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Marilyn Fazio: Disco Van provides crazy ride through life

In 2007 my husband Gary excitedly called me on the phone. He’d been helping an acquaintance with some remodeling. In lieu of payment, he’d been offered a 1989 Chevy conversion van. My first reaction was OMG! Are you crazy? Another toy in the yard … no way! Our driveway already looked like a parking lot. We live in the city, don’t have a lot of parking and our two children have each recently purchased vehicles. No Way!

You won’t believe how nice it is, it’s beautiful, mint condition, your favorite color, it came from Florida and has no rust, etc. The list of justifications continued. After a bit more pleading, I conceded to check it out.

It was nearly dusk as he drove the van into the driveway. I never believed in love at first sight, but suddenly, there was the new love of my life. I surveyed it inside and out and couldn’t believe how everything he had said was true. Mauve velour captain chairs and carpet, not to mention the mini blinds.

We both started laughing hysterically, as mauve had been the color for our wedding back in the disco days of the 1980s. This was such a flash to the past.

After a bit of renovating to the inside, we had a pretty nice sized bed with storage beneath. As we were admiring our handiwork we had an epiphany and jokingly called our new vehicle the “Love Van.”

Our friends and family teased us to no end as we traveled around in the Love Van. Shortly after the initial naming, our son Ben’s car broke down and he needed transportation to work. We loaned him the Love Van and suddenly decided that we needed to change the name!

Hence, the van was immediately dubbed the “Disco Van.” Ben would never drive it again.

I love the Disco Van. It even has a miniature disco ball hanging from the mirror.

We take the van to lots of places. My cousin’s son got married in Cooperstown. A bunch of cousins decided to stay at a campground near the wedding. My husband and I slept in the van. Another time we took the kids on a road trip throughout New York State. We didn’t all sleep in the van but it sure made traveling a lot more comfortable.

Every July my friends and I go to the Grassroots Music Festival in Ithaca. We used to all sleep in tents. With the arrival of the Disco Van, at least two of us now sleep in rain-free comfort. The first year we took the van, my friend Sharon said, “If anyone would have told me I’d be 50 years old sleeping in the back of a van in the middle of a parking lot, I would have told them they were crazy.” And crazy we are.

On another occasion three couples decided to relive our childhoods. We traveled together into Canada, and the first stop was Marineland. We had such a great time; it’s like having a personal limo.

In the fall the Disco Van is transformed into a Buffalo Bills Tailgating Van. The bed is changed back into a bench seat and all the Bills fans pile in, excitedly anticipating pregame tailgating in style.

I dread the day when the Disco Van dies. It has become such a large part of our crazy social life. By the way, each year a group of us attend the World’s Largest Disco and yes, you got it, we take the Disco Van.