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Pody's column: Rose Bowl memories

Watching the Rose Bowl Parade,  my thoughts went back 50 plus years ago when I had the opportunity to attend the festivities.

I am sure many readers remember or attended when our Minnesota Golden Gophers represented the Big Ten in Pasadena.

The first year we left the comfort of our Northern Minnesota homes in a snowstorm.  We drove to the Twin Cities to pick up three friends and continue on. Our parents were concerned when we told them we were driving straight through with five drivers and we would always drive with a co-pilot. I remember my dad shaking his head and finger at us saying, "Reckless teenagers."

Reluctantly our parents packed ham, turkey and chicken sandwiches on homemade bread,  along with snacks: cookies, loaves of quick bread, carmel and popcorn, pickles and whole strawberries frozen in ice to keep our food cool.

As college students, we didn't have a lot of extra nickels but made sure we had money for the next quarter of school. We worked an extra part time job as we planned this since school started. There were no charge cards or handouts from our parents.

I worked as a waitress for Embers and the Hotel and Restaurant Association  but my extra part-time job was to clean a minister's house.

On days Minnesota played at home, it was a challenge.

After three days on the road, cleaning up and changing clothes in filling stations, we looked forward to that shower.  My friend and I stayed with my old roommate and her husband. He was a graduate student at UCLA. The guys stayed at the frat house.

We were in awe of the warm weather and fortunate to attend many of the activities beside the parade and ball game.

I'll never forget the overwhelming sense of pride from the maroon and gold section when our Gophers ran out on the field. The noise was deafening as the band played the Minnesota Rouser.

After the game we all met at my friend's for dinner. We bought bologna,cheese, bread, pickles and fresh fruit for the trip home. The guys had the car checked, filled with gas and packed while we made sandwiches.

We left LA about 11 in the evening. We were so tired on the way back to Minnesota and found ourselves pulling off the highway to stretch or switch drivers.

We made a brief stop in Las Vegas before crossing Colorado and Nebraska heading back to Minnesota.

Not satisfied with the first trip, our same group did it the second year. I remember the most expensive part of the trip was gas, an oil change and snow chains for the car tires. We were happy we had the chains in the mountains.

Three of us have kept in contact over the years even though we are miles apart.

Years ago there weren't as many bowl games as today and the Rose Bowl was the grand daddy of them all.

We were all young, single and maybe a little foolish but we made it back for class and our jobs tired but in agreement the trip was worth it.