Thursday, August 14, 2008

Traveling in Style

Reading blogs this morning, I came across something posted by one of my favorite bloggers, Travis at Trav's Thoughts, that tripped somethings in my multitude of memories. Seems Travis and his wife went to a car show this past weekend and yesterday and today, he has posted some photos he took there of various cars on display.

On today's post, the very first car pictured is a 1955 Chevy BelAir and boy, did seeing this picture bring back some great memories for me.

My son is now, always has been since he first learned to walk and talk, a huge fan of cars and in particular, the type of cars people would consider to be classics. He comes by this love quite naturally since his dad -an auto mechanic -loves to work on restoring an old vehicle, so I guess this must be a genetic thing -right?

My ex-husband and I became very good friends when we first moved back here to my hometown in 1972 with a gentleman who lives about 2 miles from here and who has had a junkyard for probably 50 years or better now out on his property. For many years, he also had a garage there too and most locals knew about him and his work -very trustworthy -and that they could rely on Don to do a good repair job on a vehicle for them at a much better price than many other garages around the area would charge. Being in the junkyard business, Don also often had access to finding some really cool old cars and many years ago, he began restoring many of the really old, classic cars he had located.

One car in particular that he restored though will always stand out in my mind, in my memories and it was a 1955 Chevy BelAir -remarkably, it was also the same colors as the one shown in Trav's post today too.

What makes this car memorable for me though is something that my son did when he was probably about 8 or 9 years old.

Clate loved to go out to Don's garage, to wander through the rows of junk cars there. He could get lost there for hours and hours, just walking around, studying each car, inspecting them a bit. There was a time when my son could tell Don about every car he had in his junkyard -make and model and on many of them, even what major parts were still in good condition on these vehicles.

My son has always been quite the social animal too -loves being around people -any people, old, young, his age -it mattered not, he just loved to talk to people and still does.

Now, when my kids were growing up, the house at the end of our street belonged to three sisters -spinsters -first cousins to my Mom. They were in their sixties and seventies when my kids came along and these three ladies catered to my kids - alot!

One of my son's favorite things to do was to go down to this house and visit with the "Aunts" as my kids called them. He loved to go down there early in the day too and often had breakfast with them. In exchange for his meal, he would often regale them with various stories about things he was doing -or going to do as he grew up too. Yeah, the boy always had some big ideas about lots of things.

Well, one day when he was down there being fed -and spoiled a bit as well -he told them when he turned 16 years old he planned to buy a car from his friend, Don, who has the junkyard. He had this car all picked out too. It just so happened it was this 1955 Chevy BelAir Don had restored and it was painted the snazzy colors, red and white, just like the one in the picture on Trav's post today.

And, Clate went on to inform the "Aunts" that when he got this car, he would bring it down to show it to them and even take them for a ride in it too. Yes indeedy! My son -ever the thoughtful little soul was he!

After telling them he would take them for a ride, he glanced around the room at the three sisters and informed them then that perhaps he would be able to do that for Aunt Helen and Aunt Hedvig but probably not for Aunt Dee, because she probably wouldn't be around then! (At the time, Hedvig was probably 71 or 72, Helen, around 74-75 and Aunt Dee was by then in her early 80's.)

Now, these ladies never told me about my son saying this to them, but they got such a chuckle out of it, they told lots of folks at our church about Clate's promise to them so many people around the community got wind of this conversation he'd had with them.

The funny thing -well maybe not really comical -is that of the three, Aunt Dee outlived 'em all -as she lived to be close to 100, passing on in November of 1998 at the age of 97.

Clate, of course, has never acquired a classic car like that 1955 BelAir but he still has an affinity for old cars -especially old Volkswagon Bugs. His current vehicle -the 1971 Chevy Pickup truck that he just got about a month ago now from his Dad and drove it cross-country from Nevada to Pennsylvania, is his latest acquisition. His previous car was a 1969 White Cadillac -we referred to it as his "Boss Hogg" unit, since it looked almost exactly like the big Caddy that the character Boss Hogg on the Dukes of Hazard used to drive. He also has a lime green -with purple trimwork -Volkswagon Bug, of the Baja type -that he restored back when he was living in Nevada and Arizona, near his Dad and which he and his former girlfriend towed back east when they moved back to Pennsylvania eight years ago. Some day, I'll have to be sure to get some photos of his "Bug" and post them here too. It's quite the nifty little unit, for sure!

And, that's my trip down my memory lane for today -thanks to Travis for posting that picture and stirring up the cobwebs in my mind!

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