The Idea of Travel

It started with reading books about places near and far. It didn’t matter where it was – Meggie wanted to go there! She had a little suitcase that had belonged to her older sister and she was always ready for adventure. Whether it was a visit in the family car to see her grandmother in Pennsylvania or a day trip to the beach, she was the first one in the car saying “Are we there yet?” After she read Alice in Wonderland she wanted to go to England and see hedgehogs. When she was nine her family moved from Massachusetts to California and they traveled on Route 66. Meggie liked seeing the mountains, the desert and the interesting places to stop along the way. And after all these adventures she still likes to travel!

Collecting Postcards

Meggie always thought that one of the most enjoyable things about going on family car trips was collecting souvenirs. She saved placemats from restaurants that had puzzles to solve and mazes to navigate. She also liked shells (mostly unbroken) from the beach as well as maps from museums. But the postcards she collected became some of her favorite souvenirs. One time Meggie bought an album of postcards that she could look at like a book.

This was another exciting place to visit!

Today she has a drawer full of postcards from places she has been. They are still wonderful souvenirs and they bring back delightful memories.

Snow, Sleds and Mittens

After it snowed Meggie would think about what she should do first. Would she go skating at the pond down the road, build a snowman in the yard, or go sledding on the hill by her school? First she needed to see how cold it was. If it was extra cold staying near the house would be the best choice, although Meggie didn’t pay attention to the temperature until she couldn’t feel her nose or fingers! But her Mom always made sure she had on a hat, mittens and a scarf as well as boots. This took a long time to accomplish.

Sometimes her choice depended on whether there were other kids out sledding or making snowballs. She loved sledding down the hill as fast as she could but didn’t like climbing back up pulling the sled. That was hard work.

Once the snow started to fall Meggie liked to play outdoors as much as possible. It made the winter months go by quickly, and it was lots of fun!

Butterflies and Bee Stings

Meggie loved brightly colored flowers and she noticed that butterflies liked to land on them. Sometimes the butterflies were similar in color to the flowers so they were well camouflaged – maybe to keep them safe, she thought. Once she started finding butterflies she couldn’t wait for the flowers to bloom so she could watch for them. Meggie also went to the library to check the encyclopedia for more information. She found out this one in her back yard was called a tiger swallowtail.

One summer day she was reaching for a flower and out of nowhere a bee stung her on her hand. It hurt so much she didn’t know what to do and she looked for her mother for help. Her Mom went back outside with her and poured water on some dirt to make mud, which she patted on Meggie’s sore hand. It felt much better right away.

Meggie never stopped looking for butterflies but she was also on the lookout for bees so she wouldn’t get stung again. And so far she hasn’t!

Something about Doors

Meggie first became interested in doors after she read the Chronicles of Narnia series. After reading about the connection between doors and adventures, she began to wonder what might happen if she went through a mysterious (or even ordinary looking) door. Could she simply walk into another world? This was quite an intriguing possibility and she started thinking about doors differently. Her interest became more pronounced when she started to travel. There were fascinating doors everywhere!

Some of Meggie’s favorite doors have smaller people-sized doors inside of impressively large ones.

Some doors open up to potentially unsafe landings if you walk through them.

Which door to take? She still imagines that an exciting adventure might begin when she walks through…

Ice Cream and Gelato

Meggie always loved ice cream – it reminded her of summer and staying up late because there wasn’t any school. She liked cones best but ice cream was also good in a cup because she could take her time eating it and it didn’t drip down the side of the cone onto her clothes. Some of her favorites were chocolate chip, butter pecan, and peppermint stick (because the bits of peppermint turned the ice cream pink.) What could be better than ice cream?

This question was answered when she went to Italy several years later and she discovered gelato. It wasn’t just the creamy taste and smooth texture that she liked. Even the presentation was charming with fluffy mountains of gelato adorned with flowers and fruit.

Soon she was looking for signs for gelato shops. This became a daily adventure in Italy and there were so many inviting places wherever she went.

After some careful thought Meggie decided that it really wasn’t necessary to choose. Ice cream and gelato are both delicious!

This is one of Meggie’s Ice Cream Adventure stories.

Postcards and Travel

Meggie started her collection with postcards of Lexington, Massachusetts, her hometown. Then came postcards of nearby towns like Concord. When her family went on a trip to see relatives in Pennsylvania and New York she bought postcards from there too. She also liked little pamphlets about these places. Soon she had quite a collection.

When friends, neighbors or relatives went on trips she would sometimes get postcards from places she hadn’t been, which was pretty much everywhere. She would go to the library and look at volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia to find out about the cities or states. The more she learned about different places the more she wanted to see them herself! And after she read about Mrs.Tiggy-Winkle she wanted to go to England to see hedgehogs. She kept all these postcards and was determined to see all of them in person someday.

Meggie has always dreamed about travel and it has been as wonderful and exciting as she thought it would be!

This one is a photo!

Pumpkins and Candy Corn

Every October Meggie and her family would go to a farm stand near Lexington and pick out a pumpkin for Halloween. Sometimes Meggie found a tiny pumpkin and she would keep it in the house. She wanted to put it on her dresser but it usually ended up on the dining room table, where she would make a display with leaves and a few twigs.

Another favorite Halloween tradition was drawing a face on the pumpkin for Dad to carve out. They usually decided on a friendly face, not too scary. One year Meggie said, “It should only have one tooth because it didn’t go to the dentist”. So the pumpkin had a smile and one lonely tooth.

Sometimes they took the seeds from the pumpkin, washed them and put them on a cookie sheet to bake in the oven. Meggie would eat a few but she didn’t like them nearly as much as her favorite Halloween treat – candy corn! Her Mom said, “You can have a few but not too many. You’ll get a stomach ache. Remember last year?” It’s true that Meggie ate too much candy corn and had a stomach ache but she didn’t care. She just wanted more candy corn!

Pumpkins, with or without faces, are delightful to see in October.

A Family Drive in Autumn

Every fall Meggie and her family would take a weekend to see the autumn leaves. Sometimes they would drive all over New England to see the beautiful foliage. During the winter they would talk about the prettiest trees they saw and how colorful the leaves were in the sunshine. Each year there would be at least one perfect day that everyone remembered.

Autumn is still a time when Meg loves to see the changing colors of the leaves!

Letter to a Pen Pal

Years ago when Meggie was a student, her teacher asked the class a question. “Would anyone like to have a pen pal from England and exchange letters with them?”  In response, everyone (including Meggie) raised their hands.  The teacher handed each student a slip of paper with the name of someone to write to.  Meggie’s paper had the name of a girl named Philippa.  Then the class was given an assignment to write a letter, put it in an envelope and bring it to school the next day. The teacher would put stamps on the letters and put them in the mail.

Meggie couldn’t wait to write a letter and tell her new pen pal everything that she thought might be interesting. She began to write:
“Dear Philippa, My name is Margaret but everyone calls me Meggie.  I got this name from the book “Little Women”. Do you have a nickname too?  My dog is named Missy and sometimes my Mom calls ME Missy!!! Do you have a pet?”
At this point Meggie thought she should rewrite her letter because she didn’t want to misspell any words. Also she was mixing everything up with pets, activities and books.

Her letter was ready the next day to take to class. She rewrote everything so it seemed more sensible. And her dog Missy almost ate the letter when it was sitting on the kitchen table!  Luckily Meggie grabbed it in time and put it safely in the plaid book bag that she had gotten as a birthday present.  She handed in her letter to the teacher and so did her classmates.  The teacher told the class the letters would be mailed after school that day.  Meggie couldn’t wait to hear back from her new pen pal.