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  • margaretfmadigan

National Lampoon's Vacation Was Pretty Much Spot On

Taking a little trip tomorrow, going down to Pittsburgh for my niece’s high school graduation party.  About a 4 hour drive.  Yea, this is about the closest my kids will come to a summer vacation this year… a weekend in Pittsburgh, woot!  I can’t even imagine taking a week and going somewhere and staying in a hotel.  That just doesn’t happen in my world.  That’s why you need to buy my book…  🙂

So, it got me to thinking of the family vacations of my youth.  We didn’t go on a ton because with 6 kids it was pretty chaotic and expensive.  But as more and more kids left the house, we went on some excursions.

This isn’t going to be a “things were so much better in my day” blog, because they weren’t.  Damn, I envy kids now with all the shit you can do in a car on a long road trip.  DVD players, video games, iPods, iPads.  What did we have?  A window to look out, maybe a book if you could read it without throwing up, the license plate game, poking your siblings, and enduring your parent’s music on the radio (a little Herb Alpert, some Perry Como, a little Andy Williams, maybe some Ray Coniff if you’re lucky).

Two or three times my parents had the brilliant idea of driving from our home in NY to Arizona in the middle of the summer.  It seems a couple of my older siblings had moved out there for college and such and my parents wanted to see their little darlings in 115 degree weather.  The first time I remember going across country we all piled into our Ford Country Squire station wagon with no air conditioning.  It had to be like 1973, maybe ’74.  I think 5 of the 6 kids went.   My parents eventually put the seat down in back so we could all lay down, kind of looked like a game of Tetris.  Then God forbid you moved.  I was so tiny I curled up on top of an ice chest my parents had in the back of the wagon, it was a nice cool spot.  Booster seats didn’t exist.  My brother Tom wasn’t so lucky, he slept next to the window on the sunny side and woke up with the left half of his body sunburned.  Remember all the windows were open, no A/C.


This was pretty much the car, about same color.

And we always took our station wagon to our yacht too.

I remember on the way out we stopped in Colorado to visit one of my oldest sister’s friends, she was like about 22 at the time.  They were some hippies that lived on a farm and I had the bright idea of going running out into a cow pasture with flip flops on.  I remember being so incredibly grossed out, I wanted to throw up.  But I didn’t, which is amazing because I have a long history of throwing up on vacation as a youth.  The good old days.

It’s kind of funny now looking back on those  vacations.  I think on that vacation we were taking my oldest sister out their to live.  So any time we went we were going to visit my 20 something siblings in the mid 70’s who were trying to hide their pot and shrooms from my parents.  I need to ask them about that now, I didn’t even think about it then as I was a little kid.

My kids and I have gone on a handful of trips, mostly to visit my siblings.  Like I said no money for real vacations.  But I hope they have some good memories from family road trips, they are wonderful bits of your youth, even if you were throwing up or being poked in the car.

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