Over the weekend, we happened upon a small antique car show which we couldn’t just
pass by. We used to have some of our own, a ’60 Studebaker, like the one below, and a
’50 Hudson, so it is always fun to stop and admire someone else’s dreamy wheels while
we point to the ones we’d like to drive someday when, once again, we have free time.
One of the cars was a beautiful Buick with a rumble seat, very much like one owned
by a beau of my mother’s in the 30s. It was a gift from his father but, not being the
convertible he wanted, he took it to a garage and had the top cut right off. Inclement
weather? No problem! A bunch of umbrellas, conveniently stored under the seat, did
the trick back in those days of raccoon coats, bathtub gin and boola boola.
One day the Buick boy came to see my mother and said “We have to get married!”
It turned out that his family, long-time residents of an old stone house in Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey, were actually Canadian citizens and, in those days just before
our entrance into World War Two, were about to be deported. My mother, always
accommodating and caring about others, ran upstairs and packed a bag and off they
went to find a justice of the peace. Somewhere along the way, my mother realized
that it would never work and called the whole thing off. So, they went to the movies
to see “Bringing Up Baby” instead. I don’t know what happened to that boy and his
family, but I always loved this story of choosing movies over marriage.
Shortly after this, my mother met a real man! With a real convertible (top and all).
And, a real citizen, too! There he is, my father, the one on the left with the pipe,
high hair and his pals by his side. Below, with his dog… who could
resist such a cool guy?
He showed up at a party at my grandparent’s house in 1941. It was love at first sight.
They eloped (what else?…it’s a family tradition) before he went to France with the
Cars have always played such a huge part in all of our lives; I guess they always will.
Here I am (below), sitting on the back of another convertible in 1950, next to my
Snooks is at the wheel, looking like a Bazaar magazine cover girl in her chic scarf,
sunglasses and, of course, the ever-present cig. She sucked in her cheeks to get
the high cheekbones that everyone wanted. Below, my mother (center), and her
beautiful sisters, Liz (again with the cig) on the left and Florence on the right, reading
Bazaar. Check out the cover. See what I mean about Snooks?
Then and now. Our love affairs with fashion, the automobile and love itself are ones
that never let us down.
Then …………………………………………………..and now!