My First Trip Ever

My Mom and Me at Niagara Falls Circa 1950

Some time before my brother was born in April 1951, my Mom, Dad and I went for a couple of days to Niagara Falls, which is just a few hours from Cleveland. This was before the Interstate Highway System made such trips routine. At the time, my Dad had a 1949 Mercury Coupé which had precious little room behind the front seat. I must have sat on my mother’s lap in those pre-seatbelt days.

I remember taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist of that era and getting splashed by the falls as we approached them. As I recall, the above picture was shot at a park opposite the falls on the Canadian side.

Yes, this was my first foreign jaunt, at the tender age of five or six. During all my years in Cleveland, the only trips we ever took were to:

  • Niagara Falls
  • Detroit to visit one of my mother’s distant relatives (and that included a visit to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village)
  • Schoenbrunn, Ohio—the first pioneer settlement in the state
  • A flight one summer, at the age of fourteen, to West Palm Beach, Florida where we stayed in nearby Lake Worth

As my horizons broadened from my extensive reading, not only of books but of maps and atlases, I felt increasingly claustrophobic living all year round in my home town. So when it came time to choose a college, my preference was for out of town, even though I did apply to Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve) if all my preferences rejected me. My preferred choices: Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Harvard kept losing my transcript. Yale accepted me without a scholarship; and Dartmouth and Bowdoin both offered full scholarships.