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  • Betty Girardeau

Our Love Affair With Cars


In the part of the country where I live there are a lot of antique/vintage vehicles. Some of them are owned by collectors, and some are some guy's favorite toy. There are car shows several times a year, and it is fun to attend them and see cars like your first boyfriend might have had or even like the first car you may have had. Usually they have been lovingly restored, exhibiting lots of shiny chrome and white wall tires. I remember my first boyfriend had lovingly restored a Willis jeepster, and I loved going on dates with him in that car, except for the night that a rain shower developed very quickly and we both had to hustle to get the canvas top in place by hand before we were both soaked. My husband had a a Model A Ford, a vintage vehicle even then, when he was in high school which he had named Jenny. In some of the letters he wrote me when we were first dating he mentioned "her" often, never letting on that she was a car and not some ex-girl friend. And my younger son has been spending a lot of his time in the last few months renovating an antique 50's era pick up truck. I can certainly understand the appeal of these antique and vintage cars and trucks to the men in our lives because they are from a time when vehicles seemed to have more character than most do today. It used to be possible to tell the make of a car by how it looked, something that is difficult to do today until you can see the logo. As I recall September was a big month for the unveiling of the new models, and everyone used to be excited to see what they were going to look like. People bought new cars more often when I was growing up, too. My Dad typically would start to look for a new car about every two years. And he would shop around, so we had a Plymouth, several Buicks, and a Chrysler before he settled on Cadillacs, which were my Mother's favorite. So when I attend car shows I love to spot ones like I remembered our family having when I was growing up. It's quite common when you get into conversations with people about their childhood and youth that the mention of a particular car will be brought up. So many of our memories seem to be tied up with them: family trips, dating, outdoor movies and drive-ins, the car you had when you learned to drive, for example. However, it seems that this love affair may be losing its magic for many reasons with more recent generations. A lot of this can be blamed on technological advances both in cars themselves and society as a whole. Car mechanics are computerized. So is social media. Which one would you choose if you were a millennial? Too bad. I may be wrong, but I think the memories related to cars for my generation are richer than what today's youngsters will have when they are my age.

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