Hit the Road Jack. Head ‘Em Up. Move ‘Em Out.

by | Jun 27, 2014 | Stories

Our next stop was Glasgow, Montana where I grew up from birth to age 18.  I was the youngest of 4 daughters born to Miriam Phelan Kenny (a teacher) and Daniel Patrick Kenny a rancher and railroad man.

I was 4 years old when my oldest sister graduated from high school and left for college in Seattle, WA.  I became an Aunt to her first son when I was 7 years old.

My sister Ruth was three years younger than Danise.  My memory of her was her college days in Spokanne, WA and then her marriage to an Air Force Lieutenant and leaving for Brazil, South American shortly thereafter.   There was a 10-year gap before Evelyn was born after Ruth.  She did not necessarily like having a baby sister Sylvia tag along with her and her friends.  She left for Carroll College in Helena, MT as I started high school.

I was a bit of a rascal.  I rebelled against my mother’s strict rules.  She had quite a reputation in Glasgow as a teacher.  Some parents wanted their child in her class for a strong structured learning experience.  Other parents would request that their child be placed in a different classroom.  Having my mom as a substitute teacher in 7th grade was horrifying and humiliating. She insisted I call her Mrs. Kenny rather than mom.  “O.K. Mom” I said devilishly.

My rebellion took the form of some class clown type actions in 6th grade, a few trips to the Principal’s office in middle school and early high school, taking both mom & dad’s cars for joy rides with friends, meeting some airmen (a big social “no no” in high school) stationed at Glasgow Air Force Base, trying to elope with one of them when I was 17, getting caught, and successfully eloping with him when I was 18 years old in February of my Senior year.  I will not get into the story about how my mom got rid of him by talking to his base commander and having him transferred to Goose Bay, Labrador when we tried to elope the first time.

Somewhat miraculously, I managed to maintain a good circle of friends while I lived in my own apartment, graduated from high school by myself, and worked at Eugene’s Pizza and the High-Hat Drive In.  When my Sergeant husband who was 5+ years older than myself was discharged after 4 years of active duty, we moved to Minnesota near his family and remained married for 28 years until he wanted a change of scenery, so to speak.  That is the end of that story and enough of my colorful background……there’s more of course.

Fast forward to our current story.  Scott (aka SJL) and I have been together for 18 years and married for the last 14.  We’re taking this trip with Kayla, my 18-year-old granddaughter to show her where Grandma grew up and tell her a few of my stories.

We’ve arrived at the rather dismal Trails West campground outside of Glasgow.  We won’t be staying here long though as we’re planning to go on to Havre, MT (my 2nd hometown) and Glacier National Park.  We’re getting “camp” set up and SJL claims dibs for first use of our motorhome bathroom.  Here is where the laughter for the evening begins.

He closes the door tightly behind him when done only to discover he’s accidentally locked it from the inside and I can’t get in.  Dang it!  I have a thing about and generally don’t use any public bathroom facilities.  I need into “our” bathroom Now.  You know the feeling.

The door has a ridiculously small hole in the middle of the outside handle.  “Get me a round toothpick,” SJL calls out.  “That one broke, get me another one.”  “Hurry, hurry” I say as I dance to get him another round toothpick.  “It’s not working.  What else can we try?  Get the little toolbox under the kitchen sink” he says.  “This might work” as he pulls out a small gismo tool; “but this is a 3-armed job and I need some help.”  “Kayla, Kayla, Grandpa needs help.  It’s a 3 armed job and there’s three of us” I say pointing to each one of us. “SJL has an arm, I have one, and give us one of yours.”  This is purposely just TOO, TOO comical (except that I still need to use the room).  All three of us are absolutely cracking up.

We took Kayla to the Glasgow Museum to see the railroad uniform my dad donated.  I showed her the picture with me in my Glasgow Scottie Kilt band uniform with my E-flat clarinet in hand.  Around one of the corners in the museum, I suddenly heard some loud exclamations “Oh My Gosh.  I recognize you.  You’re one of the Kenny girls.  Which one are you?  You’ve changed.”  “Yes, I’m Sylvia Kenny.  I’m the youngest and the cutest one.  And yes, I’ve aged and put on a little weight; but I’m still the “baby” and the cutest one.”  More laughter and a round of hugs.

Next of importance was to show Kayla the two houses I lived in growing up.  I am sentimental about both; but especially the yellow house my parents built, and I lived in from fourth grade until I eloped.  Downtown Glasgow is all about a few blocks long and a few blocks wide.  It doesn’t take much time to see all of that.  I am lucky to find a couple of my high school classmates at work in the insurance office on main street.  We bored Kayla while we yacking and catching up on each other and our other classmates.

It astounds me to see parts of my hometown in disrepair; but at the same time hear there’s a housing shortage, prices of houses selling are high, and the cost of rent is ridiculously high…  $1000.00 to $2000.00 for something that was $500.00 not that many years ago.  Can you imagine that in Glasgow?!!  There’s money to be made in rehabbing some housing if someone was in the market or mood to do that.  I suspect the housing situation is also related to the oil boom and drilling in nearby North Dakota.

Remember when we broke the hitch for the Trailblazer we’re towing in Bismarck, N.D.?  Scott managed a temporary fix to get us into Glasgow.  Blue-Ox shipped the repair kit by Fed-Ex over night without any charge for the parts or shipping.  Guess they knew they had a problem on their hands.  Scott got everything put back together.  And now we’re off and running again.  Hit the Road Jack.  On our way to Havre, MT and Glacier National Park.

More to come and guaranteed there are more adventures…..if you care to follow along.


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Based out of Champlin, Minnesota. Serving and Welcoming Creativity and Humor 

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