Archives for posts with tag: Route 66

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All Travels Are Time Travels
by Marsha Schuh

Vacations always take me back
to search for burning bushes
on a journey to death
and back again, to love eternal
friends, the elderly, gypsy eyes
generous innkeepers in Roswell
gentle alpacas, standing
worshiping one who loves them
for nothing but their lives
In my lifetime, I have learned
from Cheops, Chisholm, and Chickasaw
from ancestral Israel and Roman churches

I have experienced dizziness at Cuzco
watched a Peruvian Indian selling hats
barefoot, her baby in a sling
enjoyed stories of survival in Kansas
drinking Orange Crush and Nehi grape
at gas stations on the mother road
from Chicago to California

Through it all, realizing how small I am
least among these human marvels
in this amphitheater of the dead
and living, I cherish possibilities
of life amid its inherited hardships
headache, tragedies, unexpected
adventure, destinations without windows

And so, I take my corkscrew
on every trip for the fun
of sharing universal memory
wine with another traveler

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: My first entry into California on our 1954 journey from Chicago — after drinking innumerable grape Nehi sodas at gas stations on “the mother road,” Route 66. My brother Dave was 8 and I was 11. We came in a green 1950 Ford pulling a UHaul trailer containing everything we owned.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem began as a found poem, taken from the responses to eight questions about travel that I sent to about 15-20 friends. Many of their responses reminded me of vacations I had taken so that it seemed I was reliving trips I’d taken; indeed, I was truly traveling through time as I became lost in my memories. The final poem is a synthesis of their journeys and my own and probably those of many “another traveler.”

marsha

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marsha Schuh earned her MFA in Poetry at California State University, San Bernardino where, until last year, she taught English. Retirement as given her the opportunity to spend more time with her family and to enjoy reading, writing, traveling, and most recently, long-arm quilting. Her poetry has appeared in Inlandia Journal, Carnival, Found Poetry Review, and several other publications.

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During my childhood summers, I’d spend time with my aunt and uncle in St. Louis. My aunt liked to take long walks, and we often journeyed from her home in south St. Louis on foot, down Route 66 to a shopping center called Maplewood. Along the way, we passed the Coral Court Motel, which even as a child struck me as amazing. I have since learned that the buildings (the motel was made up of individual glazed brick cabins) were examples of art deco and streamline moderne architecture.

The Coral Court Motel operated from 1942-1993, and was razed in 1995 for a housing development — despite many attempts for designation as a historic landmark. All that remains is a website dedicated to preserving memories of the place. It boasts: “For mystery, intrigue, and sheer tawdriness, you can’t beat the Coral Court.”

Shellee Graham has written a fascinating book about the motel called Tales from the Coral Court: Photos and Stories from a Lost Route 66 Landmark. Find the book here. While I don’t own the book, I have borrowed it from the library a few times and have enjoyed it immensely — cultural history, architecture, geography, social studies, and soap opera all in one photo-filled book.