Friday, June 7, 2013

Old Memories

What memories old cars evoke. Most all of us can emote about our first car, and I am no exception. Recently there was a classic car event here at my retirement community. Almost eighty vintage autos and trucks were were on display, divided between pre-war and post war, meaning WW2. The oldest was 1913. I found myself as interested in the prideful owners as the cars themselves. Clearly they treasured their possessions which were so highly polished a spectator was afraid to breathe on them. A looker could peer inside at the dashboard, or even at the engine, but beware! The owner was on guard. What makes a person collect a vintage auto? I was wishing I had their personal stories, but most of the owners, to my surprise, were rather tight lipped. I snapped a photo of one with the owner sitting on the running board. I hope to paint it soon. My first auto was a 1930 Reo,later Oldsmobile. It stood high and proud, all black. I got it in '46, when I was 16 living in the boonies of Woodinville, Washington, an area now a yuppie community but then very much the sticks with no public transportation. My favorite part of her (I named her Trichinilla Amber Noosepickle, a name I got from an obituary column in the Seattle Times) was the velvet curtains on little rods which pulled closed on all windows making it like a shrine inside. She had no starter, alas, and I would always have to get a boy to wind the wires around something under the hood to start her. It scared me to do it myself because of the sparks. I remember driving her to my high school baccaleaureate. My friend's brother offered to start her for me after the ceremony and played the trick of attaching a stink bomb to the engine. Everyone in the parking lot cracked up laughing at me and I never forgave him. While I was away at camp following high school graduation my mother gave the car to my sister, whose husband wrecked it, so I never got to say goodbye. I've never seen another Reo except on the internet, which has great photos, but I'd dearly love to run my hands over its classic chassis just once more. Some of the vintage autos at the show had been decorated, as below. Art is everywhere!

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