Monday, March 10, 2008

The Volkwagon Summer

The van was more than a monstrosity, it was a humiliation. Most of my friend's parents were driving BMWs and Mercedes or at least Hondas, but a 6-year-old used van was more than my teen image could handle. I think we were also the only family in the neighborhood who had never, not once, purchased a new vehicle. My dad said new cars were a waste of money and on his principal's salary he would never own one. "So what do you think kids?" My father asked from the front seat. We were barely able to hear him over the noise of old motor. "I think it is gross," I said back to him. "Gross, well that's better than horrible or disgusting. Look at all this room. We'll have a great time on our trip to California," my dad answered ignoring my sour attittude. "I think its great," Linda said from the far-back seat in the van. "Ugghh..mmm," Craig said through his binky which I'm sure meant 'great' in baby talk. We rattled down the highway and were forced to listen to my mom sing along with The Carpenters, her hair wrapped in a red and white checked neckerchief. Thirty minutes later we were back in the driveway. I bolted from the van and ran back into the house, wishing they hide the beast in the garage, but I knew it wasn't possible since my mom was getting ready for her annual garage sale. She said she was doing it for fun, but she put hours and hours into preparing for the annual event as if she were putting on the White Sale for JCPenny's across the country. My mom took her garage sale marketing and publicity very carefully. She had a "garage sale" three ring binder in which she pulled out months before the blessed weekend and recorded her inventory: black sweat pants (size 8) $1.50, exercise bike $20, 2 bolts of brown and red striped cotton flannel 50 cents. The lists went on and on. Next to each item was the initials of who it belonged to. She recruited neighbors to bring over their donations and bribed us kids to clean out our rooms and promised us the money if the item sold.....

Kimberly Jensen author of "Always the Elf"....come back for more on Volkswagon summer.

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