Beginning of Cars


Oh how we love our cars! They are central to all the chases in movies and on t.v. The muscle car in movies has always been lusted at. Even the protagonists of today’s flics drive muscle cars (think of the hero of the series about drivie ins, dives and diners!).  The silent films of old by Mack Sennit and the Charlie Chaplan films often had old, cool cars and chases. Ah, the coolest cartoons of old (for the traditionalists in us – Walt Disney and Merry Melodies) feature animated cars and trucks with such character. Even the modern movie series entitled Carz has lovable and memorable autos. The several vehicles I own today have much character to them – character that I probably give them more than they have derived from metal and plastic.

I’ve wanted to write about my favorite car that I’ve owned or used in my life. However, I can think many memories of most of them that this may become a book sized effort rather than a short essay.

The first cars in our family that I remember are the ’50 Ford and the ’49 Buick. The Ford had to have been an almost new car but we didn’t keep it too long. I do remember it on a trip to the Grand Canyon about 1950 or so. I remember sleeping on the back shelf behind the back seat. We must have traded it off for the ’49 Buick about that time. This would have been a necessity for our family what with 5 kids. I don’t ever remember being crowded in it with a bench front seat and a large back seat. I remember it as being green. And I remember sitting/laying on the hood in evening of a summer night on the cool metal of that long hood. What a car! A lot of class for that era. That Buick served us on a number of trips into the mountains of northern NM as we went into some rough country for extended camping/ fishing trips in the ‘50’s when daddy was still in the military. We always took it and the notable pickup that our dad overhauled without machine tools. I guess he could keep anything running!

Penelope was named by my sister Joann from Homer’s Greek epic – she was  the wife of Ulysses. This was a 1935 Chevy pickup that daddy bought for very little and rebuilt the engine in the evenings and weekends. This vehicle had more character than can be described! So, I’ll try to describe it anyway! My dad seemed to always be keeping it worked on. I remember him pulling us on sleds attached to Penelope as he drove over the snow in the field behind our home on Sunset Road in the South Valley. And I think of us sitting in the back of the truck watching the fireworks display in Albuquerque in the early ‘50’s along West Central up 9-mile hill near the old “66 Drive-in and near the Vets Hospital near Sandia and Kirtland Bases. We loaded the Buick and Penelope for our weeks – long fishing trips way north in New Mexico in the early ‘50’s before my dad retired. We spent weeks at Hopewell Lake and Lagunitas. There was a large tent and we younger ones slept in pup tents. Mud and dust and kids playing all kinds of games in the mountains and forests around the lakes. We left the fishing to my dad and oldest sister. We were kids, deprived for weeks of our friends in the summer at home! Oh how we suffered, playing and playing and playing. Oh, and Penelope, well , we made into the mountains on those old unpaved roads and made it back home! By the way, that was an all day trip in those days from Albuquerque to Hopewell  through Santa Fe and to Espanola to Tres Piedras. We loved those old cars, we just didn’t realize it at the time!


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