Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It wasn't the summer of love for everyone.

Over the weekend, my family and I embarked on a hot, sticky journey to the Tri-Cities. The kids behaved fine, as long as they didn't look at each other or talk to each other. The trip took about four hours, and during that time I was able to reminisce about a far larger odyssey which occurred back in the summer of 1967. I was four years old, and our family of five drove in our 1965 Chevrolet Bel-Air station wagon from Auburn, Washington to Syracuse, New York, where my dad was working toward his Masters Degree.

It was definitely a simpler time. No child car seats or seat belts. No air conditioning. Certainly no electronic entertainment devices. With the back seat folded down, my brother, sister and I slid around on a plane of comic books, toys and dried up Handy Wipes. One of the big advantages of this set-up was that my dad couldn't simply reach back to spank us while maintaining control of the wheel. All we had to do was a quick crab walk to the back window and we were out of harm's way. Sometimes this made him so mad that he'd pull the car over on the freeway, walk around to the back of the car and give us the best spanking possible without hitting his hand on the inside ceiling.

Eventually, all three of us kids had begun torturing each other so much that my mom devised a system of rewards every 100 miles or so if we could behave ourselves. It worked out pretty well; we'd get a kaleidoscope or a yo-yo or my brother would get a mini can of hairspray because that's what he was into at the time. And sometimes, it was just a lot more satisfying to drive your heel into someone's shin and forgo that Archie comic book.

After about a week, we reached our upstate New York destination. At this point, undoubtedly my parents were questioning both their decision to make this trip and their decision to have children. My mom's thermos, by now, probably held an adult beverage, and I'm sure if my dad could have purchased a home vasectomy kit at the local Syracuse Walgreen's, he would have.

But alas, our family unit persevered, through four time zones, a war protest in Detroit and the ozone depleting cloud caused by my brother Tom's hairspray.

It would only take another 42 years to experience the "car-ma" I had so deservedly brought upon myself.


  1. love the hairspray bit.
    Brings back the sweet, sweet smell of AquaNet.

  2. Ha! I was JUST thinking about that trip--I call dibs on writing about the tunnels. I'll give you the attack by Aristotle the cat and when you ran away past the SECOND playground and we couldn't find you, because you sort of own that, but I get the giant mud puddle that we pretended was a swimming pool.

  3. I cut my foot in that "pool," then took a nap, then got up and had some cheese.