Summer – the Station Wagon

The theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is Summer.

I don’t have a specific photo but I couldn’t resist passing along this memorable adventure.

Growing up in Southern California, summer often meant trips to the beach.Louis 6

I loved being in the water and swimming in the ocean.

On one occasion my oldest brother, Louie, had my parents permission to drive the family station wagon to the beach.  My parents were not going with us.  We were on our own for the day!

The big, blue wagon, which had bench seating for six, was filled to capacity, including a few of us who piled in the back.

Joining him in the front seat was Terry, who eventually became my sister-in-law.

We had a great day, enjoying the sand, the ocean and the sun.  Then, when it was time to go home, there were car problems.  I don’t remember all the details, but my brother managed to get the car to a local gas station.  Fortunately there was nothing horribly wrong.  He also called home using the gas station’s pay phone.

Mind you, this was a day trip, so we were expecting to be home for dinner.  Our stomachs began to grumble, but we had already eaten the food that we brought.

My brother kept a cool head.  He asked us all to empty our pockets.  We did.  Allowances and spending money were pooled together.  My brother counted it and headed for the nearest drive-thru.  He did the math and told us what we would be able to buy.  We all agreed.

Louie pulled into the drive-thru.  The garbled voice asked for his order.  My brother said, “I’ll have eleven hamburgers and two cokes.” The garbled voice said, “Eleven hamburgers! You want eleven hamburgers, but only two cokes?” My brother, said, “Yeah…I have a big mouth!” Terry & Louie

My brother pulled the wagon up to the window to pay.  The cashier packed our burgers, saw how many kids were in the car, then added a few more burgers into the bag.  My brother handed them out, then reminded everybody that we had to be reasonable about sharing the drinks.  If someone wanted a sip, they just had to ask Terry and she would pass them to us.

The rest of the way home was uneventful.  It was probably the first time my brother demonstrated that he could handle a situation where he needed to be responsible for his five siblings, and a few of their friends.

It was one of the more unique beach trips we experienced.  We still laugh and talk about it today.

As it turns out, my sister-in-law’s birthday is in June.  We often celebrated Terry’s birthday with a day or evening at the beach.  For us it signaled the start of summer.

Enjoying the California sun, swimming in the ocean, gathering seashells and looking for sand crabs; eating hot dogs, roasting marshmallows, and, riding in the big, blue station wagon.

These were our youthful summers.


I've always enjoyed writing and finally decided it was time to blog! As part of my profession I write every day, but I'm now trying to take the time to write creatively. My family and friends have been very encouraging as there is little that is written down in the way of a family chronicle. This is a favorite topic of mine! In addition to family history, I write about life, family, friends and faith. My husband is a full-time parent to our special needs daughter. I’ve explored this topic, too. I also enjoy music, crocheting, reading and relaxing with my family. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!

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Posted in 2012, Family, Family history, Friends, Musings, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized
30 comments on “Summer – the Station Wagon
  1. cobbies69 says:

    nice little story and now memory.. nice share. 😉

  2. Another great memory shared. You are so good at this! Happy Summer!

  3. Ruth Bailey says:

    So often the times when we have difficulties become the favorite memories! Thanks for sharing this one.

  4. Dor says:

    What a beautiful post and grand memories of a fun filled trip to the beach. Your brother was the hero, but you kids all pulled together to get through that day. And Terry sounds like a winning addition to the family.

    • Cathy G says:

      Hi Dor – all your comments are very true! It was a lot of fun. Even though we were tired, at the end of the day we all stuck together! 🙂

  5. What a fantastic story. Your brother really displayed maturity. Who needs ATM cards and cell phones!!

  6. Sheryl says:

    Great story! We had a huge Caprice station wagon when our children were young. (This was the era when most people had mini-vans.) All of my children’s friends thought that the station wagon was the coolest thing they’d ever seen and used to beg to sit in the seat that faced backards.

    • Cathy G says:

      Hi Sheryl! I remember that type of wagon! Ours didn’t have a seat in the back, just a big cargo area. Since there were no seatbelt laws at the time we would just climb into the back! During long road trips we would stretch out and sleep in the back of the wagon! Amazing what we remember from stories like this. Thanks!

  7. gingerbreadcafe says:

    Really great story, lovely memory of brothers and sisters together.

  8. Northern Narratives says:

    I love your stories. And I like how you had to put all your money together 🙂

  9. Great story, and a fun summer memory!

  10. A beautiful, inspiring , touching youthful Summer memory. This is one reason why we should try our best to make each Summer as memorable as possible.

  11. What a wonderful memory.

  12. orples says:

    Ah, the walk down memory lane … ain’t it grand? Back in the early days when keys were left in the ignition when the car was parked at home, my older sister … 6 at the time, decided to take Dad’s brand new station wagon for a little test drive. She knocked the car (before they had power steering) out of gear, causing it to roll down the hill and into the walnut tree. I vaguely remember the event, since I was only 5 at the time. Still, it was one of those things you don’t forget. I know my Dad was not a happy camper, which is probably why I remember the incidence at all. 🙂 I love those station wagons.

    • Cathy G says:

      Hi orples! Yes, I recall a family member doing something similar, but someone managed to jump into the front seat and stop the car before anything happened! We had a lot of adventures in that station wagon! I enjoyed reminiscing!

      • orples says:

        It kinda makes you wonder where all of the time went, between then and now, doesn’t it?

      • Cathy G says:

        What a great comment! Since the post featues my brother and his wife, I reposted one of the pictures in the blog (not cropped) on their facebook page…it generated a lot of traffic! One frequent comment was “where did the time go?” lol. 🙂

  13. Lia Hammond says:

    Hahaha! Love this story!!

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