Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How they got around

I'm not much good at identifying cars.  If I were asked to identify a car, I would probably just say it was a blue one, or a red one.  If I can get close enough to read the brand, I can identify it even more!

My dad loved a new car.  It was important to him to have a good and reliable car, for I believe the cars he and my mom owned while young newlyweds in Kentucky would not have been known for being the most reliable cars.
On my parents wedding day, my dad was up underneath the car working on something when battery acid spilled over into his eyes.  Here is an excerpt from my mother's journal:

When I was about 18 years old I had made up my mind to be married so my mom &dad told me I could get married and my cousin Burl Stevens and Blanch Newland got married on the 28 day of January and on Sunday my Husband to be Chester Lee Clemens and I went up we was all ready to take off.  too my uncle Eddie’s to a Wedding dinner so we all had a good day and went out for a walk and took some pictures of the limestone mines where my father worked so we came home that Sunday night and Clemens ask my dad if we could get married so he said yes so the next morning my darling went to town Olive Hill Ky and got my wedding dress.  He got a very pretty one navy blue with a tan stripe in it it sure was pretty and he got me a nice scarf too so we was all ready to take off.  We wanted to go to morehead KY and be married by the Judge {?} in rowan co. 
We didn’t have no car but Richard & Alice Newton to go and drive the car and be or witness so we was on our way by noon {12} the weather was ice and plenty off mud and no good road at Lawton at the time in 1932.
Clemens had to put the battery in the car so he didnt no how and go up under and got battery watter in his eys and he took like he had been crying all day and people would ask him if he was hurt be cause he was getting married we was late getting back for we had got stuck in the mud and Clemens had to get out and pust so we looked like mud dobers.

Dad and my three sisters in West Virginia.  He was the only one in the coal camp to be drafted.  He served at Pearl Harbor.

Mom and her younger brother, Thearl Stevens.

I can remember when my bro thearl and I saw our first car we sure did get out of the way.

My dad lived with us for a few years before he passed away.  Although he had been the owner of several newer cars since those days in Kentucky, some things he never forgot.  He always felt we needed to get home before dark so we didn't have to use the headlights.  It wasn't until I was talking with my sisters that I learned that they drained the battery in those old cars.  He didn't want to use the windshield wipers or turn the heater on, either.

This is from an era I cannot relate to.  I have never had to crank up a car to get it to run, though I have had to jump-start several.  I never had to rush home before dark, though I did have Dad pushing me to do it.  I never had the experience of seeing a car for the first time and being afraid of it.

Maybe that's why my mom always preferred riding a mule.  She said they were more trustworthy and sure-footed.

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