Men have always had love affairs with their cars. They named these machines after women. Their bikes, pick-ups, boats and first cars are always referred to as, HER or SHE. SHE was the best car I ever owned. Or, I loved my first Chevy; I’d give anything to have HER back. Or, I just loved that gas guzzling Olds.
My grandson, Gabe has a navy blue, rusted pick-up that he lovingly calls Myrtle. Tony, another grandson, owned a jeep that followed him from Illinois to California and it caused considerable mourning when he had to junk it.. My son nearly cried the day he traded his 1982 red and white Chrysler LeBaron, that took him from Illinois to Florida.
Buck’s dream car was a brand-new taupe, 1984 Buick Park Avenue. To him this was the sum of all things. He had worked long and hard for this car... It was beautiful. The problem was, he didn’t have it long enough to give her a name.
Buck had closed his furniture store, Sutliff’s Home Furnishings on east Peru Street, in the early 1980’s. He wanted to remain in the furniture industry, so he accepted a position with a store in Youngstown, Ohio that was going out of business.
At one time in Youngstown, steel was king. But, the economy wasn’t doing so well in Youngstown, so businesses and furniture stores were closing.
This was a whole new experience for us because Youngstown was too far for a weekly commute. Buck spent weeks apart from our family.
Things went pretty well for a while. He liked the people he worked with and his little efficiency apartment was comfortable. Not too many months passed though, before he began to realize the need for change, he wanted to come home. By now it was winter.
Everything came to a head when he left work one late afternoon and began to look around for his car. The parking lot was out in the open and busy. In disbelief, he realized his car was no where to be found.
He called the police and reported his brand-new Buick stolen.
A couple of days passed without word from the police. But, the call finally came, and he arranged for a ride to the city pound. There it was. No wheels so it sat atop four oil barrels in the middle of a great big slushy puddle. The dash board was destroyed, and the interior was trashed.
He located the Buick dealership in Youngstown and had them replace the wheels. They attempted to repair the dash, so he could drive home to Princeton.
To make matters worse, the dealership refused to accept his written check He called Citizens Bank and asked them to verify that he was good for the amount of the check. No matter they wouldn’t accept the check. Frustrated doesn’t begin to describe his anger. He raged at the service department and told them in no uncertain terms that he was getting in HIS car and driving home. They let him go.
About a hundred miles from Youngstown Ohio, the car gave out and another dealership was contacted to tow the car off the toll way to the garage.
In the mean time, he called me and asked me to drive to Ohio to pick him up. It was going to take a while for the repairs and right now waiting for parts wasn’t an option.
It was Sunday afternoon and snowing. This is where good judgment should have kicked in because as I traveled on interstate 80, cars began to appear in the median. Thinking I would drive out of the storm I continued on until I came to the Indiana Toll way. My car was caked with ice and frozen slush. Finally, the snow got so bad I had to get off the toll way. When I reached Elkhart, Indiana, I decided to turn off. To my surprise, I did a 360 on the exit ramp and got myself good and stuck.
Fortunately, I had my boots, long winter coat and scarf. I turned on the hazard lights and trudged up to the toll way booth. There I waited for the tow truck to rescue me. I had the tow truck driver drop me off at the first motel. I would deal with the car in the morning. I contacted Buck and told him of my experience.
In the morning I located the LeBaron and was pleased to learn that it was in good condition.
I wish I could say the same for Buck and his beautiful Park Avenue. After hearing what had happened to me, and not wanting to wait any longer, he asked the mechanic to help him hotwire the car to get us home. He arrived in Elkhart midafternoon.
The next day I followed him to home sweet home. Unfortunately, Faber’s were never able to get the car back to the original condition. But he did still love that car.
“I have trouble with names and faces, but I never forget a car” ….The Love Bug 1968