Thursday, August 5, 2010

Westward Ho, the Wagon, By Eve Taylor

Eve is wife of Bryant, son of Floyd, twin brother of Lloyd….

We did not trek westward by covered wagon as our pioneer ancestors did almost two hundred years ago. We did not go as part of a wagon train through the wilderness. But, in 1968, in our family, we were blazing our own trail to a new life, a new country, and new adventures.

Our transportation was the modern version of a covered wagon, an RV motor home. Our trail was not ahead, but behind us. The wagon master was my husband, Bryant C. Taylor. As I am sure my pioneer counterpart did, I did the cooking and washing, and tried to keep the peace in the little space. Two adults and three teenagers in a 26-foot motor home made for chaos at times.

Our daughter, who was twelve years old, took along a guitar she did not know how to play, but was hopeful of learning. In Mexico a huge sombrero that covered one third of our bed was added to her treasure trove, along with Barbie dolls and assorted stuffed animals.

The older son, age nineteen, zealously guarded two shopping bags of his record album collection ( before cassettes and compact discs), so that they would not break. Taking up much needed space was a hairdryer with case and bonnet. This was hauled out daily to dry his hair as straight as possible. Curly hair was not “in”.

Our sixteen year old son could not part with a barbell set he had received at Christmas even though he did not use them once on the trip.

There were many items necessary to keep the RV on the road. These few extras meant headaches for the wagon master. The trail of abandoned belongings started as soon as we reached Natural Bridge State Park in Virginia. As I recall, the beach balls were the first to go. Thus started a trail of Taylor “treasures” across this vast country! However, the kids valiantly fought with the wagon master, and each had his most prized possession still in hand upon arrival in Australia.

My time of tears came in Los Angeles when the RV was sold, and all the familiar dishes, cooking utensils, and linens were given to the manager of the RV Park. The wagon master felt terrible to see the RV sold since it had been a dependable home for two and a half months, and he had driven it for thousands of miles.

Almost thirty years later, my husband and I had a chance to experience RV-Wagon-ing again. How different it was! We had ten more feet of space, and all the ‘mod cons’ as they say in Australia, which means, modern conveniences. There were just two of us, and therefore, no need to get rid of things for extra space. We could take anything we wanted.

Yes, we enjoyed it, but in retrospect, nothing could compare with our first covered wagon experience with our family and the trail we left behind.

Picture Two: Mitch, Pam, Evie, Bryant, Lance


Pat said...

Loved this story, especially how you made it seem like the trek west for the pioneers of old.

Luckily, no Donner's Pass for you!

And, yes, it must have been hard to leave the traveling home behind as you set off for the faraway land of 'down under'.

CB said...

This was a BIG trip!! And your family grew as you went!! I know that your middle child stayed in New Zealand and now visits USA occasionally, as well as Canada where I think one of his children has settled. The other 2 "kids" are nearer to Evie in Leroy but just as in pioneer days, a trip such as this brings changes!! CB, Bryant's first cousin and Evie's pal!