Tuesday, April 23, 2013

writing practice ~ my summer of maps

my yearbook photo at 15 years old. 

15 years old (that a Twiggy haircut by the way), with my high school boyfriend.
(I showed you some of my writing practice here and here and here. I completed Judy ReevesWild Women writing class. Here is another of my writings that came from the class.)

My Summer of Maps 

by Jane LaFazio

I always knew I would travel and see the world. When I began reading, in earnest, in high school, I read Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Hemingway  and Fitzgerald. As a teenager, I traveled from my home in California to Montana for a summer to work at Yellowstone National Park and papered my dorm room with maps. I memorized the map of the United States and tried to name each state along with its location. M.A.G.- Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia. What was the state between Nevada and Colorado? Yes, it was Utah. I wanted to travel and take road trips and see and experience as much as I possibly could.

At the end of that summer in Yellowstone, I drove cross county with my newly met friends and was excited to check off my list each state we visited. When our journey ended, I took a bus to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was going to get a job and live near my Yellowstone roommate, Becky, a student at University of Pittsburgh. Except, on the bus, I met a charming, very tall guy named “Paris.” He and I spent a day and night in Chicago and made impromptu plans to travel to Boston and live together. I changed my mind around Cleveland and my trunk of clothes went on to Boston with him and without me. So, I was in Pittsburgh  looking for a job, with only the clothes on my back, renting an attic room, with the bathroom downstairs and down the hall. After 2 weeks living that way, my uncle paid for my flight to New York City, to visit him and see the city for the first time….And then, I was back home, living at my mom’s by the end of September.

I bought more maps, for my bedroom at home, and started dreaming of my next adventure.

Me  at age 19 or so
1975 with Ralph (you know, from my Ralph's Letters quilt)

I still love to travel, though a bit more upscale now, and I still love maps for the adventure they represent. How about you? Are you a traveler too? 


  1. I don't know if I have ever commented before but I am a huge fan of your blog and your artwork! I just HAD to comment today as I spent a couple summers working in Yellowstone too! Definitely some of the best times of my life! I was not as adventurous as you but sure wish I had been! I think my time is still coming. Last year I took the train from Chicago to Seattle to meet some on-line blogging friends. A spark was lit! I can't wait to take another trip! You're never too old to recreate yourself, right?

  2. I'm not a traveler, but thoroughly enjoyed listening to your adventures. Love your free spirit and wished I had one.

  3. Jane, I don't know if you know of 'Writer's Bloc' up in Los Angeles. They have a wonderful--usually--lineup of speakers that you might find interesting. When my husband and I went up to hear Rachel Maddow and Bill Mahr, the audience was packed, the presentation was fantastic, and it's a beautiful theater!

    BTW, I love maps, too. What I want is a school map that I can turn into a window shade. Cool!

  4. This post made me laugh. I too had the "bob" and the Twiggy hair cut, then there was the Sasson cut. I think we have all had a Paris and a Ralph in our lives. :) I also traveled the states soon out of school. The only places I have missed are the MAG states. Have a fabulous week!

  5. Great post, Jane! I adore travel, too, and maps as the representation of the places I have been or will be.

    I also think you will resonate with my love for travel and "maps" of the inner sort... traveling to the places deep within and growing into new areas, reaching further and further.

    I am working so hard it haS been hard to find course time but I am doing bits as I can! Will post soon. Hope you are enjoying your time away as you teach this week!

  6. Loved this post! I have never sent a post to you either, although I have enjoyed your blog for a long time. Isn't it interesting how travel is different at different times in our lives. I still love the adventure of the unknown destination. My husband and I travel in different ways, from motorcycle to air. We love to meet people. That is the best part of traveling, the folks we meet.

  7. Love the photos and the text! You travel more than Arctic terns and hummingbirds!

  8. Oh Jane. This is a delightful "read". A little "hippy" "free spirit" girl. Right out of the lyrics of a Simon and Garfunkle song......maybe even a bit of Annie Hall. YOUTH!

  9. This was great! I really identified. Tell us more....

  10. Wow - what a fun life you had. It was really nice to see a photo of Ralph after seeing your quilt. Would love to see a pic of Paris. Does he still have your trunk?

  11. I loved reading this story again, Jane and seeing the beautiful photos of you. I'm a sister traveler and love taking any journey with you, blog or otherwise.

  12. Loved seeing this story again, Jane. And the photos, too. I'm a sister traveler and love sharing the journey with you, blog or otherwise.


Thanks so much for visiting JaneLaFazio.com!

Related Posts with Thumbnails