About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. Dear Mel,

    THANK you so much for the revival. We’ve been talking to drive-ins, 8-tracks and bell bottom pants. They’ve all given us a firm ‘no.’ But with this photo, you’ve given all of us on the staff here some real hope.

    Keep on Truckin’!



  2. Allen Parker

    Vans! Oh, yes. I remember the days of driving to Va. Beach in an old Ford van with the windows down, Robbin Thompson blaring Candy Apple Red through the speakers, and the girls dressed in bikinis with tee shirts pulled over top.

    And eight miles to the gallon. At 35(where’s the damn cent key) a gallon, it took two of us to pay for the gas down and back. Fortunately, the van slept four comfortably back then.

    I guess those days have come and gone. Now, the vans are so much smaller (or I am so much bigger) that two of us must be very close to sleep in a van. But I still love the Two B’s Please album.

    • Allen, I filled the tank last week and nearly fell over. I’ve never spent that much on gas in my life!

      I have fond memories of our various vans growing up, but the best was when a deer ran into the side of the van WHILE WE WERE DRIVING DOWN THE HIGHWAY and it’s antler went through the tiny window WHERE I WAS SLEEPING. Fortunately the screen stopped it from impaling me, but I had glass in my hair for a week.

    • Sweet. Ibis was driving a F-150 SuperCab prior to us moving. My dad took it off our hands and drove it before the van. I think he has a thing for customization.

      btw, Ibis’ truck was named Tiger.

  3. Gary Hooyenga

    Hey, beats walking and actually it gets 14mpg on the highway unless you drive like Melanie at something akin to double the limits. Besides refrigerators can hold lots of stuff and look at the bright side. Did you ever see anyone want to hit a refrigerator….

    • All excellent points.

      I actually drive pretty slowly because it freaks me out that I can’t see on the sides or out the back. It took me two hours on the drive from Chicago before I broke 60mph.

  4. Oh man! My grandpa had one of those and passed it down through the generations, luckily I never had to have it, but hey – it’s wheels right? Love the refrigerator line – classic!

  5. Oooh, I feel for you! I used to have a Jeep Cherokee, and when gas went up, OMG. I was spending $75 twice a week, and I WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE!

    Yeah, I got rid of it in a matter of weeks, LOL. I do miss it, though. Especially now: it would have been perfect for our current lifestyle, although I would’ve missed the Wrangler more.

  6. Nadine

    Sweet wheels! I had to borrow my mom’s van back in ’96 because my car got totaled (not my fault, someone hit me) and I wasn’t old enough to do a rental car.

    Vans are so hard to park! It was a nice way to take all of my friends somewhere (on the positive side) but I was so glad when I got a smaller ride.

    • I cannot park this thing at all, at least not if there are other cars nearby. Fortunately I’m running all my errands during the day when the parking lots are fairly empty. I just park far away from the entrance.

      Not being able to change lanes kinda sucks.

  7. JLC

    The hubs loves vans. He had one in college… (Ok, let the jokes fly.. I’ll wait… no he never cruised high schools…) and loved it. Once we had munchkins, he couldn’t wait to get a minivan. So now I am driving a minivan. Bleh. But at least this means we are still (twins!)

  8. Melissa

    We had a brown/orange/tan VW bus until I was maybe 8 or 9. I LOVED that van! ‘Course, I never had to drive it…

  9. adamhuckeby

    We had a van – big green…it was AWESOME! Pull into a parade with hot chocolate and watch all night without even leaving the warm car. Road trips were a thrill. Our kids loved it too. What’s great is that Google Maps has captured ours – if we ever need to remember the good old days, we just type in our address, head over to the street view, and there it is in our driveway…screaming, “Why did you sell me…you loved me!”

    Just sayin’ enjoy it while you have it…there are worse things in life. : )

  10. Gary Hooyenga

    A few hints, when driving something larger than a refrigerater the installed mirrors have a purpose other than telling you Jesus is closer than you think. Besides they let you see almost everything. All that is left is getting the brain to register what gives when actually moving it backwards in particular. Bending neck around for a looksee just doesn’t make it.

    Parking lots without cars are nice in winter you can practice loosing it and gettin control back and with vans you can practice making your moves without hitting things (maybe).

    • I KNOW to use the mirrors, but when I have to pull them in to park in the garage, it’s a pain in the asphalt to get them back into the right position again. Ibis has tried and tried to force me to drive only using mirrors, so I can do it, but my habit is to look over my shoulder.

      I’m getting better with the handling, but I still keep driving over curbs.

  11. robinaltman

    I love that van, yet it scares me. I’m not the greatest driver, so the visibility thing would mean me backing into all sorts of stuff. Crunch. That’s the sound I make a lot.

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