My love of the desert began when I was a young girl. In the late 1960's and the 70's, I traveled with my mom by train from Los Angeles to Wisconsin to visit her family. The train passed through the northwest. The red, expansive rock landscapes fascinated me. I vividly recall my excitement when mom purchased for me a piece of handmade jewelry from an Albuquerque, New Mexico gift shop. It was a lapel pin of moccasins. I can still feel the leather and tiny beads of those lapel pins.
My trips to Mesa, Arizona began in the 1980's, when the Wisconsin relatives had retired and escaped to Arizona during winter. At least twice a year we drive 9 hours down Highway 10 to Arizona. Thanksgiving was a given; perhaps Christmas or early spring for a second visit. The relatives usually packed up to return to Wisconsin by March. They disliked the desert heat as much as the Wisconsin cold.
Two aunts, my mom’s sisters, both had trailer homes side by side. They shared a huge orange orchard. Every day I’d pick some oranges for fresh juice. Huge jack rabbits hopped through their properties. We would take scenic drives – most notably to the Phoenix zoo, Superstition Mountain in Apache Junction, and the Saguaro National Forest in Tucson. Our favorite place to eat was a Chinese buffet called “The Moon.” I still smile when remembering their chorus of “Let’s Go to the Moon! ” Pleasant memories. In fact, my blog post about why I love yellow mentions a yellow kitchen – that was the kitchen of one of my aunts Mesa trailer home.
The trips to Mesa spanned about a ten year period – 1983-1994. The elders too old to drive the distance and stopped coming to Arizona. Most have since passed. Fortunately, good friends have moved to Arizona. So now I visit them. One resides in Sedona; the other at the foot of Superstition Mountains. Once again, I’ll be taking that 9 hour trip down highway 10 to visit my beloved Arizona at least annually.
When my parents passed (within ten months of one another in 1996-97), I scattered their ashes over a desert-themed garden in a nearby mortuary.
So, in summary, I love the desert. It would be only natural for us to have some desert-themed t-shirts! We have three so far. Love them all!