Vermont trip to the Trapp, Family Lodge..

Maria Von Trapp. This photo and a biography of her life can be found at Biography.com.

My father had not been feeling well for quite some time. I made the decision to fly to Vermont to be with him. The last experience flying to Vermont was two years ago and flying with two kids. Susie was five years old and Jeff was two. My last blog told the joy of flying with two little ones!

After my father retired from his parish as a minister he worked at a newspaper company for a few years, then he applied for a position at the Trapp Family lodge as night watchman. He was happy living there. Everyone was friendly and seemed to enjoy working at the lodge.

Everything was falling into place for our flight. A year earlier I bought the beauty Salon that I had  worked in for the last six years.The five employes stayed on after I bought the salon. I trusted them and left one person in charge for the week I’d be away.

Susie was seven years old and Jeff was four.The day before we were to fly out of San Francisco airport Jeff was clearly uncomfortable and was pulling on one ear. An appointment with his doctor confirmed my fears, Jeff had an ear infection. Flying with him was out of the question.

John was now working days instead of nights at United airlines. He was ready to take his commercial pilot exam which meant the end of my flying on a free pass from United Airlines.

John encouraged me to continue with my plans to go to Vermont. He said he would be there at night to care for Jeff. The babysitter that I had was on vacation from school and could come to the house to care for Jeff during the day. Her mother would be home and they lived next door. I decided to make the trip.

As our plane landed at Bradley airport the next night we were met by my friend Carol. Her daughter Lori and Susie were both seven years old. The next day we headed out with two seven year old girls in tow. Our destination was to visit with my father at The Trapp family lodge in Stowe, Vermont. The Highway 91 trip from Connecticut to Vermont was not completed until around 1967. We took Old Route 5. It was a long trip.

We were to meet Mrs Trapp at 2:00 pm on monday at the Lodge. Traveling with two seven year old girls meant bathroom breaks and meals, the trip took longer than expected. We pulled into the lodge parking lot at 3 pm and were greeted by Maria Trapp as we entered the door.

She was not pleased with us being an hour past the scheduled time. I was just about to say traveling with two small children was difficult. Then I realized who I was talking with!  Maria Trapp traveled with her seven children on their tour bus around the united states as the Trapp Family Singers and at times with a wee baby on board.

Writing this post prompted me to read “A Family On Wheels” for the second time. It’s  a delightful story of adventures of The Trapp family singers.

After our first encounter with Mrs Trapp I was to know her as a warm and delightful person. She was punctual and expected others to be also. I learned that at our first meeting and respected that for future times..

My father was feeling better and showed us around the lodge. We met the chef who my father was friends with. He was friendly and let Susie and Lori hang around the kitchen while he cooked. He gave the girls little jobs to do which made them feel important.

My father told us about the traditional live Christmas tree which was decorated with wax candles that were kept lighted. Everyone sat around the tree like a family, Mrs Trapp liked to be called Mother.

A couple of times we ate with Mrs. Trapp in the kitchen. I remember one time when we were at lunch she enjoyed eating a raw corn on the cob, it was young and juicy. It looked pretty good.

The four of us had a room on the first floor. Susie and Lori had bunk beds.The girls loved the freedom to roam around the lodge. They were fascinated by the Highland cattle in the pasture. A large garden provided fresh vegetables for the chef to cook. The girls would pick a few cherry tomatoes to eat for a snack.

After four days our visit with my father came to an end and we had to say our goodbyes to everyone. I was sad leaving my father not knowing when I’d see him again.  After a time he became quite ill and was no longer able to work at the lodge. At that time he went to live with my older sister who lived in Wisconsin.

Eventually he succumbed to cancer. His body was flown back to Vermont. Mrs.Trapp was to attend his funeral,but was sick with a cold. His body was laid to rest in Addison next to his three   young children.

Back home in San Jose,California John now has his commercial pilots license. He flew cargo planes to other countries for a few years before flying passenger planes. He would be gone weeks at a time. Back home he needed downtime to rest up for the next trip.

After being home a year from Vermont  I filed for a divorce. This marriage lasted just under ten years. We no longer had a relationship and it was time for us to go our separate ways.   

Just recently I made the decision to take some time off from writing on my blog. But, I will be back and will pick it up at a later date.

I have discovered an interest the history of Vermont and sharing it on Medium. I’m fascinated by the fact that Vermont established its independence between the year 1777 and 1791. Vermont was truly independent with its own coins and postal service.

This is goodbye for now. Please join me on Medium for stories of Vermont – a new beginning the first of March.                                                                                                    

Until we meet again!


Our Second Trip to Vermont

It’s now 1960 and the experience of my trip to Vermont four years ago has been tucked away in my memory. You can read that post in my Archive “ON A WING AND A PRAYER.” Now I’m ready for another flight back east. It’s time to visit my dad and my older siblings;  Ellen, Ray, and their families who live in Vermont Jeff was now two years old and Susie was five. How difficult could it be to fly with two kids!

