Big Blue, 1971

1971 No Cal Road Trip

“Big Blue,” summer 1971, somewhere in Northern California

Hello, everyone … I want to introduce to you our wonderful 1964 Buick station wagon, a gift from my mother and grandmother, costing $4,000, a huge sum back then that Steve and I could never have afforded! During the late 1960’s, we took several trips to Dallas, Texas in this Buick, to visit Steve’s mother, oldest brother, and his wife. So we were in practice by August of l970 when we piled into “Big Blue” and began a cross-country drive to our new home in Manhattan Beach, California—stopping in Dallas on the way. Our two dogs flew!

Now, back then there were no such things as seat belts. All four of our young children shared a big picnic basket, filled with cookies, string cheese, peanut butter crackers and other not too healthy items, which sustained them as they rode, untethered, in the back of “Big Blue” whose back two rows of seats had been lowered to accommodate them. There they were, rolling around with no restraints to keep them safe—laughing, squabbling, eating, playing games. I shudder to remember. And I cried most of the way, having left my mother and step-father back in Illinois without their four grandchildren; how could I have been so cruel!

Well, we settled happily in Manhattan Beach, in a house that was an easy walk to a wonderful beach. Then, in August of l971 we were invited to meet Steve’s oldest brother and his family in Yosemite, before moving on to a rented house on Lake Tahoe. We were so excited—Yosemite! Another big trip in “Big Blue” and off we went. Unfortunately, none of us were able to get accommodations on the valley floor; everything had been booked long before we’d decided to go there. Soooo … this meant we had to drive the winding road down to the valley floor from our motel, down and up again, down and up again, the three days we were there.


From left: Andy, Uncle Stanley, Dina, Ann, Aunt Margie, Danny, Ronny, Louis, Wendy

Now it happened that two of our little boys were extremely prone to getting carsick , and that is what happened on that winding road going down and then again up, to and from the valley floor. And they didn’t need to stop at the same time; each one got sick at different times so we were stopping and starting to let them out by the side of the winding road at least twice going and coming.

“Daddy, pull over, I have to throw up!”

I felt so sorry for them, having had the same problem when I was their ages, as had their father when he was a little boy. So we were very sympathetic and grateful the other two, their sister and older brother, had not inherited the malady! But we all had a wonderful time on the valley floor, and then at the motel above it.

1971 San Franciso Days

As I gaze at the images of “Big Blue” and my 70’s-clad family posing for a San Francisco moment, I have happy memories. It gives me great joy to recall that August when we drove from Lake Tahoe all the way to San Francisco, and back down the coast to our new home in Manhattan Beach.

Thank you for taking the ride with me down memory lane. I’m having such fun sharing with you here, so thanks for stopping by!

Love … Wendy