At the end of each summer my sister, cousins, mother, aunt and grandfather, Poppy, took a trip to the Detroit Zoo.
Sometimes the four older cousins spent the night before at our grandparents. We slept on a foldout cot in Poppy’s room. We went to bed first and I was always asleep by the time Poppy came to bed. That worked fine, unless I woke up in the middle of the night. He had the loudest snore and it was impossible to get back to sleep until he turned over and stopped snoring.
My grandmother, Nanny, never went with us. As I write this, I realize there are so many things I don’t remember. I suppose our mothers drove across town, with Marilyn, to meet us in the morning. Did we take two cars – my grandfather’s and my mother’s? I don’t think so. I think we all smashed into one car, three adults in the front and 5 children in the back, with Marilyn sitting on someone’s lap. Nanny probably made us a picnic lunch to take. I can’t imagine buying hot dogs and french fries with Poppy along.
Looking at the photographs I can see that Dee Dee was way ahead of the rest of us in cool. Even in 1956, when she and I both wore our plaid slacks, her’s fit and look good. Mine are baggy. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to bother me. That year Marilyn is so little and unaffected.
By 1959 Dee Dee is 16. I’m amazed she still accompanied us to the zoo. It must have been a very important part of our year. I was 13 and still not at all cool. That expression on my face is one I recognize from other photos through the years, unfortunately. I would say the sun is in my eyes but it doesn’t seem to be bothering anybody else. And why am I wearing that skimpy outfit? The hats that Connie and my mother are wearing were some she bought for Pearl and me. White sailor hats were the rage for awhile. Unfortunately, those were the cheap version and did not look like the popular ones. I don’t think we ever wore them. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have been squinting at the camera. Little Marilyn looks a lot more blasé in 1959. I believe she is wearing one of the little sundresses my mother made for Pearl or me when we were that age. It would either be yellow with lace on top or a blue print on a white background.