A Very Special Time

My father, older sister and brother went to Chicago to visit my grandmother. I was only six and my grandmother made it quite clear that I was to wait until I was older to visit her. Of course, I was disappointed as I saw them get into the car and leave.

Mom sensed my disappointment and as I sat quietly eating breakfast, she smiled and said, “I’ve got an idea, Adele. You and I are going to do something special today.” She got her purse and opened it up. She counted the money that she had in it.

“Adele, the first thing we are going to do is to have lunch at the Franklin House. Then we’ll take the Greyhound bus to Muskegon?” I was so excited. I had never eaten at a fancy restaurant, and I had never been on a bus before.

The Franklin House in Montague, Michigan was one of the best hotels and restaurants in the state. People who visited the White Lake area found a bit of luxury when they stayed at this hotel situated close to White Lake.

As we had no car, we walked downtown. Mother held my hand and in fun she swung our arms back and forth and skipped with me!

When we entered the Franklin House it was beautiful. White linen tablecloths were on each table with pretty centerpieces. A young man with a white topcoat gave us very large menus and poured water into beautiful crystal glasses. My mother acted as if we had done this many times before! She looked at the menu and ordered something for us. She winked and smiled at me. Even though the food was served in courses, all I remember was the delicious chicken noodle soup.

Muskegon was only sixteen miles away, and there were two ways you could travel by bus. The first was to take you directly to Muskegon. The second was taking the scenic tour. This route wound around the beautiful hills and countryside of western Michigan. It passed by the inland lakes and Lake Michigan and a historic wooden fort called the ‘Block House’. Mom requested tickets for the scenic tour.

As we entered the bus, we found two vacant seats. Mom insisted that I sit by the window so I could look out. All this time my mother had a contented and happy look on her face. I had always seen her working around the house in a house dress, doing all the necessary and tedious chores, tending to all of us, and now I felt I was seeing my mother for the first time. She was dressed in a beautiful dress and she was pretty. I loved her so much.

When we got to Muskegon we window shopped. There was no mall at this time, so we walked outside looking at the many displays until we got to the Woolworth’s dime store. We sat at the counter and mother asked if I would like to order a chocolate sundae. I had never had a whole sundae of my own. It was an extravagant treat.

The day seemed to end too soon, but it has been etched in my memory forever. There was no brother or sister or dad. There were no interruptions by life’s daily routines. It was a time shared by a mother and daughter who loved one another. It was a very special time.

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