A few years ago, I was introduced to a non-fiction book called, The Moth. You can find it HERE. The Moth was a book of short stories that were told in their truest form around the world by individuals in a live group setting. It was called The Moth because every time they would get together to tell their stories of what happened to them moths would fly in through a hole in the screen and gather all around. Live Moth events, referred to now as “Moth StorySLAMS” would take place; I picture the setting like going to a comedy club. But in this case, these weren’t jokes, although some were funny. They were real life events.
As I’ve expanded my love for Podcast, I found there was The Moth podcast.
The Moth podcast was in the same format except instead of now reading these stories, I could actually hear the individuals telling their stories. I found myself laughing, crying, smiling, and often times in shock.
Although, I know I probably would never get in front of a crowd to tell a story–because if I’m completely honest with you, I’m a rather shy person–so I figured I would write my story. As if it was featured in The Moth’s book and I’m standing in front of a crowd for the main stage event.
….and now the story of the Traveling Sandwiches……applause…….
I’m not sure how old I was when I started going on road trips. But I was a little girl. At the time two of my aunts lived in Maryland. There was something about Maryland that I always loved. It was faster than the city I was from. It seemed like every city was located somewhere within the Prince George’s County limits. Everywhere I turned I saw, Prince George’s County, Prince George’s County! From Temple Hills, to Clinton, to Fort Washington. There was Oxon Hills and Largo and the cities went on and on.
We would travel so far but still be in the same County. I was confused and in awe at the same time. The people were most fascinating to me though. They talked different. They walked different. They looked different. They looked rich in color, culture, and character. I wanted to be like them.
So whenever my parents or grandparents decided to take a road trip I was always excited. I was always ready to go back to the place I would tell people I was from. It ignited a passion of travel that I still have today. On this particular trip it would be just the three of us. My grandparents and myself.
I was about 6 years old, give or take a year or two. So it’s early 80’s. Back then we did not do any stopping to get food on the way. There weren’t cell phones or navigation systems to let you know if we were on the right track or to provide an estimated time of arrival. It was just us and a map or some handwritten directions that we had gotten from someone else.
I remember my grandmother making all of us bologna sandwiches before we left. White bread. Heavy mayonnaise. With a slice of cheese and cut diagonally making a triangle. Just how grandma’s made sandwiches back in those days.
I would be in the back seat alone for the ride. My grandmother in the passenger seat while my grandfather drove. I remember being bored for 4 long hours. Passing trees and just wondering “Are we there yet.” Thirty minutes seemed like an hour. The radio would play old music and we just drove and drove and drove. But I was still excited to be going to my favorite place. Maryland!
Finally, I remember those sandwiches my grandma had made. Hmmmmm, I wondered if I could have mine? I asked my grandmother if it was ok to eat my sandwich and of course she said, yes. I was a grandma’s girl by the way. So I began to eat my packed sandwich. It was the best sandwich ever. Plus it gave me something to do for all of 10 minutes.
I wondered if I could have another sandwich but I knew she had only made one per persons. What was I to do? So I asked, if we were anywhere close to the WW bridge. That would be the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, if you’re not familiar. I knew we had to go over that bridge to enter into Maryland because like I said, we traveled a lot. My grandmother says, “No, we aren’t there yet!” This has to be the longest ride ever is all I kept saying to myself. I would lay across the seat and fall asleep but that would only last about 45 minutes. I was getting inpatient. What was a kid to do?
Meanwhile, my grandparents talked and fussed with one another. They smoked cigarettes to occupy their time and I was just a little girl in the back seat with bologna sandwiches. Bologna Sandwiches! A bulb went off in my head and I laid back across the seat.
I remained as quiet as I could in the backseat as we continued on our journey from Virginia to Maryland. Sooner or later my grandparents would want a bite to eat. They requested for the sandwiches to be passed up to the front from the backseat. They were in for a surprise of their life. As they opened each sandwich they would notice that a bite was taken from each one. Being the first grandchild and the only one on this trip they would laugh and eat the sandwiches anyway. There would be no getting in trouble for this little girl.
My grandma would say, “Girl you know better!”
I shrugged and made a cute little puppy face as I said, “I thought they were all for me!”