Will Unwound #846: “Bad Memories”September 30, 2013
This past weekend our daily Sunday habit was disrupted. It is always our practice after Mass to gather at the little mom and pop donut shop in downtown Livermore, where we live.
But yesterday the downtown was roped off for a very expansive historic car show. What’s a historic car? As far as I could tell pretty much anything built before the 21st century. As we walked through the roped off streets to get to the donut shop I was taken by the big crowd of people huddled around these “antiques.” Yes, there were plenty of men standing around and engaging in car talk about engines, carburetors, and stick shifts, but there were even more people peering through windows to get a good look at the insides.
What were they looking for? My guess is their past selves. Nothing carries us back in time more than the sight of an old vehicle. That 57 Merc at the corner of L and 4th looked a lot like the first family vehicle I can ever remember. There I was in the pre -interstate highway days bent over in the back seat and vomiting into a grocery bag as my mom and dad made their yearly pilgrimage on a series of dipsy doodle roads to their old stomping grounds in upstate New York.
And that ’62 Rambler station wagon with the push button starter on the corner of 1st and I Streets was my Dad’s infamous lemon. 1962 was the year we headed south to Florida, but instead of looking at waves washing up on the crystalline beaches we spent most of our time in car repair shops.
I could go on, but you get the point. Typically I love to wax with nostalgic rhapsody about the past but the sight of old cars puts me on a bumpy nausea inducing road littered with steaming radiators, broken water pumps, seized up engines, and little pools of oil.