When I was small my family prepared for a month long cross country road trip, Florida to California, there and back again. My parents, two brothers, mother’s sister, and I would need to comfortably coexist, mile upon mile, night after day after night.
We traveled in what I called our Mystery Machine, a brown van that seemed specially made for our family, our needs. A full-sized bed folded down from the seats, my brothers and I sprawled out in luxury, years before law enforced seat belts and car seats. My parents would sleep there at night.
Bench seats surrounded a fold-out table to share our evening meal, seats that would become my nightly nest, close by my parents’ breathing, secure. A tiny refrigerator kept daily drinks chilled, a fold-down counter prepped food.
My mother sewed curtains and placed them all round the windowed perimeter of this home space, pulled into dainty x-shapes during the day, and sheltering us from night’s prying eyes.
A pop-up trailer pulled behind this wondrous, folding machine kept my aunt and brothers close by through the night. It was magical, this mystery machine, an origami creation in metal, folding, unfolding, to meet all our needs, all the way there, and back again.