Thursday, January 31, 2013

A man and his car and so much more

Mother, Teddy, Dad with Toni behind him, Gerard, Janie and Louise

Nothing represented the American dream more to my father than owning a car and a house.  The car came first--a 1938 Chevrolet--and the house came later the same year.  These photos were sent to the Roos family back in Utrecht

Judging from our clothing, this photo was taken on a Sunday afternoon, which is ironic, because the only specific memories I have of this car is terrifying Sunday afternoon drives into the mountains.
Two words:  overheated radiator.  Billows of steam would rise from under the hood and the car would stop usually on some precipice.  We would climb out and stand squinting under a summer sun, while my father looked for a stream.  Did he carry a can in the car for that purpose?

I was sure we would die in those mountains.

A few years ago, Tom drove me up above Alta on a Sunday afternoon and we looked out over the valley below.  A strangling anxiety caught me in the throat.  "I don't like it up here," I said.

Tom knows better than to argue with my panic.  "Let's go," he said.

I can do Brighton.

Surely, this is the same car we used to drive in on Saturdays to the Dairy Queen.  The kids got cones dipped in chocolate (I still love those).  Daddy always got a rootbeer float and Mother got a lime float.

And we must have visited Opoe and Opa over on 5th East in this car.  They lived back in a little court in the middle of the block, which is now Smith's Marketplace.

Mother didn't learn to drive until she was 54.  We rode the bus downtown and to Doctor Brewerton's office in Sugar House.  I had my tonsils out there, and we took a taxi home.  I threw up in the taxi.
Dr. Brewerton was a Dutch missionary.  He made house calls.

Later, for reasons I cannot fathom, he told people that I married Tom for his money.

What money?

This began with a car.


  1. I want that second picture blown up on a canvas and hanging on my wall.

    1. That's a great idea! So inventive Sarah!

  2. That second picture could have been one of Norman Rockwell's models for his "Vacation" paintings.

  3. I love these pictures. My grandma didn't drive until after my grandpa died. Sunday drives are a nice tradition. We don't do that. Maybe we should.

  4. They can't last forever, but it saddens me to think a grocery store is on the location your grandparents used to live.
    Your poor mother's feet. I love her smile.
    I laughed outright when I read your question.