Friday, February 6, 2015

Tobogganing Over Snowy Roads

She was born in 1954, the only brand new car my parents ever owned. Despite being mint green and boxy, she was a lemon.
 
After a few years, she was retired to the back lawn behind the double row of pine trees, which hid her from the casual observer's view. Still, the family knew that she was there out of sight like some crazed auntie hidden in the attic. She had behaved rather badly after all.
 
She had been "set aside" because my father had a new job that came with a pink station wagon, I think it was a Plymouth. It was also a lemon, but that's not the point of this story.
 
Fast forward a few years and Dad had another job at the paper mill right in town. Since the pink Plymouth was out of the picture, the mint green Mercury was  back in. No need for a truly dependable car as my dad could hitch a ride, if necessary. Sometimes it was. (My father was a weekend mechanic back in the days when engines were much simpler affairs.)

I remember how embarrassing it was. Though I was all of eight years old, I didn't think "our" car looked very much like the 60s models my friends' families had. Further, the pine needles and pine cones that blew out of her underpinnings here and there wherever we went did not help with my assessment of our situation. How truly embarrassing!
 
In the winter of 1962, a few days after Christmas, a blizzard hit.  My father announced over breakfast that he was putting on the tire chains so that we could go tobogganing over the unplowed roads. This was a first for me! "Call the Neighbors," Dad bellowed as he left the house, "see if they want to come, too." Oh boy howdy! A party! 

We all piled into the Mercury and packed in tight. There were seven of us: my mother, father, and sister and three of our neighbors—the mother and two sons. Their dad, perhaps wisely, stayed home. The adults were in the front; we kids were on our knees in the back watching out the rear window as the toboggan trailed behind us. 

My dad took the first left, which would eventually take us over hill and dale in a big circle back to our house. We came upon the snow plow right off. My father started flashing his lights and honking his horn. The plow stopped. My dad hopped out and had a brief conversation with the driver and then hopped back in the car and we inched past the plow into unplowed territory. Dad explained that we would get a little ahead of the plow and then we could take turns being pulled on the toboggan. 

And thus ensued high fun and drama. After the snowplow, we never saw another car, which I am sure is the safest thing and part of God's protection over us. One of the mothers was always on the ride so that she could scream, "Get off!" whenever the toboggan was going so fast down a hill that it might catch up with the car. It was a Winter Wonderland to the tenth power with the added excitement of danger

Too soon, we were back home having some very calming hot chocolate and cinnamon toast. It had all been perfectly exhilarating. We never did it again.
Still, when I think about the 1954 Mint Green Mercury, I see her from my toboggan perspective looking up at her shiny chrome bumper as she chugged up a snowy hill, her tire chains rattling and with the sound of laughter in my ears. I think my face looked a lot like this:


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55 comments:

  1. Hehehe, as I read this I could just hear my mother yelling, "Leonard, are you crazy?". That is what she would have said if he tried such a thing. Hmmm... try getting through that snow in our minivans of today?

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  2. Nice memories, Vee. 1954 was a very good year. :-)

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  3. Oh my goodness....how perfectly wild! I can only imagine how fun that must have been! Loved hearing about this. 1954....the year I was born, lol. Enjoy your week-end Vee!

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  4. Wow. What a great story of the way things were! Your dad was very creative. Can you imagine the uproar, the consternation, the lawsuits if someone tried that today? Wildly fun.

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  5. And so very well written. I hung onto every word.

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  6. Thanks for sharing a memory with us all. I enjoyed it and think back to my childhood growing up and the fun times we had. Love your photo.

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  7. Oh I had to giggle here took me back to the crazy days on the farm we would have as my dad did silly things like this with all of us to back then life was so much simpler and the things we all did we wouldn't dream of doing now lol Awesome post well written I to hung on every word it was fun and thanks for the memories of the good old days as kids . Have a good weekend !

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  8. What fun memories, Vee. I could just picture you kiddos looking out the rear window :)

    Thinking of you and wishing you a lovely weekend. Hugs!

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  9. Love love love this great toboggan story and after three tries blogger accepted my spelling of toboggan. :) During one year of my college days I owned a car that looked a lot like that. Never dependable but it was cheap! I'm glad your family and the neighbors survived that wonderful winter escapade. A nice memory...

