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~ Kathy M.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April's A - Z Challenge: The Letter "L" is for Living the Life of the Broke, and "L" is for Lamps

 Source: Clipart Link

#1 - "L" is for Living the Life of the Broke:

Source:  Live Search/Live Pictures/

The Bus with the Black Bra and Duct Tape

This is a repost from a while back, but it's funny and I think that 
you will enjoy it, even if it is your second time of reading it.

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 they were all in town.

Kathy Matthews
 Kristin and Ollie washing the bus.

Kathy Matthews
 Peter and Nigel helping them.

Kathy Matthews
 A view of the interior, with my sweet little baby smiling.

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? Oh well. But the duct tape stayed on, 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.  It probably got towed to a junk yard.

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.  It served it purpose well.

#2 - "L" is also for Lamps: Vintage & Antique 

Trivia Antiques, Bend OR; Kathy Matthews Photos, Jan. 2011

Trivia Antiques, Kathy Matthews 2010

Trivia Antiques, Kathy Matthews 2010

Trivia Antiuqes, Kathy Matthews 2010

Kathy Matthews, 2010

Kathy Matthews, 2011

Today is the tenth day of the A - Z Challenge, which is hosted by  Arlee Bird's: Tossing It Out.   Several of my blogging friends are participating, and this year there are over 1,200 participants. We post everyday, except for Sundays, and work our way through the alphabet. I am posting past photos that I have taken, and am linking them up to the posts where the photos originated from too. When you are all done here at Oregon Gifts,  please click here to visit the other bloggers who are participating in this challenge.

If you miss a day, you miss a lot!  Don't miss out on the news ... Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.


Dena E's Blog said...

Hey Ya Sweetie...Wonderful post and I sooo get what you mean about having what you need.. Thats how it was for us growing also... Do you suppose the kids now days understand???? Ours wonder sometimes why i stock up on groceries once in a while....
Go figure?????
THANKS Oooodles for your note yesterday...It really warmed my heart..May blessings and Love from God above be on you today and all week...Prayers and Hugs Dena
You were a bright spot in my day!!!

Dena E's Blog said...

I just left a long comment but where did it go?????

Retired English Teacher said...

You sound like a true survivor who travels the road of life in a beat-up old bus that holds precious memories. I like that attitude. Being broke is one thing, but I think it would take a LOT to break your spirit. Thanks for sharing this great story.

KathyB. said...

Loved this post!The pictures say so much, and I think you must be one of those people who cherish the best in a situation and get on with things after the worst. Good thing you are writing about these things, a little education for others can go a long way especially if written in a spirit of thankfulness and love.

tony said...

Brilliant Journey ! What Is It About Old VW Vans? They Seem To Create Their Own Special Magic.What Became Of The Bra?

Donnie said...

That sure brings back memories of the "good old days" post.

Arkansas Patti said...

Like the idea of being "broke" as opposed to being poor. I too had some broke times.
Your VW story was priceless. I am a vintage VW buff and got my first bug when I was 60 which I restored. It became a real geezer magnet.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

I think I like the milk glass lamp best [the one with the peacock feathers and blue glass next to it]....I know, I know you didn't ask, but I'm just sayin'!! rofl

Now about the V W bus, you cracked me up with the bra in the car wash. OMGosh. And kids and potty mouths...reminded me of one night at the dinner table, Irene said something and Bud said to her "No shit"? And Irene blasted back, no shit...not realizing what came from her mouth 'til we all giggled. She doesn't use the word much even now....and she's in her 40s.

And thanks for stopping by yesterday. I always look forward to your visits and comments----

Come back for my Thursday's post if you find time. Link: Get down...get funky with the Righteous Brothers

Have a terrific Thursday!!!

Lynn said...

What a great story about being "broke" and such fun pictures of the kids when they were smaller. Nothing like struggles to bring in more character!

Enbrethiliel said...


I really liked reading that story, Kathy. You have some great memories and recount them so well!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

LOL This is a great post! Thanks for the laughs. Reminded me of when my son was 3 and we were on a quiet night flight to Chicago. All of a sudden my little darling broke the silence with: "Say darn or sugar, but never say sh**!" Top of his lungs. The whole plane burst out laughing. So of course he repeated it. *sigh* :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Wow, thank you everybody for your great response! I thought that you would enjoy it; I was laughing when I re-read it. Those sure were the days.

Dena - you are so sweet! I know, I stock up on groceries too.

Karen - wow, what a nice thing to say. I think I'll print that one out and put it on my board. I come from Pioneer stock, and from a line of strong women, and I think that helps me a lot.

Kathy B. - oh, man, what you said gives me goosebumps. I sure hope that it will help somebody. I do have wisdom born of pain and many stories, good and bad, but I'm trying to on put the positive ones on here. Thanks for writing what you did.

Tony - thanks for visiting! I love the restored 1964's with all the windows the very best! The black bra probably ended up at the junkyard, unless somebody took it off when the bus was abandoned, but I don't know for sure.

Donnie - hi, it does, doesn't it?

Patti - you are so funny ... a geezer magnent! Cool that you did restored the bug though. Our family friend, Frank, bought a red Dodge Viper when he was single and he said that he bought it to impress girls, and it only attracted guys who wanted to drive it, lol.

Anni - that vase is my fav too ... it was my Grandma T.'s and is in our guest bathroom. That is a great story about your daughter! I think that 4 year olds really test that cussing stuff out.

Lynn - don't know if I have character or am one, but glad that things are smoother sailing these days!

JMJ - thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for saying that I wrote it fine too.

Lisa - I knew you would laugh. That is a funny story about Joey on the plane!

Ellie said...

I absolutely loved this post; reminds me of my childhood. We were living broke and certainly didn't have a fraction of what families have today!

Ellie Garratt

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you, Ellie!

No Copying!


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