Nancy Hawkins Meyer


David's Memories

Dear Jersey Mother,

Of all the wonderful gifts you have given me, I treasure none more than your love of spontaneous adventure. My very most beloved memories of you came from the time after we moved from Ann Arbor to St. Louis. These days were difficult in many ways for all of us. But what I remember most clearly about them is that they were punctuated with spur-of-the-moment trips: picnics at Babler State park, hiking at Elephant Rocks, games in the lodge at Pere Marquette, discovering an old mill at Blue Springs, ferry crossings of the Missouri and Illinois Rivers. Sometimes we had no particular destination at all but just set out to explore, our adventures then recorded on our styrofoam ice chest that accompanied and sustained us throughout.

I loved those trips -- and I loved that they came about so spontaneously. We could be packed and on the road to some curious adventure within 20 minutes of someone proposing the idea. That battered ice chest is, for me, the symbol of the spirit that defines the Jersey Mother: fun-loving, appreciative of the moment, optimistic, and hopeful. At a time when circumstances might have tempted introspection, discouragement, and caution, you taught me to keep my perspective and savor life's surprises: the roadside diner, the quirky "antique" shop filled mostly with junk, and the unexplored trail. It is a gift I will always associate gratefully with you. Thank you.