Raising 20th Century Parents in the 21st Century

As I may have mentioned before, I love my parents.  They’re great people, good role models, and back in the day when they were raising me, they did a damn fine job.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes make me want to pull my few remaining hairs out.

Especially when it comes to travel.

Case in point:

My 11 year old son is playing in a baseball tournament in Cooperstown, New York this summer.  Since that’s the only trip we’ll make back East this year and since my folks are in Pittsburgh (the Motherland) I suggested maybe they might want to drive up to Cooperstown and join us for a few days on the trip.

Though it nearly gave me a migraine when my Mom asked for the ADDRESS of the place we were staying at (in Cooperstown, mind you) in DECEMBER (the trip is in friggin’ JUNE) they seemed fairly agreeable to the idea, so I overlooked the onset of throbbing in my temples in the name of family harmony.

Next question?

“How far is it?”

“Maybe 425 miles, Mom.  8 hours, tops.”

Fast forward to this week in early May when my Mom sends me an email which contains the following 2 sentences:

“The internet (note the use of word internet– not “Mapquest” or “Google” but the whole, entire INTERNET) says that it’s a 15 hour drive to Cooperstown!  Please don’t say anything to Dad!”

Translation:  15 hours is WAY too far for us to drive and there’s no way your Dad will agree to spending that long in the car.  THE TRIP IS IN JEOPARDY!

Now, if you know even a tiny smidgen of ANYTHING about the geography of the Eastern Seaboard, you may remember that the state of New York is RIGHT ABOVE the state of Pennsylvania.  They touch each other, for Chrissakes.

With a good tail wind you could probably stand in the middle of Pennsylvania and spit into New York.

So, using elementary logic, how in the name of all that is good and holy could it be 15 hours (900 odd miles, even at a very conservative 60mph average, which, come to think of it, might be generous for my folks as their cruise control is locked at 54.5 mph) from even the furthest point in Pennsylvania to the very furthest point in New York?

These are two of the original 13 colonies, people!  They’re not as long as Texas.  They’re not as wide as Montana.  They were established pre-Louisiana purchase!  Truth be told, Pennsylvania and New York are two of the biggest States on the Eastern seaboard!  And that isn’t saying much. I mean, come on.  That’s where Delaware is.  Delware?  Sneeze twice and you’ll miss the entire State.

Just to make sure I didn’t miss some critical geography class in High School,  I went to the “internet” and typed in “Cooperstown New York– Pittsburgh Pennsylvania + Mileage”.

Reponse:  476 miles, 7.42 hours

I was off my 20 miles.

My Mom was off by about 450 or so.

After trying to quell my Mom’s travel anxieties with a few details know in the scientific world as “facts , I finally threw in the towel and sent this email to her.

Mom– I double checked google maps, and I’m afraid to report that you were right.  Or at least mostly right.

It turns out Cooperstown is actually 11,000 miles from Pittsburgh.  It seceded from the Union just after the War of 1812 and is now recognized as its own political entity.

As such, you and Dad will need to get passports in order to travel to Cooperstown and I think your only option is to charter a private plane for the trip. 

Remember, don’t smile or make any jokes at the border crossing between Pennsylvania and New York.

Good luck!

Love, Mike

Note:  I’m fully aware that I’m probably going to hell for this and I’m also fully aware that in another 30 years or so technology will have advanced so much that my kids will be pulling their hair out over MY lack of tech savvy.

Believe me when I say, I’m totally at peace with this realization.




  • Aunt Buddy wrote:

    Mike, another good laugh for your old Aunt Buddy!!! I’ll assume that if “Mom” can conquer flying to Denver, she and “Dad” will hitch up the wagon and head NE just to see their boy and his family

  • You do realize now that she hit “round trip” when she looked it up, right? And I was wondering how she was going to hide a 15 hour trip from your dad…not tell him until about 6 hours in??

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