Early cars, trucks, vehicles that you remember in your life.
Like the family pet that grows up in your home, makes all the holiday picture appearances in the cherished photo album. The vehicles parked in the old black and white images with long gone family members posing in their younger selves. Those old cars carry fond memory attachments that hit you the same way as an oldie goldie spun on the local early Maine radio station.
The earliest cars in your memories, what are they as you look back?
My earliest images are from a neighbor on Franklin Avenue, the Blacks who had a red with white DeSoto. DeSoto was a division of Chrysler, produced over 2 million cars from 1929 to 1960 when the brand was dropped.
DeSoto was named after the explorer, the European credited with crossing the Mississippi first and introduced to compete with lower cost car market. It was created to provide a mid car class market option for auto buyers that could not afford the higher priced Chrysler line.
Ralph Black spit polished and maintained everything he owned.
He had a crew cut, loved to garden, enjoyed pink peppermints. Was a fan of dulse which is seaweed that tastes a little like bacon but way way healthier for you. Trained as an accountant, book keeper, no one took the job more seriously. Ralph was a company man. He and his wife were Canadians who moved over to Houlton Maine from New Brunswick and became US citizens.
Ralph worked at Almon H Fogg Hardware as a book keeper. Served in World War 1 and came home carrying shrapnel in his back from that conflict. Marj worked at Cary Library and did not drive. Walked everywhere with me and my brothers when Ralph had the car at work. I was his God child and when old enough to pedal my bike into town I mowed his lawn. The job inherited from my older brother Brian. His Excello lawn mower was a reel type maintained to the hilt. Had to trim with a silent hand pushed mower and clippers. I inherited the job from my next oldest brother Brian. I am the youngest of four boys.
This video shows one of the vintage grass clippers from the 1950’s.
Ralph’s was all blue green colored and had a lever to engage with pulleys to add the power to the wheels. Wooden rollers behind the sharpened reels helps spread out the grass clippings. No rotary scalping happens with the reel type mowers. Every fall Ralph would load the mower in the trunk and take to a fellow up the street who would service it to be ready for the following spring. The green ranch on 5 Franklin Avenue in Houlton Maine sat on a large lot with hillsides to struggle with plenty on the west side. As a little guy riding his banana bike into town from the country weekly. This was a serious mission for the five dollars and cold soda received to clip the grass for the Black’s who were fair but particular.
Ralph and his wife Marjorie graduated from the 1955 DeSoto to the beige 1966 Corvair, the rear engine vehicle Ralph Nadar helped get off the road.
Corvair was a Chevy product made from 1960 to 1969. Reggie Walton in Littleton collected Corvairs of all types.
Spiders, the pick up and van versions of all years of this rear engine air cooled Chevy product. The TV series Bewitched also had a view Corvairs in their episodes if I remember correctly what I watched with the rabbit ears. Reggie lost his life in Florida bring back trailers to resell. He was a mover and a shaker on the local small town Maine scene for sure.
The next car owned by the Blacks was a 1966 Pontiac Tempest.
Not the coveted GTO but powered with a six cylinder instead of the big V8 gas hog 389 cubic inch or bigger under the hood of muscle cars of the time. I have seen these Tempest made into a GTO clone. Wished I had the Black’s cars so carefully maintained and pampered that Ralph and Marjorie purchased. Having no kids of their own helped the wear and tear too. There was none. Waxed weekly, the vinyl floors oiled and preserved. The inside of the trunk, under the hood all like when it rolled off the car factory assembly line.
Read more about early cars, even a tractor that I remember growing up in a small town in Maine.
Blogs about early trucks has made the Me In Maine blog post collection too in case you missed it. What early vehicles, bikes, trucks do you remember growing up?
When they age you don’t want to let go of them. Some of us see those old vehicles as people that get old. You want to re-purpose them and bring them back to their original factory glory. Like older folks that carry a lot of wisdom to share, these old vehicles have a spirit, can transport you back to an early time in history.
Ever long for an abandoned car seen in your travels?
Thought about bringing it back to life? It’s expensive and using your heart not your head. But heartstrings pulled on need attention to in the short life on Earth right? Can’t always be practical.
Like old songs, the smells of meals your grandmother whipped up, anything that hits the senses can evoke strong memories of happy times earlier in your life.
If I was going to go out and buy an old car it would probably be a big one from the late 1950’s. The fins, the space ship design reflected America at the time they rolled off the assembly line. How about a Square Bird… a 1958 through 1960 Thunderbird please for me. Tooling around a small Maine town behind the wheel of an old car ride experience. Ralph and Marjorie Black never had one of those old cars to dream about restoring but what they did have creates fond memories.
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