Like many families in the Space-Age 1960s, we spent summers zigzagging the country on the interstate highway system. Rocket travel to me meant the luxurious back seat of Dad’s Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. We rode in air-conditioned comfort while the big Olds ate up huge stretches of superhighway in exchange for a few tanks full of refreshing Gulf No-Nox, and at night our Highway Host was the Holiday Inn. They had almost everything- a familiar layout surrounding a giant inground pool for my brother and myself, a predictable standard of cleanliness for Mom and the handy-dandy Holidex reservation system for Dad, and of course, the best signage in the history of the world, the immodest Great Sign. Call it win-win-win-win.
Each morning, we would look at the map and plan the day’s mileage, so that Dad could telex ahead for that evening’s reservation while he checked out. He always made the same request- “lower deck poolside.” That way that my folks could unwind while my Brother and I would only be a few steps away. Child abduction was a rare thought in the sixties, I honestly think they just didn’t have the energy to have to go around and herd us up. So Dad’s three word request made everyone happy.
What they didn’t have, oddly- was consistent food- most had their own lounge/restaurant and/or coffee shop, but they varied widely in decor, menu and palatability, and at eight I wasn’t a lounge lizard yet- so mealtime more than likely meant a trip to the nearby Howard Johnson’s for clam strips and orange booths. Needless to say, my travel memories are happy ones.
I haven’t written at all about the new condo, but having just passed my third anniversary here I decided it was time. The complex is a bit bigger than I wanted- four low rise two-story buildings, each surrounding a swimming pool. I saw it and instantly nicknamed it the Holiday Inn. My own unit is on the ground floor in a corner just steps from the pool gate. Yep, Lower Deck Poolside. I laughed out loud when I realized that. Mind you, it’s considerably larger than a motel room but the flavor is indelibly the same. What’s more, I’m perfectly happy in my own Holiday Inn. And yes, most evenings I’m splashing around in the pool like I did when I was eight years old.
Now, what time are we going for clam strips?