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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Packing, Family Style
By Shirley Thomas


There is much to be learned by the way someone packs their luggage. Everyone has their own unique style of packing. Each year when our children were at home, we would take a family vacation and each child packed their own suitcases for the week-long trip. I would usually “spot check” their bags before we left for our destination and I was always amazed at the things they thought would be needed for the week away from home.

One year, our only daughter tried to pack her telephone. (This was before the cellular telephones.) She was about ten at the time and loved to talk on the telephone to all of her friends. She said she didn’t want to miss any of her calls.

Our middle son at the age of seven asked for a large suitcase that was waterproof, which was really very thoughtful of him, since he wanted to take the aquarium. There were no fish in the aquarium at the time, but his reasoning was we might find one that needed a home while we were on vacation.

The baby of the family carried a basketball in his hands from the time he was big enough to hold onto one. Every year he would use a paper grocery bag as the “luggage” for his basketball. He’s twenty now and I still catch him putting his basketball in a grocery bag at times.

Our oldest son always carried maps of every state. He was always concerned about us getting lost, which we thought kind of strange, since we always went to the same place each year. His reasoning was we might get detoured or they could build new highways from year to year. I’m still not sure why he thought we might get detoured through New York in order to get to Florida from Georgia.

Our three sons were never too concerned with taking clothes. One pair of underwear, a pair of socks(not necessarily matched), bathing suit and a couple of t-shirts were usually all they packed. Our daughter usually had all of her clothes packed, plus some of her brothers’ clothes that had somehow mysteriously made their way into her closet. This worked out pretty good, since the boys didn’t include many clothes in their suitcases.

Upon inspection of their packed luggage, I could tell the boys had pretty much used their suitcases as basketball goals and tossed their clothes and other items into it. The boys assumed that the items that missed the “goal” weren’t meant to be in the suitcase. Our daughter’s suitcases were neatly packed and then neatly lined up against one of the walls of her room. She usually had an average of twelve suitcases. Except for the suitcases taking up every available space, her room would always be unbelievably clean when we left for vacation. There was nothing left in the room except for the furniture and I’m sure one year she managed to take some of that with her. Our daughter usually took a friend with her, since she had three brothers and didn’t want to be stuck “hanging” with them the entire week. The girlfriend usually had just as many suitcases as our daughter, so now they had quadruple of everything.

The boys patterned their packing after their dad. He, too, was a light packer. I’ll never understand how two pairs of underwear and socks were supposed to last seven days. I’m just as perplexed by my daughter packing twenty pairs of shoes for seven days at the beach.

The strangest part of all is my style of packing. Every year when I unpacked my bags, which were usually the plastic grocery bags or boxes, (all the other suitcases were already used, including the ones I had borrowed from my neighbors), I was usually the one that didn’t seem to have the essentials I needed. But you can rest assured everything else my family could have forgotten or thought they would not need, was in my bags.

When I would say, “I didn’t bring my flip flops.”

They would just roll their eyes and say, “Mom, you need to be better prepared next year.”

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This article has been read 822 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/22/05
This is warm, charming, and witty. Thanks for sharing.
Rita Garcia08/23/05
Sounds like you are enjoying the journey! Love the humor. Blessings, Rita
Tisha Martin 08/24/05
This was a humorous story! Absolutely LOVED it! I especially enjoyed this part: a pair of socks(not necessarily matched) I have 4 brothers, and this is what they'd do too!!