Today call me safety-conscious.

Today call me safety-conscious, a trait you’ll see I come by honestly. Yes, as the days lengthen and the temperatures rise, our thoughts bend toward summer; and more importantly, to summer safety.

To that end, I’ve sought inspiration from a picture taken of my sister and me in the early 1970s and have labored to produce a list that today’s conscientious parents may reference for important tips to maximize both safety and fun this season.

Presenting Nancy and Julie Return from the Beach, circa 1972:

(Side note – I’m the modest young lady on the right.)

  1. So you’ve lost the back seat to the station wagon. Fear not. Any folding chairs will suffice as a means of safe transportation. In fact, the rusted metal pair from the backyard would be perfect. (And rickety!) Simply place the chairs side by side into the rear of the car and insert children. They’ll probably stay put. (The chairs. The children. Either one.)
  2. No seat belts? No problem. If you drive very quickly, centrifugal forces will secure your kids safely to their chair backs. (As a bonus: Their gravitationally-morphed poses can masquerade as Rorschach quizzes for your entertainment.)
  3. Nothing says Favorite Beach Toy like Raggedy Ann, a doll clearly designed for exposure to sand and salt water. Leave those easy-to-rinse plastic pails and shovels at home. Instead, bring toys with stuffing. And yarn. Elements that really absorb tar.
  4. Sunblock is for suckers. Especially if your kids are very blond, very fair-skinned and have no base-tan whatsoever. In fact, baby oil is a natural epidermal softener. (And shiny!)
  5. You know what’s really practical? Sneakers at the beach. Laced-up Stride Rites are much better than flip flops at providing traction in the hot sand. Also, there’s the rubbing; and an angry rash is a Beach Badge of Honor. (Note: Try scotch-guarding the socks to maximize waterproofing. And the friction.)
  6. Matching bathing suits – A must when deciding which sunburned kids are yours. Extra points for selections with ruffles and elastic as these become very comfortable when wet.
  7. Play The Beach Boys very loudly while your children nap in the car; this will train them to sleep through any noise. And also to appreciate the importance of Good Vibrations.
  8. Take pictures of the wise parenting decisions you make. Display them prominently in frames around the house so your children can learn from your choices. Or laugh at you.  Or both.

I only wish I’d heeded the many lessons available in this photograph when my own children were small. Instead, I secured them into Fire-Station-Approved car seats (I’m pretty sure I’m still supposed to be in a booster seat by today’s standards). I slathered my kids with Coppertone Water Babies SPF 100+ and brushed sand from their bodies with baby powder. I spent a college tuition on beach/pool/sand toys that looked like everyone else’s buckets and rakes and hence were mistakenly packed into the wrong station wagon.

No one would’ve brought a Raggedy Ann doll home by accident.

Still. It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks (or get her into a suit with ruffles and elastic). So if you’re psyched for a summer of safety and fun? Let’s meet at the nearest sandy beach.

You bring the baby oil; I’ll bring The Beach Boys eight track tape.

Good vibrations, indeed.

81 thoughts on “Today call me safety-conscious.

  1. this could’ve been me and my brother! We had a mercury station wagon when i was little and we rolled around the “way back” as we called it all the time. those were the days, eh?

  2. I have distinct memories of sitting in the trunk of the family station wagon. Somewhere, my safety-conscious father put together some sort of seat belt (because “law-abiding John” absolutely threw a hissy fit because we had just gone over car safety in school).

    And when collecting shells, remember that sanitizing them is for suckers. There is nothing like the smell of a rotted mollusk months after the vacation to remind you where you were.

    After burning myself to a crisp the last several years at the beach (we rent a few houses in Chincoteague Island, VA every year with 25-30 of our best friends), I’ve actually considered heading to a tanning salon before I go (I’m turning in my man card with this comment). I can deal with sunburn – but I leave the beach for RAGBRAI, and I don’t think I can deal with sunburn, an air mattress, a tent, and the aches of road cycling.

