Friday, March 29, 2013

Danger Dad

1939 Packard Dashboard
Although the day my dad died, thirteen years ago this week, is etched in my mind, I prefer not to think of that so much. I like thinking of his life in total, the good times being so much more of what he was about. My earliest memories all center on riding in the car. Dad was the guy who drove the car back then because mom didn't get her license until I was around five. The first car I remember was the thirty nine Packard with the big running boards. Dad used to make us sit out on the running boards when he'd buy us ice cream cones. He didn't want us to drip that shit on his upholstery. Despite how bad that sounds, the car wasn't moving. We were parked in front of the Tastee Freeze. He wasn't that mean. What I remember most about that car was sitting up on my mom's lap at night, on our way home from my grandparent's house. I suspect that the Packard didn't have a working heater because what I remember most is how cold it was. I also remember the dashboard lights, especially the radio. When My mom would get tired of holding me on her lap she would stand me on the floor between my dad and her. Yes, cars used to be huge, gigantic beasts, with lots of room. There were no children's car seats back then. There were no seat belts, no padded dash, no breakaway knobs on the dashboard, no law that said you had to put the kids in the back seat. No, I rode up front where the action was, free and unencumbered. Not like these little pussies we have now. Oh, little Johnny needs to be strapped into the back seat like a mummy. Little Joanie has to wear a helmet, and god forbid, if she isn't strapped, positioned, and padded just right, mommy goes to jail for child endangerment. But I have strayed off my subject, dad. Dad would never have purposely put us in danger. It was just how things were done back then. Hell, when my mom and dad were kids, they let them run off to join the circus or work in a meat grinding factory. It's all about perspective, isn't it?


  1. My mother was the worst driver in the world. She stood me on the front seat. Every time she hit the breaks, my face it the dashboard. Most of my childhood memories are of dashboards headed to my face. I was so black and blue that I'm sure people must have thought I was abused. But that too, was no big thing back then. So no one said anything.

  2. The highlight of a Saturday morning would be if dad let us ride on the tailgate of the station wagon when he went up to the store. It taught you early to hold on tightly.

  3. @Gr8Scott, I don't just get comments here, but also on my facebook page. I thought you'd get a chuckle out of the comments from that. All the commentators are either sisters, brothers, nephews, or nieces.

    Alan, Note: the little blurb you see in the above link is not my writing. For some reason facebook takes the first comment in my blog and posts it instead of my actual post.
    6 hours ago · Like · 1

    Sam, haha i saw that and i was thinking that was a little harsh...
    6 hours ago · Like

    Steven, Now that I know that, I am going to have fun making the first comment on future blog posts... lol
    5 hours ago · Like · 2

    Patricia, I found that comment hilarious. I guffawed when the commenter said " Most of my childhood memories are of dashboards headed to my face." Hahahaha!
    3 hours ago · Like

    Patricia, I love your stories about our young parents. They were so different from the ones I grew up with.
    3 hours ago · Like

  4. I remember Dad was on his way to pick me up from a girlfriends party but he was very late. Turns out he had to stop fast and when he hit the brakes, my little sister Susie hit the inner handle on the tailgate door with her face. So he had to make a detour to get stitches put in her before picking me up. Our younger siblings rolled around like bowling balls on the station wagons far back deck!

  5. Yes Peggy that was a fun game we played in the "way back" of the station wagon, trying to stay upright as Dad turned corners or stopped. I think Gary was with us too, on that trip. It was so much fun! I still have that scar!