by Dick Mulligan
“Tales from Riderwood” Writer
Back in the good ol’ days, my wife, our three kids, and I exchanged homes for summer vacations three to five weeks at a time. My late wife, Phyllis, brought the idea to me after reading about it in the Sunday Post and it turned out to be a great one. Unfortunately, she passed away last year but our family often reflects on some of our home exchange adventures.
The idea started after WWII with high school teachers who had worldwide curiosities but limited budgets. At first, we exchanged within the U.S., and then, having gained confidence, we were off to Europe. As a family, we saw the world, learned a lot, and made some new friends.
Over 40 years, we visited the art galleries in London (Tate), Paris (Louvre), and Madrid (Prado). We also played blackjack in Monte Carlo, attended the opera in Vienna, swam on the French Riviera, watched snake charmers in Morocco, a bullfight in Madrid, and sipped a little vodka at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg!
During those years, we exchanged our home in Marlton, Maryland and upon retiring, our Florida home with pool in Palm Coast. Both of these destinations are very popular with world travelers, who want to visit Washington’s many historical sights and swim or fish in Florida.
One memorable exchange was with a family in the Rome suburbs. The father was a screenwriter and his wife was an actress. We enjoyed their sculpture gardens and sipping wine with their friendly neighbors, while they enjoyed our large department stores, D.C. sites and the boardwalks at Ocean City. Rome and all its glories are spectacular.
Just as our exchanges were so enjoyable and educational, your families might find them fun and rewarding. They are also quite practical; you save on both hotels and transportation. So you see, Phyllis’ “good idea” paid us many dividends.