One Ordinary Family on an Extraordinary Adventure

Yep. We’re the Family in the Matching Shirts.

When we go out in a crowd, it always seems like I spend most of my time counting kids and making sure I know where everyone is. So before we started traveling, I decided that I wanted to get some matching shirts for those days when we’d be in a crowd. We might look a little corny, but I thought it might make life easier. And it did.

IMG_7638_1Brian was a little reluctant, especially with the Hawaiian shirts, but after the first day or two–and the positive responses we got, he decided it wasn’t so bad after all.

One of our first Hawaiian shirt days was the day we went to Stanford for our son Dominic’s appointment with the dermatologist. We made quite an impression apparently–as if walking in with 7 kids isn’t striking enough–because we all matched. Well, in style anyway. Each of us has our own print. Of course, Dominic has his own as well. When I was back with the doc, I could hear people in the hall talking about the cute kids in Hawaiian shirts in the waiting room, and they kept going out to peek and see them. Fun.

On the pier. Santa Barbara.

On the pier. Santa Barbara.

We wore the Hawaiian shirts one of the days at Disneyland and also when we went to Santa Barbara. At Disneyland, we’d have total strangers come up and compliment us on our shirts–most of the ones who did were also in Hawaiian shirts and so we’d wonder aloud if maybe they were some long lost relative. A little strange, I know, but I’ve never had so many conversations with strangers at Disneyland before.

Disneyland was actually a serious worry for me because the kids get distracted, the crowds don’t care where my kids are, and I can get a little tense keeping track of everyone. Our blue and pink Mickey shirts stood out great there. The girls and I made these before we left.

We also wore our Mickey shirts when we went to San Juan Bautista State Park.

The idea for matching shirts came from a long-ago event, shortly after 9/11. I’d packed flag shirts for the ride home, a symbol of our new lives in America as family. Of course, when I bought them in July 2001, I had no clue how significant they would be in September. Those many years ago, we wore our shirts as we walked through the Moscow airport, and it was the memory that sparked my matching shirt idea. I initially intended to get flag shirts for this trip, but I could not find any when I started looking this year in July. We ended up with a very mis-matched set and then supplemented by making a few.

We wore our Learning Across America shirts to California Adventure and went on the water slide ride (Grizzly something or other??) over there around 10 a.m. It started up a conversation with one of the cast members and he was asking about the family and the trip.

That evening, over at Disneyland, we were in line at another ride and a woman came up and said, “You’re that family that is going all over in an RV. We went on that ride today and the guy there was telling everyone about this family that had matching shirts and was traveling all over.”

Yep, that’s us.

1609As I was going into the cabinet one morning to get out my shirt of the day, I suddenly remembered that line from Men in Black–”Time to put on the suit.” Not sure we made quite the same impression as Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but I’m thinkin’ yeah, we made those shirts look GOOOOOOOOD.




Learning Across America

Learning Across America

Rose Godfrey is a speech pathologist and freelance writer. The Godfrey family (Brian, Rose, and the 7 kids who are still at home) crossed the USA in an RV then set out to see the world.
Learning Across America

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