Back in the Day… Riding in the Car was Very Different

Back in the day, riding in a car was a different experience than it is today. Today we get buckled in like we’re preparing for a space mission. Long belts and thick metal locks hold us in for the duration. Car seats for children are according to weight. I think there’s a mathematical formula for exact precision.

Back in the day there were no baby seats, no seat belts, nothing between us and shards of glass but a few inches of oxygen.

This is how it was in that grand ol’ station wagon for me and my younger siblings. More often than not, we were playing and fighting and rolling over from the back seat to the front, and then back again, all while Mom was zooming down the highway.

Hanging entire body parts all the way out of windows that were rolled all the way down after all that fighting was how we cooled off. Arms, legs, and heads were routinely seen hanging out of windows as sedans and station wagons careened down the highway.

And we definitely cooled off because we usually had two-fifty air conditioning. This was the air conditioning you had when two windows were rolled down and Mom was driving fifty miles per hour. If Mom was in a hurry, we’d have two-eighty air conditioning, which really cooled us off in a hurry.

And the police weren’t as uptight back then either. I don’t know if they spent more time in the old days chasing bank robbers and kidnappers, or what they were doing. But we didn’t see much of them when riding in Mom’s speed machine.

Car rides were great but the real treat was riding in the back of Dad’s pickup truck.

When I was a little girl, I would ride in the back of Daddy’s pickup truck — standing up, while he raced down stone roads to Grandma’s house. Yes, anyone over fifty who grew up in the country knows these things happened. Of course, today, Daddy would do jail time if little girls were seen standing up in the back of moving pickup trucks.

Dad didn’t wear a seat belt, the radio was blaring, and the wind carried the music back to where I was standing. I could enjoy a wild ride and listen to my favorite song all at the same time. All courtesy of life back in the day.

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