April 10, 2015

Hurry and Get Dressed!


Mom was always doing things like that. She’d shake us in the middle of the night. “Are your bags packed?” and of course a bag was always packed for these sudden breaks in the order of things. And we’d be off.

I remember the Howard Johnson’s at the highway rest stops and the funny motels we’d stop at. All the motels then had free postcards with pictures of the motel on them and insets of impossibly clean rooms with made beds. Jim made a collection of them and would shuffle them around in the back seat like they were full of ever changing secret connections.

We never knew when the mania would stop with Mom and land us some place. We went to the Four Corners once, and Jimmy and I played hopscotch, jumping from state to state while mother wept or laughed or talked to an Indian fellow who was selling woven blankets.

Eventually, she’d realize we had to turn the car around and get back to the every day. We had school, Mom had the job at the hairdresser’s. Those were silent, maudlin trips, the trips home. Mom would be in the depressive phase and now we didn’t stop for chocolate chip ice cream at all the blue and orange Howard Johnson’s. And we’d sleep in the car instead of motels because the money was run out. We’d arrive back in New Jersey and Mom would sometimes just sit in the car, staring at the house, weeping.

(special thanks to Peter Kurth for the photo)


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