By Cait Collins
Wordsmith Six is in the process of putting together an anthology centered around old Route 66. Researching the Mother Road brought back memories from my childhood. I have some recollection of driving through Missouri. I recall going through Joplin, but don’t remember if we stayed the night there or just drove through.
I’ve studied pictures of the restaurants and motels along the route and they match my memories of ones we stayed in while traveling to St. John’s Newfoundland and Bangor, Maine. When we moved to Amarillo, we stayed in a motel on Amarillo Boulevard, part of Old Route 66.
The motel had a diner attached, and we would eat breakfast and dinner there. Since there were eight of us Dad has to get two rooms. Each room had two double beds and we got a roll-away so that everyone had a bed. When Sister #5 was a baby, Mom took a drawer out of the dresser and made her bed in the drawer. It might sound weird and wild to young people today, but it was a great childhood.
I think one of my favorite memories of driving Route 66 was having my dad read the Burma Shave signs. I still remember one of them:
He lit a match
to check the gas tank.
That’s why they call him
I pulled a list of sayings from the Internet and don’t remember any of them, but some of them were full of satirical driving tips. Not only was Burma Shave advertising their products, they were reminding travelers to stay alert. Sadly, the development of the super highways spelled doom for Burma Shave signs. They have been resurrected in the western sections of the road and in Missouri.
I feel sorry for kids today in that technology has in many cases made traveling by car boring. Highways often block the beautiful vistas we witnessed while traveling. Old roads like Route 66 provided such lovely scenery. Working on my story for the anthology has awakened so many good memories. Route 66 was not the only road we traveled, but some of the scenes were similar. Along the way, I learned a respect for history and for a simpler way of life. There truly is something to be said for the “good old days”.