Most of the motels I recall staying in as a child were not part of chains. They were individually owned and my mother would look them up in the AAA travel books to see what sort of a diamond rating they had. Holiday Inns were way out of our price range. Next step was Travel Lodge. Those were more economical if not as "fancy" as Holiday Inn.
I've said before that the first thing I always did as a child when walking into a new motel room was to check the desk drawer for post cards and stationary. Okay, I'll admit it, I still do. A few years ago I won a trip to a 5 star resort and as soon as the bellhop left the room I was into the desk drawer checking for post cards and stationary. Old habits die hard.
I do not know how old this Sleepy Bear post card is, but I'm imagining around 1962 to 1967. As a kid I liked Sleepy Bear. He was always a welcoming sight to see on their signs when it was late at night in a rain storm. We'd pull in next to the office and my father would go inside to see if they had a room. My mother would sit patiently waiting in the front seat with the wipers slapping back and forth across the large Olsdmobile windshield. Maybe the glow of the radio across the dashboard. Me in the back seat with the dog, anxiously looking towards the office hoping they had a room. Then my dad back into the car with a key and mother asking, "Did you ask if they take dogs?" My father, putting the car in gear, "No."
Is Sleepy Bear still out there along the highways welcoming sleepy kids? I hope so. Yes, I know, he's just a corporate image trying to manipulate shoppers, but at the time these little images didn't seem as heavy handed. He was just a sleepy little bear who made a little girl smile.
Here's another book I'd like to recommend to those who love ephemera.
Hitting the Road: The Art of the American Road Map by Douglas A. Yorke, Jr, John Margolies, and Eric Baker.
It's all about the covers on vintage road maps of the US. The oldest map featured is from 1893.
Oh how I wish I had all of those old maps we used when we travelled. The
colorful maps you used to get for free from gas stations that were thrown away when the trip was over. Those days are sure gone, but this book lets you relive a little bit of what travel was once like. So if you like vintage travel or simply love looking at vintage ephemera illustrations this book won't be a disappointment.