  3. Jbutt

    Great picture! I wish I had photographic evidence of our family vacation to Canada from Alabama. Four kids under the age of 13 in one van for 73 hours (ish). I’d like to see how that would have gone over if we were all confined to car seats. I remember lying under the back seat with a barbie at some point.

  4. oh the places we’d go! My little brother and I had the “gunner” seat in the back of our woody station wagon. Those seats that popped up out of the floor. No seat belts, and you sat facing each other, so that when the car sped up, you were hurled toward the back…and slamming on the breaks – your little butt skidded forward on the vinyl seat. Good times. I really wish we had those rusty chairs you had. jealous.

  5. This is fab!!!!!
    But I’m very disappointed in you. How will your kids ever know how to survive in the wild if you keep protecting them with ridiculous things like seat belts and sunblock? I’m assuming you also don’t make them scavenge for their food or try and find their way home from the desert with only a thimble of water and a roll of duct tape?

  6. omg – that picture is priceless!!!

    We also got to ride in the way-back in the station wagon. Altho no beach chairs. We lived in Connecticut, what did we know?

  7. Diane McEvoy

    “Good Vibrations” indeed and don’t you just wish “they all could be California Girls”! On the east coast where the sun wasn’t as strong as it is here, we added iodine to our baby oil; although, at this point I’m not exactly sure why except that the iodine might have dyed our skin to make us look tanner! Go figure…

  8. Erin – Love the term “the way back” – As in “the place we’d get rear-ended in an accident”…Those were the good old days for sure.

    John – Still impressed about RAGBRAI – can’t wait to read the blogs about it after!

    JButt – 73 hours? Holy crap. But it’s the “ish” that puts it over the top of funny to me. So great.

    MommaKiss – So you KNOW what I’m talking about….bring back the “gunner” – I need a good butt skid on vinyl!

  9. Julie Julie Julie, don’t forget the importance of leaving the car with the vinyl seats in the blazing midday sun (because your parents are never capable of getting anywhere early) and then settling into the burning hot car as your delicate flesh sears… My mom also had special gifts involving leaving raw chicken to defrost on the kitchen counter and yet never causing us to catch an outbreak of salmonella. A kind of kitchen russian roulette if you will, and yet she boldly took the risk. Something today’s mom simply doesn’t have the cojones to undertake.

    Funny as hell as usual my friend. Thanks for the giggle.

  10. Tonya – I make up for all that safety now by never making my kids wash their hands. “Let’s see how advanced your immune systems are, kids!”

    Cheryl – I heard about those Connecticut kids…getting to ride around free in the way back…without folding chairs. Lucky.

    Di – Iodine? Seriously? How are you not dead?

    Heidi – Yes, we weren’t too worried about expiration dates around my house. No one looked at the date stamp. You smelled the yogurt, scraped the top layer off the cheese, cut the green off the bread…

    It was good for us. Built character. And resistance to death.

  11. I’m laughing because my 3 year old just walked down the stairs in her two piece bathing suit and told me that’s what she’s wearing today. Pathetically. . I was soooo close to being like, yeah, it’s 55 degrees and we need to go to Target but I so don’t have the energy to argue, so FINE.

  12. Paula – They have to learn sometime. A trip to Target in 55 degree weather sounds like a teachable moment. If it weren’t for that pesky Child Protective Services.

    (Still. She probably wouldn’t be the most inappropriately dressed customer at Target…so it might be worth the risk.)

  13. that is such a classic picture. i love it. :0D

    my parents used to drag us on our family vacations in a truck. my sister would sit between my parents up front while my brother would lay on the floor in back, and i would lay on the seat. good times.

  14. Nobody – Seriously, I sometimes think my kids are missing out having to travel in our SUV with the DVD player. And the iPod. And the Nintendo DS.


