I grew up vacationing from the back of a Chevrolet station wagon. And whether we were driving from Michigan to Florida for a summer break on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, or traveling to Pennsylvania to visit family for the holidays, my parents loved to get an early start.
They’d pile my sister and me, still in pajamas, into the Family Truckster before the crack of dawn. I’d inevitably wake as light began to stream into my window, highlighting the drops of condensation racing down the glass.
The car would smell of coffee and bologna sandwiches and gasoline — a heady mix of fragrances that still sends me into a happy reverie. My sister and I each had exactly one half of the back seat to call our own, the division marked by a Maginot Line of masking tape my mom would apply prior to departure.
Despite such preparations, siblings will be siblings, so inevitably some sort of quarrel would ensue, usually a few miles after the first Stuckey’s stop.
Mom was ready, of course.
She always kept a long-handled fly swatter handy in the front seat to settle any dispute or quell any mutiny that might arise. Her aim wasn’t great, however, and over the years my sis and I became expert at dodging her smacks with alacrity.
For our next trip, I’m thinking of investing in one of those fly swatters. I’ll be sure to do a little training first, though…
Road Tripping Down Memory Lane
My childhood road trips were bliss;
Shared the Chevy’s back seat with my sis.
Back then, all we would need
Were some good books to read,
And thus peacefully we’d co-exist.
Well, that is, till we started to bother
One another; then out came mom’s swatter!
She’d whack with abandon,
Her blows rarely landin’
Upon disobedient daughter.
Now with my girls, the cross I must bear,
Hoping road trips don’t lead to despair.
Still, I hear myself utter
The words of my mother–
“Don’t you dare make me come on back there!”
©2013 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz