Friday, July 5, 2024

Go West Young Man

It's FLASBACK FRIDAY and will share a condensed version of our travels to California the end of December 1978 into January 1979.  The posts will come in dribs and drabs over the course of weeks

For those of you who may not know, IBM had a very strict dress code.  They could only wear white shirts, tie and suit; no sport coats/slacks.  So when Gary had his exit interview he decided to wear bib overalls and flannel shirt to the office instead of his normal attire.  His joke being that was the dress code for western folk.

Sorry for the corrupt photo, wherever it was processed did a lousy job as several photos have deteriorated over the years.

December 24, 1978
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, all the creatures were anxious, even the mouse'.
As Christmas is upon us we are all tense in anticipation of the 2,800 mile trip to northern California.  I have mixed emotions about this great adventurous journey.  The family will be a huge loss in our life.  Instead of the 2 hour drive to visit them from Bowie, MD it would take a flight and drive to see them.

Yesterday (12/23) we had our last dinner celebration here in Bowie.  It was mother's birthday so she and Pat (my stepfather), Gary's brothers and wives, my uncles, Aunts, my brother and wife, my father and his wife and everyone's pets came to share a last meal together for a while.

The men all helped Gary prepare the van for her mighty haul to the west coast.  The van would be pulling our Int'l Scout which would also serve as the warehouse for needful things during our trip.  It's funny, we have had the van for over a year but 5 days before the big trip Gary takes on the big task of remolding the van for our travelling pleasure.  

They weren't small jobs either.  He put in a bay window so son Greg could see part of the U.S., put in a longer seat, replaced the radio and antenna, put in a socket for head phones for 8 track, paneled and insulated the van and secured speakers under the seat.  After the men worked on the van for a while and after several beers later we had a dinner fit for a king.  There was turkey, baked ham and all the trimmings.

It was bittersweet later in the afternoon as Eric (Gary's brother) gave us a jar filled with eastern shore farmland black soil and Assateague Island sand.  He gave son Greg an old pair of his spoons (Eric taught Greg how to play spoons one night at Trader Lee's Village in Ocean City, MD, and an old soiled striped Bass Fishing hat.

My brother Joey and wife gave us two coffee cups, a Delaware and Maryland so every morning with coffee we'd remember where HOME was.  Everyone was hugging, crying and saying their 'good-byes'.  What better Christmas present to each other than the expression of love.

The saga will continue next Thursday.



  1. Gary in his bib overalls...what a hoot!!! He must have shocked those at the office.
    I am sure it was a very emotional time, but being surrounded by all that love had to be heartwarming. Looking forward to the continuation of the journey.

  2. Did you move to farm? That was the reason for the overalls or just a sucker I am out of here?

  3. Your hubby had a good sense of humor....wearing the overalls to work was a great idea . What a tricked out Van you had for your drive to CA !!! Had to be hard to leave all your family behind , sounded like a really nice send off.

  4. I bet seeing Gary in his bibs was a shocker to his boss. Oh how dress codes have changed since then. I can even wear jeans to work now as long as they dont have holes in them. Am assuming you left your home for a job out West? Janice

  5. Ha ha...Love Gary's sense of humor. The bibs were great! What a heartwarming and bittersweet celebration. Your words in your journal captured the emotions perfectly. While my back does not tolerate road trips of any length well, I might have managed with a customized van like that. I'm anxious to hear more! ~Robin~

  6. Saundra, what a time capsule you've unearthed! This is a wonderful story. I can only imagine the whole trip. I bet it was full of adventures , which I can't wait to read about. You two, sounds like a hoot. Gary had a great sense of humour.

    Take care, hugs.

  7. Wow,,what memories,,,,
    My husband has an old international tractor,,,,antique Now!
    And we just saw a show on the TV,,,about fixing up an old scout,,,,

  8. Can't wait for the next chapter! What a great beginning. I love that Gary waited until five days before the big trip to work on the van, ha! That would be me. Such a procrastinator I am! I am so glad that I finally figured out how to comment on the Blogger blogs! I never can when I go to the blog from my email. Oh well, glad to be here now. Jan in MA


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