It was hard to imagine, much less witness, that everything my wife, daughter and I owned could be fit into the interior spaces of a 1966 GTO. Nothing was attached or tied on the outside. I’d been raised in a Coast Guard family where the frequent moves were paid for by the government. It almost always took a completely full moving truck to move our family of two adults and three children. It turned out, as I surveyed the packing job from next to the car, that the single largest possession we currently possessed was Julie’s crib, which came apart in three pieces or we couldn’t have taken it with us on the move. The front driver’s side of the GTO still had the three-point racing safety belt system Mickey installed, but Julie had nothing to hold her in so I constructed a plywood box to set in just back from the split front seats. She sat, seemingly happy as a tick, inside her low-walled box filled with blankets.

Our route would pass Rockaway Beach, the beach I’d spent every free moment I had running and walking up and down, trying to make my left hip work better. There didn’t seem to be much hope of getting employment if I couldn’t walk right, not once the Marine Corps was done with me, a result that had to be imminent. We stopped at the Thunderbird, the restaurant motel that sat right in the middle of the beach, the restaurant’s deck stretched out over the rocks and sand. We’d never been able to eat at the restaurant as we couldn’t afford it, but we loved wandering around the place every once and a while. I pulled into the parking lot that ran almost the length of the beach. ‘All I have to do is dream’ was playing on the radio. “When I feel blue, in the night, and I need you to hold me tight, whenever I want you all I have to do is dream…”. The lyrics resounded back and forth in my head. I wasn’t thinking of my wife when I listened to the song’s words. I was thinking about life itself. I was trying to make life mine but, like in the song, I was dreaming my life away more than living it. I wanted to be in action. I had wanted to drive the GTO in the race, help prepare it, and then work somewhere other than a gas station where I barely pumped gas, exchanging my minimal services for some small amounts of cash. Now the station was gone and I was headed back toward the Marine Corps, an amazing organization but also one that only seemed to have things for me to do that were not worth doing at all, and those under a kind of supervision that the word ‘draconian’ didn’t seem extreme enough to cover.