The same year I graduate from eighth grade, 1967, my dad accrues thirty days of vacation from the General Electric Company. He proposes a cross-country road trip pulling an Apache pop-up trailer. My parents plan all year for this month of visiting every relative, long lost friend, and national park from Niagara Falls to Disneyland.
In the dark of winter, I fall asleep to the nick, nick, nick of my mom’s sewing machine in the guest room on the other side of my bedroom wall. She stiches drawstring cases for each of our sleeping bags. Mine is pink calico with turquoise flowers. My brother’s, a Navajo print on a maroon background. My dad’s, nautical strips in yellow, navy and red. My mom’s, the same strip in red, white and blue. She makes herself a mumu in a psychedelic pattern for the baking Southwest. For me she fashions summer blouses, shorts, and my first two- piece bathing suit with padding in the cups.