Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Don't ask me to pronounce the title of my blog. I never took French. When I visited Paris, about the best I could muster was "Croque-Monsieur, s'il vous plait," which translates to "I'd like a ham and cheese sandwich please."

But back to the blog title... The most common translation of this phrase by nineteenth century French author and columnist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr is "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

I was recently reminded of this when my uncle sent me a photo for Christmas. It wasn't just any photo. He'd taken the original, scanned it, enlarged it, cleaned it up, added a caption and put it in a very nice frame.

This is the photo and it dates from July 1959. I was nine years old. That's my sister on the left, and this was taken in Dodge City, Kansas. You remember Dodge City don't you? Gunsmoke and Matt Dillon? Chester, Doc Adams and Miss Kitty? And who could forget the Long Branch Saloon?

Dodge City, Kansas really exists and they've tapped into the fame of Gunsmoke to create the Boot Hill Museum, which includes a recreation of the Long Branch Saloon. In the evenings, there's a stage show complete with a honky-tonk piano player and can-can girls.

I remember walking down Front Street and watching the shoot-out they recreated for all us tourists. And then we went into the saloon, bellied up to the bar and all ordered a cold sarsaparilla AKA sasparilla. It tasted pretty much like root beer to me, but sarsaparilla sounded a heap more fun.

And you know what was really fun? Sharing that same experience with my boys twenty-eight years later in the summer of 1987. We watched the gun fight, read the tombstones in the Boot Hill cemetery, attended the saloon show and got us a sarsaparilla at the bar. I'm not sure how much of the trip they remember. They were four and eight respectively. Regardless of their memories, I have mine. And even though a few things had changed in Dodge City, much had remained the same.

Maybe some day I can take my granddaughter to Dodge City and get her a cowboy hat and boots, though I have a sneaking suspicion she'd rather visit some place with princesses and get a tiara and a scepter.

Have you ever recreated a childhood vacation with your children? Was it like you remembered or had things changed?

P.S. Belated birthday wishes to my mother who celebrated a birthday yesterday. I won't tell you which one. My mama didn't raise a fool. ;-)


PM's Mother said...

My dear child,
In 1959 you were 8 years old.

Thank you for not revealing my age, yet I'm proud of every year of it!

Playground Monitor said...

As you can see, my sister got the math genes in the family.

Smarty Pants said...

I don't know that my mom and I have ever done anything like that. She had a bit of a nomdic, sucky childhood, so there wasn't much exciting for us to do that she did as a kid. We do try to make our own traditions together, though, and get LS involved in them, so maybe our kids can share in that.

Vicki said...

Marilyn, that's an adorable picture. I love the hats and boots!

gigi said...

What a cute picture of you and your sis. Then taking a pic of your boys in the same spot. It would be fun to see Olivia in the same setting but my money is on a Disney Princess photo op.

Did anyone ever win the Christie Ridgway blog on January 5th?

Christine said...

Extremely cute picture and how fun that you took your sons on the same vacation. My hubby and I have taken our daughter on our dream vacations, but not childhood trips. Although I guess you could say that returning to Holland with her and camping in France is what I did as a child. I am pretty sure that hubby and I were way more fun on that trip with my daughter than my parents were with me. But I was little. I blocked most of my early years out of my memory LOL.

Angel said...

Sorry I'm late to the blog today!!! Very long day, but I won't bore you with details. :) What absolutely adorable pictures! Very nostalgic too.

I haven't taken the kids to do much that I did as a child because most of it included fishing and camping, and I do neither. My grandmother used to take us camping at a nearby river, and I remember camping with my mom (or rather, her trying to help us pee out in the woods without wetting our clothes). Nope. My idea of camping is a Holiday Inn.

So big things are out, but I try to recreate the little things, like baking sugar cookies and such.


(and did the word verification show up on the first try for everybody else? I'm unreasonably excited. :) and worried its a fluke)

Problem Child said...

Hm, no. No recreating vacations with AC. Like Angel, my family did some camping -- and y'all know how I feel about camping.

Of course, AC has been shaped by trips to Scotland every year -- which I certainly didn't do as a child -- so I wonder what she'll do with her kids to recreate that experience.

Instigator said...

I loved seeing those pictures! It really makes me want to pack the girls into the car and just drive somewhere with them. Somewhere warm though...I'm sick of the cold and snow.