Rode Hard Put Up Wet

Schools Travel

RodeHardPutUpWet # 1

Let’s Rodeo!  Not yet, I’ll get into the rodeo part on down the road. The title could let your imagination run wild and everything running through your mind is probably correct.

Ok, let’s get serious.  Do you really think you have traveled?  I’m not talking about just to other countries.  I’m talking about, just for now, the United States.  We’ll cover Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Canada, Jamaica and others later. 

 I’ve been in conversations where a person would state they had to travel so much growing up and how hard it was, because one of their parents was in the military.  They would have to move every year or so.

I’m sorry; it was hard to keep a straight face.  Let me explain some of my unusual traveling having lived and been schooled in over 25 states (and several towns in lots of those states) in eight years and even visited a lot more when traveling the rodeo circuit.

Going to 9 different schools a year and living in 12 cities a year in 8 years is different than anyone I have encountered or heard of.  My family moved every 4 weeks.  My dad traveled with a company out of Wichita, Kansas and was hired to put on “Going out of Business” or “Liquidation” sales for any number of different type businesses around the U.S.  Dad bought a small trailer for us to live in. These sales lasted 4 weeks and then we were off to the next sale.  We could be leaving Guntersville, Alabama then head for New Ulm, Minnesota or Ruston, Louisiana going to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. You never knew, you just got in the car when dad said we’re leaving.  Sometimes schooling was a challenge.  You’d leave a southern state, go to a northern state and be behind in your books and visa versa the other direction.  I always made straight “A’s”.  I figure the teachers never had time to know me and just passed me with good grades.  But I knew I was smart even back then.

All this started when I was 4 or 5 years old.  What I recall is dad parking the trailer on St. Simons Island, Georgia and fixing to enroll in my first grade of school.  I was 6 and excited to be starting first grade and meeting new friends.   Not only was school great, but my younger brother and I had the whole Atlantic Ocean as our yard.  Wow, can you imagine having a playground like that.  We had very few toys, one or two was it, so the ocean, with all its wonder was super to play in and let our imaginations run wild.

My mother never worried about us, we could both swim (which I will get into later).  She was mostly ironing my dad’s white shirts perfectly for his work or figuring out what to fix on that little stove for supper.  Now let me explain.  Supper is the meal you have in the evening and dinner was eaten at noon.  It was hot and humid; I don’t know how mom stood it. There was no air conditioning and fans were hard to come by or to even afford.  Actually very few had any type cooling device. 

You have to picture this— Our trailer was 18’ long with a booth in front and a couch in back.  When I say it like that, it sounds big, “front and back”, ha, one or two big steps in between and you were there.  Both ends let down at night for sleeping.  

There was no bathroom in our trailer; the trailer parks always had an outside community restroom.  There was one tiny sink in the kitchen with a two burner stove.  Back then parks were on the bad side of town and we were often referred to as Trailer Trash or gypsies. There was one closet which was for dad’s suits and shirts.  The rest of all of our clothes were in a box under the couch.  Mom’s couple house dresses and us kid’s two or three changes of clothes.  As I look at old pictures it looks like our trailer was made out of Masonite siding or cardboard. Ha.   It was always the ugliest trailer in every park.  But my mom’s trailer was as clean or cleaner than anyone’s; she was immaculate.  And she kept us clean and our two or three changes of clothes were clean.  She washed my hair once a week and rinsed it with vinegar. That smelled awful until it dried then you couldn’t smell it at all.

My skirts and blouses and the boys shirts were all made out of flour sacks.  My grandma Shaw bought flour in 100 pound sacks and they all had flower designs on them.  She would try to buy matching ones when she could.  Mom had a tiny Singer sewing machine she set up in the trailer when she would receive the package from grandma.  I’ve never seen a sewing machine that little, but it worked well.

In the next blogs, I will get into some of the sites we were able to see in our travels.  Dad always took us to anything close that was a well known site.  Or he found a fishing hole where he fished and we played in the water.  I mean what do you do in a small trailer. There were no TV’s at least at our house.  But the Lone Ranger was on radio at 3 o’clock.

Things were not always good in our travels.  But I still travel every chance I get with available timing and money.  Right now I’m reliving through blogging.  

Until then, friends, be safe and happy, it’s a great big world out there and I want to share some of what I have experienced with you and I want to experience yours also.

Always, RodeHardPutUpWet

3 Comment

  1. Even though you’ve “lightened up” some of the experiences you had to go through, this is a really good read. I’m better able to understand how you could handle the tougher stuff you experienced as you got older. I can almost smell the swamp water! This is going to be an addictive blog. The e-book version should open some eyes, too.

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