The Way Way Back Movie is Taking Me Way Way Back…

Family summer vacation


I keep seeing the trailer for the new movie called The Way Way Back, a coming of age story that takes place during a teenager’s summer vacation and it’s taking me way, way back to one of my family trips as a teen…

Why do parents always think road trips are going to be fun? It’s like they have this dreamy idea of how a family vacation is going to be without thinking logically about the reality of it until they are smack in the middle of nowhere trapped in a car full of cranky family members.

My mother, like any hopeful parent, had this very idea, and in the Summer of 1987, packed us up in the car and headed to the Oregon coast.

Except that we lived in California, so a road trip to Oregon was about two full days in the car. And this particular car was carrying me, about 12 years old at the time and already angsty, my 6 year old brother who never managed a car trip even thirty minutes without puking, my 70 year old Nana, with a 3-pack a day smoking habit, and my mom’s boyfriend at the time, who of course, I despised {though in all honesty I quite liked and respected, but I didn’t want anyone to know that of course, I was 12}.

The car, a small sedan, was not even close to big enough for all the personalities within it, and there were no smart phones or devices to keep us from killing each other.

Family summer vacation

my mom’s boyfriend and I

And we were off. And about 45mins into the trip we had to pull over to let my brother projectile vomit his two bowls of cereal while Nana took a smoke break. Nana had shotgun privileges most of the time while my mom’s boyfriend drove, sharing his vast knowledge of anything he may have seen along the way, as if we cared. My mom sat in the backseat with my brother and I, who had only travel Checkers and a few travel style board games to keep us busy, but they weren’t enough.

After what seemed like a week of driving in the car, we finally pulled into a cheap motel for the night with two adjoining rooms. One room for Nana and another room for the rest of us. Except Nana wasn’t happy and would sneak cigarettes in her non-smoking room, as if no one could smell it. Needless to say, none of us got enough sleep to keep us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for another day-long car ride the following day to the Oregon coast.

Family summer vacation

the always stylish Nana, in a foul mood, smoking

But we finally made it. And as we arrived, realized my uncle and aunt, their two boys and infant daughter had already set up home on the campground with their RV and tents. This was going to be interesting. We all embraced and said our hellos and then got busy setting up our own sleeping stations. Oh camping. I can’t remember if I shared a tent with my mom or my grandma but all I can remember is that I wanted to go home.

Of all the places I could have imagined going that Summer as a know-it-all bratty tween, a family vacation that consisted of sleeping in tents and hanging out with my mom’s boyfriend, my Nana, and my Uncle and a bunch of little kids, was not my idea of a fun Summer. I was cranky and bored and wanted to see my friends, or at least people my own age to have fun with.

Family summer vacation

Uncle Bob

And then someone mentioned there was some sort of communal recreation room on the camp ground… so I wandered over. And when I opened the door, it was like my Summer vacation dreams had come true. The room was filled with girls and boys between the ages of 11-14 playing pool and ping pong, and just doing what young adults do, chatting and acting like they’re grown-ups.

I was thrilled. I had found my people! And by the end of the day, left the rec room with a major crush on one of the boys. This vacation just went from horrible to fantastic in a matter of hours. I spent the rest of the trip getting “cute” and hanging out in the rec room to spend time with my new crush. Of course nothing happened because we were only 12 and only there for a few days but that rec room and that boy turned my frown upside down. And as we were packing up to leave, I didn’t want to go. And not just because of the thought of that two-day car ride again, I was actually having fun.

Family summer vacation

Family summer vacation

Road trips still aren’t my cup of tea, but I think on this awkward family Summer vacation I learned to just sit back and enjoy the ride because there is always some kind of a silver lining on the other side.

Note: my mom sent me all these photos via text last night ;)

The Way Way Back movie

THE WAY WAY BACK opens July 5 in select theaters!

* Official website | The Way Way Back movie
* Like The Way, Way Back on Facebook
* Follow @TheWayWayBack on Twitter #TheWayWayBack

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LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, and home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life with her husband and adorable dogs, two Frenchies & an old Pug in wheels. Here you will find her talking about their journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation up to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life.

6 Comments

  • Jennifer

    June 27, 2013 | Reply

    Aw I actually can’t wait to take my family on road trips/camping. I grew up doing that and we always had fun!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  • Mana

    June 27, 2013 | Reply

    My family wasn’t the vacation type. Especially not the road trip type, but I do plan on taking a road trip here soon to see my best friend because she lives way way way to far away.

    Mana
    Fashion and Happy Things

  • susyhomemaker

    June 27, 2013 | Reply

    Haha. That’s a great story. It’s funny how we look back at stories from our childhood and see them differently than when we were children.

    Nice way to tie into the premise of the movie. Looks like a good flick.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • gheidi

    June 27, 2013 | Reply

    Oh…the memories this produces. I think you can safely say we all had to endure the dreaded family road trip. My parents thought it a great idea (ok, just my dad cause Mom knew she’d have to do all the work) of leasing a motorhome for a year. The first trip left much to be desired but then we added a boat and off road motorcycles to the mix and it became loads of fun. Now we tell stories of spending Christmas in a grocery store parking lot in Colorado. We’d never be able to do that in these days of restrictive government and RV parks! Now…six people in a Grand Prix for two days…and a cat….and a Salem menthol smoking Mom…and (drum roll) one 8-track tape to listen to for those 2 days. THAT was misery. That 8 track player got so hot and I was the one who had to sit in the middle and the only place to put my feet was on that blasted player. The Moody Blues will never be on any top 10 ten list of mine!

  • Anonymous

    June 28, 2013 | Reply

    What a coincidence……..I left my radio on last night and awakened to “ONCE UPON A TIME” (Tony Bennett) and now I’m listening to other singers/versions such as Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. (Youtube) Brings back plenty of heartfelt, true-to-life memories from long ago…..

  • astr!d

    June 28, 2013 | Reply

    as a parent, you do have these perfect expectations of a wonderful vacation. complete with no sibling fights, peace, glitter covered memories and slow-mo picture perfect moments just like in the movies. and -gasp- FUN!!! and why? because that’s what we want!!! we want a peaceful fun time! but alas, we always wind up with sick, cranky children, someone with bad breath, and traffic jams only to reach our destination frazzled, stressed, and needing an adult beverage! but we do it anyway bc that’s what families do. then in a few years we forget how terrible the trip was and remember fun things and you realize you did actually have a good time and have wonderful (and realistic) memories!!! thanks for sharing!!

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