Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cross Country Chapter VI


This is a shot from Haven Beach, which is an untouched, unspoiled, rather deserted beach. Speaking of desertion, I now turn to another chapter in the saga of the Chesapeake Bay Family's Cross Country Camping Trip in 1977. (For previous chapters, see the December archives or click here for the very first chapter.)

Back in the first installment of this 1977 family adventure, I referenced a time when we inadvertently (?) left Middle Sister behind at a rest stop.

We were in some western state, exhausted after days on end of driving in a VW bus coast to coast with parents and sisters, and had stopped at a rest area. We stretched our legs, stared at all the other tourists, yawned, scratched and then returned to the bus to hit the road again. We were down the road a ways before the parents realized Middle Sister wasn't there and--with a sparse sense of urgency presumably due to 5,000,000 miles in a VW bus with kids in tow and no entertainment other than listening to bickering, conversations on a CB radio, and the results of a methodical plot in the next move of Sisterly Torture Tactics-- they then turned around to retrieve her.

At least one person in the VW bus was really enjoying the peace and quiet of Middle Sister being left behind....This was the same individual who served up D-con rat poison at a tea-party she hosted for her younger siblings, and who also fed her sisters under-cooked, aka rare, pork sausage patties.

Yes, this older sister was secretly reveling in the fact that the parents were driving away while Middle Sister was most notably absent from the VW. Older sister waited a bit to mention anything, because she could never have planned anything better, not that the D-con or undercooked pork offerings were planned or intentional. No.

Chesapeake Bay Mother goes on with her version of events:

"This incident occurred at a random pit stop in Lake Tahoe, where we were actually pulling off forgetting Middle Sister, who had serious business in the rest room. Everyone returned but her, and poor Husband assumed everyone was on board and left the parking lot.

Before we got too far, the two sisters on board realized our error*, and we wheeled around to face a stunned, disbelieving Middle Sister, who for once in her life was speechless. Husband assured her it was nothing personal, and that all is well that ends with everyone in the car."
---------------------------------------------
Back to CBW again...

* I would like to emphasize that "error" is CB Mother's choice of words, not mine.

Middle Sister maintains she was left in the Grand Canyon, but that simply was not the case. The only canyon in this story was the permanent emotional chasm created when a Middle Sister was left by her family in a rest stop in Lake Tahoe on the Chesapeake Bay Family Camping Adventure of 1977.

(p.s. Love you, Middle Sis, you know that. But--at the time-- it sure was fun thinking for just one second that the parents would drive off leaving you behind in that rest stop. Qwah.)

19 comments:

Coffee Bean said...

Ahhhh... cross country family camping trips... I grew up on those and then turned around a did the same to my children. I'm sure they'll be telling stories about the time I beat them with my flip flop from the front seat because they wouldn't stop fighting. Good ole days, let me tell ya.

msseabreeze said...

poor, poor middle sister. Just think how much fun you would have missed if you had been an only child.... I can remember leaving my youngest home while 2 cars packed up family and friends to go to the movies. We didn't realize she wasn't with us until we got all the way to the theater. This was before cell phones of course. She was 5 at the time and has never let us forget it.

Angela said...

My two older brothers and a cousin tried to (pretended? Who can tell?)to kick me out of the giant wheel we were stopped in when at the top. They opened the chains which were to protect us and grabbed me...I wonder I survived living with older brothers. But maybe older sisters are even worse? I`m definitely on middle sister`s side! It probably WAS the Grand Canyon, way at the bottom!

Anonymous said...

I'm confused - was it the sight of a toilet brush attached to her poncho that caused dad to drive away?

It's no small wonder Jim eventually became a good friend of dads!

What's truly amazing is that mom still has a brain, in addition to her sanity!!

Mental P Mama said...

Is Middle Sis coming for a visit this Summer? Qwah.

big hair envy said...

Is Middle-Sis the one who moved ACROSS THE COUNTRY to get away from her LOVING family??

Anonymous said...

Thank you, my supporters. The same thing happened to Joe Dirt when he was young....and if my memory serves me right, then he went on the quest as an adult to find his parents, only to find that they left him there on purpose. hmmmm.......

-Middle Sis

John Lee Callis said...

This post relies on everyone having seen a movie from a couple years ago. I'm getting this mental image of your family heading to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. What color was the VW bus? Did you have to push it and hop in one at a time? Did Little Sis do a bump and grind at the pageant?

Grandma J said...

Everytime you mention Lake Tahoe, I can't help but wonder if Middle Sister ever had regrets about being retrieved. I know Mathews is Heaven on Earth, but Lake Tahoe is a tab bit closer to heaven. At least it was summer and she didn't get snowed in.

pjhammer_1965 said...

Poor Middle Sis! I'm sure she can laugh about it now but at the time, it must have been a shock.

I can't relate to having been left behind but, a case of mistaken identity once freaked me out.

We were living in Portsmouth VA at the time and my Dad had just flown home from New York City where he was attending Polygraph School. I was a little kid, maybe 6 or 7, and while waiting for Dad to get his luggage at the airport in Norfolk, I walked over to a man who I thought was my Dad (big tall guy wearing the same suite) and reached up and took his hand. About that time, I looked up at him and he looked down at me. The look of horror on my face at the realization that this was not my father, caused this man to go into hysterical laughter. My Dad rescued me about that time, the two men had a chuckle as the Fake Dad described the look on my face, and I held tight to my Father's pants leg for the remainder of our time at the airport.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am relating to JLC's post about the movie (one of my favorites) "Little Miss Sunshine". CBW, if you haven't seen it, please rent it. The family leaves little sister Olive at a gas station. And yes, they were driving a VW bus, which they had to push to get going. Love that movie, as does my son. But little Olive didn't seem to be too traumatized by the event, unlike Middle Sis. Quah!

