Every year, for three weeks out of the summer, my family would pack their meager belongings into a van and journey to the coast. I remember sitting atop a blue cooler with the seat belt wrapped around me because we packed everything but the kitchen sink. I’m sure we would have taken that if given enough resources.
“Every piece of home we take with can save us money spent,” my father liked to say. We usually we saved every penny just to afford the yearly excursion. Yet those are some of the happiest memories of childhood that I have.
I was sixteen the first year we didn’t go. I should have known then that something was amiss, but teenagedom takes energy.
When I turned eighteen, I noticed the first bruises on my mother. I realized just how much my father drank each day and that he never seemed to go to work.
I hung around another year and worked my fingers to the bone. When I turned twenty, I packed that family van, hustled my siblings and mother inside, and journeyed once again to the coast.