A year ago today, 14 May 2020, my mom passed away from COVID-19

In the coming days, I'll share photos and recollections remembering my mom, Patsy Merrill Nelson.

Mom and all the kids | Juliet, Jennifer, me, Geoffrey, Christopher and Leland | Bagiou, The Philippines | 1965

That car, a Chevy Malibu station wagon has some stories.  

That car rolled over an embarkment after a branch got stuck under the car with my sisters and myself inside.  My mom almost died trying to stop the car after the brake released when she manage to get the branch unstuck. She fell over the 20 foot cliff and fractured her leg as the car crashed onto the roof in the soft water-laden golf fairway from the recent typhoon that cause widespread damage and 80 deaths in Bagiou. Though the roof crushed in upon us, none of us inside were injured.  Shaken and bruised a bit, however.

But mostly Big Blue will be remembered for some great road trips in the Philippines, across the United States - California to Virginia, and  from Casablanca to Moscow and back in 1971.

Road Trips

We took a lot of road trips.  

leaving Grandma Susie's place in San Carlos at the start of a cross-country trip

Some involved relatively primitive camping such as the one with my father from Casablanca to Moscow.  This was one of the few road trips without my mom who had flown back with my two sisters to attend my eldest brother's wedding. Don't ask me why my dad did not attend his first born's wedding as I'm not sure.  Could have been that flying four more people from Morocco to California was too expensive (maybe a month long trip through Europe was cheaper?  or maybe he was more interested in visiting historical sites and battlefields).  

camping dad-style with beach tent | Europe somewhere

However, with mom, things were different.

Picnics and camping meals consisted of real meals instead of a can of beans and spam slightly heated over Sterno canned heat and complimented by a bag of chips.  That was good eating until those US military base exchange provisions ran out and we had to survive off of the meager groceries that could be procured from East Block countries.  We lived off of stale black bread, prune juice, questionable luncheon meats and over ripe cheese.   With mom, meals on the road were gourmet affairs with burgers, chips, scrambled eggs, hot coffee, orange juice, fruit, carrots, napkins, clean silverware and a table to eat on and chairs.

camping mom-style | somewhere in Eastern Europe, I think

Those road trips and the places we pulled off the side of the road to picnic  are some of the best memories of my childhood.  I've passed those travel experiences to my kids with them "giving me a hard time" (when my wife, Mona, is not around) when lunch is bread (baguettes when possible - very gourmet), cheese, potato chips and cola.  Mona, like my mom, has a knack for putting together tasty sandwiches with whatever happens to be available.