when i was about 10 (for context, about 1987, in west tx) my parents wanted to go on a proper vacation. we chose cali. we did the whole thing, saw some family, went to the beach (huntington), disneyland (the only things i remember are captain eo and space mountain), knotts berry farm (remember that place!?), sea world (san diego), the san diego zoo, spruce goose, queen mary, universal studios (where i took my picture with THE DeLorean from back to the future). overall it was a fun trip and the only real family vacation we ever had.
on the way, we had to go thru AZ. at least one restaurant i can vividly remember would not serve my father and me, and it took us a few hotel attempts with all of us going in together before my mother went in by herself. the last stop was particularly poignant… i remember them discussing, in the car, my fathers ethnicity as possibly being ‘the problem’. “well, lets just see…” my father goes in by himself to be greeted with “no vacancy.” my mother goes in and shortly comes back with a key – i remember her walking back toward the car waving the key like, “look what i found…” i noticed my father sink a little bit in the drivers seat. my mother continued inside as we drove around the building so she could let my father and me in through a side exit. in the morning, my parents made sure the hotel knew two black people stayed in one of their rooms as my father and i checked us out. i remember the look on the guy’s face as ‘i don’t remember renting a room to you two,’ but then my mom came through the lobby and he made the connection.
from what i remember we didnt stop in AZ on the way back home at all.
too bad we continue to patronize ideas that devalue the human experience.