Subject: Re: wheels

I vacillate back and forth on the wheel issue. Basically, I like to travel light enough that I don't need them, but occasionally they are the only way to go.

A luggage legend that keeps getting resurrected at family gatherings goes back to our first trip to Europe in the winter of 1978. My sister, who was a very seasoned world traveler, had written us that one big bag was better than a lot of small ones, so I went and bought the biggest suitcase I could find. (It must have been a 30- incher and had two teeny tiny wheels and a small leather strap by which you could pull it.)

My husband, 9-year-old daughter and I each had a small backpack and all shared our humungous suitcase, which we soon named after my sister. It would not not fit on any overhead racks on trains and tipped crazily when you tried to pull it along on its wheels -- which you had to do because it was far too heavy to carry more than a few inches.

After several weeks of travel, we caught up with my sister in Barcelona. She gaped at our suitcase and asked whatever had possessed us to bring such a monstrosity. When I told her I'd specifically purchased the suitcase on her advice, she was incredulous. It turned out that she and her husband and two small children had once traveled through Europe with 11 small pieces of luggage and it had been a nightmare. That was what she had been warning us against. Needless to say, I've long been much more careful about taking her advice so literally!

Landra in upstate NY