Gary Brown: Looking at old cars reminds me of the people from my past
My life flashes before my eyes when I go to car shows these days. The sun shines off vehicles I recognize from my past. Apparently, I'm vintage now -- not too far from antique. I try to keep the evidence of it under a hat. Then these old cars show up to reveal my age.
As I was walking I felt it was fortunate that humans don't yet have to wear historical plates.
I'm old enough now that I've owned a couple of the 1970s and 1980s Thunderbirds I saw at the last show I attended. I drove the 1960s Oldsmobile cutlass, or one like it, right after I graduated from college. The Volkswagen Beetle? I bought one after the Fiat Spider I was driving got crunched by a Bug that another driver had guided -- or failed to -- across our road's center line.
His car survived. Mine did not. So I went with the winner.
Cars of others
But let's not make this all about me and my cars. Walking up the main street of Massillon, Ohio, over the weekend, I noticed that the cars of several relatives and neighbors were represented in the lines of vehicles on display.
I saw Mr. Atwater's Thunderbird from late in the 1950s. Big guy and small car. One didn't seem to fit in the other. But, he enjoyed the car as much as I imagined the Thunderbird owner in the car show appreciated his vintage model.
I also saw my uncle Dewitt's Chevy pickup truck from early in the 1960s. Same blue color, too. As a young boy, I rode in the bed of my uncle's truck while we traveled from farmhouse to field on the family farm. My head peeked around the cab like a dog enjoying the wind. Single without children, my uncle didn't need a kid, he needed a Labrador retriever.
And I saw the big Olds 98 Regency that an older co-worker drove when he and I rode together to the construction site where he worked as a career and I labored during summers off from college. He bought a new Oldsmobile every year or two, I recall him telling me as we rode one morning. "It's a lot of money to spend on cars," he admitted, but to justify his expenditures he claimed he had no hobbies. The cars were his entertainment. So he drove to work in comfort. Then every weekend he took his wife and whatever kids weren't too old to want to be with their parents on a Sunday drive.
What I didn't see was any of my dad's cars. This was not surprising. I've found the bulky and rounded lines of late 1940s and early 1950s DeSotos are not favored by people who collect Corvettes and Mustangs. And almost no one restores and preserves 1960s and 1970s Plymouth station wagons with carpenter's tools loaded in the rear.
I saw a 1957 Chevy convertible though. I've always dreamed of owning a 1957 Chevy convertible. Yellow with a black interior. Or black with a tan interior. Maybe red with a white interior.
But that's not my past. It's my future.
Contact Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or email@example.com.