Then and now traveling with kids

Car trips with kids have certainly changed since the 50’s when I rode in the back seat of a station wagon with my brothers and sisters. Recently I rode in the front seat of a van with young grandchildren to a family reunion. Much has changed ­ even from when I had young children.
For one thing, in 2017, the baby’s car seat does not yield to anyone sitting beside it. Its straps do not yield to the one-year-old’s wiggles. Mostly, she played contentedly with toys her brother handed her, sucked drinks and delicately nibbled bits of food.
In 1978, our baby sat under the glove compartment accepting snacks, drinks and toys through the 12 hour trip to my parents’ house. The station wagon’s seat belts went unused most of the 12 hour drive. Instead, the boys laid on the seat, the floor or across the pile of suitcases.
In 1959, I played in the back. Seat belts and baby car seats did not exist. My mother created a shelf of beds on suitcases circling the back of the station wagon where we slept late into the night and played during the day.
In 2017, the kids forced to sit all day beneath shoulder straps and seat belts had permission to play on their electronic game tablets and watch hours of DVDs on the drop down screen that came with the van.
My voice would have enjoyed that in 1978 when I read aloud the Narnia Series and the Lord of the Ring Trilogy to break up the monotony of the road. Better that than bored kids pestering each other and whining, “He’s looking at me.”
Wait, even electronics gadgets have not changed pestering each other.
As teenagers in 1967 my brothers and sisters and I spent our cross country trip reading, sleeping, writing letters and trying to find license plates from other states. We did not have cell phones to stare at, just miles of scenery.
In 1957 traveling with my mother meant short stops at the grocery store. We waited and played in the car while she bought white bread and a pound of thick sliced bologna. She slapped meat between two slices of bread and handed us our sandwiches.
I told my husband that. He added, “and a bit of mayo.”
“No mayo. Just bread and bologna,” I emphasized.
In 1967, my sisters and I took turns sitting in the rear of the station wagon with the cooler of food and spread mayo on bread to make cold cut sandwiches for everyoyne else in the swagon.
In 2017, the van pulled up to the fast food window and we ordered hamburgers, some with and some without mayo. Then we handed each child a neatly wrapped and identified sandwich.
I loved the heated seat heating my back in 2017. It kept me warm and the back seat kids did not suffocate from the heat.
The heat of summer in in the south and southwest demands air, lots of air in the car. My brother always said our wagon had a 260 air conditioner: open two windows and drive 60 miles per hour.
Now when the temperature outside goes up, so do the van window. We want to keep the air conditioner’s cool air inside the van.
As our recent trip ended, I discovered one thing had not changed: Kids’ road weary whines, “are we there yet?” and their tired mom’s response, “No, and if you don’t quit asking ….”
Proving again, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.