This week’s Generations Cafe challenge word is POWER. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me it was CARS. I have pictures of my families cars over the years and there are stories and thoughts about a few of them. I have to say that I may not have the year and model of the old cars correct but I’ll be close. Your comments are welcome!

The first car in my memory bank is this 1929 Nash. I recall that my Dad and an uncle picked it up for a song and were very proud that they got it running. The car stayed in the family for many years. I remember that when I was about 10 this car got painted red, white, and blue and was in a 4th of July parade. That’s my Dad and my Uncle Rick who was just 4 years older than me.

Jim McDearmid with Richard Quist

This 37 Chevy was our family car for most of my childhood. It probably started out looking pretty good. I think it was gray. But over the years it started to rust so my Dad painted it primer red which is a pretty ugly color. For health reasons the car never got it’s final coat of paint…that is my Dad’s health. So all my school life I got picked up by this ugly red car. I recall being so embarrassed by the color that I would wait until the very end of the pickups to claim my ride. One of my girlfriends got picked up by her Dad who had a Buick sedan with the 3 holes on the side. I thought that car was so beautiful and was so jealous. This primer red Chevy is the reason that I MUST have a good looking car. Not the priciest nor the fastest (although that helps), but the most beautiful in my opinion. I wish I had a color picture..oh well, it is pretty ingrained in my memory!

Jim’s old 37 Chevy

My Dad died when I was 15 and my Mom was left with two girls to raise. She worked and needed a better car so she was able to buy a new 1954 Nash Rambler. It was a pretty stylish small station wagon in a deep maroon color. Under the windows the shape of the door curved out kind of like hips. When the car was new I was checking it out and leaned against the driver’s door….and the curve caved in! Oh I felt so bad, so embarrassed! This is also the only car I ever had an accident in. I was 19 and teaching 6th grade. On a shopping jaunt I made a left turn and got hit on the passenger side. It must have been my fault, however, the policeman who answered the call was the father of one of my students. No ticket was issued! Thank you, Bob!

Anne’s new Nash Rambler!! A lovely maroon.

Part of my love story involves a 1959 Plymouth Belvidere hardtop. Jim lived 50 miles away from me in Chicago and did not own a car when we met. He took the train to work in North Chicago. We met at a wedding reception but he did not call me for a date until 2 months later, after he ditched his current girlfriend and bought a car…the Plymouth. I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of that car until 1964! By this time as you can see the snazzy Plymouth was not enough for our expanding family!

This being the 60’s it was only natural to get a VW Bus! Oh the space! We could fit our kids plus some neighbor kids into our bus. It was perfectly satisfactory until you put the pedal to the metal and nothing happened! Jim was constantly frustrated as was I, by the lack of power. (I am known for a lead foot.)

The bus lasted about a year, through one vacation trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan. Driving home Jim got very frustrated at not having the power to pass any slow poke in front of him and he declared he would be visiting the car dealers when we returned. It only took him a few days to pick out a new car.

I could be wrong but I think this is a 66 Galaxie 500. Actually a pretty tight fit for our family of 5 but Jim said he got a great deal and it did have the required POWER! We enjoyed many vacation trips in this car including a 2 week vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park with NO air conditioning. 

Over the years we always had a second “beater” car that Jim drove to work. One of those was a Ford Falcon that he bought for a song and sold it for less. That car came back to haunt him because the next owner never changed the registration so when the car died and it was left on the roadside…guess who got the call from the police!

As the kids grew it became necessary to get a larger car and that brought “The Dork” into our lives. I think that nickname came along later because to begin with it was a pretty snazzy car with AC and power windows and plenty of POWER!  It could tow a trailer so we added a pop-up camper to our life and took many short summer trips and one 3 week trip back to Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. That trip had 4 teenagers and a Basset Hound. The kids always had a loud discussion about who would ride in “the way back” where there were facing bench seats.  I remember the last day traveling home was thirteen hours long because we were DONE with vacation and just wanted to be home!

The Dork served us well until it rusted out. It became the beater car and a new beauty took its place. I was working full time as a teacher and fell in love with The 74 Camaro. I had never bought a car on my own, made all the payments, titled in my name. This was in the days of women’s independence and this was my statement:

…and she had POWER! This was a HOT car and that’s how I felt driving it! I was a kindergarten teacher when I bought this car and was the envy of all the teachers. Then I moved to teaching 5th graders and they were totally impressed with my wheels. 

I must have loved the bronze color because the next car to enter our lives was the Dragon Wagon! The Dork was on it’s last legs and being rusted out was an embarrassment in our new California neighborhood. It became son Jim’s paper delivery car. On to a new and powerful 78 Oldsmobile wagon. This car was such great fun because it just looked like a MOM car but when I revved it up at a stop sign I got attention. And when I beat out the other drivers, they were amazed and I was thrilled. Woohoo!

We took several great trips with the Dragon towing the Starcraft camper….Crater Lake, Yosemite, Sequoia, King’s Canyon, Mt. Palomar. Sometimes we had an extra teenager along, always we had a Basset Hound! We took racing bikes and put them on top of the car. That was a head turner for sure.

As the kids moved into college age we offered to buy cars for them, have them live at home and pay for in-state college. They were happy with this idea. So in the 1981-82 time frame we bought 3 Datsuns. The fourth in this picture was son Jim’s girlfriend. We bought them all from the same dealer and joked that a fifth one would be free!  These cars were peppy and reliable; a good investment.

By 1990 the kids were all married and out of the house, Grandkids were arriving and all the Datsuns had gone to the Big Car Heaven. They were replaced by Goldie, the Ford Thunderbird that was my choice and Blackie, the Olds sedan that was Jim’s choice.

Goldie was a fun car to drive with lots of power. I looked really good in this car. Blackie was a tough car that suited Jim. He actually survived two red light runners who broadsided the driver’s side of the car. Tough! 

A green Mercury Villager Van followed these two cars. It lasted until we took Grandson Bryan on a trip to baseball spring training in AZ and he discovered the AC didn’t work in the back. The whole AC system had deteriorated It was cheaper to buy another used van than repair the AC. Wouldn’t you know right there on the lot was a white Villager Van. We really enjoyed the vans. They handled nicely and had enough oomph to keep us happy!  

Both of the vans were part of our RV life that started in 2003 when we sold our house and hit the road to travel the country in our 32 foot motorhome towing a van. That’s a little over 40 feet of vehicle. I have to say there was a lot of power in this combo but a lot of weight…so we were back to the acceleration of the VW Bus! We learned to be happy in the slow lane and gave the truckers the right of way.

Both of the vans were part of our RV life that started in 2003 when we sold our house and hit the road to travel the country in our 32 foot motorhome towing a van. That’s a little over 40 feet of vehicle. I have to say there was a lot of power in this combo but a lot of weight…so we were back to the acceleration of the VW Bus! We learned to be happy in the slow lane and gave the truckers the right of way.

This is now my current car. For the last few years I have been saying I’m going to buy a new car but I just can’t seem to make the decision. I finally realized that this CR-V is the only piece of my life with Jim that I have left. One of these days I’ll be strong and brave and go car shopping. Hmmm…I never had a convertible and I saw a really sweet white Mustang on the road!

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