  15. Dad

    Hey, I had those beach chairs attached to a 3/4 inch sheet of plywood with electrical wire, nuts and bolts. They were going nowhere. You and Nancy on the other hand?? At least you didn’t tell anyone about how you used to crawl over the back seat in the ’63 VW Beetle and sleep basically on top of the engine. Was that to drown out the blaring Beach Boys? I looked up the statute of limitations on bad parenting and it expired the minute mom and I found someone to take you and Nancy off our hands. Thanks, Bill and Randy! We LOVE our sons-in-law.

  16. dale

    a fabulous throw back to when buckling was just for those that had seat belts..and everyone else took chances…besides what would hurt more the sun burn on the brusies

  17. KGM

    Too funny! You’ve perfectly captured the sights and sounds. Now add two more kids, a wet dog and cigars with the windows rolled up and you’d have our 70s family truckster. Glad there is no such thing as an “odorgraph.” Some things are better left in the past!

  18. Dad – We need to discuss when you will guest post. You are much funnier than I am. (Funny “ha ha.” Not funny “funny.”)

    Dale – True, true. Now we don’t put our kids in cars without air bags along the entire interior. Ah, progress. Kind of.

    KGM – I LOVE Bill’s stories about your family road trips. Wish I could’ve been there except there wouldn’t have been room….Cigar smoke and wet dog? Now THAT’S a spring break!

  19. cousin Heidi

    you know, it’s funny. One of the last times I hung out with Bill, we were at hope falls and he and Karen were FREAKING OUT because the kids were playing near…not in, not on, bue NEAR, the river. And I distinctly remember Bill, somewhere in the 70’s, diving off a rock into that same whitewater. Does this make our parents better,worse, or our generation more cautious? I guess back then if we ended a day alive and with all our limbs, they considered it a good day.

  20. KLZ

    I would have saved so much money as a parent in the 70’s. Stupid safety laws.

  21. We weren’t lucky enough to have a station wagon – instead, we enjoyed the roominess of a Caprice Classic [REMEMBER THOSE?]. This was excellent, as we’d spend the hour to hour and a half ride into and out of Canada [because there are no beaches in the US] flopped in the rear floorboards. And I’m pretty sure at one point my brother perched on the rear window dash.

    Ah, safety. [I’m still slathering myself with my kid’s Waterbabies SPF 1,000, even after she’s moved on to Banana Boat.]

    Way to take me back!

  22. Heidi – So funny. Hope Falls is a blast and I’m sure that Jane and Gary let their kids do all kinds of stuff Bill would NOT let our kids do. (That he knows of….)

    KLZ – I know. Safety laws ruin everything. Like fun. And potential for concussion. DANG it.

    Suniverse – I love that you went to Canada for the beaches. And yes, I remember the Caprice Classic well. I used to sleep on the floorboards of our Chevy Vega. It was pea green. Vinyl seats. Those were the days, my friend.

  23. CDG

    Damn. I miss the way back and the open bed of my Dad’s Datsun.

    And the Jim Croce eight tracks…

    Why did no one in my family ever think of lawn chairs?

  24. alice doyle


    Another WINNER!!!.

  25. nannyk

    What confuses me is the fact that Dad didn’t secure us to those chairs with duct tape. Perhaps it was not yet in his wheelhouse in 1972. Wire, nuts, & bolts Dad?? Childs play! Duct tape would have kept us in the chairs and the chairs on the plywood. Forget the fact that its removal would likely have taken a fair portion of our newly sunburned skin with it. One could argue that such “extreme exfoliation” was the mark of excellent parenting as it erred on the side of skin cancer prevention.

    Any Beach Boys song takes me back to those days. And those days were so good!

  26. I love this whole entry so much. The 70s were all about free love, free to be you and me and and free roamin’ around the back seat. Well done.

  27. Jill

    I read this and couldn’t help but feel excited anticipating what your Dad’s comment was going to be! Too funny. Another post to make me laugh out loud. Thanks Julie!

