"I don't wanna go! Why do I have to go?...I wanna stay home with my friends...why can't I stay home?" The words were like a recorder being played, over and over...until her dad finally said..."You are going on this trip of a lifetime, if I have to tie you to your seat...One day, young lady, you will thank us!" "Oh no, I won't...I hate you both....I don't want to see the Grand Canyon, and I don't want to see some stupid geyser in California, or those huge redwood trees, and I certainly don't care if I never see a whale in the ocean!"
The precious, precocious and beautiful Tiffany, now 14 years of age, was no longer the smiling, sweet, cooperative darling of years gone by. It didn't matter that she and her brothers and parents would be driving through several beautiful states, in a luxurious 35 foot, rolling home. The queen bedroom was for her parents, and she had been assigned the sofa sleeper that opened up facing the TV and game area. Her brothers would each have their own bunk, TV, and plenty of games as well. At night when the RV was parked, the awning would be pulled open, and three canvas and heavy net walls would be dropped, becoming a large 20ft. room with a fold up picnic table, and lawn chairs. The boys usually preferred to set up their sleeping bags and "rough it" under the awning...."just like camping dad, only better."
Long blonde hair, pouting lips, and beautiful green eyes stared at her dad as if he were a giant ogre'... a monster...who was forcing her to go on a trip with the family. "How cruel, how selfish, how mean you are", was the constant message for miles and miles; while her brothers kept saying...."put some tape on her mouth dad, give her a sleeping pill mom....drop her off at the next red light dad....send her home on a Greyhound pleaseeeee!" No matter how much she was ignored, or how much she was teased, and babied or pampered...it was always the same..."I wanna go back home....I hate this trip."
On the third morning of the trip, as we traveled along the Pacific Coast Highway, excited about our next stop at the Hearst Castle, we heard a siren approaching, and my husband said, "wonder what's wrong?" as he slowly pulled over to a full stop. "What's the matter officer?" The short chubby, state trooper, looking quite serious and not in the mood for joviality, knocked on the door of the RV, and said..."Open up!" Within seconds, there were three more police and state cars surrounding our RV. Immediately, I thought..."Oh no..they think we are drug dealers....and we are going to have our beautiful motorhome ransacked, and our whole trip ruined." The officer instructed my husband to step out of the vehicle. Another officer stood next to my husband as he took out his wallet and drivers license. I was instructed to get the registration papers from the box near the dashboard; and soon two officers were inside the motorhome. One of the officers began questioning each of the boys, and then they asked, "Where's the young woman that is being held captive?" "WHATTTTT??? in unison, my voice was joined by those of my two teenage sons...."What young woman captive?" In that moment, the one officer said, "We have to search the rear of this unit, as well as the bathroom". I looked at him and said, "of course, however, our daughter has locked herself in the bathroom for the past two or three hours, so if you can get her to come out....please be our guest!"
With a loud banging, the officer pounded on the bathroom door... "Miss....please come out... I am with the California Highway Patrol, and you are safe now.... please open the door." Little Miss Tiffany did not open the door as instructed, cajoled, begged, and eventually threatened. Until.... it was evident that the CHPS officer was possibly going to arrest her. Of course, he wasn't going to do that; but he was becoming very irritated with her, and impatience was clearly evident. Afterall... there were four police units parked along the highway, and we looked as if we were in the middle of a huge, illegal situation, and the boys were getting very angry with their sister..."she's so darn spoiled....I told you dad spoiled her too much mom....now you see what she's turned into."
In the midst of all this chaos, the boys were instructed to get off the RV and stand alongside of their dad, who was now fuming with anger at his darling daughter. The flames were almost ready to explode, as his face had turned from a nice tan to fire engine red! Another officer called me to come outside as well, and each of us were questioned separately. We stood outside in the hot sun for almost 45 minutes, while the precious Tiffany pouted and cried, and told her story to the officer who was assigned to her. While we were outside, we noticed for the first time, the reason that we had been pulled over. On the outside of the bathroom window, the shade had been pulled up, and in red was written, "H E L P" I'm kidnapped." We then toured the rear of our beautiful motorhome, and read on the huge rear window.... in black marker..." H E L P " ..... 3 MEN KIDNAPPED ME."
Eventually, we were all allowed to climb back into the RV, told to sit down, and we were allowed to get cold water and soda for ourselves, and a couple of the officers. The Princess then walked into the sitting area and joined us, with Officer #1 close behind. The blonde Princess stared at the brown carpeting, and at the fancy wall paper, but she refused to look at her dad, her brothers, or me. With her head tilted downward, herlong straight locks reaching the floor...she said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get us all in trouble. I didn't want to go on this stupid vacation, and I just wanted to go back home." While we had been outside talking with the other officers, they had suggested that perhaps they could help us with this situation. It was agreed that we would pretend that she could have gone to jail for fraudulently creating a dangerous situation, and more. We had another 10 days left on our vacation, and we certainly did not want to have the Princess ruin it for the rest of us, so we all smiled and did high-fives... and agreed to agree.
"Well, Miss... normally we would have to take you into town, hold you in a cell until Juvenile arrives, then you would be assigned to a Foster home with strangers for several months, without contact with your family. During the next few months, you would have a social worker assigned to you, and every move you make will have to be reported, and if you mess up, even one little step....you could be put in Juvenile Hall, and that will go on your record." By now, Miss precious darling teenager was in tears, begging the officer not to take her... "I promise I'll be good. I promise I won't make anymore trouble. I'll be good, and I'll do whatever my parents ask me to do. Please don't take me to Juvenile. I don't want to live with foster people....." and the tears just fell.... I wanted to go to her and put my arms around her and console her...forgive her...but I was being held tightly by her father, and her brothers were not so thoughtful.... "aw heck...can't you just take her anyway?"
It was agreed by her that she would be "good" and she would not create anymore problems during the remainder of the vacation. The officers all shook our hands, a couple winked with the knowledge of "we understand you have your hands full"... and smiled as they left.
The remainder of the vacation was like a dream. Miss Tiffany was sweet and quiet, and when we got to the Redwood Forrest, she was the first one out of the RV and ready to explore. She smiled during all the photo's, and when we went to Solvang, she spent some of her vacation allowance on dutch souveniers. The kids sang and played card games, and watched TV, and ran along the beaches, and went whale watching. The remainder of the vacation was one that we would long remember...not because of the harrowing event that almost ruined the trip, but because we were really a family who ended up thoroughly enjoying every destination, and because we knew that no matter what, we really love one another.
Oh, forgot to mention... on the return home... the Princess was assigned to window clean-up... the permanent black marker sign in the back had to be "altered" during the trip since it wouldn't come off...so a "smiley" sign had been added. Now, home at last....the entire window had to be cleaned...scrubbed and rubbed, until there was no more kidnaping sign. The lipstick red sign had been removed immediately the day of the highway patrol pull-over, but we drove around the USA with the back window as is. The sign got us alot of laughs across our trip, altho we never told anyone the real story.