Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Friday, March 29, 2013

Parking Lessons

Okay, this is the back, but you get the idea . . .

The grocery store in Milk River in the 50's was on main street.
Parking was on the street.
Angle only.
I know this doesn't seem to have much to do with my story, but wait for it . . .

Mom usually came into town once a week to do the grocery shopping.
For me, it was a magical time. Mind you, I was born with unfettered enthusiasm.
For me, everything was magical. But I digress . . .
On this particular occasion, my brother George was with us.
The two of us had been separated because he was causing fights.
Not me.
Never me.
Ahem . . .
So George was in the back seat and I was in the front.
Mom parked the car in front of the AGT building, directly across from the grocery store, and got out.
When we made to follow her, she put out her hand and told us to stay where we were.
As punishment for being so disruptive on the trip into town, both of us were forbidden from going into the store.
Mom was only going in for a moment.
We could sit in the car quietly and think about what we had done.
We each thought about it in our own unique fashion.
George pouted. Arms crossed, face fixed in a frown of displeasure.
I did gymnastics.
I should probably point out here that the seats of our (then) late-model car were wide.
And long.
And bouncy.
I started out small. Bouncing up and down in a sitting position.
Then I discovered that I could get more height if I got up on my knees.
Finally, I was standing, hands on the back of the seat, jumping up and down. I think I hit my head numerous times on the roof, but no brain, no pain.
I continued to bounce.
I should point out here that, in the 50's, crime hadn't been invented yet. It wasn't unusual for people to leave their kids in a car. With the keys in the ignition.
And the car running.
Don't condemn my Mom. She was a product of her time.
I bounced closer and closer to the steering wheel and wondrous, automatic gearshift attached to it.
Closer. Closer.
And then . . . one bounce too many. I came down on the gearshift.
The car lurched into action, bouncing over the curb and across the sidewalk on fat, whitewall tires.
I think I screamed, but I can't be sure.
There was a distinct 'crunch' and the car came to a sudden stop.
I don't remember George's reaction. I think he remained stoically silent in the back seat.
I picked myself up off the floor and began to cry.
And suddenly, my Mom was there. Holding me in her arms and telling me that everything was all right.
Mom was really, really good at that.
After she had calmed me down, she set me back on the seat and put the car into reverse and edged back off the sidewalk. Then she put it into park and, this time, shut it off and we all got out to survey the damage.
The bumper had pierced the stucco, leaving a half-moon crescent in the wall of the building, just below the front windows.
Where the entire AGT staff had assembled.
They waved, cheerfully.
Mom sighed and towed us into the office to explain.
The office workers were remarkably forgiving of the whole incident. Even laughing about it.
Red-faced, Mom was soon able to drag George and I back to the car.
I think I received a lecture on using the inside of the car as a playground, but it wasn't very forceful.
Probably because Mom realized that the whole thing wouldn't have happened if she hadn't left the car running.
The mark I had made in the wall remained there for many, many years. Until the building was renovated and re-faced, in fact.
Some time after my escapade, a second crescent appeared in that same wall, just a few feet from mine, obviously from a similar source.
I examined it carefully. It was a good attempt.
But mine was better.
 
2011 AD (After Diane) Note the damage . . . or not


10 comments:

  1. People were so much more laid back in the 50's. I'd like to go back there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the argument was over who started the last fight...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that what all of our fights were about???! By the way . . . it was you! :)

      Delete
  3. Oh my Diane... you had so much energy... how did your mom keep up with you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was definitely an untapped resource. Imagine me hooked up to an electrical grid? I could have powered continents!

      Delete
  4. The term "whirling dervish" keeps popping into my head ... that's what my teacher mother called any of the hyperactive kids :)

    "no brain, no pain" made me smile - you obviously still have a brain in very good working order, but the question is, "How?", given all your hijinks??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! I like that! Whirling dervish. It has such a . . . busy sound!
      I think my skull must be carved out of granite. That is really the only explanation...

      Delete
  5. Another great story; I am smiling on this one. You certainly have a gift for writing and I love your stories. I am assuming that we are somewhat close in age and I remember the town I grew up in was like yours. Cars were parked at a angle. My parents used to drive downtown and park the car and we would just watch people. Strange I know but I learned a lot during these moments.
    Blessings for this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, LeAnn! And I'm so glad to discover someone my age! I thought I was the oldest person in the world!!! :)

      Delete

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