Chris C 1961 Chevrolet Impala 2dr Convertible

The same car

This summer I bought new tires for the Chevy convertible. They've been flat for about 20 years. Back then I thought about selling the car. "But I like that car," my mother said, and since it was living in her garage, I figured that we'd defer selling for a while. My Dad bought the car new, and in September of 1961 he drove me to my first day of high school in it. A few years later he organized a trip to explore colleges in the Chevy, ranging southward into Ohio and as far as Virginia. And in 1967, I drove it off to college in Ohio, the first time I'd driven far from home by myself. The car wasn't really legal. The college did not allow sophomores to have cars. But I found a spot off-campus to stash it. Later it was legal, and I sent my college alumni group a photo of a 1969 college parking sticker that's still on the Chevy's bumper. How many people still have the car they drove in 1969 with its parking sticker? The Chevy was my transportation to a summer job that came with a big bonus for a guy with a convertible--a barn building that I could park in, leaving the top down even if some rain came along during the day.

Right now, my goal is to get the car started and drivable, with a semi-serious goal of driving in in the Bay City St. Patrick's Day Parade. It has appeared twice before, way back in the early '60s, so it seems like a good plan. It may take an extra year. We'll see. But when I reflect on the Chevy, I think about my Dad, and about all those memories that include the car.

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