Standing in my mother’s shoes (The Drive, Day 1 minus 14 years, 11 hours)

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Gary’s mom is serving the equivalent of a last supper. She’s piling our plates with his favorite foods: fresh sweet corn from a neighbor’s farm, three-bean salad, beer-soaked bratwurst and peanut butter potato salad. But I’m so nervous I can barely eat. I wonder if the night before my mother left she fared any better. So I dig out the Harlequin romance-size pink leather journal she gave me and my worries shrivel in comparison.

Banks, Oregon

In 1973 mom wasn’t setting off on a grand adventure. On Drive Day 1 minus 44 years, she was still grieving the loss of her only son. His accidental death behind our trailer in the Oregon woods destroyed life as she knew it and the only way she and my father could cope was by running away. Their plan was to drive to the end of the road, as far away from the heartbreak as mechanically possibly. In pencil-tentative handwriting, she left this dedication: “In memory of John John, who made this trip possible for his 2 sisters.”

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my website or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.


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