  28. Love this. My mom said she used to sit me on an apple box (which she now admits would have catapulted me into the windshield).

    I grew up on a large farm, which means I was driving lawn mowers (and vehicles) by 10. We also rode in the backs of trucks and on drills (which were used for seeding – pulled behind a tractor).

    Having said that, we had some extremely strict lessons drilled into us: (a) stay away from an auger (and when you’re older – don’t wear loose clothes and tie your hair back around one); (b) never walk behind big machinery when it’s running; (c) stay away from the river and pond.


    Love love love the lawn chair photo. We could’ve been blondie sisters.

  29. Renee – Oh, Free to Be You and Me was my FAVORITE! I listened to it obsessively. Then married a man named William (with or without the doll.) I have a bit of the hippie in me. Thanks for the smile…

    Jill – I love that you read and comment here (not many of my In Real Life friends are brave enough to leave a reply). Thank YOU so much. Makes my day!

    Leanne – We could be blondie sisters, for sure. But I get to be the modest one, okay? (love the image of you on an apple box. yep. good times…)

  30. Good times. Good times. Back when a sunburn was like a badge of honor, only bigger and more painful. 8 track tapes, the Beach Boys. Hey, that’s from the way back, huh. I remember a song called, “Wild Thing” playing on the radio when we were all headed to the beach. My Mom and Dad were singing right along with us kids. If a lot of family members went to the beach at the same time, they would throw us kids into the back of a couple pickup trucks. We just knew to hang on. Common sense…or an instinctive desire to not die. By today’s accounts, we should all be dead.

  31. Terri – I do sometimes wonder how we survived. I like your “instinctive desire not to die” theory.

    Also, the song I remember playing in my parents’ car? “Afternoon Delight.”

    My sister and I sang all about the “sky rockets in flight” with no idea what that referred to.


  32. CDG – Ooohhhh. Jim Croce. And “the way back” of a Datsun. That’s some good stuff. The best. Too bad about the lawn chairs, though…if only.

    Alice – Thanks, kind lady. I’m sure you were ever-so-careful with your own children. And in any case, we survived, despite it all…

    Nance – I wondered too about the absence of duct tape. That must have come along with The Oakridge Boys. I guess genius arrives in stages. Even for Dad.

  33. Dad

    Wow, talk about “the way back”; back when duct tape technology was in it’s infancy, not yet ready to be used by the resourceful Handy Man to keep his daughters safe (and quiet). Now, I have it in super strength AND in six designer colors. I could now keep you and Nancy in those lawn chairs and have it not only accent your matching bathing suits, but also coordinate with your Raggety Ann doll.

  34. Dad – How about we leave the kids with you instead? 🙂

  35. VP

    Hi Julie loved this one – and re-read the one about your dad. I WISH I had taken Spanish from him instead of being in French and tortured! Anyway different post. I have an even better story for you though – remember (?maybe?) that my parents got divorced when I was in the 8th grade. With dad went the family car, leaving mom, me and Sabrina and the Mazda RX7. Yep. So someone was in the hatchback or on the center elbow rest. Always. For years. Seatbelts? Never. This went on until I got my license and a bigger car. Very lucky to have survived I think! Never occurred to us that this was a bad idea. That’s the best part! xoxo

  36. Oh too funny! You must go to blog and read my post this, it is of a similar vein…….

  37. France – Oh holy hell, the click clacks. LOVE it. That post is genius. Thanks for sharing – will now be visiting you every Monday.

    (even though you kind of abused Baby Tender Love. ha!)

  38. Oh my gosh, this is hilarious. I’m going to have to share this, as I’m living in the throes of Fire Station Approved seat belts and SPF 100.

  39. * giggle * We used to groan when we drove through the states that required seatbelts in the back. The nerve.

