Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cars of My Life: Hands Off!

I remember the attention as we drove through town in this 1958 Edsel.

Not long ago, probably on my morning walk, I began thinking of the emotional attachments to cars that are formed.  I am thinking of our life experiences and memories that are evoked when we see an image of a car model that we feel we know intimately.  We see an image of an old car and usually fond memories are remembered, I can understand the sentimental attachment.

My first faint memory of cars involved the Studebaker.  I remember my grandparents had one for years and my own family had one.  The Studebaker period from my early childhood, I was too young to remember, but we have an old photograph of my uncle standing beside the car, a 1954 model.

The second car that comes to mind, a family car, was the year we got the 1958 Edsel.  We took a Florida vacation in this car.  I can still remember the attention from this car as we drove down Main Street in Clinton, TN.  (1958 Edsel photo is at top of blog.)

One particular car that holds emotional attachment for me is the 1960 Plymouth Valiant.  It was around the year that my parents got a divorce so I have a lot of memories with my mother, brother and sister being in that car.  Most of my childhood memories involve that car.  My mother learned to drive when she got that car and it was a "straight shift".  It was a good thing a family friend helped her, this friend just happened to be a driving teacher. :-)

Many childhood memories are associated with this 1960 Valiant.

At the same time my mom got the Valiant, my dad got a new 1960 blue Ford Mercury. I remember it well.  (Talking about being sentimental, I got teary eyed just seeing these images of the Valiant and the Mercury.)

My dad's car in 1960, his was blue. 

Sometime during the early 1960s, I remember my grandparents having this car, a 1951 black Ford.  As I was searching for the photo of this car, I had Googled "Chevy".  Finally it dawned on me, my grandfather would have never owned a Chevrolet, he was a "Ford Man".  He had worked at the Ford plant some years before and even named his son, Edsel, after Henry Ford's son, Edsel.  He told me had seen Edsel in the Ford plant where he worked.

The memories of this car, a 1951 Ford,  made me laugh, the actual event was not funny at the time.  Around 1960, my aunt Billie and I had gone to pick up eggs, in those days we must have bought them from a local farmer or relative.  I remember there was a large box of fresh eggs sitting in the back seat, yes, the seat, not in the floor. :-) I am guessing my aunt had to be around 18 years old and I was about 9 years old.  She had been learning to use a "clutch" and had some room for improvment.  All I know was, the open box of dozens of eggs in the back tumbled over in the floor and the eggs rolled up under the brake, clutch and gas pedal as she was driving.  You get the messy picture.  I had never seen such a mess and I remember a bad smell in that car for years.

Memories of a messy egg incident involving this car.

Around 1968 my learning-to-drive memories involved this 1965 Buick Electra.  I also associate this car with our house on Norris Lake near Anderson County Park.  This car suffered some fire damage from the sun being magnified through an empty fish aquarium in the back seat!

I learned to drive in this car.
I had finished this blog and called my sister, Patti, in Tennessee to tell her about writing about our family car memories.  She asked if I had written about the "Eggbeater", the name for a used car that my mother bought one year.  I remember my mother asking the seller of the car if it was a good car:  The seller's reply was that "it was nothing to write home about."  He was correct unless you want to write bad news in your letters to home! Mom bought the car anyway and we had it for a short while.  She ordered a new car, the Plymouth Duster, and would you believe the Eggbeater died right on the spot in the parking lot when we drove to get the new car.  This location in Clinton, TN, was right beside Holley Gamble Funeral Home.  I wanted to forget about the Eggbeater but then decided to include it.

A used 1964 Plymouth Fury we nicknamed "The Eggbeater".  Ours
was yellow with a black vinyl top.

This 1970 Plymouth Duster was associated with my senior year in high school.  I felt so grown up to be able to drive to school some of the time.

I just have to add one more photo of one of my Uncle Taylor's cars.  He had several antique Hudsons and other models.  He and my Aunt Minnie would drive out from Knoxville to my grandparents' in one of his antique cars, especially on holidays. He was particular, for good reason, and my young cousins would all gather around his car to look at it.  I always remember this message that he written in white chalk on his car, I think it was on the tire:

The message my Uncle Taylor wrote in chalk on his antique car.

Today's "car" in my life:

Our's is silver, already full of memories ... ♥


Clint said...

Wow---you're so right! I have so many memories of cars thru my life, too. So many stories---it really gets me to thinkin'. Great article!

Wind said...

Ha ha ..Cindy...what a wonderful story!
I have almost the same memories...of my family cars!
Now, I have a Wrangler(an American brand)/ son of Willys - in memory of my father!

Patti said...

I remember all the cars except the first two. And I remember the egg spill, I was in the car, and yes I remember the odor. Perhaps the most memorable thing is I don't recall Mamaw being upset or even raising her voice.
I also recall a trip from our house to Mamaw Yarbers in one of Uncle Taylor's open car.
Good times.

Design Wine and Dine said...

So wonderful you're capturing these memories!

These cars are beauties...your real life stories about them...priceless!