Anonymous said...

Middle Sis has a mullet like Joe Dirts??
..and I always heard you were the pretty one!

Anonymous said...

The only thing I really remember about this trip is:
the smells coming from the farting in the back seat of the VW bus. Did I have anything to do with those smells?? Maybe, but there certainly was no shortage in fumes projecting from other siblings...my lack of memory probably has something to do with aforementioned undercooked sausage AND D-Con party hosted by....you guessed it, CBW!!!
Love,
Baby Sis

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Hello, Coffee Bean - Too funny about the flip flops - I mastered that reverse swat with the right hand while driving with the left hand when my kids were much younger. That was right around the time I discovered that if I pulled off on the side of the road and threatened to leave them, they straightened right up. Love you, Chesapeake Bay Kids! You know I'd never leave you! That's your grandparents who might do that! Thanks Coffee Bean for commenting.

Ms.Seabreeze - I would have been miserable as an only child, just as you would have been. Oh....to have seen the face on your 5-year-old. They have memories like elephants, don't they, those younger ones?

Angela - Now that sounds absolutely horrifying! You must have nightmares to this day. Not having had any brothers, I can't talk about that, but I can say those older sisters can be very pesky, and I speak from a great deal of experience.

Anonymous - You have a good attention to detail. Yes, you should be confused because I think the poncho incident happened in Tahoe, and CB Mother thinks the abandoning (separate incident) happened in Tahoe. Regardless, something bad happened to Middle Sis in Tahoe, and another something bad happened out in that vicinity. Yes, both adults came back from that trip with some sense, but that's all relative (no pun intended) around here.

MPM - I am going to send Middle Sis the dates here shortly and we certainly hope both she and Baby Sis will be present at least for one night of festivities at the blogfest. Qwah! Qwah!

BHE - Yes. Middle Sister went to great lengths to distance herself from this bunch around here, and hasn't lived here since high school....nobody can really blame her. In her older years, however, she has discussed possibly moving back, but now that I've talked about her on this blog I believe I've pretty much pushed sealed her desire to set up shop in Europe.

Middle Sis - I have to say, that as a parent, I am a bit surprised they left you, which is why I highlighted the word "error" because.... error? I'm sure they were just stressed out, or perhaps it was that valium, who knows. Being the responsible person I am, I called it to their attention, but not until we got down the road a ways. I wanted to bask in it for just a minute.

John Lee - I have seen Little Miss Sunshine and I do love that movie, although since I do not remember details or much of anything else all I remember is the beauty pageant and a trip in the bus. I'll have to get it and watch it again, but it does sound very similar to this!

GJ - I don't think she was paying too much attention to her surroundings, after all she thought it was the Grand Canyon and all.

Pj Hammer - What a hilarious story. I wish I could have seen the look on your face.

Anonymous #2 - I am going to re-watch that movie, I do love it. Middle Sis is definitely traumatized but by a laundry list of attrocities of which this is but one.

Anonymous #3 - Middle Sis and Baby Sis both sported hairstyles that were very mullet-ish, while I sported the straggly-hair- plastered-flat-down-to-my-waist- pathetic look. BAby Sis may have been more mullet-ish if I recall. (She'll set me straight here if I mess up, rest assured. There will be shouting involved, too. Hey, Baby Sis! Remember, you're the one who taught me what a "skullet" is.)

Baby Sis -I don't recall any of those noxious fumes, but given what I know about this family, I have no doubt you are correct. I believe you would agree that Middle Sis was very qualified in the art of gas production, but this certainly is a family *full* of people with PhD's in that fine art.

It's been a loooong, rainy work day. Hope everyone has a great evening and a better tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Just got thinking....
After your book has sold a bazillion copies and they've made the movie, I don't think anyone in a movie theater would believe me when I shout out as the credits are rolling, "Hey, that's me Anonymous #1 & Anonymous #3".

But ya never know :)

Rick's Cafe

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

R's Cafe - I can usually tell which of all the Anonymouses (what's the plural of anonymous if you're making it a subject, anyway? anonymi?) is yours, but when I'm tired and reading really fast, like tonight, I can't always. You should just set up a google account - it's really easy and you don't have to identify one single thing about yourself. We can keep you just as anonymous as you want, but you would have to have a user name....which you already have. (3 "haves" in a half a sentence? No way can I write a book.)

I think you're sweet for thinking that this would ever be a book or a movie. Lord knows if it did, I'd be one happy person (so I could quit the current paying job), and I'd make sure you got front row seats to the grand opening and the opening night celebration.

John Lee Callis said...

Please include me for the premiere ...I've always wanted to walk on the red carpet.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

John Lee - You'll be front and center, I promise.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

Ohhhhh wow....the family camping trip. Ours were never cross country. Across the freaking state was enough for me. And what I wouldn't have given to have accidentally left one, or heck, even both of my little sisters behind at a rest stop. I was never that lucky!