Saturday, January 27, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Back in 1967, for mysterious reasons of his own, my father decided it would be a good idea to take my sister and me to Expo '67, which--for you whippersnappers--was a world's fair--a place filled with a lot of exhibits purporting to represent foreign countries, which people used to like to go to because Epcot hadn't been invented yet. Expo 67 took place in Montreal. My sister and I thought going was a great idea, primarily because we were getting out of school for a couple of days. And also because we would be going to a foreign country. (Where they speak French! Thus commencing my lifelong habit of speaking bad French to innocent bystanders.)

A foreign country, I might add, that is all of 300 miles from Boston. A trip that nowadays would take five hours to drive. And back then probably took even less, because everyone was still driving 70 mph all the time, because the energy crisis hadn't been invented yet.

However, with my father at the wheel, this trip took more like 13 hours. This is because for my father, it was imperative that all trips be business trips. You had to call on at least one client so you could write off your expenses or whatever business people do; how the hell would I know? I'm a housewife.

Anyway, Daddy would go in and yack with these customers, and my sister and I would stay in the car and bicker and not get abducted or sexually assaulted because those hadn't been invented yet, either.

So what with the driving and the stops, it had been a long day. And then my father realized he needed to buy gas. He started looking for a gas station. And kept passing stations because they were the wrong ones; he wanted a Sunoco station. So we're driving and driving and passing Shells and Texacos and Essos (Exxon hadn't been invented yet) and he wouldn't stop. And then, finally, we spotted a Sunoco station. And we were almost there ... when we ran out of gas. And then coasted into the station ... and glided right up to the pump.

That story drove my mother nuts. Nuts! My parents were divorced seven years later, and I can't be sure that there wasn't a connection.

So tonight I havethe minivan packed with all kinds of weekend stuff: the kids and the suitcases and laptops and skates and Nintendo and backpacks and even a cello, for lord's sake, and I hit all kinds of traffic. And it's taking forever ... and then when I was finally making the left-hand turn off Broadway onto Hollywood--you know where I'm going with this, don't you? Except I'm not going anywhere because for the first time in my life, I ran out of gas.

And OK, I didn't coast up to the pump. But I ran out of gas literally right where you turn into the Shell station that just happens to be located on the corner of Broadway and Hollywood. And two guys came up and helped push the van to the pump.

I'll tell you this, Internet, but let's keep it between you and me. I'm not telling my mother. She'll write me out of her will.


  1. We went to Expo '67. All I remember is standing in long lines and coming home with Mexican hats (from Canada).

    I have one of those coasting into the gas station stories but it wasn't my father, it was my husband at the Grand Canyon on New Year's Eve in the snow. We never did find a gas station, but we found our hotel and called AAA. We ate dinner looking out the window at the AAA guy putting gas in our car (in a snowstorm) and that was a better sight than the canyon itself.

    I'm still married to him.

  2. 1. OMYGOD what happened to Felix?

    2. HA. OK, for whatever unfathomable reason, we missed the Montreal World's fair. But my family not only went to the New York World's Fair BOTH years but we're among the dozen or so families outside Texas to go to Hemisfair 68 in San Antonio. I remember the Alamo but not a single thing about Hemisfair except some woman in front of us in some line: The mom loudly complained, out of nowhere, "Quit combing your dang hair!"

    3. I've too have thought of how amusing it is to turning off Broadway onto Hollywood (Avenue). Your mention of it made me laugh.

  3. I was at the NY World's Fair in 64(?).

    They killed Felix the Cat there too......

  4. We had a World's Fair in Spokane, WA in '74. I was 14, and it was home turf. Best summer of my life, I think.

    I have lots of running out of gas stories from my early 20's as a single parent. Once was on Thanksgiving day, trying to get to the family for dinner. A nice cop that graduate from the same HS took the youngest rugrat (age 2 at the time) and me to the police garage to get a gas can, to the gas station for a gallon of gas, and back to my car to get me on the road. The only time in my life that there's ever been 'a cop there when you need one.'

  5. Felix gave me a headache - I have to admit.
    I'm intolerant. And I'll be visiting with you this summer, so be prepared.

    Anyway, that was the BEST story ever, what with all the antiques.
    Fortunately for us, the 1966 (?) World's Fair was very near my childhood home, so we went ALL THE TIME.

    We could only DREAM of Expo 67.

    And we did.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.