Monday, May 19, 2008

The Blue Van

When I was about nine years old my parents bought a van. It was one of those popular things that was the ultimate family vehicle, blue, with tinted windows. It was more than adequate to hold our luggage, us, plus a table for food and games. What more would we need?

The first trip we took was a long one. Those were the days when gas was cheap. Mom says they thought it was expensive, but in comparison with today's prices, it was cheap. The trip started at North Platte, Nebraska and was planned through Wyoming, Montana, northern Idaho and into Washington. From there, we drove the van across the border into Canada and on to a boat that took us to Victoria Island. Those were the days that you didn't need a passport to get into Canada. Security was pretty loose in those days.

After our jaunt in Canada, we drove to Oregon to visit relatives and then into Nevada. This meant we were heading toward home. Mom's eyes would light up at the prospect of driving through Utah. She calculated the miles and told Dad that it appeared we would HAVE to stay overnight in Salt Lake City.

When we began this trip, Dad proclaimed, "This is a family vacation." That actually meant no dead relatives welcome. Even with the capacity of the van, Mom left the genealogy behind. That's something she never did again when we traveled.

Sure enough we crossed the Bonneville Salt Flats and ended up in Salt Lake City, just in time to secure a motel as close as we could to Temple Square. Mom was to have the next day at the Family History Library. What Dad did not realize was that she had been calculating this all along, so had written notes from memory, families she wanted to check, locations of research and her list went on and on. Those dead relatives were lurking in the van on paper!

Checking into the motel, we unloaded the van and parked right outside the door of the room. About an hour later we went outside and discovered that somebody had stolen the cover off the spare tire on the rear of the van. That was Dad's favorite thing about the van. Had we not come to Salt Lake City in the quest of dead relatives, it would have never been stolen.

Mom had her day in the library and Dad had his day of entertaining us. He grumbled all the way home about the spare tire cover, but it was replaced once we returned home. From that day forward Mom knew that she must take genealogy to-do lists regardless of how much room we had when traveling. Within a year or so Dad announced he never did like that van because he had problems parking it and backing it up. Those were things Mom could easily do. Only took out the side of the garage once, but not with the Van. I think they sold it because of gas prices...they always tend to go up, you know!