First, a little background. When I was in seventh grade, the earth moved and the heavens opened and my dad decided that my mom needed a car of her very own. And, because he is magnanimous at heart, daddy spared no expense and got mom the best car he could imagine. Because he loved her and only wanted to give her the best. Well, at least the best that $4700 could buy.
In 1980, the "best" was apparently a royal blue Toyota corolla. It had manual everything-- windows, seats, locks, even the transmission. It also had blue vinyl seats, a defroster that took five minutes longer than our drive to school to actually begin defrosting, and a radio--no cassette player, just a radio. Oh, and just two doors. Evidently, two additional doors were a luxury we couldn't afford. (It looked almost exactly like the one in the picture minus the racing extras, naturally.)
The car quickly became part of the Lenhart household. It was dubbed "the little car" because we Lenharts are creative that way, and because we loved it like we loved one another, we fought over it. The worst days were when "the big car" (a finely tuned Pontiac Bonneville station wagon) was at Johnny's (the local mechanic) and daddy had to drive us to school before he went to work. You see, my dad is almost 6 feet, 6 inches tall. Now consider that the entire Corolla was not even 8 feet long, and you can see our dilemma.
Daddy drove from the back seat. Yes, he technically sat in the driver's seat but that driver's seat itself was in the back seat. And, yes, there were four of us kids, which meant some poor soul had to sit "behind" (under) daddy while he drove. Oh how we argued to sit anywhere BUT behind my dad while he drove. To this day, I'm not sure what was worse--actually sitting behind (under) daddy or the mortal embarrassment that one had to endure when trying to extricate one's self from that seat in front of everyone in the school parking lot.
Fast forward to today. This morning because of how our schedules worked, we all rode to school/work together. As we tooled down I-70 in our roomy Toyota Sienna mini van, I had to chuckle. Today, as we drove, Jeff was listening to his iPod, Sydney was listening to her iPod, Brooke was on my laptop, finding some part in a movie that she needed for a class, and the built-in video player rattled ever so slightly in the car ceiling. All was not lost though---Payton was reading happily, and Sawyer was working intently on his NCAA bracket to submit in the contest at school.
It's kinda sad. My kids won't be able to laugh with each other about how they argued over sitting behind (under) dad in the car. (Although, trust me, they do argue about who will sit where.) Nor will they realize that they WILL survive the near-death experience of having to get out of such a fine piece of machinery in the school parking lot. Those are character-building experiences that my children will miss. My how times have changed. (I wonder if anyone is selling a 1980 Corolla on ebay?)