Summer Evening Pajama Rides

SUMMER NIGHTS, STATION WAGONS AND A CARLOAD OF KIDS

Guest article: Jackie L. Cape Cod, MA

Thank you so very much for the article on Station Wagons - it brought back great memories of when I was a kid - the oldest of eight - and how my parents would use evening rides to calm my younger siblings before bedtime.

A typical 1960's American Family
and their Station Wagon
My dad worked in the city and mom was a stay-at-home mom. By the end of many summer days, we kids had caused enough chaos and havoc that threats of "wait until your Father gets home" could be heard every few minutes. When dad did get home - usually about 7 or so, we would have dinner then the younger kids would be getting ready for bed. Not always an Ozzie and Harriet setting, but dad would bring a sense of calm and order to things.

Terwilliger & Wakefield Ice Cream
 - a great local favorite
Unless we had broken mom's major rules - fighting or swearing were high on her list - dad would give mom a break by piling everyone into our family station wagon and off we'd go in search of a local dairy stand that served ice cream cones every evening. We'd then drive around the county, past farms and new neighborhoods just admiring the homes and beautiful landscaping - I never knew that mowed grass and trimmed evergreens could make a home look so nice.
1959 Chevrolet Kingswood 9 Passenger Station Wagon
One favorite station wagon was a huge vehicle - or so it seemed - I recall it was a 1959 Chevrolet. The rear facing seat and crank-down window never gave us reason to suspect why some would get car sick. Calling out "shotgun" first allowed the quickest of us to claim the front passenger window seat, with mom in the middle. Could have been a tight fit, but it was our fit and what we did. On the way home dad would sometimes start a sing-along of some popular songs - something that remains a family activity to this day when we get together. By the time we pulled back into the driveway, the youngest would be ready to crash and we older ones were ready to enjoy a summer evening of fun and games with our friends until dad's curfew called things a day.

How I miss station wagons - they were truly the American family car. Perhaps if we could again call a "time out" for a portion of each day for families to get together for a casual evening drive to nowhere would enable us to reconnect with each other. No phone, no tablets, no headphones - just time to talk and see what's around us. I realize car seats and seat belts protect us while in a car, but they do distance us from each other. Nothing I can do about the Auto and Highway Safety Rules in effect, but I like the idea anyway.
Apparently the minivan-era dealt the station wagon a death blow. Unfortunately, in my opinion, minivans never seemed to have the same ride or atmosphere. Yes, I still have a special place for the American Station Wagon.

Again, thank you for a wonderful article on a piece of history that was my life. Incidentally, I left the station wagon era behind when I was in high school and had a used VW bug, but that's a story for another day.

Sincerely,

JL


Thank you Louise, your story brings back many family trips in station wagons. Stories like your's are the very stories and memories we at Garagistry are trying to preserve and protect for the benefit of future generations. When you have the time, we'd love to hear about your experience with the VW bug. Until then, safe driving...

The Garagistry team

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