Remember the day when ‘full size’ autos actually existed?

By Joanne Peterson | Aug 29, 2013

Last Saturday morning, my daughter Lisa and my grandchildren Adam and Abby drove to Edmonds from West Seattle.  I walked over to meet them at my brother’s place; by the time I arrived, he was comfortably seated in the front seat of her SUV, ready for an adventure.

I, of course, was delighted to climb into the back seat with my 4-year-old and 2-year-old grandchildren. But wait.  Could I actually do this? My grandchildren’s car seats are mammoth -- great sturdy structures lashed firmly into place. The space between their two seats? Laughably narrow.

My daughter encouraged me. “Mom. You just have to get in sideways,” she said. “You can do it.”

Well, yes, of course I could. First I climbed across Adam, who was much amused at having his grandmother fall into his lap as she struggled to access her own space in the back seat.

I managed to make it to the edge of my space, where it became apparent that Lisa wasn’t kidding. The only way I would ever get into that space was by going in sideways.

This took a while. It took quite a while. It took a long time. Did I mention that it was hot? And that Miss Abby was becoming restless, flinging dolls and elbows every which way?

Eventually, I was able to wedge myself into my tiny space. Adam enjoyed the entire process, commenting that he could fit into that middle seat with no problem. I said I probably would be more comfortable in his car seat, so perhaps his mother would let us trade places. No, she would not. By now, she had the motor running.

“Grandma!” yelled Adam. “Your seat belt!”  Oh, no. How could I have forgotten?  So I twisted and turned and reached until finally I conquered the seat belt puzzle. When I sat back, I discovered there was no room for my arms, which were semi-crossed, jutting out at odd angles.

Adam took the opportunity to inspect the backs of my hands, poking at my veins and exclaiming, “Grandma! You’re OLD, aren’t you? You are really, REALLY OLD!”

I could tell his mother was laughing. I said something clever, something like, “Oh, honey, LOOK! A fire truck!” which took his attention from my aged hands while he looked in vain for the fire truck. I’ve no doubt there was one somewhere nearby. We headed north.

So what was the big adventure? It was the “Imagine Children’s Museum” in Everett.  It’s a dandy big place where kids can climb on a tractor or into a tree house, milk a pretend cow, drive a plane or a bus, play with trains, serve plastic food in a play kitchen, make glowing patterns with fluorescent rods in a dark room, splash in water (!) and run distractedly from one area to another.  Good family fun. I enjoyed it all.

Then I had to get back into the car.

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