  40. Pop

    When I was growing up (OH NO! Does beginning sentence like that instantly make me an old man?!) we didn’t need no stinkin’ DVD players b/c we were playing games or singing songs in the back of the station wagon. Come to think of it, I’m thinking my parents wish they had DVD players back then b/c I’m sure sitting through hours of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall nearly drove them insane.

  41. Joann – I hear that loud and clear. My kids, mercifully, are old enough to fasten their own seat belts and apply their own sunblock (did you hear the angels singing on that one?) And I only have two. But I’m old. So you win!

    Lady Jennie – I’m older than you and don’t think they had any laws about it when I was a kid. In fact, the car we procured after the Chevy was a full-sized van that came with nothing beyond captains chairs in the front. My dad built a giant shelf for us to sit on in the back (covered with carpet – luggage stored below)and paneled the interior. It was a thing of beauty.

    Pop – It a little bit makes you sound old. But I’m older than you so breathe a sigh of relief and get back to your 99 bottles of beer on the wall(p.s. For better or worse, my kids would rather play car games like License Plates or Alphabet than watch DVDs. Crap.)

  42. What a great post – so many memories of being a “loose” kid in the back of the car. Baby oil and cocoa butter moisturized my pale skin well, too! 😉 Oh and the sand we must have taken home with us! Where did it all go? Close inspection would have surely shown it to be embedded in the car and the home carpet (which was likely shag and didn’t show it anyway!)

  43. Hahahahaha! Oh my word. I can’t believe we survived. My poor child is like, “Mommy, do I really need this helmet and pads and bubble wrap to ride my bike? It has training wheels for crying out loud.” Hehe.

  44. Carolina – My kids are older now and spent all day yesterday sledding down a dirty slope in the open space behind our house. So this morning my son says this to me:

    That was NOT just a one day activity. From now on, I’m going to sled there all the time when friends are over. It’s REALLY dangerous, but so much fun.

    Should I just pretend I didn’t hear that? Or get out the bubble wrap?

  45. Thanks, Ally – I’m pretty sure there is still sand in the carpet of my childhood home. And a few light-brite pegs, too. Ha!

    (just saw the post now about from Two Normal Moms – the picture of the flowers AND the purse. awesome!)

  46. This is hilarious. I remember distinctly going to Disneyland with my uncle when I was about eight. My sister and I were alone in some sort of attached storage container on wheels. The inside of which was like a breakfast nook. Benches around a table. No seatbelts and no windows to the outside. I’m sure that was up to code.

  47. Llana – Oh my! I so want to be in your uncle’s attached storage container on wheels. A breakfast nook with benches around a table? This means eating while driving.

    Love. At first sight.

  48. Oh wow can I relate! Although those folding chairs by far beat any travel experience I encountered…except for the time…That was a great trip Julie thanks for the flash backs. I’ll send you my mental therapy bill.

  49. Beth – It’s no visit to Carlo’s Bakery, but a trip down memory lane doesn’t require an hour and a half long line.

    Then again, there aren’t baked goods at the end here, either!
    You win some….and some you just don’t 🙂

  50. Had to let you know I showed my kids this picture, because they couldn’t believe our lack of seat belts growing up.

    For once, they were momentarily silenced.

  51. The momentary silence of children is worth every death-trap we ever endured.

    I love the sounds of crickets…

  52. Courtney

    “Afternoon Delight”, “Some Girls” — ahhh…we grew up singing songs but we had no real comprehension of the lyrics, did we? And we shield our children (somewhat) from that too — my girls have the words down to “Teenage Dream” — but I can’t figure out how ’cause my car always has on Disney CDs! Let’s blame it all on the Dads – it is much easier that way!

    I love your inspiration and your style — keep writing it down!

  53. Ha – this is awesome! I used to hang out the back window of a station wagon with my sister and often slathered myself in baby oil…good times!

  54. I’m jealous. As a kid I always wanted my parents to get a station wagon. Instead we had a ginormous Oldsmobile. I used to lay in the rear window well while we careened down the highway. Good times.

