As told by Nikki Bandurski, Management Supervisor
Senior week was a big deal when I was growing up and my friends and I dreamt of the day when we would be old enough to go.
Fortunately, times were different back then and we were given the green light by our parents to go in our sophomore year. Full of youthful excitement, we planned and plotted for this long-awaited moment in our lives.
But where to go? And how were we going to get there?
After careful consideration and some advice from our peers we selected the fine coastal enclave of Ocean City, Maryland. But again, how were we going to get there? My father, God bless him somehow allowed us to use the family minivan complete with roof carrier for luggage. The perfect senior week assault vehicle had been found!
Before leaving town, my dad imparted only one warning to us all. “Whatever you do, do not under any circumstance take that roof carrier off. It’s on, but it’s not working perfectly. It’ll get you there and back, but do not take it off!”
Brimming with excitement we all nodded our complete understanding of my father’s words and began our senior week journey.
If you’ve never been to senior week in Ocean City, Maryland, allow me to paint a quick picture. Thousands of unsupervised high school-aged kids who’ve been snowed in, cooped up and generally ready to rage for 5 months are let loose on a beachside boardwalk community.
It’s a scene to say the least and let’s face it, driving around in that environment in a mini-van isn’t cool to begin with, so driving around in a mini-van with a roof carrier on was just unacceptable. Surely my father would understand. The roof carrier had to come down to save our reps.
After some prying, wrenching and general blunt force, we managed to pull the roof carrier off and lay it safely in our rental house for the remainder of the week. Then before we left, we would simply put the carrier back on and head home. Easy as pie.
The week was a blur, as all senior weeks tend to be, and our day of departure finally arrived. Once again, with some prying, wrenching and blunt force, we reattached the roof carrier to the minivan, packed it up and set off, all of us sun burnt, beat down and stone cold quiet from the past 7 days.
Somewhere in central Pennsylvania a strange noise began to occur. At first it was a small squeaking noise, but that increased to what can only be described as a cross between a plane’s propellor being started and the roof ripping completely off the minivan.Slowly, but then all at once we came to the realization that this horrendous noise was coming from the roof carrier. At that moment we heard a loud pop and then as if being methodically tossed, the entire carrier tore free of its bonds and soared with a wing-like quality into the air, before smashing to the interstate pavement behind us releasing all our luggage over 3-lanes.
The only way I can describe the scene is to say it looked like a yard sale. A yard sale full of oncoming traffic. How we ever managed to gather up the remains of our highway-beaten luggage is still a mystery to me, but once all was eventually accounted for, we assessed the situation.
Luggage? Check. Roof carrier? No check. It was toast. Laying in a dozen pieces spread across a quarter mile of busy interstate. My fate was sealed, there was nothing more to do than drive home, albeit with my tattered luggage on my lap, home to my father to deliver the news that his warning was not heeded.
So, how did he take it? My father is many things, and fortunately for me, a forgiving man is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, he was furious, but also happy we were safe.