Posted by: Jim E | February 16, 2011

No Car…A Paint Job…And Learning How To Drive A 1953 Willys…Part I

It’s been a while since I have posted…I have a couple of  “drafts” but I am waiting to overcome a couple of “roadblocks” before they will be posted…then there was the “taxes thingy” and a variety of other semi-important things that came up…no excuses, just “stuff”…but today something a little different…something that came to me when Judie and I were looking at some old slides, scanning them and saving digitally…we had no way to view them anymore…and lets face it, even if we had one, who is going to get out the “old slide projector” and set it up for “a night of slide viewing”…and who would come to view them???…there’s not enough popcorn in Little Rock to draw a crowd…so she is going through my Mom’s and our slides from back in the 60’s and 70’s…they have been in a box on the shelf for some time…and we have moved them over and over as the years went by…so I guess for Judie, it was time to do something with them…

And now that you can’t even get Kodachrome film anymore and even if you could get it…they closed the last outfit that processed the film, somewhere in Kansas, within the last few months…it’s a shame because it is color that cannot be duplicated…even with the modern digital technology…some may argue with that, but it is true, just check out slides that you may have, the color is so brilliant, rich and deep…the process that they developed was very complex, I guess, but it was a wonderful world of color that has gone away forever…as with other things…we go on…So today I will share some memories from that huge box of slides…and maybe a slide or two…

When I grew up, in the 1940’s and 50’s, we didn’t have a car…my Dad never drove, which to most people is strange…and even for those who grew up in the 20’s and 30’s…most people wanted to drive…but not my Dad and even after WWII when gas was cheap and so were cars, he didn’t drive…you can psychoanalyze it ’til you’re blue in the face…but he still didn’t drive…it was one thing that just didn’t come up, if you know what I mean…no one talked about it…there was a story that I remember bantered about, that when he was young…he and a bunch friends got in an accident and someone was hurt or worse…and he said because of that, he would never drive…and years later, after we moved my folks into assisted living…Judie was talking to a neighbor across the hall from where my folks had lived…and she said that Dad told her why he didn’t drive, and it was that very same story…so it probably happened that way…or maybe that story carried him through all those 70 and more years…and it became the story that covered the reason why he never drove…it never seemed, to anyone including me, that it was enough reason to never drive…I don’t know…but to repeat, he never drove a car all the years I knew him…why he didn’t, we will never know for sure, other than the story I just told you…’nuff said, I guess…again, he rode, just never drove…

So how did we get around???…I have said in former posts that we lived next door to my Mother’s parents…my Grandparents…they were wonderful people…if two people should be canonized, it should be them…they were as wonderful as anyone could be…to my parents, their grandkids and everyone that surrounded them…I just can’t say enough…both quiet and unassuming but inside and out: strong, giving, loyal…just wonderful people (can I say wonderful that many times in a paragraph?…well I just did)…(here they are holding Jay, our oldest in 1965)…

So as part of their “wonderfulness”…they had the “opportunity” to provide transportation to our family the rest of their lives…and as you would guess, without a complaint…they just did it…no doubt it was for my Mom, but also for us kids…they were (can I say it) wonderful…took my Mom to work everyday, took her grocery shopping and other shopping…to get the Christmas tree…took us to sports practices…just everything that took transportation…

Now you might think that I lived a deprived childhood…no, no…not the case…I had a wonderful childhood…in those days we were as free as a bird…out the door in the morning…”Be back by suppertime.”…was the call…’course we might come in the door for something to eat at lunch…maybe we were fighting in The War or playing cowboys and Indians…but we were free all day…it was fun and…an adventure…and in the early 50’s my cousin Tom and I spent lots of time together, when they lived close to us…(here we are in August,1953, sweet and trustworthy as can be, Tom on the right, me on the left)…like I said, we didn’t have a car…but Tom and I painted one, no, no, a real car, we painted it!…I don’t really remember the actual painting of the car…I remember the aftermath of painting the car…the car was sort of a cream color to begin with…we decided to paint it sort of a green, it was the only color handy, I guess…it was close on the “color wheel” but not that close…and house paint was never the choice our neighbor would have chosen to “repaint” his car…so he was strangely upset with the whole thing…and cleaning up these two cherubs was a chore…oil-based paint in those days took turpentine to get off…a bad deal all around…and for some reason Mom wrote on the back of this picture: “Aug 53, Tom and Jim, Thinking of another mischievous thing to do”…Oh, my Mom…always exaggerating…

Part II…(in a day or two)…Learning to drive a 1953 Willys…and me, turning the driving chores back one generation…a little drama…and some tears…hope you’re still with me…


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