Wednesday, June 20, 2007



After just being in Biloxi, MS along the Gulf Coast, I am reminded of a trip there when I was 17, in 1952. Hurricane Katrina left the Biloxi coast looking much as it was back then: bare stretches of beach and no eating places. But it was such a great place at that time.

My Mom and Dad decided it was time to take a trip in our 1947 Studebaker during the summer after my junior year at Searcy Hi. There was a reason to visit that area other than the obvious seashore vacation. My boyfriend at the time, Harrel Sullivan (not to be confused with my classmate, Harold Sullivan), had joined the Air Force after graduation that year. He had just finished basic training at Keesler A.F.B. on the Mississippi Gulf Coast near Biloxi.

The route took us south toward Texarkana, then to Bunkie, Lousiana, for the night's stop.

We stopped at a small motel and my strongest memory was the bathtub. It was the color of rust. We were told the iron-rich water was the reason. The place was the luck of the draw since, in those days, folks didn't have the advantage of checking motels in a handy directory and calling ahead. We ate home-prepared vittles in the room, as was the custom for auto travelers. One never knew when or where an eating place might be found, or a rest area..

We did find a cafe for breakfast, and I remember a sign above the counter that read light roast or dark roast. For some reason, I thought they were talking about meat. I learned later that the signs referred to coffee. Duh! Even then, folks in Louisiana had Chicory in their coffee. Anyway, we all had to have some coffee to clear the cobwebs from our brain. No in-room coffee service in those days.

The previous day’s trip had been long, and we could smell the salt air already. Our motel in Biloxi was right on the beach, and one would just step out the door and onto the beach. Dad, Mom, and I were good swimmers, so we took advantage of the warm Gulf waters as much as possible. Here's a picture of Daddy and me after a swim.

There was really nothing distinctive about that part of the Gulf beach . No amusement park, few eating places, a few birds, and even fewer people. The day's routine was pretty much the same. Hit the beach, swim, find a shady place, take a nap, eat, swim, etc.

Ah, life was simple in those days.

My folks made many trips to the Gulf over the following years. They really enjoyed the warm water and beach. Many times they would travel without stopping at motels. They would just pull off to the side of the road and sleep in the car or in a picnic area using picnic tables for a bed. No worrying about someone doing them harm.

Things have changed considerably in 2007, but I know they would still love to visit a nice sandy beach, have a swim, some food, and a nap!! Who wouldn't like that?



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