Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas one can tell that Celia loves everything Texas! Here she'll share with you her childhood tale of a road trip she took with her family to California. Imagine a simpler time in society before the computer . . . and treasure the closeness of family. Celia would love to hear from you.
Mountains, the Ocean, and Body Piercings—Firsts for a Texas Girl
By Celia Yeary
Decades ago when I was eight years old, my parents decided to drive from the West Texas Plains to Long Beach, California to visit Mother’s sister and her family. Imagine the days of no commercial television and no air conditioners in cars. We owned a 1940 Ford, and knowing that we would drive many miles across desert, Daddy bought a canvas water bag to hang over the radiator cap. “This might save our lives,” he said, “or we might need it if the radiator boils over.” Wow, I could hardly wait.
So, off we go across New Mexico, Arizona, and California to the coast. I am the middle of three sisters, so I usually had to sit between them in the back seat, with the “hump” in the floor under my feet. While it wasn’t as bad as circumstances were for the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath, I only remember having a good time. I suppose this is God’s way of taking care of innocent children.
When the first mountains came into view in the far distance, the blurry sight entranced me so much, Mother made one sister trade places with me. She probably did this because I was near-sighted but did not own a pair of glasses at that time. Since the temperature soared to around 110 degrees, we drove with all the windows down. To have the best view the mountains, I stuck my head partially out the window. Even though the wind almost blew my head off, if I squinted I could make out the shape of the peaks and the snow on tops of a few.
After three days of grueling travel, we arrived at our aunt’s house in Long Beach. Her name was Irene, but we called her Aunt Sister, because Mother called her Sister. The beach wasn’t visible from her house, but late in the day, we walked down to the edge of the water. The roar of the ocean, the gentle splashing of the waves, and the blue-gray water scared me. I’d never seen anything so immense, so vast.
The day before our visit ended, Aunt Sister took me by the hand and led me to a back bedroom. She closed the door and told me to sit on the dresser stool. “Sweetie,” she said, “I have some beautiful gold earrings I bought the day you were born, and I’ve saved them just for you. Would you like to see them?”
“Uh-huh,” I said, loving earrings, because Mother always wore a pair in her pierced ears.
The earrings lay in a small white leather case lined with felt. She opened it so I could see. “They’re so beautiful,” I told her, and asked, “Can I touch one?”
Aunt Sister explained that the small 18-karat gold hoop earrings were mine, as soon as I allowed her to pierce my ears. I jumped up from the stool and said, “Do it now.” She questioned me a little until she was sure. Then, as I sat on the dresser stool and watched in the mirror, she pierced my ears. (Those with a weak stomach may hit the mute button.) First, she put clothespins on my earlobes to deaden them. Then she dipped a needle with white thread in alcohol, removed one clothespin, held a cork to the back of my earlobe, and shoved the needle through the lobe, and tied the ends in a knot. She repeated the process on the other side, and dabbed each one with Campho-Phenique. She opened my hand, placed the case in my palm, and kissed and hugged me. All this time, no one knew Aunt Sister had pierced my ears—not even Mother.
On the drive back to Texas, I carried my special gifts in my hands—the small case that held the earrings in one, and a bottle of medication to dab on my ears every few hours in the other. And in my heart? Precious memories of love, generosity, nature’s wondrous creations, and a road trip I’ve never forgotten.
Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-five years. She has eight published romance novels, two “coming soon” novels, short stories in anthologies, articles, and essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university.