CARS I HAVE KNOWN

The automobile is still a big part of my life.  My dad raised us with a car in the family just as I raised children with cars, and now my grandchildren are growing up cars.  Even though I used streetcars and buses to go everywhere, we always had a car in the family.

The earliest car I can remember was Dad’s 1929 Buick Century.  He also had an earlier Chrysler, and a Huppmobile before that.  He might have had others, too, but it is too late to ask him.

The 1929 Buick served him well for many years. I remember standing on the front seat as a toddler. I could barely see over the seat back. I was a teenager when he got rid of it.  He eventually sold the Buick to the welder who lived at the end of Avalon.  It seemed strange to watch the Buick drive past with someone else driving. Two years later, the welder cut it up for junk metal.

Dad’s  replacement was a 1937 Dodge.  He bought that car used too.  In fact, he didn’t buy a new car until 1959.  The Dodge only lasted a year when Dad sold it to buy a 1939 Buick Century.  I called it the Green Hornet after my favorite radio program.  This is the car I got my driver’s license in.  I was driving it by eighth grade.  The Buick lasted until my junior year in high school.  Two years after Dad bought it the Buick started making some horrible knocking noises. The rear universal joint needed new bearings.  Rather than spend money to fix the car, Dad traded it in on a two-year old 1954 Plymouth.  The Plymouth was beautiful. It had two toned paint with a white top and turquoise blue bottom, and lots of chrome.  The leatherette and cloth seat colors matched the exterior colors.  I moved back and forth to college with the Plymouth.

Finally, in 1959, dad bought a new Ford Fairlane. The Fairlane was also blue and white, with giant round tail lights; the front fenders hung over the top of the headlights. It had an automatic transmission and a radio that worked.  I was at the University of Illinois by this time and used it during the summers to go to work.  Dad walked to the Illinois Central yard on 95th and Cottage Grove so I could drive to International Harvester on 26th and Western.  Even though Dad hated the Ford because of it’s poor reliability, he kept it until another car hit him broadside while driving in a funeral cortege..  In l969 he traded it in for another Ford.

The ‘69 Ford lasted through most of his retirement.  He and Mom used it a lot to go back and forth to the farm in Michigan.  Dad’s final car was a 1983 Chevy Celebrity.  He began to slow down with this car, and eventually gave up driving when he reached his late eighties.  He sold the Celebrity to one of the grandchildren.

In a later episode I’ll tell about my first car, and every other car I have owned after that.  Each one played a role in my life as a transportation appliance.

Wabbit Wars-Sneak Attack

“Look at the big Wabbit!” exclaimed the chorus of grand children from the sun room.

” He has a mouth full of grass.”

Grumpa Joe observed the Wabbit make several trips to the neighbor’s yard, returning with a mouthful of grass each time.

“Oh no, she is building a nest under my miniature evergreen, I have to get rid of her.”

“Is she going to have babies?”

“I have to chase her away,” he grumbled. Best to wait until later, he thought to himself.

A few minutes later Grumpa Joe’s grandson Ben came to him cradling a stuffed bunny and made his pitch.

Looking up, directly into Grumpa’s eyes with the saddest expression a little boy can muster  he said, “are you going to shoot the Wabbit? Please don’t kill her.”

Grumpa Joe was speechless. How and when did the Wabbits infiltrate the family to brainwash his grandson?

“I won’t hurt the Wabbits,” he told Ben while thinking of  his next move after the kids were gone.

The following day, it rained and the Wabbit activity was invisible.  She’s probably sitting on her nest, he thought.

Finally, the rain stopped and Grumpa Joe worked  in the garden. He snuck up on the pine tree and inspected the base. Sure enough, he found a hole next to the trunk.

That hole is too small for that big rabbit he told himself. Meanwhile, he saw no further activity.

I wonder if she abandoned the nest? Great, now I’ll get the blame for getting rid of the Wabbit, and I didn’t do anything. This is a secret Wabbit strategy  to take over the yard, and decapitate the tulips and the lilies.

Grumpa Joe returned to the house for lunch. Afterwards, he tried taking a nap but had trouble falling sleep. Visions of  Wabbits invading the house  and crawling all over him with tulips in their mouths flowed through his mind. He visioned Wabbits sitting everywhere, on the counter tops, the coffee tables, the kitchen table. Wabbits covered the floor making it impossible to walk. He opened the refrigerator, the Wabbits sat inside eating lettuce and carrots.

“Yikes,” he shouted.

“What’s wrong?” asked Grandma Peggy.

“I had a daymare.”

“What is that?”

“That’s the same as a nightmare, except it happens in the daytime.

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