Monday, December 15, 2008
(Now when everyone is worried about the economy, politics and gas prices, it might help to remember that we've been here before, so to speak. When I was a teen in the 1970s, we had gas rationing, which caused the following now humorous day. The photo is my sis and me in 1976. I'm the brunette on the left in the coral dress, she's blond, in the flowered dress).
As the Dean of Students read the excuse my mother had carefully and thoroughly written out, she began to laugh. The more she read, the harder she laughed. “Please excuse my daughters from school yesterday,” it began…
“Don’t ride the bus tomorrow,” our friend Cheryl told my sister and me. “I’ll give you a ride to school.” This was fine with us! So the next morning we waited for Cheryl to show up. And waited. And waited. Suddenly she showed up at our door, and we thought we were in business. But when she came in, we realized she had walked…and she did not look happy!
“Where have you been? Where is your car? What’s going on?” we quizzed her as she caught her breath.
“My car won’t start. I tried to call you, but you never answered.”
“Our phone never rang,” my sister explained as Mom went and picked it up. Sure enough, it was out of order.
“What are we going to do?” wailed my sister. “The bus will be gone by now!”
“Come on, girls, I’ll take you,” Mom offered, and since we were in a hurry, she didn’t even bother to dress. We didn’t get out of the driveway, however, before she realized we were running extremely low on gas. “Oh, great!” she exclaimed. “Oh, well, at least it’s our day. We’ll just have to get gas on the way.”
This was the mid-70’s and an energy crisis was in full tilt. President Carter had declared energy saving measures, such as turning off the lights in rooms you weren’t using, and gas rationing. You could only get gas on certain days of the week, and luckily it was our turn. So Mom pulled into the first gas station she came to. It was full-service, which for the younger among you means employees of the gas station actually came out and pumped our gas for us, so we would be spared the spectacle of Mom pumping gas in her curlers and pink bathrobe. Unfortunately, we had all forgotten one tiny but crucial detail. Because of the rationing, people were siphoning gas out of other people’s cars, so my step-dad had installed a brand new lock on the gas tank. One for which he had the key, at home on his keychain.
“Well, we simply do not have enough gas to get you girls to school!” Mom concluded. “You’ll just have to try again tomorrow.”
And home we went, where Mom wrote the note the Dean decided to frame and hang on her wall.