I was raised in the Midwest. While I enjoy a milder winter climate these days in sunny south Florida, I am no stranger to brutally long winters. The winter of 1978 delivered a blizzard that kept us out of school for several days. I was a junior in high school. We would be out for a week, return to school for half the day, it would start to snow and we would be out again for a few more days. School age kids consider snow days a gift from God. And we were grateful. But after awhile, days off from school get old.
My high school educated kids from many small towns and farms in the area. My friends were spread far and wide. As a teenager, the real problem with a snow day was you couldn't be with your friends unless they lived within walking distance. And let's face it, when you're a teenager with a driver license, everywhere is too far to walk. Before long we were praying for better weather that would see us back at our desks and hanging in the hallways with our friends. Spring was a long time coming that year…..
But eventually spring did arrive and with it came SPRING BREAK. The hot spot for teenagers from our area at the time was Daytona Beach. It was a rite of passage. Our first taste of freedom. The Beauty and her older by one year sister, the Brain and I made our plans to head south to Florida. Before I get too far, let me say that the Beauty is beautiful but she is also smart. And the Brain is smart but she is also beautiful but hey, I had to pick a name and that's just how it worked out. Our parents weren't happy with the Daytona Beach idea but conceded to allow us to go a little further south to Ft. Lauderdale where we could stay with my oldest sister.
We set off on our trip packed to the gills with every piece of summer clothing we owned, swimsuits, sandals and most importantly….our fake I.D.s. Another important item we made sure to have on board was a CB radio. I mentioned before in this post, that CB radios were our teenage version of a cell phone. The fun part of using the radio was that you had to have a handle. My father had bee hives and collected honey so his CB handle was the Beeman. My mother was the Queenbee. I wanted to follow suit, so I took on the name MayBee. It was delicately pointed out to me by Beauty that Maybee might sound a little…uh…well… trashy. I've always been a little naïve when it comes to this sort of thing. It takes me a little longer than the average bear to catch on sometimes. I like to think this is because I am pure of heart. *wink* So anyway, I changed my handle to MayBee NOT. You'll have to forgive my memory lapse but I can't remember the Beauty or the Brain's handles but they did have one.
Once on the road, we had a great time talking to truckers. We reported on smokies in the area and did the unspeakable: We chatted with complete strangers. I'm pretty sure we were taught in kindergarten not to speak to strangers but things were much different then and by the time we were seventeen, we had forgotten that little lesson. Somewhere near Atlanta, we started up a conversation with a young trucker. It was discovered that his destination was Ft. Lauderdale also. We made fast friends with Mr. Trucker. We joked, flirted and had a great time. OK, moms and dads, this is where you might want to stop reading if you've got teenage girls. Or boys for that matter. We asked Mr. Trucker to describe his truck and tell us his 10-20 (trucker talk for location). He did. And we found him. We traveled right alongside, in front of or behind him for the rest of the trip. Now if you put two and two together, you will come up with four. Four being: We got out of our car and met with him. If he stopped for gas, we stopped for gas. We stopped for food and sat with him while we ate. That wasn't so bad, right? Safety in numbers and all.
Then Beauty decided she wanted to ride in the truck with him. I can't really remember if it was her idea or his but the end result was that she climbed up into that big ole truck and rode with the trucker who was a complete stranger to us all. We didn't think it was a big deal. After all the Brain and I were following right behind them. The guy couldn't be too dangerous while driving. Oh, the innocence of youth. Beauty was fine. Nothing happened. In fact, she arranged it so that we could follow him back north on our way home. And yes, she did. She rode with him again.
I forgot to mention that Beauty had a steady boyfriend at the time. Let's call him Will. Will went to Daytona Beach with the rest of the gang. Imagine our surprise when we pulled into a gas station right behind Will and his friends. Beauty was in the truck with Mr. Trucker and had gone on to the truck stop to get a table. (And yes, we let her out of our sight with the trucker) We were to join them after getting our fuel. I was the first to see Will. I was excited. I said to the Brain, "Hey, there's Will!" It took me only a second longer than it took her to realize this was a problem. She is the Brain, you know. The Brain put that car into reverse so fast and got us out of there undetected. All the while I am trying to reach Beauty on the CB to alert her to the situation. We get to the truck just as they are getting out and whisk Beauty off to see her Prince Charming #1, Will. Whew… close call.
After that we left Mr. Trucker in the dust and went about our merry way. No harm done. Beauty was safe. All was well with the world. Until……….
Fast forward twenty three years. My beloved Aunt Mert passed away suddenly. I rode with my parents from Florida to Indiana for the funeral. (Have you ever noticed that no one flies in my family? We drive EVERYWHERE! Even as I write this, we are on a roadtrip travelling north to meet up with Daughters #1 and #2 for Parents Weekend at FSU.) So, I'm riding in the back of my parents' SUV. I'm annoying them by asking, "Are we there yet?" and "Why don't you have a DVD player in this thing?", "I'm hungry." And "I've got to peeeeeeee!" I don't care if I was 40 years old. It's my duty as offspring to annoy my parents on a roadtrip. And I take my duty very seriously. I'm responsible like that.
Eventually even I got bored with whining and I started to reminisce. I began to tell my parents of a trip down that very same road many years ago. I was 40 years old. It would be fun to tell them what I had kept from them at the time. We could laugh about it now, right?
I'm grounded. STILL!
And that wasn't the end of it, either. Daddy went straight to Beauty's house when we got to Indiana and grounded her too. "What were you thinking!" He kept saying over and over and over.
And that, my friends, is why my daughters were never allowed to go anywhere without me on spring break.
What are your spring break stories? If you have children, what stupid stunts did you pull as a teenager that you are careful not to let them repeat?
Oh, and since he is one of my readers, let me say just one more time: Sorry, Daddy!