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~ Kathy M.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Bus with the Black Bra and Duct Tape:



Back in the 1990's I lived the life of the broke.  My mother always said, if you are broke, you have hope and a chance of getting out of it someday.  If you are poor, sorry, there is little chance, unless a miracle happens.  Like winning the lottery or getting a scholarship.

I was in my second marriage and I had 6 kids, as a result of yours, mine and ours.  During the course of that marriage, there were between one and three kids living with us at any given time, at first in a two bedroom house and then later in a four bedroom farm house at a Christian Camp in Walterville, Oregon.

We always had food, electricity, and for the most part, jobs.  We also had a bunch of old cars.  We needed several, since you would never know which one was going to be working the next day.  And, we had to drive a lot, so they were necessary.  One of our old cars was a tan lowered 1968 VW mini bus with a black bra on the front.  It was more or less reliable, and it did hold everybody if there were all in town.

 Kristin and Ollie washing the bus.

 Peter and Nigel helping them.

 A view of the interior with my sweet little baby.

As you can tell, this VW bus was not anything restored or fancy.  I think we got it for around $400 and worked on the engine.  One day, to my dismay,  as I was driving down E. 13th, right past Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor, the sliding door slid open and fell off.  I was scared and mortified.  Some nice man helped me get it back on its tracks, and after that we never opened that sliding door again.  I put duct tape across the seam to remind everybody not to open it.  The man I was married too, who never did do well with any sort of stress, yelled at me for ruining the paint job.  What paint job?  Brother.  See what I had to go through?  But the duct tape stayed, and we all crawled through the front passenger door after that to get to the back seats.

Speaking of the walk down the isle to the back seats, I will never forget when Nigel, who was 4 by then, had been playing the video games at Ponderosa Pizza in La Pine.  He was still young enough where he didn't need quarters, he thought he was winning the demo screen.  Ah, the good old days, before they wise up.  Anyway, he was also going through his 4-year-old cussing phase (they all get potty mouths around then, in my experience).  We were done with our pizza and got back into the van to go back to the cabin.  Nigel sauntered down the isle, as proud and cocky as a 4-year-old can be, and said, "Man, those bideo games are F****** AWESOME!!!  I said, hey, you can't talk like that!  It was still funny though, even though I didn't dare laugh.

As I mentioned previously, this bus was lowered.  That meant that when you went over a speed bump, you had to turn at an angle or you bottomed out.  I am still not sure why that was considered cool because it was rather impractical.  The bus was always cold, because VW heaters sucked back then.  

Are you wondering about the black bra?  It was the only ornamental piece on this vehicle.  My ex must have found it in the markdown basket at Knehcts Auto Parts.  It probably overdrew our checking account.  It went across the front, with openings for the headlights.  I remember being in staff meeting at the church where I was the secretary, asking in all sincerity the other staff members (who were all guys), whether or not you could run a black bra through a car wash.  They cracked up!  Then I realized how that had sounded and got embarrassed.  Oh, well.

That vehicle served us well for the price.  We sold it to a young kid a few years later, who never changed the title and left it abandoned.  We told the cops that it wasn't ours any longer, do what they had to with it.

Looking at the pictures of does bring back some good memories though.  We took the kids a lot of fun places in that old thing.


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4 comments:

BECKY said...

How sweet, Kathy! All the kids are smiling and happy! Even whenever we've also been "broke", the kids never really suffered or knew about it! Life was simpler back then, too...not so much "stuff"...but I'll still take having enough money to at least pay the bills!! Thanks for a walk down memory lane!

Kathy at Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy Welcomes You! said...

Hi Becky, the kids were sweet. I worked so hard at that whole thing.

I know what you mean about money, as long as there is enough for the necessities, your car works, and when something breaks down you can get it fixed; then life is good.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this story

Kathy at Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy Welcomes You! said...

Well, thank you so much!

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