Reflections On Lives Lived Along Route 66
This charming reflection was written and submitted to our website by Association Member, Bob Jenkins. Thank you, Bob, for sharing your memories of the Mother Road with us. Thanks to you, we proudly present this slice of Route 66 life and connection for our readers' enjoyment.
My mother was born in Odell, Illinois during the latter part of the century before last. The family then moved to Pontiac where she and her brothers and sister were raised. After her long life I sprinkled her ashes in the Vermillion River.
I still have a swarm of relations within a ten-mile radius of Pontiac.The American Legion chapter there was called the Campbell-Aarvig (or Aarvig-Campbell) Post. Aarvig was my mother’s maiden name. Her brother Truman, a 1st lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War, was killed leading a charge out of a trench in France less than a week before the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.
My mother’s mother, father and siblings rest in the South cemetery in Pontiac. Other relations are in the cemetery north of town which overlooks Old Route 66.
I have visited the Route 66 museum in the old fire station in Pontiac more than once. It’s a fascinating place. A lot of what’s displayed was in common use when I was younger. I’ve also visited the veteran’s museum upstairs in the same building. I often get to Pontiac, lunching with cousins at downtown restaurants. The city is a two-hour drive from my home in Lake County, a bit farther away than most Association members.
My first exposure to Route 66 was in March of 1941 when my mother and I joined two of her relations for an adventure to Long Beach, California in a brand new 1941 Chevy. We spent the nights along the way in tourist cabins. I don’t think the word “motel” had come into use yet.
In 1953 and 1967 I drove the same route in my own cars. I stayed in motels or motor inns.
Route 66 is almost as much a part of my roots and heritage as Pontiac and Odell. So it should not surprise anyone that I have been a dues-paying card-carrying, though totally inactive, member of the Route 66 Association of Illinois for several years. But now I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to consider taking part in an event, attending a meeting, or becoming involved in some way so I can meet some of my fellow Mother Road enthusiasts―while I’m still able.
Thank you so much, Bob for sharing your Route 66 Roots with us! Your story, though unique, mirrors so many lives lived on and along the Mother Road.
Please, friends, share your memories of Route 66 with us like Bob did!
We welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!