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Sunday, July 6, 2014

She always had a window


When I was small, my brother and I had a window to ourselves in the backseat of our little car, and it was the safest form of entertainment. Standing up was tolerated until we also were hanging over the driver or passenger. Room was limited, but shoving against the back of the front seat to rearrange our bodies in our space drew even sharper rebukes. Best just to glue the nose and watch the cows graze and the corn grow.

Eventually my youngest brother was big enough to be intolerable in the front seat. He never sat still. He was sent back. At first I think Mel didn't notice he retained his relative seating position, between two people. But one day, and we were all dressed up, and probably going to visit a grandmother or cousins, Walt and Mel were in a spirited round of fisticuffs outside the car’s back door. It was over seating by the window.

Our father settled it on the spot. He told us the date and divided it by three. The scheme was, if the remainder was one, Joanne sat in the middle. If the remainder were two, Walt took the middle. If the number divided evenly, Melvin sat in the middle.

The plan proceeded beautifully. Well, the one in the middle often was miffed and engaged in surreptitious poking, there were admonitions from the front, but eventually we arrived somewhere, tumbled out and were pleasant until the drive home. The plan did not change when I was ten and one half years old and a new baby arrived.

As usual she lay on mom’s lap, then sat in the middle of the front seat. But before Jan could be sent to the back seat my parents were driving a big Dodge station wagon, a mobile living room, so to speak. A rear facing seat at the back, a regular bench seat in the middle. My brothers sat in back, where they could hang over the gate, as the window rolled down into the tailgate. By a push button up front!

I don’t know what became of the middle rule. Jan was seven when I left home, nine when Walt joined the military. Families had more than one car in the sixties. As I recall, there were two cars when I was a teenager, then a third that Jan drove. Melvin bought something candy apple red. Walt was stationed in England.


I asked Emily and Laura how they determined who sat in front. I expected an even or odd day answer, but learned it was whoever touched the door first. At least they worked it out.


Mel and his candy apple red, two door car. Best man at his best friend's wedding, I think 1966. Two door cars are another story, together with cleaning Beatles albums with alcohol (vodka!) Another day.

21 comments:

  1. I think it is an innocent enough rule. Who ever touches the car door first gets to sit in the front. Any way this red one looks like it is a beauty.

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  2. Beautiful car! I love Laura and Emily's way of working out who sits in front too ;-)

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  3. Two door cars are popular with collectors but four doors are much more practical and less heavy to open.

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  4. We never found a peaceful solution to that one. Three brothers and me. One of the brothers laid down on the floor in the back and I as the youngest was relegated to the middle And there was a lot of surreptitious violence. Laura and Emily solution would have been a winner. The numbers meant that your father's solution would have worked easily.

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  5. Hari Om
    At our place it was simple seniority. That put me in charge.... not trouble free, but minimal warfare involved. That sure is a good looking car.... and oh I can't wait to hear about drunken vinyl!!! YAM xx

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  6. Until I was around 10 or 11 all we had was a pickup truck. Mom, dad, me and gram all in th pickup. Then the folks adopted an aboriginal girl....talk about a truck full.

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  7. Wonderful Joanne ... then and now

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  8. I bet your grandchildren would love to have that bright red sporty car :-)

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  9. We had a station wagon like that also though there were only three of us kids.

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  10. I like how Emily and Laura settle back seat, front seat. I think son got the front more than daughter in our family because he was the youngest and she always caved in when he asked her for something. Great looking car!

    betty

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  11. What a clever man your father was.
    I guess I'm grateful I only had two kids. They could get up to enough trouble back there without a third!

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  12. We had one of those station wagons with the rear facing seat too. My brothers sat in the back and I got the middle seat to myself! I didn't realize how lucky I was.

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  13. I remember the day we bought a kombi van with two bench seats in the back. At last each of the four kids could have their own window. two years later I was mighty peeved off when K traded it for something with only one back seat because it had been fitted with numerous stereo speakers including two in the boot. What good is numerous speakers if you can't fit the kids in the car??

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  14. I was always in the back until I was promoted to the job of navigator - then I was allowed in the front.

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  15. Mum preferred sitting in the back (Dad's driving made her nervous),so the front seat was up for grabs. One child got the outward journey ,the other the return.
    Jane x

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  16. There were 3 of us and I suspect there would have been fights over who sat by the window, Lord knows we fought over everything else, except that I always sat in the middle and stuck my nose in a book, till we too got a big old station wagon and I would stretch across the back and of course stick my nose in a book.

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  17. Looks like a '65 Impala, great car.
    We were always tossed into the bed of the pickup, fighting for the spots up against the cab to get out of the wind.

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  18. Ha ha .... your father was clever, dividing the date by three. Its those wonderful old memories that keeps one going.

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  19. Dear Joanne,
    now that is a nice red car! Who sits where - an interesting story between sibblings.
    You know that I admire the changing flowers in the pot of your porch?

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  20. I really love the way you do "story-telling". I know it's the truth, but you tell it all so beautifully. Now... today we're at a refuge that has locked gates all over the place..... whoever drives gets to .... well, drive. Whoever rides "shotgun" has to get out and unlock and open the gate... then wait for the vehicle to drive through, then close the gate and lock it. If someone happens to be in the back seat (pick up truck?)... they just get to sit and do nothing. So... who has the choice position here? If you're driving it's hard to grab your camera and get off a good shot... if you're shotgun, you have a great view but do all the work... and if you're in the back seat you can't see a thing. Hmmmmm

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