THE ANGEL'S STORY Chapter 14
Growing up in the Kelsey household was full of trials and tribulations, which is to say, that it was not easy! I remember our first trip to Florida. It was February in 1949. School was closed for the Winter Break. Easy and I were eight years old and really looking forward to seeing, real live alligators...giant tortoises and shrunken heads at "Ripley's believe it or Not."
This trip was an adventure right from the start. Almost as soon as we left the farm in Connecticut, “Car Games” began. The counting of horses and cows and dogs and cats was the challenge. At the same time, we started a second game of License Plates. First one to get all 48 states gets a free ice cream cone. No one ever got that ice cream cone, but that did not dampen our enthusiasm. Then, our father initiated one more game, a brand new one ..... which went something like this. Every time we crossed a state line, we were instructed to hold our breath. The consequences of not doing so would be ….. That whoever did not hold their breath would turn purple!
The trip progressed down Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway and across New York’s, George Washington Bridge and then onward through the smoke stacks of New Jersey. (Gas was $0.15 a gallon. The New Jersey Turnpike had not yet been built.) It was a bumpy ride cross country following Old Route One … South to Delaware, through Maryland, Washington D.C. … Virginia, and North Carolina. Now, new words were introduced into our vocabulary… Wonderful new words, full of magic and mystery. Words like: Burma Shave: Pralines: Guava Jelly: Spanish moss, Stuckey’s and Souvenirs. We drove past emerald fields of winter wheat and dried brown fields where the soft white cotton had been harvested earlier in the year. Marvelous roadside signs appeared on both sides of the road, warning tourists, that Pedro’s Hacienda was coming up soon! One sign actually had a real car attached to it, about thirty feet up in the air and another sign announced that all of Pedro’s Rooms were heir conditioned! (That’s H E I R and not A I R ! ) Daddy had a hard time explaining that one. Suddenly….. ‘O….. There it is! It's Pedro’s!” All shining so brightly….and alive with the colors of Mexico with striped serapes ... striped in red, yellow, green and orange all coupled with an unimaginably huge, straw sombrero. Wow! It was all so exciting! .... But we did not stop. We Roared past Pedro’s at 50 miles an hour… And then….. There was one more sign that said: “ Ooooops ... You missed it! Keep yelling kids! They will give in!”
By this time, of course, we had crossed over the state line between North and South Carolina. There was much chatter and speculation about Pedro and his lifestyle. In the meantime, the miles slipped quietly by. Suddenly, Easy piped up from the back seat and proudly announced: “I did not hold my breath back there and I did not turn purple!” Not to be out done, I too announced that I did not hold my breath either and that I too was not purple. (Twins do this sort of thing you know.) A long silence followed this pronouncement. Then I remember our father saying to our mother: “Elise … Take a look in the rear view mirror…… Do you notice ….. anything … unusual?” Mummy leaned forward in her seat and peered deeply into the mirror. “Oh! … I see what you mean.” “It’s funny,” said Daddy, “I don’t think I have ever seen a purple child before. They really are quite rare you know ….. and to think! Now we have two of them!" " I am not purple,” Easy protested.“ Neither am I”, said I…. “I am looking at myself right now and I am definitely not purple!” “Well” said our father ... very thoughtfully, “I believe I read somewhere, that purple children have purple eyes, and that they are incapable of seeing that their owners are purple!” Now that was a very confusing statement! What ever could it mean?
With that, Easy and I shrunk ourselves deeply into the back seat of the Jeep in utter despair. Tears began to trickle down our cheeks... and a loud weeping and uncontrollable whaling soon followed. We were in a word: Inconsolable! So there you have it! There was really nothing else to do … but to turn the Jeep around and head North ….. Re-tracing the past twenty miles … Crossing over the state line going North … so that we could cross it again … going South … and in doing so …. return to our virgin state of being un-purple! (It was at this particular point in time, that we first began to realize the incredible power we children held over our parents! This power once discovered, was held onto for as long as possible. And yet …. No matter how many trials and tribulations we created for Mummy and Daddy, they turned out to be great parents anyway.