But this, and the fact I was posting to a “vacations memories” thread on Ars, reminded me of my first trip to New York City.
We never went on “vacations” as a family, per se. As I have mentioned before, my father owned a big yacht, and we got dragged there every weekend (including many winter weekends when the water was shut off to the marina), and some summers for a week at a time. That was so fucking miserable, I won’t even go into it because it’s a severe bummer and I am depressed enough today, but I will add that it ended when the social workers got involved.
As a kid, sometimes we all went somewhere, but it was usually task oriented. The first time I ever went to New York City, for instance, was because my dad wanted to buy a Lincoln Continental Mark V from some guy. My dad was so frugal, when he wanted to buy anything, he’d scour papers even to the point of scouring other state papers in the local library. This was way before the Internet going “public” (1979, IIRC). So he found this guy who was selling exactly what he wanted for around the price he was willing to pay (cheap) so we drove to NYC, and stayed in Times Square, which was the pr0n district at the time. Our hotel (which was fairly nice) faced the 25 cent peep shows. Luckily, my parents had no hangups about these sorts of things, and my mother considered it one big joke. I must have been about 10 or 11 while my mom made snickering comments about what was there, and maybe we should go look because, hey, it was only a quarter (we didn’t go, though).
We only went out on the streets once. My father was a guy who loved to walk everywhere, and he had this... annoying habit of wandering off from me or my mom. Really, like if you stopped to look at something, he’d keep going, unconcerned. My father left me at the mall many times, and I either had to go to the mall office or take the bus home. My father’s comments (and he said this to my mom as well), “You should have kept up,” followed by his usual laughter. My mother had tales of being left in cities of Europe, and so quickly figured out that if she wanted to stop, she didn’t care if my dad went off or not because she often had the money. But she lost a lot of that spunk in her older days, and so we had to run along after him, while he made fun of our complaining. I recall the Twin Towers, Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty all in one day... on foot and ferry. We were so worn out by the end of the day, my mother insisted we take a cab back to the hotel. My feet hurt remembering it, and there’s a scene in “Crocodile Dundee,” where Mick has to plow through all these people, and at certain times, it was just like that; like plowing through a rock concert audience going in the other direction.
The guy who eventually sold us the car was a character right out of “The Sopranos.” An overweight Italian guy named “Eli” who lived in a big apartment next to a neon sign. My father sent me to “play” with the daughter, a girl who couldn’t have been more than 7, and we didn’t speak to one another much (she spoke to no one, I was nearby). But I remember she had the deepest Brooklyn accent I had ever heard on such a prissy little thing.
“Yeah, I gots da Hwaly Hawbbie Dawl, but she don’t weah no makeup, ‘cuase dat’s slutty.“
She was ”daddy’s little angel,“ though, and when we finally got the car, for weeks afterwards, we found all sorts of little girl things jammed in the seat cushions and under the seats (normal stuff like barrettes, child’s lip gloss, candy wrappers, etc). It took two years to get the cigar smoke out of there. My mother joked for years we should check for dead bodies hidden in the trunk or door panels, and it was always a debate how legal the sale really was (cash in hand, registration looked forged). But that car ran for 15 more years before my father sold it.
There were trips to California, too, but those weren’t so nice because my parents fought a lot, and my mother got drunk, and I had to deal with my father’s rage about it. Sure sucked at Disneyland... :(