Monthly Archives: May 2012

vacations….

… are a wonderful invention. Much younger I was heavily involved in the study of history, except for the Colonial period and the Civil War, I loved all history and the history of all things. And, as we, my family and I, took vacations to Carpinteria, CA [shore of the world’s safest beach] or to Carmel [where I was horribly sick on marzipans] or to Scottsdale AZ [where I learned the word macaroni] I never found references to vacations in the medieval or English history I so loved. Not that the Royals didn’t move from home to home, or, more appropriately, from castle to castle, but it wasn’t considered, as I recall it, a vacation. vacation |vāˈkā sh ən; və-|noun  an extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home or in traveling. Yes, they were traveling, but extended period of recreation? [recreation 1 |ˌrekrēˈā sh ən|nounactivity done for enjoyment when one is not working] so, like retirement, is this a new thing?  Most times, it was more like shoring up their political position or inserting themselves into a better position. LOL, for some, I guess that would be recreating.

Author Cindy Aron, (Cindy Aron’s book, by the way, is called “Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States.” She is professor of history emeriti at the University of Virginia) in an NPR article, said Until the middle of the 19th century, Americans used the word vacation the way the English do, the time when teachers and students vacate the school premises and go off on their own. In those days, a vacation was also a mark of privilege. Which makes sense. Think of the ‘cottages’ of Newport, Rhode Island. Or, the the beaches of New Jersey. Or, the compounds of Martha’s Vineyard.  Certainly not for the hoi polloi!

But, sometime in the 19th century, churches began to see the value of the vacation for the human spirit and as transportation options increased so did vacations, in availability, in choices, in attitude.

I do remember our vacations. They were not fabulous exotic spots, nor were they probably expensive locations, although I don’t know that I would have gotten that. But there were different! And, that’s how I think of a vacation. Different! A change. Life moved aside. Reading time. Exploring time. Contrasting with what I have now.

So. I just had a great vacation. Transforming in some ways. But certainly a new view.