As we, my wife Jan and I, approached the magic age of baby boomers either leaving voluntarily or being forced from the workplace, we started to think about what the future was going to hold for us. I come from a complicated family (more on that later) that gypsied through and around the world for the first 25 years of my life, learning about new cultures, making new friends and being exposed to never-ending wonders not found in your typical Smallville, USA community. No judgment intended here, just the fact that we really had no place we could call home. However, the world was our oyster and to the extent we could, my siblings and I related at every stop to the new life that was being showed us.
Let me make this clear… it wasn’t all pearls and diamonds. We lived in Turkey in the late 40’s (1900’s style!) and while there are precious few memories of that time I do remember several stories of our early childhoods. We left Turkey and moved to Paris (my father worked for the Marshall Plan at the time) where we lived close to St Germain Des Prés and the memories of that time are a little more vivid.
It was perhaps there that the basis of love of food and wine was nurtured as our mother took to the gastronomy of France and the rest of Europe with unbridled abandon. We lived there at the same time as Julia Child, Simone Becht, Anne Willan and many more, and the “French Gastro Revolution” was in full force. It was there we learned to officially speak our first language (Turkish being merely a bunch of baby gobbley-gook), take in our first Cathedral and skip along the cobblestones of narrow streets. Sounds magical, but bottom line it was a place to live like we all do.
We moved on to Connecticut where we lived briefly in the towns of Westport and Weston, moved on to Switzerland, Ethiopia and back to Switzerland and finally back to France. More on that existence in future blogs, but suffice it to say that the experiences we encountered all served as a foundation for the wanderlust that has plagued my existence ever since.
Jan, on the other hand, grew up in central Ohio USA. Plymouth, Ohio to be specific, a small town located in the rolling hills of Cental Ohio’s farmland between Cleveland and Columbus . During Jan’s early years Plymouth was a vibrant and productive community with a well established downtown that sported three “department” stores, several bars, churches for all the main denominations, a fast food eatery and its own school system.
It was a town where you could let your kids leave the house to play all day outside and return at night unharmed and unafraid. It was a part of the world where most everybody knew everybody else, where you had BFF’s before there were BFF’s, a time of “party” phones, TV dinners and Sunday services. This was Smallville, USA and the world as they knew it was their oyster.
However, Jan had wanderlust also and could not wait to get out of town. She graduated with honors, was reigning Homecoming Queen etc and enrolled at Miami of Ohio, one of those small Midwestern universities renown for academic excellence and and liberal consciousness at a time when our country was coming to grips with a war in a land that undergraduates had not studied about in grade school. She eventually ended up in Walnut Creek, California, where her husband had a successful career in the new field of Media Broadcasting and she became the quintessential suburban mom with her new son. Things changed, divorce followed and she embarked on a new life with a new family in Park City, Utah. Which is where we met. Back in the late 80’s (1900’s).
We will fill in the timelines as we progress in this blogosphere, and there are interesting stories to tell that we hope our readers will enjoy about our journey to where we are now. Fast forward to 2015 and we have just completed the purchase of a 36′ Tiffin Motorhome which will serve as our home for the foreseeable future. We intend to leisurely visit all 49 states we can get to on wheels, posting pictures, telling stories and offering up menus derived from cuisines around the world and this country. We will explore this country, something neither one of has done to any extent, meet new folks, get exposed to new and different cultures and revel in the education we will get. This will not be textbook history or social studies. This will be about developing and nurturing our own relationship with each other, meeting new people and getting a clearer understanding about this great country we call the United States of America. And home.
Enjoy the journey…