Building Amazing Cities
author, speaker, consultant

As school lets out and the weather starts to warm up, we are eagerly awaiting a visit from our granddaughter Avery next week.

This will be Avery’s first big trip without her parents and hopefully the beginning of a summer tradition. Her mother says that she has been talking about her trip to West Virginia for several months and is picking out her wardrobe for her big adventure.

When I think about Avery’s trip, I harken back over fifty years ago when my sister and I would pack our bags for a summer vacation to Wellsburg, West Virginia to visit my Uncle Lee and Aunt Mattie. We had never been away from home at that time and the thought of being spoiled for a couple of weeks by Aunt Mattie and Uncle Lee was something that we looked at with anticipation for months. Their house was within view of the Ohio River and my cousin David had a fishing spot where we would spend hours a day.

Our visit to Wellsburg also allowed us to get to know our many relatives who lived in the Northern Panhandle. We had several cookouts during our visit and we got to see dozens of cousins that we would only see at funerals or visits to the ‘homeplace’ in Hundred, West Virginia. Daytrips to our cousins in Moundsville gave us an up-close view of the State Penitentiary. They lived directly across the street from the centuries old prison and the large limestone walls were better than any trip to Disneyland. We also visited the huge Indian burial mound which was located just up the street from our cousin’s house.

As I get older, time seems to fly by but during those two weeks, it seemed like it lasted for months. Our cozy bedroom in Aunt Mattie’s house seemed like home and we got used to the delicious breakfasts that were on the table when we stumbled out of bed each morning. I think Uncle Lee and Aunt Mattie enjoyed our visits as much as we did.

Uncle Lee owned a shiny Ford Fairlane and he loved driving us out for ice cream in the evening and pointing out the sites along the highway. I can remember one excursion to Chester, West Virginia where we saw the “World’s Largest Teapot”. It seemed like one of the seven wonders of the world and that visit still ranks high on my list of “Amazing” things that I have seen in my life.

I can only hope that our granddaughter Avery has as much fun as my sister and I did in Wellsburg during our summer vacations.  While we are trying to plan an exciting visit, it might be well to just load up the car and head out for ice cream at Toni’s in Adamston or spend a day at the Clarksburg Aquatic Center.  We sometimes think that kids are looking for the biggest beach or the largest roller coaster, but I think that sometimes just spending time with family can be some of the most memorable times in their lives.

Here’s hoping that Avery enjoys her adventure in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia and I hope that everyone can enjoy a safe and exciting summer of ’17!

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