Looking for SuperCar

by on June 29th, 2014
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My dad held the title, but the truck was ours. My brother, sister and I were the proud owners of the big station wagon with four doors, four wheel drive, and a fire engine red stripe across the body. The top was white, the interior was spacious, and we knew that Supercar could do anything!

Supercar was a 1964 International Harvester Travelall, and my dad was very proud of it. Sometimes instead of Supercar we called it Stanley’s Steamer (he was Stan the Man). It was Stanley’s Steamer when it was towing the travel trailer, which was our conspiracy with Dad. Mom wanted nothing to do with it, so we left her at home. The trailer had mechanical problems sometimes, but Supercar never did.

We would shout, “Go, Supercar!” as we hurtled down the freeway from Seattle to Sacramento, to Grandma’s house. Dad put a mattress in the back. In those days there were no seat belt laws, so we three would sit back there and play cards on long trips. If Mom was with us, they would take turns sleeping in the back while the other drove. Often we would occupy ourselves waving at strangers on the road to see if they would wave back. If we thought somebody’s car was cool, we would goad our dad to drive faster, so he could show them that Supercar was better!

When we went camping (which was a lot, thanks Dad) we were continually testing the limits of our indestructible vehicle. We never went to a campground. Dad knew about wonderful, undiscovered places that required maneuverability and power to get to. This was often a topic of heated debate.

“Stan, this is dangerous!”

“Don’t worry Annie, we can do it. The truck has four wheel drive. Watch this!”

“Go Supercar!” from the Peanut Gallery. Dad was always right, and Mom survived our childhood with white knuckles.

The best part was the daily bounce. To get to where we parked our Travelall, we used an alley. The alley was long and full of puddles. Dad would careen through the alley at top speed (it probably wasn’t, but it felt like it to us!) and the “three urchins” on the mattress would bounce and laugh.

If I could get a new Travelall today, I would certainly buy one. It would be fire engine red, of course!


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