  55. Court – I just laughed out loud at the memory of the two of us singing Barry Manilow in the back seat of your parents’ car on the way to ??? I only remember eating at The Elephant Bar (Leave it to me to recall the food, the music, and you…beyond that? The teen years are fuzzy).

    Lori – We also put lemon juice in our hair to try to lighten it. I have no idea if it actually worked but we sure smelled like sunshine. Or cocktails. (I hadn’t heard of the lemon drop yet, so…)

    Tracie – There’s something indescribably awesome about having a rear window large enough to accomodate a sleeping child. With or without seat belts. Oldsmobile. It just sounds like a car for grandparents.

  56. liz

    I grew up listening to the Beach Boys, too! My parents also had a station wagon and I remember sleeping in the back on family road trips as well as when we’d go to the drive-in theatre.

  57. This is such a great comparison of today’s parenting vs the past!

    I have vivid memories of my dad letting us STAND UP and put our heads out of the sun roof of his old nissan while he’d take long drives with us. We’d love the wind in our faces and we put our arms up in the air.

    One time, it resulted in my brother wearing an eye patch for two weeks because something flew into his eye and scratched it up.

    My dad would never do that with his grandchildren now! What does that tell you?

    Thanks for being such a support over at my blog! I love when you stop by.

  58. The family vacation. It was never as much fun as before car seat laws. We had a van, that had the seat out and a mattress in it’s place for family trips. Creepy, yes but comfortable for long car rides? Yes, indeed!

  59. I think your parents are my parents. Or something. In fact, on vacation just a few years ago, The Beach Boys tape got stuck in our rental car (yes, the rental car had a tape deck, weird, I know) and we spent the entire vacation listening to the Beach Boys ON REPEAT. God help me.

    HILARIOUS! And I think I had that exact same outfit.

  60. Liz – My sister and I were total dorks who actually thought it was cool that we WERE California Girls because of the Beach Boys song. And then when David Lee Roth made that video? It got less cool. Way.

    Amanda – All of our parents do stuff with our kids they wouldn’t have done with us (fun stuff) and won’t do things with them they would have with us (unsafe and/or mean). Am I right? Can’t wait to be a grandparent. Kind of.

    Twinisms – YES! We had that van, too. Today I’d be scared of it and tell my kids to walk on the other side of the street. But when I was a child? That van rocked. HARD!

    Tarja – I could do several posts on my wardrobe from back in the day. Perhaps you shared some of my same wonderful outfits? Ah. My parents had fun. Not good taste. For sure…

  61. This brings me back! We blasted beach boys and at some point had no chairs at ll, just pillows and blankets in the back for all 4 of us! My how times have changed. My kids will now be in the equivalent of straight jackets until they are 5. Poor kids.

  62. Kim

    This is the first time I’ve been to your blog. I love it! What a great sense of humor you have. The thing I remember about being raised in the ’70’s is that we didn’t have to worry about our Halloween candy until I was about 10.

  63. Brittany – With all the safety awareness we have now, it would be easier to put our kids in boxes on a shelf in the closet for 18 years then set them free. But they’d never survive college….

    Kim – Oh the Halloween candy free-for-all! I remember getting bags of homemade popcorn or caramel apples; things that were NOT individually packaged. Then someone decided everything might have a razor blade in it. Goodbye good times…

  64. Oh my gah! I really love that picture. Danger parenting aside. This brings back so many memories of road trips with my brother in the turned down back seat of my mom’s Ford Escort, no belts, no buckles, eating cheetos & cookie crisp… just laying on a blanket coloring and napping and sucking on choking hazards with the sun pouring in through the untinted back window. And sunscreen IS for suckers <3 We also were encouraged (forced) to ride in the back of my dad's pickup on more than one occasion. And at the time it was so awesome. A different time in the world! Because hells no my son is never NEVER allowed to have that kind of danger fun. Nope, nope, nope. Nope.