Susie was fourteen months old on that fateful trip back home from Vermont to California four years ago. We were at the end of our visit from Vermont and changing planes in Chicago was uneventful. Finally we were settled in our seats with Susie ready for a nap and I for a cup of coffee. The plane had been in the air about an hour when the Captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker. He announcement that he had to turn the plane around and go back to the Chicago airport. The airplane had a malfunction with the landing gear. We made a crash landing!  Luckily no one received any physical injuries. The mental anguish was another story.

John worked at United Airlines as a mechanic and one of the benefits was a fly free pass on United Airlines. The down side of flying on a free pass was that you were on standby until there were seats available. This second trip back East was planned for a night flight. Fewer people fly at night and less chance of being bumped.

We were fortunate that the plane had available seats. Susie and Jeff were getting sleepy, well Jeff anyway – he had fallen asleep in the car on the ride to the airport. Susie felt she would miss something if she were to sleep.

John handed me Jeff when we were to board the plane. Now with both kids in tow I made my way to the back of the plane until I found three seats together.  Much to the children’s delight the other passengers that filled the back of the plane were the “San Francisco Giants” baseball team. Some of the players were stretched out in the isle trying to rest. But that wasn’t going to happen! The other men  were in a jolly mood ready to celebrate! 

Jeff at one year and Susie at 4 years.

So much for my two children sleeping.They were having too much fun with the attention from the team. Susie remembers talking to them. Jeff, being only two, doesn’t have any memories of that flight or that trip back to Vermont at all. Not being a fan of baseball or ever watching a game I didn’t know if the team’s excited mood was from celebrating a win. Someone that followed the Giants would of known them by their names.

Half of our trip was over when we landed in Chicago and changed planes for Vermont. I had Jeff in one arm and Susie by her hand. I found it difficult to maneuver through the moving crowd. Jeff was content to be carried. Susie struggled to be free from my hand which I held tighter. I’m rethinking that it’s just as easy to fly with two children as one!

It’s fall and a chill was in the air in Vermont. I’m thankful I was mindful to pack sweatshirts and light jackets for the children.The peak color of the foliage was about over and leaves were falling. Our first visit after landing in Vermont was at my brother’s in Jericho.It was wonderful seeing my nieces again. Rose, Helen, and Robert, my only nephew, who I had to babysit when they were babies and I was a teenager. Now they are young teenagers. In the future Rose and Helen will babysit Susie and Jeff when they come to live with me in California.

The girls raked the leaves into a pile for the younger children to jump in. Susie and Jeff were a little hesitant to jump in the leaves. They hadn’t had that experience living in California with fruit trees and an occasional weeping willow. Their two year old cousin Donna showed them how it was done. Then there was no stopping them! 

While visiting we took a boat trip on the Ticonderoga out of Burlington. Jeff was fascinated by the water and peeked through the rail to get a better look. His sister panicked and wanted him away from there. He never listened to her. She was just an annoyance to him. This was a pattern of their young lives and ON..Jeff deliberately would put himself in unsafe situations to make Susie freak out.

One instance that stands out in my mind and memories happened during a shopping trip, at the time we lived in San Jose, California.  Jeff was around two and a half years old. I had a hold of his hand and Susie was by my side. I remember letting go of Jeff’s hand for a second to look at some sweaters that were folded on the counter. When I looked down to take his hand again he wasn’t there!  Now I panicked and frantically searched the store, he was nowhere to be found. I was sure he was kidnapped!

By this time Susie was crying. I hurried to the information station and told them what had happened. The doors were instantly locked down and the search began in the store. Recently a young child had been kidnapped in the San Jose area so this was not taken lightly. The police were notified and began a search outside.

I finally went back to where I was looking at the sweaters. When I looked down I noticed a cupboard door was open. I bent down and looked inside, there curled up on a pile of sweaters was Jeff  fast asleep! It was a great relief to find him safe and with quite a bit of embarrassment for all the commotion we had caused I immediately went to the store clerks to inform everyone he was safe. Everyone was happy he was safe.

Image result for white draft horse
From Horses – McCafferty American White Draft

 Back to our trip in Vermont—-The highlight of the trip for Susie was the day the girls brought this huge white horse named Milk Punch around for them to ride. Jeff was the first one put on the horse. He didn’t like that very much and wanted down. When Susie was on Mike Punch one of the cousins led the horse around. Susie of course didn’t want to get off. That was the beginning of her love for horses. I already knew it was a given she would have dogs and cats in her life. I’m glad she didn’t have the opportunity to see a monkey….she would of wanted one!

The last of our trip was a visit with my sister Ellen and her family. Our father was at her house also. It was fun catching up on family happenings. Our last venture was a hike in the woods. Ellen had packed a picnic lunch of fried chicken, potato salad and, for dessert, delicious brownies. We had not walked very far when Jeff decided he had enough waking. He laid down in the middle of the path in front of us and would not budge. I had to carry him Jeff was a chunky little guy and was dead weight. When it was time to stop and bring out the picnic lunch he had no trouble running  over to where the food was.

The last of the trip went smoothly as long as I sat in the middle seat and separated Susie and Jeff. There was too much togetherness on this trip.

We were three weary travelers as we exited the plane IN SAN FRANCISCO.  I retract my statement in my earlier post “HOW DIFFICULT CAN IT BE TO TRAVEL WITH TWO KIDS!’  

Until we meet again!