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  10. Oh Vee, I loved hearing your wild, snowy tale of a time from your childhood. Your grands are going to have some great tales about the luge at your place. I learned to drive in a '55 Desoto that was a tank of a car and probably alot like that Mercury! ♥

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  11. Good Morning Vee, you have no idea how much I enjoyed reading this post. It bought back memories of our big snow of 1958 when my Dad did the same thing for us. It was wonderful and a memory that I do not want to ever forget. I lost my Dad when I was fifteen, but the years that I had with him were wonderful. He was a strong hard working family man, but he never lost his child-like excitement for life. Your story was so much fun. I hope that you put it in a journal so that your children can relive your youth with you in memories.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Connie :)

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  12. What a fun time that must have been. It's a wonder any of us from that generation have survived the things we did for fun.

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  13. That was an awesome story Vee. Oh what fun you must have had. One certainly couldn't do that these days. I love the colour of your old 54 Merc. Those were the days eh. Wonderful story.

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  14. What wonderful memories! That's why we need to get out there with the kids and do all the fun stuff....no matter what our age (or hold cold it is). Those times don't come again. Hugs!

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  15. The fun of youth! We were lucky enough to have a golf club not too far from home where everyone took their toboggans. I seem to recall a lot of frozen feet and fingers back then too - maybe the boots and mitts weren't as effective as they are today. When back home, I'd rush in and stand over the forced air heat register to help warm up.
    I just bought some powdered hot chocolate and heart shaped marshmallows at Walmart this afternoon - my favourite treat at night with popcorn. :-) My favourite for since childhood.

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  16. What a wonderful story Vee! I could just picture the whole scene!

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  17. This is the most wonderful memory I can imagine for a snowy day! I can feel your excitement, the warmth of that close-packed car (weren't we still wearing wooly coats and jackets in '62, and can't you just smell that outdoor-children-in-wooly-clothes scent from here?), and would LOVE to have felt the icy cheeks and fingers and the immense butterfly of exhilaration mixed with terror as you slid along faster and faster.

    Our first car was a white-over-blue Chevy Bel Air, and I adored that beauty---she was prettier than anyone else's, and though we had no snow, I never minded washing her every Saturday, and on Monday afternoons, even, when we'd been out for country jaunts down those old red-gravel roads on Sunday afternoon..

    Lovely memories, lovely blog.

    rachel

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  18. Oh what a wonderful memory and story. That sounds like so much fun.
    Can you imagine someone doing that now a days. You kids would probably all be taken away and your father would be charged with endangering children!!!

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  19. We used to toboggan on a snow-covered dirt road now and again (minus the car) but it was still absolutely terrifying wondering if the snowplow would come along. And yes, the "outdoor-children-in-wooly-clothes scent" that Rachel mentioned above ... absolutely! I was just telling my daughter the other day about how we kids would traipse across snow-covered fields after school to our favorite sledding hills, and stay out until dark. Then we would come in for hot cocoa with blobs of marshmallow fluff melting in it. As I thought about it later, I recalled that we did all this in wooly snow clothes, hand-knitted mittens and rubber buckle-up overshoes. Those were the days!

    Thanks for the memories ... and for sharing this amazing one of yours with us! The memory is such a warm one, and so beautifully told.

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  20. I loved that story!! Awesome!! Fun!! I had an embarrassing car too!!

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  21. My dad had a 54 ford that looked a bit like that but navy blue. Wonderful story and I guess it was so monumental you remember it in detail. I hope you told the boys.

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  22. What a funny story. Love the little rosy cheeked face. I think most "working" people have had old cars that maybe would run and maybe wouldn't. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

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    1. This one had the horrible reputation of having broken down (brand new) on her way home from the dealership. =)

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  23. Sounds like fun, never done it but snow is never around here.
    Merle......

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  24. Vee, what a magical snowy memory! Thank you for sharing with us.

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  25. A wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Dear Vee, Truly funny and sweet! Golly, who would think that these childhood adventures would still come to life today! Thanks, I needed that! (Smile) LOL
    Yours, Roxy

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  27. Oh wow! That sounds like fun and quite the adventure! What wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing them with us, Vee; they were a joy to read.

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  28. Vee, you sure know how to bring a smile...(and a fit of the giggles)--welcome back to the bloggy world, missed you my friend. Blessings

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  29. What a beautiful story Vee. You write so beautifully. Little did you know back then that your car would be the envy of everyone today. Even the color is absolutely gorgeous. I am giving away free Valentine's Day artwork on my blog today. Have a beautiful weekend.

    Karen

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  30. GREAT STORY VEE!!! And we are from a generation that survived well and lived happily to tell about it!! :-D
    Thanks for stopping by to visit today ;-)
    Many Blessings, Linnie

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  31. I enjoyed reading your detailed memories of your family adventure. Those were the days when the whole family piled in to the car and there was still room for the neighbours! What a memory you have!

