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Family Flashes…



Every now and then, my brain goes traveling down Memory Lane for no specific reason. And it comes back with a totally random very specific piece of my past.

Usually something that has to do with my childhood.

Chéri is very familiar with these Family Flashes, because I always feel the need to share them with him, when they happen.

I thought I’d start a little series, like a scrapbook of these tiny bits of my life.


Little Bro and I were born two and a half years apart. Which doesn’t seem like a big gap now, but back when we were children, it was probably enough to create some frictions between us.

Not that we needed any reason to fight. As much as I think we cared for eachother, we also fought a lot. And I like to joke by saying that we were like cats and dogs until we left the family nest, and went solo, our seperate ways.

Back then, we lived very far away from Mom and Dad’s families. Which meant long, very long car rides with each holiday of the calendar.

Our family car was a Volkswagen Rabbit (for those of you who remember the model), certainly not the most spacious vehicule known to man.

With only a couple of inches between the two of us, and about eight hours to kill, it would have been a miracle if we hadn’t declared war on the backseat. If your year of birth starts with a 2, you probably can’t imagine it, but we didn’t have any smart phone, tablet, portable DVD player or anything like it to entertain ourselves. Even the Gameboy wasn’t invented yet.

So yeah, fighting didn’t require any prompt or accessory, although agreeing on desperately both wanting a specific toy was a great way to get started.

I must say that Mom and Dad were very patient, because I don’t remember many episodes of car-confined scolding… But Little Bro and I did cross the line a couple of times.

And once, Dad was brilliant and quite creative to put an end to the backseat chaos. It probably would catch the Youth Department’s attention nowadays, but back in the early 1980s, I think it was a genious way to bring an abrupt end to a pointless fight.

I can only guess that Little Bro and I had gotten our fair share of warnings, and that we had ignored them bluntly, thinking ”what can Dad do while he’s driving on the highway?”. But that was underestimating Dad.

Obviously overwhelmed with our ongoing fighting, he pulled over the side of the road, and the car came to a stop. Dad stepped out of the car, and pushed his seat forward, as if we were about to get out of the Rabbit.

He didn’t yell, and to my souvenir, he didn’t even seem that angry.

”Okay” – He said – ”You two obviously can’t get along. So we’re going to have to get rid of one of you. But that’s not my call… It’s up to you. Who do we leave here on the side of the road?”

We didn’t expect that.

Dad insisted, which triggered our siblings’ bond. And neither of us could point at the other.

”Ok then, should we get going? But if we do, you’ll have to behave…”

And with that simple five minutes-long intervention, Dad had bought himself hours of peaceful driving.

Dad rules! I hope I’m half as witty as he was and still is. 


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