Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Jaunty Model A to Last a Lifetime

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Jaunty Model A to Last a Lifetime

Article excerpt

MEMORIES surged when we brought the Model-A Tudor out from the back stall in the stable and made it ready for the road. The old Ford was last exposed to public gaze back in 1981, when it and my college diploma were the same age, and I drove it to Bowdoin College for our 50th reunion. I had a sign on each side saying, "Class of 1931 Courtesy Car." Henry Ford did bring his new models out in the fall, so this one we have was bought new in September of 1930, but remains a 1931 model.

The purchaser was my father-in-law-to-be, who bought it for a daughter betrothed to me. Sweet music. She drove it to business, but when we set up housekeeping in Maine I already had an automobile, so hers languished in a garage in Massachusetts that cost $378 more than the Model A did. Her father drove it some, but was road skittish and usually made excuses to work in his garden. We brought it to Maine, and it was our family vehicle as the youngsters grew up. So now it needed only a state safety sticker, and it could go on the road for further adventures.

But our children did not learn to drive with this classic car. As farm children, they started with the tractor, and son John was tooling about the place when he was 4 or so. But both of them did their roadway practicing with the Ford. The boy's maiden voyage was memorable.

We had a neighbor at the time, by the name of Bill Knox, who was a trooper with the Maine State Police. Bill was a stalwart sort, handsome in his uniform, and when the time came, I suggested to Bill that he ride out with son John and see if the lad was ready for his official examination at the registry. On his next day off, Bill came and arranged all six-plus feet of himself on the back seat of the Tudor sedan, and said, "OK, let's go!" John took the wheel and they rolled forth onto the highway to be gone over four hours.

It isn't every unlicensed young man who takes his first tour with a state cop in the back seat. Bill gave directions, and they went up the Ridge Road to the Bowdoinham Road, crossed by the Rabbit Road past the Fisher Schoolhouse, and came to Richmond by Bowdoin Center. They stopped at Harwoods station for hot dogs and ice cream. …

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