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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I grew up in a van down by the river.





Ok, not really.

It was actually a 1967 Volkswagen Westfalia pop-top bus.
And it wasn't the river... it was the Sea of Cortez.
Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico, 1972
Typical camp set up.  Gotta love the sunshade on the windshield.
And the way the doors were always open for maximum ventilation. 
And ok... coming clean, I didn't literally "grow up" in that van.  Although there was a long stint of my childhood where we did live in said Volkswagen bus.  Say... around the age of 3.  There was a little built in kitchen.  And a bed.  And curtains.   It was the early 70's after all.  Think kinda hippie-esque.  Think clothing optional.

That car was a part of my childhood.  That car was my friend.
Santa Cruz, Jalisco, Mexico, 1972
This river feeds into a bay that goes out to the ocean.
I guess literally this time it is "a van down by the river."
There certainly was no air conditioning.  No McDonald's french fries and goldfish scattered about.  No cup holders.  No GPS.  No video player.  No car seats, seat belts, or restraint system of any form.  I'm sure there was no satellite radio.  Or a cell phone at an arm's length.  No moon roof.  Surely no traveling at 65 miles per hour.

Like I said, I was quite little, so I don't remember much.  I do remember some things vividly, although I'm not sure accurately.
Central Baja, Mexico, 1972
Camping surely because the top is popped.  
There was a collection of seashells.  There was a constant rattling of canned food.  There were open windows and wind in my hair.  And Joni Mitchell.  And lots of Loggins & Messina, although I can't tell you how the music actually played.  And a mini fridge we had to put ice in to keep things cold.  And a little fold up table we ate breakfast at.  And the tiniest little closet.

I remember the sunsets even way back then.
Outside Guadalajara, Mexico, 1972
Eating watermelon on the side of the road.
I'm the little one.  Don't miss the surf boards on the roof rack.  
There was fresh fish and shrimp for almost every meal.  And amazing fresh fruit everywhere.  And there were carved sticks to roast marshmallows with at night.  And I think I remember wild flowers lying on the dash.  And sand between my toes in the morning and the heat of sunshine on my skin.  And a little Instamatic.  And of course the ocean that I learned to skin dive in at the ripe age of 3.  And the most amazing papa, that set out to intentionally raise his daughter, alone.  He was 23.  I was 3.  There was a roof rack which I rode on for hundreds of miles at the thrilling speed of 15 miles per hour because we couldn't travel any faster on those roads.
Really.
These are the things of my childhood.
1st Estuary outside Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico, 1971
My very favorite part is the bandanna around my waist turning the too-big shirt into a dress.  
Or maybe it's the little closet.
Or my dad's sunhat.
No wait... it's the fact that neither of us have shoes on.  I don't think we wore shoes for a couple years.  
Maybe I did grow up some in that van.

12 comments:

  1. Fabulous post and pics to match!!! You totally pulled me in with the title. lol
    Those were the days weren't they? No seat belts, a/c, satellite radio or cell phones. Simpler times and wonderful ones too. Thank you for sharing a little slice of your childhood. :)

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  2. What an amazing story! What amazing memories... when life was simpler (maybe???) Your kids must love these photos!

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  3. Wow! What fantastic memories! And great pictures!

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  4. Amazing! Thanks for sharing--what memories!

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  5. Oh I just love this!!! Great memories!!

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  6. Wow! Amazing pictures and such wonderful memories! :)

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  7. oh i am so very jealous of this experience! amazing photographs!

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  8. wow, what memories. such a different time. lovely pics.

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  9. I blog friend recently posted pictures of a photo shoot her sil and nephews did. In the pictures prominently displayed is her late brothers restored VW bus (it looks like a creamisicle and is SO pretty! He passed away this year but his wife drives the bus, so courageous imo).

    It's fun to look back on childhood. My kids were complaining that we had to take my husbands car for a 3 hr roundtrip trek, and gasp! there's no dvd player. I told them it could be worse. When I was a kid we had to amuse ourselves by looking out the window.

    They were stunned, lol!

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  10. An amazing post sharing some amazing memories. My family never had anything van-like... but I logged quite a few miles in the rear-facing back seats of a series of station wagons that sometimes went places their designers certainly never heard of (and probably hadn't imagined).

    Now I think I'm going to go lay down and spend some quality time just remembering... Thank you so much for sharing this! :-)

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  11. I loved reading your bio post. It made me cry (beautiful pics & story) actually because it triggered such personal nostalgia for my own sun-kissed VW van memories -- my family had the orange and white van, also. I will forever remember the smell of the fake leather, and the sound of the little compartments clicking closed... only family camping trips, etc. though... you're upbringing sounds very romantic and so interesting!

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