Road Trip

Back of the SquarebackWhen I was a kid my family traveled together. We took road trips across the country in a candy apple red VW Square Back. We went far from Minnesota. There was the trip to Maine, via Quebec and Novia Scotia. There was a drive around Lake Superior. And once we drove all the way to Ensenada, Mexico.

I remember the “way back” of the car, as we called it, was my sister Kathi’s and my domain. Nobody wore seatbelts in 1974 and so we had the entire space at our disposal. We played games, read, and at night when we pulled into a campground we slept back there. It was our play world as we through which we saw everything we were driving through.

I have random memories of these trips. One time I gave a puppet performance to my dad and sister with sock puppets attached to my feet which was well received. I saw my first slot machine at a KOA outside of Las Vegas. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time. And somewhere in Nebraska we saw a group of Hell’s Angels pull into a gas station with sawed off shotguns strapped to their bikes.

That car, those trips, and my family framed how I saw the world.

When I was eleven my parents divorced and those kinds of road trips ended. However, we never stopped traveling together. Last year Kathi and I went to Africa with dad. And the year before we went to Alaska with mom. Somehow our love for each other is enhanced by a desire to see the world together. Maybe that was incubated in that VW many years ago.


One thought on “Road Trip

  1. Nice essay, Mark. My family also had a VW, ours was a bus, and my little brother always ended up in what we also called “the way back.” On one trip I remember that the back door popped open on the highway; luckily the way back was filled with luggage that time and most of it ended up strewed across the road. From that day on, my little brother still hung out in the way back, but my parents always reminded him to kick the back hatch with his feet to check that it was latched. Not sure that particular safety measure would count for much these days.

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