Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mama wanted a car, daddy didn't

THIS update is really from the recesses of my mind. 

Alan and I really like old automobiles, and we were watching the car auctions on TV and the recesses of my mind were opened up.  I doubt even my brother and sister remember this episode in our lives.

Dad didn't drive.  Oh, he knew how.  At least that's what he told us.  He told me he learned to drive in a Stutz Bearcat auto.  But he wouldn't drive an automobile for as long as I knew him, which was for 58 years.  He would, on occasion, state that cars were murder weapons.  Well, he was correct that autos do kill a lot of people, or rather the drivers of autos do, most unintentionally.  So, he would not drive.  But he would be driven.  I don't know, maybe it was his Pennsylvania Deutsch heritage.  The Amish won't drive, but will ride in cars if someone else is driving.

Mom really wanted a car.  I guess she was tired of walking everywhere or taking a bus.

An opportunity came along and was passed on to daddy and mom about an automobile that was for sale.  The notice of this opportunity came from one of the deacons in the church.  Now, that got me to thinking that maybe the deacons wanted dad to get a car so that he could increase his flock by going into neighboring communities.  Dad rode a bicycle if he wanted to get someplace that was a little long on the foot, but mostly he walked -- he walked very, very fast. 

This particular car was in good shape mechanically.  The church mechanic verified this.  He also told daddy that it was a good deal, since the mileage was low.

When mom found out that this car was for sale and it was only $500 she started to give daddy hints that it might be a good idea to get a car. Where she thought we could find $500 when we were living hand to mouth, I haven't the foggiest idea.

She started hinting.   She dreamily hinted that she could go visit her sister without taking a bus to Philly, switching to the subway that went out to 69th street, and then transferring to one of the trains that went to Springfield, about a two hour trip one-way, if the connections were timely.  And travelling with four rambunctous children wasn't exactly a treat for my mother.

Dad wasn't buying it.

Mom could get to the doctor in Haddon Heights easier.  Mom even offered to learn to drive.

Dad wasn't buying it.

And on and on it went. 

Needless to say, we didn't get the car.  It was beauty, too.  It was a 1949 Plymouth, maroon, running boards.  The family would have fit in that car.

I even went to bat to try to convince dad that we needed a car.  I didn't know why, because my travels included those to which my uncles picked us up and carried us, which for me was a treat.  I didn't know at that time that an automobile would have been nice for us to have when I went to college as a commuter.  A commuter without an automobile, just bus money and a two-plus hour ride on buses to get to GSC.  By auto?:  1/2 hour tops.

Mama really wanted that car, daddy didn't.  Daddy won!


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