A Very Bad Idea

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In the summer of 1963, my mother drove the four of us, now aged 16,13,10 and 8 from Oregon to New York to visit our East Coast relatives. We were all in the “B-Mobile” of course, and my mother was the only driver, so we took it somewhat slowly. She took us to Yellowstone National Park on the way where we stayed in an old hotel which looked out directly at the Old Faithful geyser.

We were most excited about the bears that roamed freely. Here I took a photo from what must be outside of our car of people interacting with the bears. The driver of the Chevrolet behind us is screaming at the passenger to roll down the window! I thought that was insane. But who was I to talk? I was, after all, outside of the car myself.

Later, while exploring the hot pots of boiling liquid, we spotted two little cute bear cubs. Before we could approach them, my mother yelled at us to stay put. She accurately knew that there must be a mother grizzly bear near by and knew we should not be between the mother and the cubs. It makes me wonder now how she, growing up in Buffalo, knew this true bit of wisdom. Fortunately, she did know this, and we caught a glimpse of the mother as the cubs scampered away into the woods.

As for the accommodations in the “B-Mobile” for traveling cross country, we all begged for the ” way back.” That area was padded with sleeping bags and pillows and allowed us to stretch out in comfort. Of course it also allowed any two of us ample opportunity to squabble, which ended with one of us in the dreaded front seat alone with our mom to keep an eagle eye on the offender.

Only children have no idea what shenanigans siblings can get into in the “way back” of a station wagon!

Room For All

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Here I am all ready to go to my favorite summer escape–Camp Namanu. I have finally learned how to roll up my Army surplus, down filled, mummy sleeping bag. There were a lot of very warm sleeping bags for sale after the Korean War, and we had six of them. In case you are unfamiliar with a mummy sleeping bag, it is called that because once you have zipped it up, only your face peeks out, making you look like a mummy. Unfortunately, it was very easy to get turned around in the night and I was afraid I would suffocate before I could find the face opening! I didn’t want to be an actual mummy.

But the star of this photo is the rear end of our famous “B-Mobile” named in honor of my mother Betty who drove it. With four kids, they bought a station wagon to haul us all around. Of course, in case you had any doubts, it was a FORD. This model of station wagons was relatively new , accommodating the large families that people, including ours, were having. Our family of 4 was actually rather small in my neighborhood.

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This is a picture of a 1953 Ford Wagon, and I think ours was a 1954, but they were very similar. This had a front seat, a middle seat, and a way back with no seats. Tomorrow I will write about our cross country adventures in the B-Mobile. Our East Coast cousins, living in suburban New York City had the Cadillac of station wagons.1948-50s-259

But they actually used it to take my uncle to the train station for his daily commute to Manhattan. These wood paneled wagons became famous with surfers in the years to come. “I bought a ’30 Ford wagon and we call it a woodie
(Surf City, here we come)”