Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Memory of the Vehicles

In the days before Child Restraining Laws and Buckle Up Laws, the people of this land had station wagons and vans where families threw caution to the wind and made great jaunts across the country without DVD's and nary a multi-deck CD player. It is these days that I wish to reminisce about today.

In the mid-70's, my family owned a Country Squire station wagon. Yep, that's right. The Jones clan toodled around in a vehicle with wood paneling and seats that folded down flat so the entire rear of the wagon could be, well, wagonlike.

Our favorite pastime in the station wagon was to fold all the seats down flat and roll ourselves up into a big ball with our knees tucked tightly beneath our chins. We would position ourselves at the very back of the wagon and we would wait patiently for Mom or Dad to reach the railroad tracks. The railroad tracks signalled the beginning of the stop and start action needed to bounce around like a pinball. Mom would slam on the brakes and we would launch forward and roll haphazardly into our siblings. She would then hit the accelerator and we would roll backwards slamming into the back door and munching the window. Oh, we would howl with excitement and make up games and rules for the chicanery.

After the Country Squire had seen its last days, the old fam went out and got a custom Chevy van. Yep, racing stripes and the little round portal window in the back. We were cool. The drawback to the van was that we couldn't play human pinball nearly as well cause of the bucket seats, but we soon found that surfing was the ticket in the custom van. We would again position ourselves in the middle of the van with one foot in front of the other and surf til our hearts were content. I'm sure that the bruises inflicted by the refrigerator and the scratches from the bucket seat levers would now seem like neglect on the part of Grandma and Grandpa Jones, but we just adored trying to stop ourselves before we stumbled into the driver.

Lastly, the Herbie-like custom van gave up the ghost and we again went out and got another custom van with a table in the back that you could play cards on. It wasn't nearly as fun as the others, but without seat belts to inhibit us, we still had a grand time.

The trip up to the family reunion was grand, but after two videos and extracting angry children from carseats, I yearn for the days of "Get in the back and hold on!"

11 Comments:

Blogger Indigo said...

Human. Pinball. I'm at a loss for words.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Lone Ranger said...

My dad seemed to be psychic. He would buy cars from companies that were doomed to fail. Not new cars, used cars. We had a Desoto. We had an Edsel. We had a Hudson. We even had a Nash. I don't remember which one had a push button transmission. None of these cars lasted very long. I don't know where they went. They were junkers back then, but they'd probably be valuable now. Our most exciting rides were on the farm roads of North Dakota. They were built on steep, short hills. Driving fast enough, we could actually experience weightlessness. I remember my aunt's dress flying up into her face once. She had great legs.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

boy, do i remember those days!!!!!!
my siblings and i used to "tobaggon" down the stairs and my mom never seemed to mind, hmmmmmmm

4:01 PM  
Anonymous MissMeliss said...

My mother had a white Duster when I was a baby. I remember nothing of it but her name for it, which I won't repeat in your blog...

I sat in the front and everything.

Reckless me.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

My recollections of the family cars were not nearly as pleasant as yours. My grandparents gifted my parents a huge, old, yellow Cadillac. I don't know what the deal was with the suspension on that thing, but if the road trip was more than 20 minutes, I would get incredibly car sick and vomit into a bucket that my parents kept handy in the back. To this day the Cadillac emblem evokes feelings of nausea.

11:24 PM  
Blogger PractiGal said...

My younger sister & I would curl up in the foot wells in the back seat of our Ford LTD, while our older sister sprawled across the entire seat. Boy did she have us trained!

5:00 AM  
Blogger The Wife said...

My Dad was never one for reservations I remember those road trips to California where there were no rooms available, or he just needed to catch a few hours of sleep before we drove all night throught the desert. I was alotted the back window of the 1977 Cutlass Supreme, while my brother and sister fought for the back seat.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

We had an old 1956 green Chevy station wagon (I was really young then)that we had for 13 years. Four kids would pile into the rear of that wagon and play games as we drove to Galveston in the summer. What memories that brings back. I haven't thought about that old wagon in years.

3:23 AM  
Anonymous Grandpa Jones said...

I have thought alot about those days of travel. In a way, I am so glad that I reared my family back then. I look at the safety restraints that are used now, and I don't think K....or his siblings would have made it to adulthood. The young kids look like astronauts about to be lauched into space. I understand the safety involved, and I would have been devastated if we would have had a wreck and one of my children would have been hurt. We didn't and they weren't and I enjoyed the trips, and how many parents can say that about their trips.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I was just thinking about this sort of thing the other day. The days of no car seats. We use to take trips in our Volkewagon bus, and my brother and I would both sit on my mom's lap. I guess we should be glad we didn't go through the windshield.

I like your pinball game - fun! :)

7:33 AM  
Blogger blogme said...

Hi, I see your blog is talking about Edsels. Are you looking for anything related to Edsels? Edsel cars, or Edsel parts & accessories? Everything that you see can be had at auction prices. Just wanted to pass this tidbit of info along. Thanks.

8:46 AM  

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