Monday, February 27, 2012

How did we survive?

Childhood bliss

These are not the forced nostalgia pages, but I got on a roll while assisting the fashionista with several car repairs yesterday. We began to share stories. She led by telling of a girlfriend's auto accident and how she just barely saved her flying dog from a trip through the windshield.

I countered with a story of the not so distant past. Younger readers are free to disbelieve this story. Those of us of a certain age know the tale to be true. If I'm lying, I'm dying.

Ancient child car seat


In the not too distant past, automobiles were not equipped with safety features we now expect, yet no longer think about. Minor things like seat belts, or seat back locks to secure front seat backs from flopping over when you stop.

The 2 photos above are of child car seats. Observe the second photo and notice how the kiddie seat is only secured by the 2 hooks that go over the FRONT seat back, a seat back which is unlocked and will likely flop down, projecting the innocent rider head first towards the dash or wind screen, should the car stop suddenly. Save for the plastic belt which must be a much later addition, all that's missing is the car seat's play steering wheel, a common option of the day.

If you remember how our mother's saved us from annihilation, an act she instinctively continued all her life, long after all her chicks were out of car seats, long after seat belts arrived, raise your hand.

Leave your answer as a comment. Those too young to remember wouldn't believe me anyway.

It's a wonder we lived to see 5.

Toad

16 comments:

Martha said...

It's the old arm movement -- swing your arm over to protect your young! My mom did it to us . . . and I did it to my DD -- for she's old enough that we didn't really have car seats either!

Martha said...

Oh, and I still instinctively do it even though there is no young in the seat next to me -- when I have to brake suddenly!

JeanMarie said...

Reflex right arm action is useful for large handbag that now occupies passenger seat.

Amy said...

Extending the right arm instantly while hitting the brakes, of course. Once we were old enough to have outgrown these safety devices, we had to sit in the back seat of my mother's car, which did not even have seat belts. Yet we still draw breath.

Your banner picture brings back lovely memories -- I grew up outside of Washington, DC when this marvelous sculpture was at the end of Hains Point, across from National Airport. It's been moved to National Harbor now and is still a favorite thing on which to climb, but for the next generation these days.

Kathy said...

I also do the arm thing in the car. Of course, I also instinctively reach for my grown son's hand when we cross the street together. I almost cry when he holds my hand too!

Anonymous said...

I do the automatic extended right arm, and I'm not even a mother; but I HAD a mother who did it to ME, so I do it!

Oh I love thinking about this, thank you for the memory....

-Flo

Toad said...

I'm getting teary reading your stories.

Living Life in the Lowcountry said...

My mom used to do the arm thing and my husband still does it to this day! If one of the teens is in the front seat when he does it, they look at him like he is crazy and ask what him what he is doing! They have no idea!
I always like to remember STANDING up on the floor board of the back and kind of holding on to the top of the front seat as we flew down the highway! No one thought a thing about it!

Suburban Princess said...

It's a bit like pulling a puppet's strings isn't it? One foot slams on the brakes...one arm shoots out across a child.

My own my still does the same thing if I happen to be in her car.

Heather said...

I'm guessing you mean the arm instinctively thrown across the passenger seat

Pigtown*Design said...

and riding in the "way-backs" of the station wagon, with the window rolled down, and all of us hanging out.

Toad said...

Meg, I had forgotten that one

Terri said...

I don't recall this myself, but my mother recalls that my father liked to drive with me standing up beside him on the seat and then he would tap the brake to entertain me. Survive, indeed.

Pink Benny said...

My oldest daughter (40's now), was especially fond of the car seat that simply sat on the front seat of our Ford LTD bench style seats. It had a plastic steering wheel and the little rubber/plastic horn actually honked. Thank God the good old days are gone and my grandkids now have a reasonable explectation of safety in an automobile.

Stockton Andrews II said...

Usually Mom or Dad's right arm hand was holding a lit cigarette. Flying hot ashes...ouch. Not complaining though;it kept me from kissing the unpadded dashboard. And I can't leave out riding in the bed of Dad's pick-up and having a great time as we hurtled down the freeway at top speed!

Toad said...

You no longer see kids with their heads out the side windows like a dog anymore either