For some of us, our parents still live in the same house that we grew up in, and at holidays when we go “back home to visit,” we are returning to the home and the town of our childhood. But for others of us, our parents have since sold the home where we grew up, and have moved to a different location. So when we travel to visit Grandpa and Grandma- our kids don't see where we grew up. So I thought it would be an awesome road trip idea to take the kids on a family road trip to see where I grew up!
I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio known as Mayfield- and at least once a year when we make the drive from our home in New York to visit my husband's family in Michigan, we drive within 30 miles of the place where I grew up. But in the middle of a long (11 hour) road trip- it never seems like a good idea to make a detour and visit my hometown.
But on a recent family road trip, we decided to plan for it and leave a bit earlier in the morning, and build this stop into our trip. And I am really glad that we did!
My kids were really excited to see the house that I grew up in, and to see the elementary, middle, and high schools that I attended. They loved hearing the stories of how I used to walk to high school, how we used to eat at Denny's at 7 am on Friday mornings before the pre-football game pep rally took place at school.
I showed them the public library where I used to sit for hours on hot summer says and read books and buy a little cheese-and-cracker package for 25 cents from the vending machine to eat on the walk back home. We drive around the neighborhood where my brother and I would go trick or treating, I showed them the homes where I used to babysit, and the house only four doors down where my grandparents used to live.
Of course, seeing all of these places made the memories come flooding back which helped me to recall so many of these childhood stories to tell. And the kids were all too happy to cast off their headphones and turn off their DVD players and listen to me talk about when I was a little girl.
I couldn't wait to take them to visit the same pizzeria that I had loved all through high school- where I ate at least twice a week, and where I couldn't wait to go to when I came home for vacation breaks during college. Of course, it was as fantastic as I remembered, and my kids all begged to come back and visit this place again!
Having devoted the time to spend just a few hours showing my family my old hometown made me want to make one more stop back in the past and show another town and memory to my family- and that is the town where I attended college- Bloomington, Indiana at good old Indiana University.
I had not been back for a visit since I graduated so many years ago! I wondered if it would look the same, feel as big as it did to me back then- and would I even remember how to get around? Well, the answers are- Not exactly the same (there is so much construction and expansion going on- it makes me cringe when I think of how much tuition costs have been rising), No- the campus actually feels smaller to me now than it did when I was going to school there, and Yes- I absolutely remember where everything is!
We started our adventure at the sports complex- to show my kids the “sacred venue” that is Assembly Hall (the basketball team won the NCAA championship when I was there in 1987!), and the football stadium (my kids were amazed at the size of it).
We then drove past my freshman year dorm, the sorority where I lived during the rest of my years at IU, the business school where I earned my degree, the library, and best of all, the student union- where we stopped for lunch and did a little souvenir shopping.
We then hiked around the center of campus, stopping at the Showalter Fountain which is where we often gathered to celebrate special school events. It was fun to show my kids my old college campus- and since they had never been to a large (Big 10) college campus before- it gave me them an idea to keep in their heads of what a college feels like and looks like. They really loved it!
A family road trip to see where you grew up and/or went to college is a great thing to do with your kids!
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