driver broke the seal on the trailer and they had oranges.
In addition to the tavern owners’ baby, there were two more babies in diapers. Twins who were traveling with their father to meet up with their mother for Christmas. Of course, this was before disposable diapers. Mother said they had diapers draped all over the place drying.
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The thing that made me most upset:
My mother and I wore the same size clothes. She had borrowed a dress from me. It was a turquoise wool and was one of my favorites. Needless to say, it was completely ruined.