This will be the first in a series Titled: Cars of my Past, A Tribute.
CARS OF MY PAST: A TRIBUTE – The Car and the Hole
21st century car seat warriors, this piece may not be for you. Let me stress that I survived the perils of car-dom in the prehistoric times of the 80’s and 90’s where terms like “double-buckle” didn’t set off a bat signal to child protective services.
In the early years of my kid life, we had a lot of cars. They were the cars you could buy with whatever cash you had on hand so that my mom could make it to the store, get us to school, and wouldn’t have a car payment to worry about. The cars typically ran long enough to save up enough money for a “new” one. The cars were old, not cool antique old, just old.
During one stint, we had this incredible mustard yellow car. I want to say it was a 1980 Mustang, but I can’t be sure. I was of an age where “and a half” spoke volumes about how old I was. Seven? A mere child. Seven and a half? I am a mighty warrior woman that was much closer to ten than the day before….may as well split the difference and call me a teenager. I was a delight. But I digress….
This car had two bucket seats up front and I believe two seat belts in the back. This did not mean that it accommodated four people total. No no no, see? It was the 80s. If we had friends that needed a ride home, not a problem! Just double buckle. For those of you with your heads cocked sideways, this simply meant you used one seat belt to buckle two people. Sometimes, we would triple buckle. One person sat on another persons lap. Pull the seat belt over the both of you *PLUS* the person next to you. Voila! Safety!
If there were a bunch of us heading somewhere, my mom was again the one offering to do the driving. She was the pinnacle of stay at home mom/car pooler/ snack maker/ friend welcomer (to this day, she is friends on Facebook with people I knew as a teenager….I am not). If the seats got too full, we just used one of the floorboards as a seat. The only rule she had was to “avoid the hole”.
I haven’t mentioned the hole, have I?
The Hole was a rusted hole in the floorboard behind the drivers seat. It wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t small. A baby could have definitely fit through it, but we knew better than to put babies in The Hole. When we needed to hold our petite three-year-old sister in our laps (double-buckled, of course!), we never once threw her in The Hole. Again, it’s all about safety folks.
We didn’t need screens to keep us busy in the car because that entire concept never occurred to us as that sounded too much like a sci-fi futuremobile. We stayed occupied in our own, special way: dropping pennies down The Hole while my mother shuttled us around town, running errands. It was like our version of Hansel and Gretel except instead of making our way to a witches candy house, we usually wound up at Albertson’s talking to Elaine, the manager. I remember being especially excited when it rained because we could get some splash-back from the bigger puddles through The Hole. It was like our own, personal, Yellowstone Geyser experience!
Legend has it, my dad eventually “sold” the car to my uncle for a nice set of golf clubs. Bartering at its finest – take that Kelly Blue Book!
I spoke to my dad, and asked him if he remembered the car. He didn’t at first, but when I mentioned The Hole, the memories flooded back and he started laughing. “You had to be careful since the exhaust fumes would come through The Hole, right?” I don’t remember that whatsoever, so I guess the answer is a resounding and noxious yes.
Ahhh, the late 20th century. It was a simpler time.