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by Jackie K. Cooper

When I was growing up, the people who lived on Holland Street in Clinton, South Carolina, were all middle class and all had about the same incomes in their families. Most of the mothers had some sort of way to bring in extra income, be it part-time clerking in stores, making cakes, or giving permanents. Nobody was rich, but nobody was starving either.

Our vacations consisted of going to Chimney Rock, North Carolina, (the mountains) or to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, (the beach). That was about as exotic as it got for my crowd. No one flew to Europe for a grand tour, and no one jetted off to Mexico for fun in the sun. If it wasn't in driving distance, then chances were you weren't going.

One of the families that lived up the street from me was the Adairs. There were four girls in this family and their names are Linda, Judy, Sue and Trudy (yes, I know it rhymes, and believe me, so did they). Judy was the Adair girl I knew best, and we have stayed friends for a lifetime.

Judy's father worked at the drugstore and her mother gave permanents, so they were on the same level as my family, which had a bread-salesman father and a part-time clerk mother. They were also on the beach and mountains vacation level.

All four of the girls grew up to marry great guys, and they all live in different cities in South Carolina. Every once in a while they meet up in Clinton, and sometimes I am lucky enough to be there at the same time. We have a great reunion time and catch up on everything. Between visits, Judy and I stay in contact by phone.

A few months ago she told me she, her husband, her three sisters and their husbands were going to take an Alaskan Cruise. I think we both started laughing at the same time and whooped and hollered over the idea. It just sounded so amazing that the "Adair girls" were at the point in their lives where they could cruise the Alaskan shoreline.

In truth, I thought Judy would back out before they actually left as she kept telling me that she could use the money it was going to cost in a million other ways. Judy is practical; plus, she has two daughters and several grandchildren she adores, so I knew she was talking about how she could spend the money on them. Still I urged her to go for it.

Last week I got a postcard from her and she wrote, "Can you believe the Adair girls are on an Alaskan cruise?" Then last night she called to tell me she was back safely. I asked if she had had a good time, and she responded that if she could she would leave and go right back and do it again. She said it was fantastic!

My parents never went on a cruise, and neither did Judy's. But here in the span of one generation it has become a common thing. People fly off to Europe for a long weekend; others go to Acapulco to get a tan; another couple I know just got back from a vacation in Australia.

We are able to do things and go places we never expected to be able to do and see. My father once told me that he didn't want to hear about "the good old days." He had lived through them and the good old days are NOW! In many ways, especially in travel opportunities, he was oh, so right.


Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is the married father of two sons and the proud grandparent of a boy and a girl.

He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have also been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.

Cooper has lived an exceptionally interesting life. Portions of it were contained in his first book JOURNEY OF A GENTLE SOUTHERN MAN. Now the journey continues in his second book titled CHANCES AND CHOICES.

Write Jackie Cooper at this e-mail address
and be sure to visit his excellent web site: jackiekcooper.com.


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