I saw him pass by Depot Grill. Parked alone in a lot across the street. Far from the door of dingers and onlookers. I stopped and took some pictures. You see, when I was a little boy, there was a wagon like this in every third aisle in the neighborhood. This one needs a bit of bodywork. Some sanding on the roof and around the wheel arches. Otherwise, he looks in great shape. Keep in mind that the steel in these older cars was very thick.
They were thick on American roads
As I drove, I felt old. You would have to go back more than 60 years to see one in a movie. The thing is, Ford wagons and Chevy Bel Airs were at one point thicker on American highways than Minnesota mosquitoes. I also have a friend named Ford Wagoner. He says he was being harassed for his name, which also belonged to his father and grandfather!
Station wagons were a symbol of the American family until the early 1980s. New fuel consumption standards exempted certain trucks, and minivans were classified as trucks. The wagons weren’t, and they’ve mostly disappeared.
Holidays, groceries and wood carriers
My dad had a huge Dodge Polara wagon and it was our vacation car. It was a sand yacht. Before the energy crisis of 1973, it took us to the mountains and to Washington, D.C. They could carry supplies, wood, and sometimes several cousins for a visit.
I saw a meme on social media and it shows a wagon stopped along the shoulder of a road. The gate is closed and mom is making sandwiches with a cooler. I know the drill. It was cheaper than McDonald’s. My parents love the holidays, but also pinched every penny. They could make Lincoln scream!
Good time. Long gone. The present has its moments. The future scares me a little. The past was very pleasant and becomes more so every day in my personal rear view mirror.
SEE: 30 toys that defined the 70s
WATCH: See how much gas it cost the year you started driving
Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover how much a gallon cost when you first started driving.