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    1. I am well blessed with a good memory, though I had to look up the date of the blizzard. Ha! On the other hand, I might not remember yesterday so well.

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  32. Wayyyyy too much fun! Wow. It's a miracle we survived those days, but how much fun they could be....I'm so sorry the car was a lemon. It looked great.

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  33. Ha! Now this was a darling story Vee! One of the childhood memories of sheer fun! I loved it!!! Darling!

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  34. That is exactly the kind of thing Tim would do with our kids! They love to have adventures like this but the vehicles these days are not heavy enough like those built back in the 50's. What a fun memory! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Deanna

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  35. I LOVE finding you back here. You always write such great posts and I leave smiling. What a great memory! Thanks for sharing it.

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  36. What a great story! I too remember dads big old Chevy taking all the kids he could fit to the hill for sledding.

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  37. Vee-What a FANTASTIC memory to have stored. I love it. There are thing that will still in one's mind forever and that is certainly one of them. My father also had a mint-green and white 57 Buick that ran like a charm....which meant we kept it a LONG time. xo Diana

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  38. Oh my goodness, can you tell a story, Vee! I feel like I was right there!

    Oddly enough, I can relate to this. I say "oddly" because my parents (especially Mom) were very protective and rarely let us out of their sights. But somehow, when our church youth director took a bunch of kids sledding...on a car hood tied to a car bumper down some dark rural roads!...my sister and I were among them! Unbelievable! They obviously had not thought that one through or had no idea of the possibilities. Whatever the source of the misunderstanding, Linda and I were thrilled and had a fabulous time!

    Thanks for the memories! Those one-time thrills are some of the best!

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  39. Oh gosh... what fun and a most entertaining retelling of this moment in time. Your dad must have been popular with the neighborhood kids.

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  40. Hopefully I can get a comment written this time before a kitty hops into my lap and plops down for a nap. I haven't the heart to make them get up. Well, unless it wants to sleep for hours! I really enjoyed your post and it brings back memories of when my dad would tie a rope to a sled and pull us behind the tractor. I was always half afraid that the sled would run into the tractor tire, but it was fun!

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  41. Such a great story Vee! Kids with video games are really missing out, aren't they?

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  42. You know this would be a lovely part of a memoir that you should probably write! You write so very well, Vee.

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  43. That is such a fun memory! I remember doing stuff like that too. Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end...but they did, and in today's society, the parents would probably be put in jail for child endangerment and the children taken away by HHS and put in foster homes. Sigh. But thank you for the wonderful story!

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  44. O, I love it...it brings up so so many memories for me. As always, I feed off your posts for many of MY posts...hahhaa...wonderful memory for you.

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  45. Evening, Vee. Been wondering about you and John up there in all that snow! Bet you both are becoming ripped as you shovel snow :) I never got to toboggan as a kid. All we ever had was a couple of inches of snow or a little ice and a piece of cardboard! but if you could find a good hill, it was fun! I'll bet your littles are having a blast with all this snow to play in!

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  46. Had to giggle again, Vee! Totally NOT making fun of hairy babies! They are all precious in His sight (and mine, too)! At least you got one hairy one - mine have all been bald-headed - they have to wear hats out when it's cool and hats when it's sunny! LOL!

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  47. I keep thinking of you with all the snowy forecasts we hear for your region.

    I love the story of the 54 Mercury. I wish we could zip over for a drive to see you in our 50 Mercury Pickup!

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  48. I wish you could see me grinning, I just adored this story, Oh what a fun Dad you had,and adventurous too1 Thanks for sharing,
    Stay warm, spring is just around the corner!

    In the meantime I would love to read more memories, always brightens my winter time blues! ~smile~
    Hugs,
    Sue

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  49. This sounds like a wonderful adventure, Vee! I always wanted to go sledding down a hill when I was young, but our part of Brooklyn was known as Flatlands, and they were just that--flat. I tried to make my own hills out of snow but I would not call them exciting--lol!

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  50. Oh the things that people did back in the day with their kids! I remember standing behind the tractor on the hitch as grandpa took the tractor back to the cow pasture, sometimes with a wagon behind us. I was about 5 or 6 years old, maybe younger! I recognize looking back how dangerous this could have been, one slip and that wagon would have rolled right over me. I know grandpa adored us, but things were different back then and people just didn't worry as much. I held on tight and survived the rides. We have some great childhood memories though, in spite of the danger!

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