Independence

Photo credit:  Georg Sander

Photo credit:
Georg Sander

What if I were to tell you that when my mother left my father, we piled into our dusty red VW bus and drove to the Left Coast. What if I were to tell you that the last time I saw my father was forty years later when I hand delivered their divorce papers to him?

What if I told you my mother always chose the off-roads, the less traveled ways. What if I told you that while crossing the Rockies we encountered a posse of six or seven vehicles trapped at the bottom of a particularly steep piece of asphalt. Car doors flung open, hoods up, engines smoking, a dozen or two people milled around the foot of the incline like fish in a weir – and that there was a heroic man with a Jeep, and a winch charging $20.00 to pull each car up the hill. Us kids were fascinated by the growling, roaring Jeep slowly reeling the cars up the incline. My mom, newly independent, with three children and no job was no way going to pay a man to help her.

What if I told you that my mother muttered, “It was probably his dad who built this piece of road. A money making operation for the family,” and that she knew (from rebuilding the car engine herself) that reverse was the VW’s lowest gear. What if I told you she turned the dirty, dusty, red and white VW around and backed up that hill. What if I told you that us kids cheered and yelled for our mom, as we pelted up the hill after the car, pulled open the sliding door and piled in the back, to continue our journey to Seattle?

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