February 8, 2010

Scenes from the Road: We Were There

I was eight and a half and it was 1989.

We piled in to the back of my mom’s brand new forrest green Buick Skylark with the tan seats and the power windows. And we hit the road. My mom and my grandma and my bad perm and me. We were on our way to Seabrook, New Hampshire, which by the way and in case you didn’t know, is famous for only two things: its nuclear power plant and dog racing.

But those were the kind of vacations we took back in those days. And I loved every minute of it.

I sat in the back with my brand new, crisp Rand McNally road atlas and a fat yellow highlighter pen. I loved the sound the pages made as I turned them one by one, and dreamed about what new adventures each state would hold for us. When all was said & done there were 10 states that we would pass through on our way to Seabrook, NH and I studied them one by one. Maryland…. Pennsylvania….. NEW JERSEY! And ten glorious opportunities for adventure. I took my fat yellow highlighter and I charted our progress onward.

Because I didn’t want to miss a thing.

At every state sign, declaring “Welcome to New York- The Empire State” or “Connecticut-Home of the Nutmeggers,” my mom would coast that Buick Skylark over to the side of the road. And I would scramble to unbuckle my seat belt and find a nice place on the guard rail to sit & pose with my new state. Because see, they were ALL my states now. And I Ioved each and every one of them. Sometimes I would throw my arms up like Vanna White, sometimes I would sit and grab a knee in a very New Kids on the Block-esque manner. But I always got my picture.

Because I wanted to remember that I was there. And that… at least as far as me & my bad perm were concerned… it counted.

And I guess deep down, that’s why I’m still like that today.

So I will have Justin coast the trailer off to the side of the road so that I can pose Vanna White style by a cactus, make Julia & Shyla pretend to be attacked by a giant metal rattlesnake, have all of us go in search of the center of the world. And they do it because they are the world’s best friends. And I am so lucky to have them along on this adventure with me.

Because they understand that I don’t want to miss a thing. That I want to remember that we were there. And that…at least as far as me & my scraggly hair that’s very much in need of a trim & color right now are concerned…it counted.

It always counted.

On the border of Arizona & California just as you cross the state line, there is the small town of Felicity, CA. Population 6. And it has been declared the official, honest to goodness Center of the World.

The man who founded Felicity (and later went on to be elected mayor) named the town after his beautiful wife (pictured right). She is a Wellesley grad. And he went to Princeton.

The official center of the world is marked by a small plaque on the floor in the center of this 20ft tall pyramid. Some other interesting sights at the center of the world are a sun dial in the shape of God’s arm from the painting in the Sistine Chapel and a spiral staircase to nowhere from the actual original steps in the Eiffel Tower.

When you set foot on the center of the world, you receive a handshake, a certificate and permission to make one wish. I’d tell you what I wished for, but then it wouldn’t come true.

The town of Felicity has one church for its 6 residents. But because they wanted to make it a place of reverence, they brought in 150,000 TONS of dirt to create a hill to build it on.

Perhaps the most important goal for the people of Felicity, is this project that they are working on to carve the history of humanity on to these giant marble slabs so that future generations will always have it as a reminder. I have to be honest, that when we went in search of the Center of the World we were expecting a cheesy tourist trap. But as soon as we started exploring these marble slabs, everything changed.

More on that to come…

  1. Tira J

    Oh wow! What great images and stories from the center of the world! Who knew that I lived so close to it! Now we have to take a road trip! p.s.. I was just like you growing up with my highlighter and maps! My poor father had his own Miss Thomas Guide in the back seat!

  2. Susannah

    ohmygosh! so so precious! and that little church…ahhh! Love it all…especially the name! (I’ve always wanted to name my first kid Felicity but my husband is not convinced…)

  3. Trude

    Seriously amazing. What an experience! I’ll have to put that on my to-do list for day trips.

  4. Marcus Murphy

    This is amazing. I love reading your blog! We are so close to Felicity. The history of humanity alone sounds cool, the scary snake…well that is just a bonus :)

  5. Deyla Huss Photography

    WOW Truly amazing, what an experience! I didnt even know about this place!

  6. Marissa Rodriguez

    We just love you guys! Love your story and that you guys got to visit the center of the world!!! Way cool! I wrote about you guys coming to San Diego on my blog hehe! You guys are the BEST!!!

  7. Brandy Frank

    wow. I really want to go stand at the center of the world now! I’m really loving your from the road pictures.

    xoxo brandy

  8. Julia

    Rolling with laughter for the first few pics and promptly being silenced with reverence by the last few. Awesome post and awesome experiences!!

  9. Christa

    I wanna go there!

  10. Realtor Dad

    Where is Cooper? We miss him and you could at least show that he is having a good time too.

  11. Chelsea Nicole

    How fun!! Glad to see you guys are having a blast on the trip. :-)

  12. fEuza

    loved reading this post, reminded me of childhood and you trip looks like so much fun!

  13. DAWN DAVIS

    I cracked up reading the beginning of your blog post. In 1989, I was 21 and had a bad perm too! LOL… love your writing Mary! ~ Dawn

  14. Ray

    Wow, that is such a cool and unique place!! Thank you for sharing this information with us and for taking us there with your words and photos. It looks like you guys are having a blast. Now I have to put that on my bucket list: go to the center of the world. ;o)

  15. Nikki

    This is reminding me of when we stopped in Georgia on our way to Florida Freshman year to get our picture!!! :) LOL I am glad you are having so much fun! :)

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