I'll relate two stories on this, one good, one "not so"......
As some of you guys have possibly read a couple of my earlier dissertations here on the forum, I consider myself blessed to be in that ever sacred fraternity of "Airstream Brats"... aka, those fortunate enough to Airstream as kids, years and years ago. I travelled extensively with my Grandparents in their 1969 23' Safari from the time it was brand new, until Gramps sold it due to failing health in the summer of 1976.
Gramps retired as a railroad executive here in Detroit on his 65th birthday, in late 1963
, and by January 1964
, he had purchased his first travel trailer, a 21' Avion. Now, in retrospect, i really don't know how much "consultation" he did with Grandma on this, but I do know they both enjoyed traveling, and even for years before retirement, they got away as often as they could.
Gramps kept a meticulous diary of every single day they were "on the road" and to look back and revisit these great days of theirs is indeed a heart warming experience. To skim thru these pages, it became quite obvious early on in their retirement and trailering life, that they became hooked. It seemed that the old Avion was being pulled out in the driveway every month, even if it was a short weekend jaunt.
I supposed it helped that both of my Grandparents were both overly social people, and made friends where ever they went. It was in very short order that they were both volunteering for this or that committee with the Avion Travelcaders group. They even did the Mexican Travelcade in 1965
, and were gone for 10 weeks there.
They had prolly about worn the wheels off the Avion by late 1968
, and they were looking to replace it. This is when (by chance) after looking at the new 69 Avions, they did not like what they saw, they drove down the road to the Airstream dealer to preview the all new completely redesigned Airstreams for 1969. Gramps always told (and re-told) the story about how it was "Mother" (as he affectionalely called her) and Mother alone who made the decision that their new trailer would not be an Avion, indeed, it was gonna be an Airstream.
Well, as I have eluded to a couple times before, they wintered every year with hundreds of fellow Airstreamers in Pompano Beach, Florida, and we also continued to travel with the WBCCI every summer from 1969 to 1976, attending several International Rallies in those years.
Alas, Gramps health started to deteriorate after he caught a chronic bout of bronchitis in Bozeman after the International in 73, and it got worse and worse, and by the spring of 76, it was apparent that he could not handle the rigors of trailer travel anymore. It must have literally broken both of their hearts to have to sell their beloved little silver twinkie.... his entries in his diary in those days were decidingly somber. His days were barely "subsisting" by then, and he made his final voyage in April 1978. He was 4 months shy of 80 yrs old.
Looking back in retrospect, to many years later, i would reminisce with Grandma about those great days (she lived to be 96, we lost her in 1996) and even though she eluded to the fact that she never really had too much of a say in where they went back in those days, it was indeed a life in which they both learned to cherish and treasure, and the friends they made from both of the clubs, they kept for the rest of their lives. It was a case of them both realizing they could each find a rocking chair after retirement, and rot away there, or they could take the bull by the tail, and enjoy these years they worked so hard to enjoy. and from January 1964
to June 1976, they did just that. I am so envious of them, it makes me turn green.
Now the second, and much more condensed portion of my blabbage...
I guess we seem (in our adult lives) sometimes, to attempt to recapture our youth in any way possible, sometimes it is a case of trying to "get back" everything we had as a kid.... My case in point, is that prolly ever since the day Gramps sold the Airstream in 1976, I was wanting to have one and travel as I had so many summers of my youth. Even, ideally an Airstream just like HIS. Well, I was one of the statistically in the majority people that ended up in a failed marriage, and for several reasons. But as not to get too involved in a really unpleasant story, I'll keep it to the point. On more than one occasion in the later years of our marriage, i had casually mentioned the possibility of buying an Airstream to restore, and travel in with our two small children. We had a larger Chris Craft Cruiser that slept 6 and we travelled all over the lower Great Lakes with that as a family, and we all loved it, so i figured, why not try the Airstream route too....
Now, unlike my Grandfather prolly did, I consulted with my (then) wife, and tried to "sell" her on the idea. But as I later realized, the marriage and the relationship was already heading downhill fast, and this was too little too late. I was later told in so many words (and not kiddingly) that if i ever brought one of "those $#@*& ugly silver things" home to our driveway, I could sleep in it!!
Well, long story short, I realized that "selling" her on this idea, in any shape, form or fashion was a futile effort.... there was just too much water under the bridge, too much unhappiness between us, so i promptly tabled this idea. But despite the cold hard fact that we were divorced almost two years ago, the good part is that in the longer run, i am much happier than before. I know Gramps and Grandma smiled down on me that day last May when i found the ad on the internet for the '69 23' Safari Twin in WPB, Fla. And restoring this trailer, and the anticipation of traveling with my own children this summer, is indeed a labor of love, and a long time coming too....
Okay, now that most of you are asleep, or your eyes are bleeding, I'll shut up now.....
Oh, and in case you'all didn't get a good enough laugh before, attached is a pic of Grandpa and Grandma and I, in 1975, while I was visiting them on Easter Break. Yeah, Yeah, the tie.....I know....I know.....