Somewhere in the Central United States;
At the age of only 11, I was playing baseball at a sandlot on a beautifully spring day in May of 1956. This baseball 'diamond' was within my mother's shouting distance from our front porch. As I approached the batting box imagining myself as Duke Snider at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, I was quickly jolted back to reality when I hear my mother's impassioned cry. "Come home quickly" she yelled at the top of her 100 pound lungs. Naturally I, along with the 'Duke' was rather disappointed, but I could really hear the panic in her voice. I could tell that she wasn't calling me to simply take out the trash, or pick her up a pack of cigarettes at the neighborhood grocery store.
So, I left those runners in scoring position and let the next guy take his cuts, as I left the diamond to the taunts of "Mamma's Boy". I only smiled to myself because I had been one of those 'taunters' only moments earlier as a guy from the other team was also called home b y his mother. I guess that's what we get by having a field so close to our homes.
When I got home my mother told me that my younger brother who was 8, had gotten brave and had ridden his bicycle to the barber shop which was about 3 miles and several turns away from our house. Evidently, he found his way there but was afraid to come home because he was as he told it to our mother, 'lost'. So, I had to be the big brother and go get him (these were the days of one car families) so naturally my mother had no transportation, but I had a bicycle you see, so I was chosen to rescue my adventurous brother.
A few minutes after I left the house I arrived at the intersection where the barber shop was, and I could see the smile on my 8 year old brothers face. The light was just turning yellow so naturally I figured that I had plenty of time to turn left in front of oncoming traffic. However a brand new 1956 Ford Sunliner coming from the other direction also had that same bad idea. I reached the apex of my turn just as he reached me. He hit me dead on and I was thrown, according to my brother, as high as the clouds in the sky. Later he told me that an Angel had stuck out his wing and lowered me gently to the pavement, which to this day I do not doubt because I received only minor injuries to which I will not go into at this time, but other people who witnessed the crash including the barber himself, figured I was dead for sure. I was taken to the hospital which was only about 3 blocks from this intersection and allowed to go home in a matter of a couple of days.
Now, you are probably asking yourself how does this relate to my current 'collector car'? Very simple, about 11 years ago, I purchased a 1956 Ford Sunliner as the car I wanted to adorn my garage as a 'classic' because all I can remember from that nearly fatal crash was that beautiful grille getting ready to take a big bite out of my body. It was truly a car that 'turned my head'