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Recent column brought back memories of youth | Letter

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Letter to the editor
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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

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