Old cars

Oct 16, 2012 by

by Elaine Wright

Do you ever notice an “olde-tyme” car on the road? Do you wonder what it has weathered to still be operable? Or, was it well-kept & didn’t have much to weather? Has it been lovingly restored by the same family, or is it a collector’s trophy?

Either way, you can be sure it has a special garage now. Is it out on the highway for a Sunday drive, or clearing the engine, or enroute to a car show, or coming home from parade participation? What kind of gas, licensing, and parts does it require?

Old-time means different eras to different people, from teens to seniors, but for all of us, it is always long before now. What still shocks me is when my daughter refers to more recently past years as old-time. Especially if she is looking at a car that was already old-time when I was young, but which I grew up learning to drive in. Worse yet if she sees one that was new when I was a teen, and calls it old-time! My neighborhood had mostly used, older family cars, though all polished & oiled. It was a family street, a long block, dead-end, and like a town of its own. Everyone knew everything about everyone.

Mrs. O’Shay was our champion Old Timer, and drove a Model A. I didn’t know much about driving law, but it must have been much more lax in those days. All I know is that whenever she came chugging up the hill, we kids playing in the street would all scatter, yelling “Run! Here comes Mrs. O’Shay!”  Then we’d settle down in our yards, giggling at the inevitable driveway crash and fireworks when she got into her usual argument with her next-door neighbor Larry.  One time he went out with a can of orange paint to mark each side of her driveway.  She just never seemed to be able to make the turn or stop well.

But she drove that car as long as I can remember, not often, but always a big event.

I don’t remember ever seeing much damage on her car, but there was plenty on the corner of her house & the coinciding corner of Larry’s. What a car! Strong, original, & ancient-just like Mrs. O’Shay herself, as well as most of the neighborhood itself.

Then there was tall Tim, who drove a tiny sports car, and we always marveled as he “unfolded” himself to get out of  it so gracefully.

Our friend Ricky was a hard worker and always had a newer car, which you could count on seeing him thoroughly wash, wax, and polish every weekend. That was his Saturday “day”.  Before that he had “hot rods”. They were like spicy versions of Mrs. O’Shay’s Model A.

The rest of our families had various station wagons and sedans, some even identical, as many other household things were. I am so glad for never mentioning to my daughter about the very 1st family car that I remember, because it was even older than the ones she knows about. But, whenever I spot one on the road, I silently wish blessings on it.

Suddenly out of nowhere appears a piece of the past, rolling alongside as if a day hasn’t gone by. What a delight to know that your first neighborhood’s fleet is still up & running.

One here, one there, some in movies, some in shows, some in parades, some in driveways & some just rolling alongside in traffic-destination: time survival; so far, so good. I salute the driver with a smile & a thumbs-up or a nod. Thanks to all those who care & restore! It’s like being back on the old family street again, just for a wonderful moment.

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