As a little kid, we traveled five or more times a year. Some trips were short to moderate car rides. Other trips were transatlantic flights. There was one constant on all our family trips. My mother’s tartan holdall.
The bag was dark blue with a green and black checkered pattern. Tartan. Does anyone use the word tartan? Except when describing a kilt. The holdall was probably two feet long and one foot deep. No carrying strap just two short handles. My mother hauled that tartan holdall on and off planes, trains, and automobiles for years. She was a mom on a mission…a mission to keep a couple of kids occupied on a long journeys at all costs.
The bag must have weighed a ton. Think about it…it was the 70s…way before little kids carried all their stuff in backpacks. My mother was the designated hauler of all items needed on the trip. She dragged that tartan holdall across the Atlantic close to 15 times.
On a transatlantic, my mother’s tartan holdall contained:
- my dad’s book
- my mother’s book
- coloring books for my sister and I and of course, crayons…n0t the 64-pack, not even the 24-pack, but probably a pack of 8 crayons that we shared.
- a sleeping bag…invariably during a long flight one or both of us would lie across a row of seats…it was the days where flights were never full…especially transatlantic flights.
- a change of clothes for my sister and I…it was also the days of rough flights, rocky landings, hair-raising take offs. You know the air sickness bags? We always filled a bag or two on take and landing.
- and probably a bunch of other things.
I have no idea what happened to the tartan holdall. My kids have always carried their own backpacks. We never flew with any child under the age of three, but we did fly to Disney twice with a three-year-old. I let my kids carry anything they wanted in their backpacks as long as they could carry it. For the three-year-old’s, I packed a couple of board books, a sticker book, coloring book/crayons, and a stuffed animal or two.
I’d like to thank aerospace engineers everywhere for making passenger airline travel blissfully air-sickness bag free.
What does being a mother mean to you?
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