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Monday, August 22, 2016

Memoir Prompt: Billboards

Road Trips: pretty much a given in Americana childhoods.

Who doesn't remember being on an endless road trip growing up with their parents and siblings?
I certainly do!

Road trips were sliding around in the back of the station wagon, and one lucky year, getting to lay back there to sleep while our parents were in the front seat, driving through the night. I remember laying there looking out at the sky, soothed by the road noise and feeling the expansiveness of the world and my small place in it.

Road trips were the excuse for crappy handheld games, but it was all we knew and so we loved them..  you knew it too, as COLECO! Coleco basketball, Coleco football- those are the two I remember. Little red DOTS for God's sake, yet my brother Richard played the games with rapt attention. I played them some too.. it was a road trip and I was desperate!

Road trips were the fun "Yes and No" Invisible Ink books, that I have since shared with my own kids, who were decidedly less impressed than I had been.

Road trips were "What city are we in?" "What state are we in?" "What country are we in?" Possibly simple questions for some, but not for a ten year old dreamer, staring out the window and singing a song.  Tears would ensue after incessant badgering from the front seat.

Road trips were searching a map from top to bottom, left to right for probably a full hour, searching for a town called "Red Stick" according to my Dad, which I will never forget for the rest of my life, is  instead Baton Rouge. ;)

Road trips were stories made up and continued for years, quite literally years, by my brother and I called "Hegge and Eggy." Little creatures that were made up of our second and third fingers, who would walk around and talk and,  more than anything, be INCREDIBLY NAUGHTY and ILL BEHAVED and according to my Mother, EXCEEDINGLY LOUD AND ANNOYING.

Road trips were the "Quiet Game" (after too many episodes of Hegge and Eggy, natch) ONE TWO THREE QUIET! and a few seconds later, the inevitable fart, or burp, or giggle.

Road trips were "Don't make me pull this car over!" and an arm reaching around from the front seat to slap and pinch wildly at the shorts-clad legs in the back seat, while Richard and I would simultaneously be trying to move our own legs out of the way while getting our sibling's legs slapped or pinched.

Road trips were "He's on my side!" "She's touching me!"

Finally, road trips were the billboards on the side of the road while playing the Alphabet Game. The game would go fast and furious until we got to the letter Q, and then the great anticipatory wait for the La Quinta Inn would set in. It only occurred to me today that we weren't even out of Houston City Limits at that point. My poor parents. :D

Kids today may have their iPads and iPods and movies, but on the other hand, they have no idea what they are missing!

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