The Station Wagon of My Childhood

by Leigh Walkup

I was born in the late ’70s, and being an 80s-90s kid, I grew up in a station wagon. I am sure many of you can relate to my generation. I remember when I was really young, Mom had one that had wood paneling around the middle of it; in fact, I am pretty much convinced the entire thing was made of wood. At any rate, my mother ended up having a wreck and totaled that car. In my mind, the car was gone…it was the end of an era, something I was glad to say goodbye to.

However, never fear; Daddy’s here with another one ten times worse than the first one. This “new” station wagon was HIDEOUS. I absolutely despised it. I have no earthly idea where my father found this car. Wait, I take that back. I don’t know who at Chevy said, “Stop! Put the pencil down, my friends, no need to sketch any further, that right there IS the face of the NEW Station wagon” Surely, the people that approved this enormous road boat heard the words “you are fired” shortly thereafter. This station wagon was lime green. Yes, folks, you read that correctly…LIME GREEN. When I say road boat, I mean it. This thing was huge. The front seat was as wide and long as a church pew. 13 or 14 people could sit in the front and be completely comfortable. I am convinced you could hold a concert in the front seat, and comfort wouldn’t have been a complaint. (sidenote.. I found this cool photo that kind of combines the two! ha!)

The back seat of this car was a good football field length away from the front seat. This was not the car where your mother could reach back with her arm to the back seat and grab “a holt” of ya. Remember that threat? “You better be nice to your sister! You don’t want me to reach back there!” Yeah, I don’t ever remember that threat because there was no way she could have reached anything in the back seat from the front of this vehicle. I guess this was the ultimate family car back in my day. My parents could throw me and Anne and half our first-grade class in the way way back; we could play My Little Ponies all the way to town while my Mom and Dad listened to Willie and Waylon and solved all the world’s problems. I was tossed around so much in that way back seat that I should have probably worn a helmet. 

Later in life, as I got older, that car became my nemesis. The thought of my mom picking me up at school in the green machine would be an UTTER embarrassment, something this little cheerleader could barely mentally handle. Believe it or not, a flood would carry that car way down a creek years later. I was so excited. Until my mother hired someone to drag it out of the creek bed with a bulldozer, here it came like the Loch Ness Monster to haunt me. 

Of course, wouldn’t you know that station wagon started right up! What are the chances? That green station wagon’s only purpose in life was to haunt me and, of course, to NEVER DIE.

Eventually, I left home, went to college, and then moved to Lexington, Kentucky, years later. I rented a house with some friends, and what was sitting in the driveway next door? No, seriously, I can’t make this up. The Loch Ness Monster, the exact green station wagon of my youth. It was still alive. I laughed and laughed when I called my mom.

I look back on that big wagon and think fondly of it now. It was a great car, and it served its purpose, which was to embarrass me as I grew up and became an adult. It’s funny how things turn out; my little nemesis, growing up, became a treasured memory.

Message from a Reader:

“This is so funny…my grandparents had the SAME station wagon! my brothers and cousins and I all rolled around in the back of it (before seat belt laws). We could see that sucker coming from miles away and would get so excited because Meemaw and Peepaw were coming to get us! My grandfather used to let us sit on his lap and steer it around the church parking lot. My grandmother had a lead foot and drove it like a nascar driver! I MISS those days! Cheers to the lime green station wagon!!-Mara

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