American Coming of Age Funny

Jay Rosmarin-Meyer


Word Count: 1000

                                              THE FAMILY VACATION

    I had reached the age of ten years old in April 1959. On a warm evening while at the dinner table, my mother announced we were taking a trip to Niagara Falls when summer vacation started. Reservations had been made for both a hotel and a trip on the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour. It all sounded incredibly good until Mom said we would be driving to Canada. As usual, my father would do all the driving while my mother managed the directions.

    I looked over at my sister, Marlene, who was three years younger than me and rolled my eyes. She giggled and did the same. It wasn’t that I didn’t like car rides—but my Dad usually takes a wrong turn along the way and Mom would complain. ‘You were supposed to turn right according to the map like I told you, but you made a left.’ My Dad gets annoyed and growls ‘Ok, ok, don’t get your bowels in an uproar.’ It’s one of his favorite things to say when he didn’t want to admit he made a mistake. I’m not sure exactly what it meant, but if I had said it, I’d probably be punished for the rest of my life or longer. My mother would end the conversation with ‘I can’t believe we’re arguing over this.’ Later, they’d apologize and make up until the next wrong turn.

    Driving in the car also meant I’d share the back seat with my sister. ‘Sitting in the back seat all day sucks’ I thought. Then I smiled inwardly at how well I learned to use a popular school curse word.

    “Hey, can we take a plane there instead?” I asked between mouthfuls of hamburger and French fries. Sometimes, when he had a day off from work, we would drive out to Idlewild Airport to watch the planes take off and land. I always hoped one day I’d get to sit in my own seat on one of those planes. It would be cool to get high up and then spit out a window.  Windows on planes do open, don’t they?

    “Sorry honey, maybe next time,” my mother replied as she and my father exchanged glances.

     I turned to my sister, hoping she’d say she wanted to get on a plane, bur she stuck her tongue out at me and giggled. What a complete dingbat!

    “ Dad, how long a ride is it to Canada?”

    “ It’s about nine hours pal.”

    This was a good chance to get one parent on my side. “That’s not fair to you Dad. You’ll be too tired to have fun after driving so much.” I crossed my fingers. “Then you’ll have to drive all the way home too! Being on a plane would be very relaxing for you cause you won’t be driving so much.”

    My father smiled and patted my back. “Thanks for being so concerned but I’ll be fine. No need to worry.” Then he looked at my mother and winked.

    Parents can be so frustrating. Didn’t they get it? I’m in desperate need of a plane ride, and I need something cool to talk about with my friends when we get home. I lost control. “Sitting in the back seat of the car sucks,” I blurted out, then rapidly covered my mouth with a hand to prevent any other forbidden words from escaping.

    “Jay!” My mother shouted. “Watch your mouth!”

    “I don’t want to hear that type of language again,” my father said, slapping the table in anger.

    “ Ok, sorry, but I really wanted to go by plane.”

    “This conversation’s over.” My father growled. "If you’re finished eating, go to your room.”

    We left two days later on Saturday morning after I gave a sincere apology to both my parents and helped stuff the car trunk full of suitcases. There I was, stuck in the back seat with no hope of having great tales of adventure for my friends. There was thunder and lightning, and the plane was shaking. Everyone was screaming but me. Even my parents were scared and holding hands. I had to hug my sister so she wouldn’t scream her brains out.

     The most exciting thing that could happen in the car would be my sister throwing up in my lap. Not exactly the kind of story I’d want anyone to know about. Maybe we could stop for lunch, forget she’s in the bathroom and drive off. No, that wouldn’t work either. My mother never lets either of us out of her sight. I sighed with disappointment and gave up. I agreed to play ‘Go Fish’ with Marlene and expected we’d still be playing when we got to Canada.

    She fell asleep after she won three games. My parents were talking softly as we drove. Bored, I rolled down the window, spitting into the air to see how far it would travel. I noticed a large plane flying overhead. It looked like it was coming in for a landing. A second plane was not too far behind it. My father made a turn off the highway and I saw a sign that read ‘Idlewild Airport Parking.’ I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were heading right into the airport! Why were we here? What was going on?

    Despite all my rapid-fire questions, I was told to wait until we parked and were on our way into the terminal. It seemed to take forever for us to park and check in all our bags.

    “We were planning this as a belated birthday present for you all along,” my mother explained, “ despite your bad language the other night. Happy Birthday, sweetheart."

    “Happy Birthday again, Jay,” my father said as he bent down to kiss my head. “By the way, he added with a smile, “unlike car windows, airplane windows don’t open. So, you won’t be able to spit out of one like you were doing on the way here. Understand?”

    “I understand Dad,” I replied as I hugged his waist.

    “ Happy Birthday again, pizza face,” my sister said

     “Thanks, dingbat.”

                                            THE END

July 08, 2022 03:26

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Sullivan Dark
02:36 Jul 14, 2022

Jay, I am wondering if this story is a memory of your youth or if you are just good at knowing what life was like in the late 50's? I remember the days of riding in the backseat while both of my parents enforced the "Children are to be seen and not heard" rule, as they smoked their camel cigarettes and choked my twin and I nearly to breathlessness. I won't say good memories, but I will say I liked the feeling your story brought to me, and to my own memories. Thank you, Keep writing, I will be watching and enjoying. J.D. Magowan


02:56 Jul 14, 2022

Thank you. this is based on a trip my parents actually took us on years ago so it is a memory of growing up in the 50's. My parents actually had those same arguments about directions on a regular basis ( lol) Appreciate your kind words


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Bree Adly
01:32 Jul 14, 2022

Love this! The bickering was very on point, especially since I have several siblings 🤣


03:00 Jul 14, 2022

Thank you very much. My sister and I developed our bickering into a fine arts skill :)


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