My family went on vacation every year. In 1969, we drove a Dodge van from Omaha, Nebraska to Seattle, Washington to visit my uncle. From there, we went to Los Angeles, California to visit my paternal grandmother. We had two weeks. When we started out, we weren’t feeling that great. By the time we were half way across the country we were extremely sick. My dad wanted to turn back, my mom wanted to keep going. We thought we could shake it. Normally, you get the flu one day and it’s gone the next. Right? My siblings and I also wanted to keep going. This was our vacation, who wanted to go home?
We didn’t get better. My sister had had a flu shot, so she was fine. My dad and brother had it the worst. Dad lost forty pounds. When we arrived at my Uncle’s home, my brother had lost so much weight, my uncle wanted to take him to the base hospital. Again, we figured we would shake it. The problem was we weren’t making any time. My dad was too sick to drive, but he figured out a way. Dad liked gadgets, which is why he brought along a portable potty. My mom drove, my sister and I sat in the front. Dad could happily stay on the toilet while we made our way across the country. My brother accompanied my dad in the back. (Oh, what a tortured life he led.)
While driving along, we paralleled a train. Mom started honking the horn and waving. Us kids waved and pumped our arms. (The universal signal for trains to blow their horns.) The train responded and started blowing that air horn. We loved every minute of it. We cruised along for a little bit when finally my dad said, “Marty, I’m back here on the toilet…”
U = U turn
I lived in California for about a year. I was terribly homesick. I couldn’t find a good job, or a decent place to live. Eventually, I moved home, but I didn’t want to tell my parents. When I moved there, they helped and drove me. We drove all night. The minute we crossed the California border, my transmission went out. So, I kept it a secret I was moving back.
While driving down a highway, I came to a town. There was a middle intersection with six streets. There were signs that said the highway number, but it didn’t give a direction. Not 183 West, North, South, East or West. I counted and divided by two. Seems logical, right? Back then, we didn’t have GPS, or Google Maps.
I got pretty tired driving all those miles. I came to a town and my thought was, “Isn’t that cute. About two miles back, they have another town with the same name.”
I kept driving. I came to another town.“How cute, another town with the same…..” Ooops, U-turn.