The Longenecker Sisters’ Road Trip, Part 1

Girls’ road trips are part of the landscape of American pop culture. Who can forget Thelma and Louise? Wanting to take a short vacation from their dreary lives, Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) head out from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon in a 1966 Ford Thunderbird. They stop at a roadhouse and it’s all downhill from there. Crime and mayhem ensue until finally the gun-toting girls and their car zoom over the edge of the Grand Canyon. Both Davis and Sarandon received Best Actress Academy award nominations (1991).

Image courtesy Wikipedia
Image courtesy Wikipedia

And what about Oprah and friend Gayle who took off in a much ballyhooed road trip documented on TV and watched by millions . . .

Image Huffington Post
Image Huffington Post

Here’s how the Huffington Post encapsulates their excursion:

In 2006, Oprah Winfrey and her friend Gayle King embarked on what became a much talked-about (and hilarious) 3000-mile road trip across the country. When they weren’t cruising the highway in their red Chevy Impala, the two joined a local game of Bingo in Wichita, met some real-life cowboys on the range and crashed a wedding in Tulsa, surprising and amusing nearly everyone they came in contact with.

In spite of an anxiety-ridden moment on the George Washington Bridge, Oprah and Gayle completed their trip unscathed. When they returned to Chicago, Oprah handed over the keys to that Chevy to a deserving woman named Reola Holdaway.

The Longenecker sisters, Marian, Janice, and Jean are not movie stars or TV personalities. None of us has owned a gun much less aimed one at a policeman as Thelma did. But as siblings, we have done many other things together — playing and fighting as children, working in the tomato patch in Bainbridge, PA, even singing in a trio at church, sometimes with less than perfect results.

Scred Trios_final_7x9_300

The last time any of us can remember vacationing together was back in 1977, the year Daddy broke all sales records at Longenecker Farm Supply, won a free trip to Jamaica and took the whole family including his married daughters and son Mark. We left our husbands and young children behind and frolicked in Ocho Rios for a week — just Mom, Daddy, my sisters and brother Mark.

As married women with children, we have met at least once a year at the Longenecker homestead in Pennsylvania. Recently, we have been clearing out the house after Mother’s death making decisions about her possessions together. And now, as a pause in our separate journeys, we celebrate with a road trip. So, you see, it’s high time to make more memories.


The plan: My sisters and I, with two of our daughters, are gathering from Florida and Pennsylvania for a Merry-May celebration in Charleston, SC. We’ll get there by car and I’ll record our adventures here in two installments. It won’t be the Italian Riviera but we can refresh and renew our sisterhood close to the Charleston harbor inlet leading out to the Atlantic Ocean. And it won’t be Thelma and Louise, or Oprah and Gayle, but it will be Marian, Janice, and Jean.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

In the meantime, have you and close family members taken a road trip together recently or long ago? Tell us about the adventure here.


Enchanted April: Renewal and Possibilities

Are you wishing for different weather just now?

Maybe a change in scenery is all you need to perk up. After a rough winter, the drowsy dreaminess of a warm, languid clime may sound very appealing.

If so, you have something in common with the middle-aged Lottie Wilkins and Rose Arbuthnot, both members of the same London ladies’ club, who become acquainted after reading a newspaper advertisement for a small, furnished medieval castle to be rented for the month of April on the balmy shores of the Mediterranean. They are seeking enchantment – and in April.

*  *  *

In February, I met Timeless Lady, a blogger who blends quirkiness and a strong, spiritual core in her posts. In a recent piece about the book/movie Enchanted April, she published the words in the newspaper ad that enticed these ladies to exchange London fog for idyllic Italy at a castle in Portofino, Italy no less. Here is The TImes newspaper ad that drew them in:

To Those Who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine. Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain. Z, Box 1000, The Times.


Lottie Wilkins and Rose Arbuthnot, both wishing to escape the drab days of winter, also share a desire to leave the day-to-day drudgery of housekeeping and the struggles of marriage, Lottie to the klutzy Mellersh and Rose to her gawky Frederick. But there is the matter of money, so to share expenses they take on the elderly, crotchety Mrs. Fisher played by Joan Plowright, and the stunning, but aloof Lady Caroline Dester. As the wisteria and sunshine slowly work their magic, the characters are rejuvenated and re-discover hope and love.

Film, 1992  Courtesy Wikipedia image
Film, 1992 Courtesy Wikipedia image featuring Lady Caroline Dester, who is sick of being grabbed by men!

In the early 1920s, just after World War I, author Elizabeth Von Arnim vacationed in the serenity of Portofino, Italy at Castello Brown, the same castle featured in the movie. Inspired by the magnificent medieval castle and the luscious gardens of San Salvatore, Von Arnim wrote “Enchanted April,” the book on which the movie is based.

I discovered a link to a free copy of the book via the Guttenberg Library, where you can search and find links to other books and stories you read as a child.

Want more Elizabeth Von Arnim? Click here for her Collected Works!

Cover image: courtesy Amazon Books
Cover image: courtesy Amazon Books

In case you haven’t seen the movie, or if you want to succumb once again to its captivating charms, here is the trailer from Miramax Films:

Quotes from Enchanted April

I want to just sit and not talk and not think . . . .  ~ Caroline

If you wish for something hard enough, it happens!  ~Lottie


Wisteria in patio garden
Patio garden wisteria


When you want to get away from it all, where do you escape?

What is on your bucket list – Where would you like to go right now, or sometime soon?


Coming next: Moments of Discovery # 6 ~ Food for Thought, Stirred with Imagination