riding with mother

Riding With Mother – part 3

by Elaine Mead Currier Keniston

– Family Vacations –

Franconia Village and White Mountains; postcard from the 1950’s

Mother had a smart idea about how we could go on family vacations, something that others from more affluent situations did at least once a year.  Why not pack the family car up and go?  You could sleep in the car with blankets and pillows, stay in the various roadside areas, truckstops and state parks, and then motor along to see the sights.  Back then in the 1950’s it became our method of getting a well-deserved break.

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Riding With Mother – part 2

by Elaine Mead Currier Keniston

-snow and Mr. Evans-

One winter evening after dark we were making our way home in another snowstorm.  We had turned off the Bowman Road; the tire chains made their metallic slapping sounds bringing us up the slippery incline on the corner so that the yellow halo of the kitchen light in our house came into view and cast a welcoming glow through the falling snow.  Daddy was driving and we girls were in the back seat as usual.  Being short, we couldn’t see beyond the high front seat and we couldn’t hear much for the roar of the snow tires and chains.  This always seemed to serve as a convenience to our parents who could discuss things which children shouldn’t hear, and an annoying obstacle to our young, inquisitive minds.  We faintly heard Mother and Daddy commenting on something in the road. We strained to see.  Daddy slowed the car, stopped, put the car in neutral, and pulled on the emergency brake.  We stood up and Mother said, “You girls sit down and stay put!”; but we had caught a glimpse.

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Riding With Mother – part 1

by Elaine Mead Currier Keniston

Mother was driving. When we were young, it was the Ford with the smooth, curved hardtop. The car slowed and we heard its tires spinning.  I guess we three girls, always occupying the back seat, had been making some noise: talking, giggling or arguing the way kids do.  We knew instinctively to stop when we heard the car getting stuck.  The decibel level we had attained was not so high as to cut off our awareness of the larger situation.  As a matter of fact, Mother’s tolerance of kid-noise did not even approach the lower register.  She and those of her generation often reminded us how fortunate we were to take part in some social measure, because when they were kids, “children were to be seen and not heard”.  The next thing we knew from similar prior experiences was that this unintended automotive situation was somehow our fault.

Her voice resounded from up there in the front:”There! Now see what you kids have gotten me into? A mess – that’s what!  Now BE QUIET and we’ll try to get outta here!”

We sat perfectly motionless at first and maintained the quiet she demanded, hoping that it would help her concentrate while rocking the vehicle back and forth, shifting into first, then into reverse, the Ford spitting out gravel, its engine roaring with newfound acceleration, dipping down into the rut and straining up to its edges.  (more…)