<< ibnelson.com

001 First Memories
002 Hampton Road
003 Cedar Wood
004 A Room Of My Own
005 School Days
006 My Friend Wayne
007 A Great Flood
008 My Mother Makes Biscuits
009 To Disneyland
010 We Go To Mexico
011 The Cabin In The Woods
012 We Go To Yosemite
013 Grandma Nelson

I.B. Nelson according to himself

We go to Disneyland

I.B. Nelson Cartoon commenting on the U.S.A. energy budget
©I.B. Nelson

Daddy's Plane

My father had to travel to Southern California as part of his business several times each year. While in the Los Angeles area he would walk each nursery property, making extensive notes as to what each nursery was growing and in what quantity. When we children were very young, he made the trips by airplane from the old Oakland airport. We would wait impatiently for "daddy's airplane" to return and watch transfixed as THE airplane carrying our father would appear as if by magic from out of the sky and once he had disembarked, we would cover him with hugs.

South on Highway 99

When we grew older, and Margaret and Lori, my younger sisters, had arrived, he stopped taking the plane and the entire family traveled with him by car to Los Angeles several times a year. As a result, I went to Disneyland more times than anyone I know. The trip south was often made at night and many times my sisters and I spent hours peering into the darkness from the back of the station wagon where we had a makeshift bed, waiting to see the trains which traveled the tracks parallel to Highway 99. First would come the faint glow, then the wagging of the train headlight could be seen, then we would strain to see the names on the cars as they whizzed by in the dark. Eventually we would fall asleep only to be awakened as we were carried into the motel room somewhere in Los Angeles. We also spent many long dreary days in motels waiting for my father to return from his day long nursery inventory walks.

Walking the Nurseries

Sometimes we went with him for a day and would either sit in the car or one of us would walk through the nursery with him. The actual activity which he was engaged in was a bit of a mystery to me, but I enjoyed being my father's son, proudly walking up and down the nurseries as he took notes. Sometimes he would meet the nursery owners and introduce me as his son at which time my small chest swelled with pride. My father tried to teach me the botanical names of the plants as we marched up and down the rows but at the time I was too busy simply trying to keep up with his long stride. I learned that many nurseries in Los Angeles were built on land under the high power transmission lines and that they were mostly narrow and very, very long and that there were an awfully lot of them since we seemed never to run out of nurseries. The end of the day would find us hot and tired but my father always made sure to have rooms at a motel that had a pool. We would usually stay in the pool until it closed late in the evening.

Ice Machines

My motel chore would be to go to the ice machine, which every motel had, and fill the water pitcher with ice; it was a "chore" which I really enjoyed. In my adult years, filling the water pitcher with ice while staying at a motel takes me back to my childhood. On those days when my father walked the nurseries without us coming along, we would spend the entire day at the pool, which at times became somewhat boring. I don't recall my mother ever taking us out during the day when she was by herself; we generally stayed in the room or at the pool until my father returned in the evening. How she ever survived four bored squabbling children, I will never know.

Disneyland and the whole nine yards

On each trip would come the wonderful day when our father would take the family to Disneyland, where we would ride, on ride after ride, using "A", "B" ,"C", "D" and "E" tickets. We visited Disneyland yearly, beginning in the year of its opening in 1955. In addition we would also go to Knott's Berry Farm, Movieland Wax Museum, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Griffith Park, San Diego Zoo, The La Brea Tar Pits and many other Los Angeles attractions.

Huntington Gardens

But the one place which I came to love which my father took us to was the Huntington Estates and Gardens. In a main gallery are hung two paintings at the end of the room on either side of the door; the "Blue Boy" and "Pinkie". I think I fell in love with "Pinkie" and was distressed when I learned decades later that the subjects of the paintings not only had not known each other but in fact could not have since they lived at different times and that the girl who posed for "Pinkie" had died very young, perhaps at the age of twelve. I was crushed and a childhood fantasy turned to ashes. But at the time we bought postcards of "Blue Boy" and "Pinkie" and kept them as treasures for many years. I saw a copy of the original Gutenberg Bible in a sealed display case at the Huntington Gardens. Both the books there and the art had a long term effect on me, beginning that life-long love of books and art which I have today.

One year, while on one of his buying trips, my father took me to the Los Angeles County Fair. I remember being in awe at how huge it was, so totally out of proportion to the size of things in the San Francisco Bay Area. The glory of the lights and the endless rides on the midway and the endless crowds of people remained forever etched in my memory.