Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mama's in the back seat, hookin' up the car seat . . .

. . . Barky's on the pavement, wonderin' 'bout the guvmint.

This weekend we installed the car seat, which fits perfectly. We didn't even have to adjust the base to level it--we just belted the base in, then clipped in the seat. It does keep me from pushing my seat all the way back--but only by one or two clicks. I've also found that, in our small car, I can't stretch my arm across the back of the passenger seat because my elbow hits the car seat, but neither of those is a big deal.

We've left it in the back seat since then, so Barky can get used to it. He's not too happy that he can't stretch all the way across the back seat, nose on one door, tip of his tail on the other door, but he long ago resigned himself to the fact that we're a pain in his ass, so he took it in stride, although he does still give us dirty looks right when he gets in the car. I tell him to blame the guvmint. They're the ones who make us do it.

Back when I was a lad, when there were no car seat laws, my parents got a VW bus, so I could ride in my portacrib as we drove around. Hey, everyone thought it was safe at the time. Plus, they needed room my five siblings in addition to my portacrib, making the bus a perfect solution. Until the report came out that said that in a head-on collision, both the driver and passenger were likely to lose their legs. My folks didn't think it would be a service to the six of us if that happened to them, so they sold it. Too bad, 'cause that would've been stylin' to drive to college . . . if one of my older siblings hadn't already gotten it by then.

It's not all being spoiled when you're the youngest; there's a lot of hand-me-downs mixed in with the spoiling.

We do still have the powder blue 1962 Ford Falcon station wagon, however. With the cow horn, which led my high school friends to call it the Moosemobile. Two words about the Moose: Out. Standing. For those who don't know, the first Mustang was essentially a Falcon with a different body, so the Moose has got a lot of pickup. And the cigarette lighter works, as does the vacuum tube AM radio.

In addition to the straight-6 engine, it's got the bench seats, the huge back, the roof rack, the 25 mpg--and why can't we do better than that today?, the curved glass front and back, and the beautiful body panels and chrome. Even Barky can't resist the chrome.

The only downside of the Moose: only two seatbelts, which my parents had to order as an optional extra in 1962. The originals just had friction latches, but they wore out a coupla' years ago, so now there are real lap belts up front with real latches. Not that the lap belt will keep you from creasing your forehead on the Queen Mary-sized steel--yeah, steel--steering wheel when your head snaps forward, although it did hold me in place when I did an O-turn in an enclosed space. For the record, everything would have been fine if they didn't put the guard rails so close to the road.

Although the Moose is certainly big enough to accommodate Baby Boy Bradstein's car seat, the lack of belts means that he is going to have to wait awhile before he gets to ride in it. It's no Aston Martin, but I have a feeling that he'll love it, nonetheless.


  1. Anonymous7:16 PM

    AHHHH you almost lost me with the car seat rant..... then you pulled me back in with the car!!!! Can I see more outside pics of the car?? The King wants the ride.

  2. Ours is powder blue, as you saw, but those are the only pics I have of the Moose. Brother #2 might have some somewhere, but in case he doesn't have any (or the time to load them up), you can see lots of pics of a 62 in sweet condition that's for sale.

    Check the promo posters at the bottom. The one on the bottom right shows the two door wagon. Say what? Yeah. They made a two door wagon. As it says, safer for kids, who couldn't pop open a door from the back seat and fly out. Because, back in 62, if you pulled up on the handle from inside, if the door was locked, it would unlock and let you out. That's a convenience, see.

    Of course, these days, no one in their right mind with a kid in a car seat would get a two door wagon with a bench seat if they could avoid it. Can you imagine lifting a car seat over the top of the bench front seat? With a baby in it? Baby can stay in the car and guard that AM radio. Just kidding, before someone calls the kid cops.

    Even though, back in the day, Mom would leave all six of us in the car while she ran in places. Of course, the older kids were savvy enough that if it got hot, they'd get us out--as if it would get hot in the beautiful Bay Area. Plus, who would want to steal the six of us? Perhaps a renegade Catholic or Mormon? (Again, just kidding . . .)

  3. I was sitting in the big chair in my bedroom, trying to finish Lolita for book club late on Sunday afternoon, when I heard a baby's cry. I thought "Who the hell in this buiding currently has an already-born baby?" and I looked outside. Just then, your lovely family was walking out to the car with car seat in tow. What timing! You looked like such a nice little family - mom, dad, invisible baby in the car seat (still hiding in mom), and Barky!

  4. That's the nicest thing to say. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I read it to Mama as we walked out to head to NYC on Friday night, and she was touched by how sweet it is.