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~ Kathy M.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Little Black Bra and Some Duct Tape is Sometimes All You Need:


Perhaps things are beginning to settle down and get back to normal around here, because I actually have a post to present for Sepia Saturday this week.  The first time in over a month. This one is actually a re-run, but I went through and cleaned it up a bit and that actually took me longer than writing a whole new post!


Today's prompt photo shows some old cars in the background, including a VW bus, and I couldn't resist sharing with the following story with you all:

Source:  Google Images

Back in the 1990's I was living 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.  She said that if you were actually living in poverty, then sorry, there isn't a lot of hope, unless a miracle happens.  Such as winning the lottery or receiving a scholarship or marrying up.  (I ended up divorcing, living off of student loans, working hard and marrying up.  Whatever it takes!)

I was on 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 several old cars. We needed that many, since we would never know which one was going to be working the next day when you had to go to work.  Also, they had to be old so that my husband could work on them  We had to drive a lot, so they were very necessary.  One set of kids lived an hour away. Good thing that gas was cheap back in the 90's.

 Kristin and Ollie washing the bus.

One of our old cars was a tan lowered 1968 VW mini bus with a black bra above the headlights.  More or less reliable and inexpensive to fix, it did hold everybody if they were all in town.  Neither fancy nor restored, this particular VW bus cost us around $400, because it needed work in order to make it drivable.

 Peter and Nigel helping them.

One summer afternoon I was driving down E. 13th in Eugene, past Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour.  As I turned the corner, much to my dismay, the sliding door on the van slid open and fell right off!  Pulling over, I was scared and mortified.  What if one of the kids had fallen out?  

I pulled over, and a nice man helped me get the door back on its track, and after that we never opened that sliding door again.  I put duct tape across the seam to remind everybody not to open it. My husband at the time, who never did do well with any sort of stress, yelled at me when I got home, for ruining the paint job with duct tape. What paint job?  Brother, that is an example of what I was dealing with back then.  But the duct tape stayed, and we all crawled through the front passenger door after that to reach the back seats.

 A view of the interior with my sweet little baby.

Speaking of the walk down the isle to the back seats, I will never forget when Nigel was four, and we were visiting La Pine.  He had been playing the video games at Ponderosa Pizza.  The boy was still young enough that he didn't require quarters to play; he thought that he was winning while playing the demo screen.  Nigel was going through his 4-year-old cussing phase at that time.  We were done with our pizza, and were getting back into the van.  Heading toward his car seat, 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 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 not quite sure why that option was considered cool, because it was rather impractical. The bus was also always cold in the winter, because old VW heaters never did work very well. 

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, most likely overdrawing our checking account in the process.  The bra 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 so embarrassed.

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.  He must have not been as handy of a mechanic as that husband of mine was.  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 to a lot of fun places in that old thing.

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Grammy Goodwill said...

I enjoyed reading this look backwards. hehehe I think our adult kids really can't understand how we lived before, little money, hand-me-down furnishings, etc.

Deb Gould said...

Yup, those VWs were really something: ours broke down on Storrow Drive in Boston at rush hour: we looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, got out, took the plates and the VIN off and walked away...Great story, Kathy!

Kristin said...

Aww, what a trip through the past that was. Nice.

Brett Payne said...

We used to own a Devon conversion VW Microbus campervan for a short while, and it was a lot of fun. Once our family grew to four kids, it became rather impractical.

viridian said...

Glad you are back to blogging. Your little guy in the car seat reminds me of my daughter at that age.

Alex Daw said...

I had a bit of a break too. Great post. We had a VW van when I was young. I loved it. We camped in it when my parents travelled round Europe. My friend had one too when we were growing up...great for carting around all the kids and their friends.

Bob Scotney said...

What an enjoyable read. That's one use of a black bra that I would never have expected.

Nancy said...

Gosh, Kathy, it sounds like you had some hard times. Your boys were adorable!

Mike Brubaker said...

That was fun! After stories about pets, I think car stories are the next best. Maybe best when you add kids. VWs were once the best car to learn auto mechanics. My first car was a beetle and our family had a succession of VW Campers. Recently I took my son on a tour of car lots looking for his first car, the VW dealer had a beautiful restored vintage micro-bus. But it was only to admire in the showroom. About as practical on today's roads as a Model-T.

Little Nell said...

I do enjoy your anecdotes Kathy. This post cheered me up considerably. I love the idea of the black bra in a carwash!

Kathy Morales said...

Glad you shared these stories with us! I've never had a VW, but when I was in college in the early 70s, I thought it would be great to get a VW van after graduation and travel the country with some friends. My hippie fantasy, I guess. Instead, I got married before graduation to my husband who never in his life dreamed of doing such a thing. I love him anyway!

anyjazz said...

What a fine old collection of memories. It really hit home. I had four children and a VW bus back in the 60's.

Karen S. said...

Ha! Ha! I love this, and the fact that well I still have in my darling second husband a man who loves to fix things up and duct tape is usually a part of it. You know sometimes it's really silly when you can buy it new for hardly anything!! I being from a car family kind of new where you'd go with that black bra, Ha! Ha! We have a few in the family too, and I would love to have seen their faces when you asked that question about the car wash...clearly where a man's mind often goes right! You know even in those poor times, it sure seems life was good, and I still to this day love those vans. Great memories here Kathy for us both, I can sooooooooooo relate!

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