Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Friday, May 8, 2015

Parking Marks

My stylin' ride.
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 . . . that one bounce too many. I came down on the gearshift.
The car lurched into action, leaping 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.
Circa 2011. (52 AD (After Diane))
Note the damage. Or not . . .

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Sigh. Do we remember any of the good things I've done. Or would have done . . .

      Delete
  2. oh gosh You have my car. That's my very favorite car!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine, too. Comfortable. Safe. Able to go through buildings at a single bound . . .

      Delete
  3. I can't imagine you doing anything wrong hehehehe! Must have been George's fault! Happy Mother's Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like how you think! It definitely was George's fault. And Happy Mother's day to you, too, My good friend!

      Delete
  4. Is that a Chevy Belair?????? I love the colours . That was back in the day when a car COULD make a dint in a wall.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You certainly were an enthusiastic child, good thing cars were so sturdy back then, these days a car would just crumple, fold like an accordion.
    I have vague memories of dad leaving the car running while he dashed in for a pack of smokes, we sloths all just sat in our seats.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your enthusiasm. And your mom. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've heard of bubbling over? My Mom was one in a billion! Thank you, Lana!

      Delete
  7. I marvel some days that you lived to tell these tales :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember when I mentioned 'guardian angel'?

      Delete
  8. Wow! You liked to live dangerously when you were little, didn't you? Ha-Ha! Yes, I do remember back in the day when it was perfectly fine to leave the kids in the car with the car running!

    ReplyDelete
  9. "No brain, no pain ...? !"
    I have a vivid memory of being in a car at the dry cleaner that my toddler sister slipped out of park. Your story is better though!

    ReplyDelete

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