Watching the Pirate puke all over Cool Dad the other day really brought back some memories of my own childhood. There was nothing like growing up in the 70’s. I am the youngest of my parent’s three children and the only girl. Having older brothers meant I endured excessive amounts of torture. They would deny this, of course, but I have the memories to prove it. The Pirate is the youngest of three  and the only girl as well, so in a way, she’s like me in that respect. Her brothers are a lot sweeter to her though. Ahem. I’ll chalk that up to the age difference as I’m sure the Pirate will never get ejected so forcefully from her brother’s bedrooms to have the imprint of the thermostat on her face for a few hours.

My parents were the proud owners of not one but two Ford, wood paneled station wagons. We often debate to this day which year the cars were, but we do agree that 1967 and 1976 might be the years of our fleet. The 1976 wagon was red, and it had the headlights that were behind the screen that rose and fell like a garage door when the lights came on. It was as big of a vehicle you would ever see on 95 South, as we made our way to Disney World. It didn’t like going over 60 miles an hour as it would shake and rattle, and it didn’t like slowing down to turn a corner or it would stall. These are problems that now would have anyone back at the car dealer, complaining. But back then, this was what you got, and you just lived with it.

No one flew anywhere in the 70’s, not only because flying was expensive, but a disproportionate amount of planes had crashed, sending panic through the American Family. Driving became the norm. Back then, kids weren’t in car seats until they were 23 years old. In fact, they weren’t in car seats much past infancy. My brothers tell a story that once, when I was 2, I leaned over, unlocked the door, and tried to get out on the highway and they saved my life. (I was clearly on to something, but that’s a story for another day.) We all learned important life lessons from this event. My parents learned not to put the two year old with lofty aspirations next to an exit and my brothers learned to think and react on a dime. You just can’t teach these kinds of important lessons to people if they never get the chance to be a little reckless with their toddler’s lives. Fuckin’ carseats.

If we were lucky and my dad put the luggage on top of the car, we could sit in the little benches in the way way back and play. One time I found myself back there alone and very car sick. I was 5 or 6 at this point, and embarrassed about this problem, so I tried to be discreet. I leaned into the 2nd seat between my brothers and said the fateful words we all still repeat to this day.

“Pass me a tissue please.”

By the time the tissue made its way to me, I was ready to roll. I held the tissue out like a fireman would hold a trampoline for a jumper. Vomit came pouring out of my mouth, through the tissue and on to the second seat below me, splattering between the elbows of each of my brothers. Physics clearly not being my forte at 5 years old, I had no idea this would happen. We had to pull over so I could finish puking, but more important, so my oldest brother Squidward could clean the puke off his arm. He still hasn’t stopped complaining about this, by the way.

There was also an incident at Pappy’s Pizza in Wilmington, Delaware where it wasn’t quite vomit, but really more like I drank a bottle of Palmolive. Bubbles were coming out of my mouth and they wouldn’t stop. When Squidward came to see the Pirate last weekend, he passed that old Pappy’s (which is now a diner) and said, “Bubbles are coming out of my mouth.”

These are the type of memories from the Wood Paneled Station Wagon that make me wish the Pirate didn’t have to be locked in her seat. It’s really depriving her of the fun to be had in the journey.

More on this in a subsequent post.