It has been mentioned on this blog that we are a family of two loving parents and 10 children. We have now grown to be a miniature army of siblings, in-laws, grandchildren/nieces and nephews.
When I close my eyes and try to envision my family now, all I can pull up are pictures of chaos. Young nieces and nephews barefoot in the middle of the road, children being snagged at the last second before a fall into water, a brother in-law taking an elbow to the eye to prove his worthiness to be in the family, and many more. When I think of my family in any circumstance, I am plagued with the weeping disease that mostly plagues my sisters, but I too have been cursed to weep at the drop of a remember that one time?.... kind of moment.
You would think that being in a huge family is quite unique; however, where I live (Provo, Utah) it isn't. I serve as a leader in my church and at a meeting one Sunday I asked a group of college aged men how many siblings they had. Out of about 65 there were probably 15 of us with eight or more siblings and there were some men with a dozen. In case you haven't connected the dots, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we stereotypically have very large families, and this group of young men helped confirm that stereotype.
In my mind I have always viewed large families as a scene of chaos that were poor, but I now know that stereotype isn't true. I have had a chance to interview all these young men and only one has confirmed the fact with me that large families are a riled up ball of crazy. All the others drove huge fancy vans, had big houses to fit everyone, and I imagine sat around singing songs and reading scriptures. Essentially, my families opposite.
You may think by now that I view my family as a shaken up can of Redbull that has just been passed around to all my nephews to drink up (could you imagine Ty and Eddie under that influence). It is like that at times, but overall it is a great adventure.
One of my favorite adventures my family has ever been apart of is the Overland-Auto.
The Overland-Auto was my dad's car dealership. A few years after my dad opened up the Overland-Auto with his partner and friend, he found out that his partner had some shady business practices and that the car dealership was in crushing debt. Instead of giving up, my very brave mom and dad decided to keep the business and remove my dad's partner from any further involvement. My parents took an even braver step by deciding that they would take yet a bigger risk by selling their home and had their family move into the car dealerships main building. My parents were left with no formal home, five children still living with them, the other children still in college or on LDS Missions, and as said before quite a heavy amount of debt.
This is actually not the first time our family lived in a business. My older siblings and parents lived in a home in Heyburn Idaho that was also a laundromat. This is a good time to mention that my dad was actually quite a successful entrepreneur and my mom supported him in all his endeavors. The fact that we have lived in some of his businesses may seem like he wasn't, but he was, he was just a very humble charitable man. I will get back to that idea in other posts.
The Overland-Auto may not seem like a great adventure, but if there is one thing my mom taught me is that everything can be an adventure. I would like to talk more about my mom's adventuring spirit, but I'll save it for later. This post is to introduce you to how my family ended up living in a car dealership which also had a junk yard of a about 20 cars.
For a boy who was five, this was the best playground in the world. I know that some of my older siblings were embarrassed of the fact that we lived on a car lot and probably still are, but when you are six and you want to impress other boy's or girls your age, the car lot couldn't have been better. I got to take friends and run on old broken down cars, break things, pretend cars were spaceships, start driving by the age of 10, dig big holes, play deer. I basically got to truly live the "dream".
Although my family moved out of Overland-Auto ending my greatest source of fun, I still find it magical. It is a place that embodies the American spirit. It is a place where my two parents said they will stand and work for a better life for themselves and their children. It was a place where I learned about real charity, love, hard work and the importance of always having something to look forward to. When I think of the Overland-Auto I can't help but get the weeping disease. It is the place in my mind that embodies what it means to live in a big chaotic family that was poor in money, but rich in adventure and spirit. The Overland-Auto series on this blog will chronicle the time that my family learned life's greatest lessons. You can't tell the story of Karen and Norvel's Family without Overland Auto.