  65. Lindsey – As much fun as it was for us, it’s funny that we avoid Danger Parenting ourselves now, right?

    But on that note, Danger Parenting is a term we should copy-write, along with Danger Fun.

    In fact, I’d attach Danger to just about any word to give it a little edge.

    And then keep my kids away from it.

  66. I adore the photo and the -ahem- analysis! Those *were* the days, weren’t they? 🙂

  67. How did anyone survive the 70’s?

    I remember laying across the backseat during long car rides. We only had to wear a seatbelt if we sat in the front while getting our recommended daily allowance of second smoke from Mom’s never ending Salem Light.

    And even then, if we whined enough, she’d give up and let us ride commando.

  68. Tulpen – Good thing they changed up the food pyramid so that Salem Lights aren’t their own category anymore. But one thing that will never change? Kid whining. That? Is a forever-epidemic.

  69. We would have been back there smoking candy cigarrettes if were on the way back from the beach.

  70. Seriously laughing out loud. This is so reminiscent of my childhood.I found you through your guest post at Taming Insanity and I’m so glad I did! 🙂

  71. Oh my gosh this is so funny and brings back such memories. We had the station wagon too. My dad actually turned it into two bench seats so we could fit all the kids that we carpooled to school in it. Nothing like driving other people’s kids in a completely unsecure vehicle.

  72. JDaniel’s Mom – Oh, candy cigarettes. Yes, let the tobacco companies claim they didn’t try to hook kids – ha! I loved those things. And not because they tasted good. Thank goodness I never got the taste.

    Jessica – Isn’t that the truth? I was just laughing with another mom that if you’re short a helmet or seat belt or any safety measure when other people’s kids are involved you always put your own kid in danger (albeit, perhaps just a trip around the block on the console instead of in an actual seat?)

    Or maybe that’s just me. My son IS almost 14. He’ll get his learner’s permit next year.

    Oh no. Now I need a nap…

  73. Galit – HOW did your comment just appear now? I swear it wasn’t there before. You are magic, my friend! So glad to see you here and thanks for noticing the hard work I put into my “analysis” of the 70’s. Someone’s gotta do it!

    Nicole – Thanks so much for coming here from KLZ’s. Looking forward to your blog and chatting you up on Twitter! If this post is reminiscent of your childhood too, I’m glad you survived so we could meet ~ 😉

  74. I don’t believe that picture could be cuter. It’s just not possible. Some of my fondest memories are riding in the back of a station wagon, free and in the wind.

    And, as a kid growing up in AZ, I blame my skin issues on my mom’s belief that sunscreen is optional. That’s why I look 100 years old.

  75. Oh, Nancy – Amen to the aging skin when you grew up without sunblock.

    Lord. When I was 35, my dermatologist actually told me, “You look pretty good now, but you’re going to start showing your age soon.”

    Ummm, right.

    That was seven years ago.

    So obviously I don’t visit him anymore.

  76. This is great! I don’t know what I love more – the chairs in the car or Raggedy Ann at the beach.

  77. Elena – WHAT timing to pop over to your blog and see your reminiscing about running away.

    It’s all about the memories and the great pictures to go with them…

    And Raggedy Ann. A little of her, too.

  78. Cindy

    Hubby and I still cal the very back of the van “the way back”. The kids look at us “what?” After years they now use the term….I was very proud of my 1971 Ford Torino Squire (gotta love that fake wood!) station wagon in high school. I could haul ALL my friends to the beach in the summer.

  79. Cindy

    And forgot-could also haul all my friends to the Thousand Oaks drive in!

  80. Cindy – Oh yes. “The way back.” Because precise terms are important! And so were drive in movie theaters.

    Ah, the good old days!

  81. I could read this one over and over. Just love it.

    And by “way back,” are we talking about the part with the tiny seat that faced backwards and folded down flat when not in use?

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