My word for the year is good and it’s been helping me remember to focus on the good around me.

I think back to a season in my life that did not seem like it was good at all, my first year of high school. The year was 1997 and we were moving from Georgia to Texas. I was about to start 9th grade. 

The old family minivan got us from one state to the next, but we knew it was on it’s last leg. My parents being as eccentric as they are frugal found a 1978 Dodge Ram Van for $1000 it seemed like a steal. As a 14 year old girl I couldn’t care less about the price or dependability. In my adolescent mind image was all that mattered and I was certain that this van was going to ruin mine. We called it the good times van because it actually said “Good Times Van” in a retro style font on the side.

good times van close up

It was multi toned brown, with bubble windows and on the inside there was an enormous steering wheel, burnt orange interior, and shag carpeting. Especially as the new kid in town I did not want to be seen anywhere near the Good Times Van, but I really had no choice so I tried to make the best of it.

Little did I know that in that same year the movie Austin Powers would become a huge sensation launching my generation into a flower power revolution. A year later in 1998 That Seventies Show would premier with ratings through the roof. It was then that the grotesque mortifying whale of a vehicle would become the envy of my peers. When people saw it coming (and believe me everyone could see it coming) it was welcomed with remarks about what a sweet ride it was.


It wasn’t long before I was the one people sought to carpool with. All of my friends would pile into the van to go to concerts and we would all shift our weight from side to side causing it to rock back and forth down the road. People that I didn’t even know would stop me in the halls, “your the one with the good times van?” Yeah, that’s me, and I would beam with pride.

I know it’s just a van and it shouldn’t matter what you drive, but this memory serves as a reminder that things aren’t always as bad as they seem. What I thought was a humiliating eyesore soon brought memories that I wouldn’t trade for a million dollars.

Who knew the Good Times Van would be such a good time after all.