Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cars I have known...

After tripping down memory lane and blogging about the toys I had growing up I started thinking about the cars I remember growing up... I was remembering what was special and not so special about those big buckets of metal that we used to get us from hither to yon.

My earliest memories of transportation involved riding around in my dads little red mustang! My dad loved that car... I loved that car! Not for the same reasons my dad did obviously... He loved it because of the horse power, the sleek lines and well... Because it was a Mustang! I loved it because it respresented time alone with my dad. I can remember so clearly riding along beside him (those were the days before airbags and a kid in the front seat was no big deal)... I'd look up at him and see my knight in shining armor... He'd always have an 8 track tape in the stereo and it was either 'Marty Robbins' singing about the Texas town known as 'El-Paso', 'Johnny Cash' lamenting over 'Folsom Prison Blues' or 'Roger Miller' reminding us who was 'King of the Road'... To this day if I hear any of these tunes I'm immediately transported back to the front seat of my dads candy-apple red mustang.

When I was about 9 I went to live with my mom and step-dad and because the family now consisted of 5 members (Mom, Dad, Myself and my 2 step-sisters) they decided we needed a bigger vehicle to transport everyone. That's when we got the Dodge Econo-Line Van. When they first purchased the van it looked just like this picture on the inside... No windows on the sides and nothing for an interior. I remember riding to school in the back of the van on an old blanket... This could be both exhilerating and terrifying as the blanket slid all over the back of the van... Crushing your hip into a wheel well was the terrifying part... The breaking and accelerating made for the ultimate thrill ride... Especially since you couldn't see out any windows so you never knew what to expect. After a few weeks my parents had the van customized with windows, carpet and seating which made for an excellent travel vehicle as it included a table with bench seats on either side where we girls could play games and such. We ultimately took the van cross country when my mom moved to Chicago. The drive from California to Chicago was an adventure in and of itself... Made up of my mom, my step-dad, us 3 girls, our doberman mix dog 'Fresca' and 2 hamsters that made it all the way cross country only to die of asphyxiation in an Illinois hotel parking lot because they weren't allowed in the hotel... My sisters and I buried them with great ceremony on the fringes of a driving range next door to the hotel. My mother didn't even pretend to be sad for them... She was just too damn happy that the van wasn't going to reek of hamster crap anymore. During the LONG drive out to Illinois, I recall that in order to fight off the boredom we would strip our Barbie's of all their clothes and place them in compromising postitions in the back windows of the van in order to get the attention of the truckers navigating their way around us.... I'm sure my step-dad spent a great deal of time wondering why so many semi's were blowing their air-horns. We had some good times in that van... Good Times!

Look for Part 2 of 'Cars I Have Known' Tomorrow!


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