About the Blogger – Pam L.
The Early Days
I’ve always enjoyed local history. Growing up in a small farming community in DeKalb County, Illinois, the highlight of the week was often a Sunday afternoon drive. Mom, Dad, my three brothers and I would climb into our 1957 Ford and explore the countryside to see what we could see. Dad was always at the wheel of our sporty, two-tone car; Mom was in charge of keeping peace among us four kids.
True to the definition of a Sunday drive, I don’t know that we ever had a destination in mind when we set out. Perhaps that was part of the appeal. Every other day of the week we were practical, task-oriented farmers, but on Sunday afternoon that was all thrown to the wind for a few hours as we randomly traveled the back roads of rural Illinois. There was only one limitation to our driving adventure – be back at the farm in time for evening chores.
What to Wear
We were rural people, so that meant looking clean and presentable when we left the farm. A local businessman once commented, “I always knew which of my customers were from the country and which were townsfolk. The farm wives and their kids were always cleaned up.” An important part of our Sunday drive was getting out of the car to look things over at a certain place, like a park or a cemetery. So it was essential that we were nicely dressed in public. (The stops also gave us kids a chance to stretch our legs and burn off some energy. Good thinking, Mom and Dad!)
The Big Pay-Off
Sometimes our afternoon drive would end at our local Dog ’n Suds Drive-In. That meant a child-size mug of homemade root beer or a small ice cream cone, served to us by high school girls working as car hops.
Fast Forward Through the Years
After college, where I studied history and English, I worked at a county museum for over 25 years. I continued to pursue my interest in local history with daytrips or weekend visits. My husband and I and our two sons were now the family out exploring the prairie and beyond. (With only two kids, at least everybody had a car window!)
In recent years, as empty nesters, it’s just the two of us on road trips, but I’m still enjoying the adventure. This blog describes our visits to small Midwestern towns and the photos and history we’ve gathered. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to seek out these sites and others in your own backyard.