Last Sunday, as I was walking into the Express to attend the weekly Sunday Funday BBQ, this neat old car was in the parking lot. Boy, did it bring back some memories!
Well, it didn’t bring back actual memories as much as it brought back the dreams of a 12 year old boy. Dreams shattered by my father’s near fatal bout with appendicitis.
1968 or 1969. Woodlake, California. JimmieJoe is about 12 years old, and in the 6th grade. Dad was working for the newly opened Toyota of Visalia, as a salesman. One evening, he brought home a Volvo very similar to the one pictured above. Black, and in a much less pristine condition than this one, it still looked like a dream machine to an exited pre-teen. Dad told me he could buy the car for what they gave someone for it as a trade-in, $50. He said he’d have a governor put on it, to keep the speed down, and I could drive it on the ranch where the home we were living in was located. I was in heaven! A car of my very own! And at 12!
In what probably was a fortuitous turn of events (I’d undoubtedly have crashed the car into an orange tree, or ended up in the pond at the middle of the long driveway to our house) I never got the car.
Dad went to work one day, even though he was feeling really crappy. While he was at work, he called my mother to come get him and take him to the doctor, as he was feeling really bad. Short story even shorter, his doctor immediately sent him to the hospital emergency room across the street, for an apparent appendicitis attack. They sent him directly into surgery, and he spent the next two weeks flat on his back in the hospital, then at home. Seems it wasn’t that his appendix was about to burst, it already had. Before he even left for work that day!
Well, once he was recovered enough to return to work, of course the car was gone. Either wholesaled out, or possibly sold on the used lot, whatever the situation, it was gone. Gone with it were the dreams of a young boy with his first car. I didn’t get another one of my own until I was 18. Looking back, that was probably for the best.