Letters to the Editor

Recent column brought back memories of youth | Letter

Letter to the editor - Reporter file art
Letter to the editor
— image credit: Reporter file art

I had to laugh at the latest column by TJ Martinell.

I was born in the early '50s and my oldest brother in the late '40s. He speaks of the Griswolds Summer Vacation. My folks were farmers and later a mill worker.

My oldest brother, of seven siblings, and I reminisced the weekend before last of our summer vacations and wondered how we survived. We would leave for vacation from the municipality of Coquitlam, B.C. to parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan to visit and/or vacation with family — cousins, uncles and aunts.

In those days we started off the ride three across, and later in the ride the back seat was divided up by hierarchy. I was the youngest and rode in the back window of the car. My middle brother got the floorboards and, of course, my oldest brother got the back seat to lay on. I don't remember seat belts, or at least they were never used. No electronics, intermittent radio stations, my mum and dad singing western songs that we hated as kids and, of course, my favorite pastime during travel, my comic books.

We stuck our head out the car window and lapped up the air like puppies. I know this is against the law now, but the vacation usually started with our parents stopping by the local pub to have a quick one while we stayed in the car and breathed in each other's spaces. Sometimes we ran around the parking lot for fun or played catch with a ball. We tented our way across western Canada with the bags and equipment tied to the rooftop. Most people will think this was cruel but we laugh at it now, as it is how we grew up as low-income kids not knowing we were poor.

And no, my brothers and I never did this to our kids and would never think of it. It was a different time and setting. One that we laugh at now and say, "how did we ever live?"

Gary Cote, Kirkland

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates