Safer at Home: Exploring the ONE Archives Collection

Week 15 (August 3, 2020)

This is a page from one of Carolyn Weathers’ many photo albums that she donated to the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Weathers is a lesbian activist and co-founder with Jenny Wrenn of Clothespin Fever Press, a small publisher focused on lesbian literature. This page features the “Blunderbus,” a blue VW van that Carolyn and her sister, Brenda, used to travel across the country. In addition, the vehicle took the Weathers sisters and friends on camping adventures. Pictured here is a trip to Lake Piru in Ventura County, CA in September 1970. The top photo features Prissy the bulldog, then Kaye Pender and Carolyn wearing hats inside the Blunderbus. The bottom left photo is of Sharon Lilly and Brenda Weathers in the front seat of the Blunderbus, and the final image on the page shows the Blunderbus parked by the side of the road and Brenda off to the right. 

Carolyn and Brenda’s road trips in the early 70s preceded those in the late 70s by the Van Dykes—an itinerant group of lesbian separatists who lived in vans and traveled the US and Mexico—but both bring to mind the freedom offered by traveling in a personal vehicle. As some individuals now turn back to the use of cars, vans, and RVs for summer getaways when other modes of travel, such as flying, are no longer as safe, these images remind us of the joys of the open road. Though the images may be poorly framed or out of focus, they clearly capture and convey how much fun it must have been to travel with the Weathers sisters on the Blunderbus. 

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