Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!
Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the
gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from
so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when
either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come
and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to
another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being
the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between
children and parents. As in all relationships, communication and honesty
are needed to make this trust build and endure.
You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the
parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one
who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved
ones. You could be ‘counted on.’ In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the
good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.
This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the
seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may
wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some
kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.
When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be
on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’ friends of our own age,
whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could
‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This
meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.
You see, “double dip treat” is to combine two elements: Taxi Service and Trust.
Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since
I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!
When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a
big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would
insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,
at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been
told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick
and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our
parents to show up:
“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”
Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling
the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount
of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this
in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money
While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building
and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride
home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor
did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home
Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,
but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape
or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of
all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent
dangers in this darkness?
Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to
hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once
again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at
our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing
by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older
sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”
We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent
would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a
designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would
‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it
was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and
basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one
end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand
under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.
Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make
or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,
keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members
of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.
If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in
for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise
following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was
a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really
helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle
school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and
health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did
not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more
strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his
sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors
and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared
to his strict upbringing.
An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we
would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our
designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.
At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The
entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each
If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase
some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,
See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!
I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of
those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate
nut ice cream flavors.
Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or
‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We
would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,
where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and
parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood
houses, still leading you off the “Point.”
My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a
big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a
Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with
chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.
If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,
whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had
to get out to the car and leave!
In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival
of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the
movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.
This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part
of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them
they were usually late.
All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would
greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take
home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,
nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was
no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose
‘turns’ never were reciprocated.
When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’
as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary
students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill
Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need
to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.
We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up
something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.
Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’
for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or
weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or
instrument. My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own
children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an
example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my
brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household
cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on
an old towel and dust. Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,
then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my
favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since
I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)
You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier
and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying
them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted
this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on
combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like
babysitting or waiting tables.
My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late
read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or
smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred
we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we
had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as
we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our
car home, one to drive our besotted self home.
I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I
was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my
own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving
age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,
while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.
My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than
15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may
have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss
and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in
trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this
chance. More than once!
A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than
most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal
poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two
camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.
I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to
worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”
It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that
I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom
was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious
concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.
I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,
who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or
mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises
to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad
waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal
situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.
My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some
bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking
and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in
a car heading in the same direction.
Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes
literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a
more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to
do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to
plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have
Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To
benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.
Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your
friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and
teen years, too.
Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’
If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice
that helped you feel like you worked as a team?