Who knew this station wagon would inspire hours of stories. Instead of the red and white Ford station wagon, I got to keep company with a 1972 Ford LTD Country Squire this night.
It was sitting right next to the door, and the first thing most men and women said was that they rode in the back. Many said facing backwards nauseated them, others commented their father’s or grandfather’s had one in green, in gold, and in crème. One lady laughingly told me that her father would put on the brakes, and everyone flew forward. “We just flopped around in there.”
“No seatbelts,” everyone said in chorus. Yes, there were seatbelts, but no one used them.
I learned it got 8 miles per gallon, it had a 429 engine, it had only three gears, and no one used the seatbelts. That brought a laugh every single time. And too, it’s a very, very long vehicle. Perhaps originally it was supposed to seat eight, but every person remembered all the neighborhood kids jamming in…one sometimes hidden in the back well. Drive in movies and ball games, rides to school, and all with the sports equipment too.
We were told to not encourage stories, but this station wagon is only one or two generations removed from the factory. Everyone had a story to tell. Tales of long trips with the luggage on the top was a frequent story. The LTD as a ubiquitous Tijuana taxi until recently crowding the city with noise and pollution. Loved by the taxi drivers because you could get so many people in the wagon. Loved by the little league moms and traveling dads. This was the transportation of the end of the 20th century in America.
All without seatbelts, of course.