Sunday Scribblings on Tuesday - that's a bit late even for me! Sorry - I've been tied up with a project for work. I can only look at the computer screen so long...or sit in this hot chair. After hours of sitting here, it literally becomes the hot seat. This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "Hotels."
Oh, how I wish I could escape the summer heat to a hotel - almost any hotel, inn, motel would do just fine right now. Well, as long as it had air conditioning!
Growing up, when we travelled, we were primarily a camping-family...or a stay-with-relatives-or -friends kind of family. Though I do remember a few occasions - three where we stayed in a cabin. One was in Yellowstone. My mother, the adventurer, was a single mom who took us camping from one end of the U.S. to another - but we arrived in Yellowstone not too long after two women had been mauled by a bear in their tent at night - I guess that was more of a risk than she cared to take; rightly so, I think. I know we did awaken to a large commotion at dawn just outside our cabin, that sounded like a drunken drum solo. We looked out to see a young black bear busy knocking over and tearing apart the metal trashcans outside our cabin window. As small as he was, it was amazing what he could do with those paws!
Another cabin we stayed in was at Mammoth Mountain. My sister and her boyfriend were trying to learn how to ski, and our Christmas present that year was to stay at this cabin and learn how to ski. Though we ended up staying 3 days longer than the weekend that was planned for - not a lot of skiing got done! We only skiied the first day - a major snowstorm moved in overnight and it snowed...and it snowed some more. We didn't even try to open the door - because looking out the window, when it finally stopped - you could see just the squirrel's feet, as it ran past the window! We were so snowed in, it wasn't even funny! Luckily we had lots of snacks with us. There wasn't a TV or radio (though I wonder if we'd have even gotten any reception, if we had them). Someone had given my sister a Monopoly game for Christmas. It was our ONLY entertainment. We played what seemed like the world's longest (and the most disagreeable!) game of Monopoly ever. We learned firsthand about cabin fever that week! It was years before any of us could even look at a Monopoly board again.
At least our third cabin stay (third time's a charm, right?) was a happy one. It was on the north side of the Grand Canyon. It was so lovely, wildlife of every kind wherever you looked. My mom found a fossilized seashell! She kept that for years; it was her lucky talisman.
On the couple of occasions where we did stay in a motel - it seemed like we were in the lap of luxury. In those days of one TV per household (if you were lucky) - watching TV from the bed seemed the height of decadence! I'd beg for change for the magic fingers - I do remember them giving in at least once; it was fun for about 30 seconds - till your brain started sloshing and your teeth started to rattle! The swimming pool was the best part - though I remember having to wear the hated swimming cap, with its rubber band strap of death choking me. My mom's swimming cap had a little rubber flower on the side and hers didn't have that dang band. She looked so pretty in it though, that I forgave her.
Hotels, motels, inns, cabins - temporary homes; places where we put our heads down for a night, or two - they fascinate me. Whenever I've stayed in one as an adult, I've pondered so many ideas, as I toss on the unfamiliar bed, trying to fluff the pancake pillow. How many babies have been conceived in that bed? How many lover's fights began or ended there? Has anyone died here? Does the accumulation of the dreams and nightmares of so many people, collect in the pillows, the bedsprings? Will the night imaginings of strangers, left behind them like lost luggage - will the vapors of their imaginations drift up into my dreams? Will I suddenly find myself lost in someone else's nightmare?
No wonder I'm an insomniac.
It's funny - maybe because I had so few opportunities to stay in one growing up, that the ones I'd see from the outside almost daily - the inns, hotels and motels that have fascinated me the most, are the ones closest to home. Over the years, I've wondered what it would be like to stay in them; to be a visitor to the valley I know so well. I've wondered if it would make a difference in how visitors view our area, if they stayed in one of these places - as opposed to say, the local Motel 6. That's not to say I'd turn down an opportunity to stay somewhere else; but I like "what if's," and pondering all the possible different viewpoints in my peculiar daydreams...
We would pass this unusual motel often on our way to my uncle's house. Even though it was only a few miles away (well, it still is, for that matter!), as a kid I would wish that I could stay just one night there.
Another place close to home, that I've often thought would be wonderful to stay in is the Arrowhead Springs Hotel. Once upon a time, in the 40's and 50's, during Hollywood's golden days, actors and starlets would foray there. My mom loved to reminisce about the few times she was invited up there for dinner and dancing. I did get to tour the natural sauna caverns where the hot springs come up, back when I was a teen. During it's Campus Crusade days, my older daughter worked up there for a summer and I ate one pedestrian meal in the dining room then - not the gourmet fare that was served in my mom's days. It seems a shame to me that it's nothing more than an occasional conference meeting place now. It's much too magical a place for stuffy conferences and meetings. Or worse, just to sit empty in between. I imagine the hotel longing for laughter; for lovely women in evening gowns, and suave, well-dressed gents to come dancing in it's ballroom again.
There's an old motel I pass by nearly everyday, that's all pink and blue '50s retro called the Stardust. It evokes a feeling of both nostalgia and wanderlust; stirs a longing in me for the open road. For awhile the neon "OT" in "Motel" was burned out; and that somehow endeared it to me all the more. "Stardust M el" it read. It made me think of a lounge singer or a big band leader from another era. "Ladies and gentlemen, Stardust Mel and his Moonlight Band!" I'm digressing again, aren't I? Besides they fixed the 'OT.' Now it's the 'dust' that's burned out (which is better I suppose, than the 'Star' being burned out - it's one thing to stay at the Star Motel; it's whole 'nother thing to stay at the 'dust Motel'!)
The other thing the Stardust reminds me of, is this book by one of my favorite authors. If you haven't read it, it's a great summer read. It's my favorite motel book. Maybe someday I'll take it on the road with me, to read in my fully air-conditioned room with Queen-sized beds! Or as I lie on the woven plastic chaise lounge by the sparkling, blue motel pool.
Tour Sunday Scribblings this week to visit more hotels and motels around the world.