Slice of Life: Memories of the Model A

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Have you ever ridden in the rumble seat of a 1930 Ford Model A? For a ten year old, almost nothing is more exhilarating.

When I was a kid, our neighbor owned a tree farm. Neat rows of shrubs, pine, willow, and birch trees stretched for a quarter mile from the edge of his yard, creating a miniature forest in the midst of miles of cow pastures. Narrow lanes lined the perimeter of the nursery, and one or two paths cut through the center, allowing easy access to all the trees.

Uncle Jack, as everyone called him, was my best friend’s uncle. He and his mother lived in a ranch house close to the road, built there I’m sure so there would be more room for trees. Because Lisa’s grandmother lived there, she and her brother Johnny spent a lot of time there. Because this was right next door, I spent a lot of time there, too.

Most of the time, we played all sorts of typical kid games. But on certain days, beautiful sunny days that were clear and warm, we went out in the Model A. Uncle Jack’s 1930 Ford Model A was stored in the back of the garage under a musty brown tarp. Johnny, who was two years older, loved to drive this car around the nursery and Lisa and I loved to ride with him.

Sadly, I don't have a photo of Uncle Jack's car. This is the closest copyright-free image I could find. By GPS 56 from New Zealand (1930 Ford Model A Roadster) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Sadly, I don’t have a photo of Uncle Jack’s car. This is the closest copyright-free image I could find. By GPS 56 from New Zealand (1930 Ford Model A Roadster) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The blue paint was faded, and the seats were hard and cracked, but we didn’t care. To us, this old car was a chariot that whisked us away to adventure. As soon as the car was out of the garage, Lisa and I scrambled up into the tiny seat that appeared like magic from where the trunk should have been. Then we were off along the the pathways between the trees.

I’m sure we never went more than 20 or 30 miles per hour, and maybe we didn’t even go that fast. Of course the lanes were rutted and uneven. But bouncing over the bumps was part of the thrill. And what a thrill it was to be riding along with the wind in our hair, the sun on our faces, and not a care in the world.

It’s almost unimaginable to me now that we were allowed this kind of freedom, to be driven around by a twelve or thirteen year old! Yet we never had a mishap of any kind and no one ever got hurt.

Soon enough, we outgrew the Model A and our afternoon drives. We were off on adventures beyond the boundaries of the nursery. But we carried away fond memories of those joyous days, cruising along those tree-lined lanes.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each day during the month of March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

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9 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Memories of the Model A

  1. Thanks for your story. My mom used to talk about the car her dad had when she was young. It had a rumble seat, too. She was the youngest of 11, and her niece was her dearest playmate (they were just a few months apart in age). They played in the rumble seat. No gas for driving around for fun, though. Their trips were all imaginary.

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  2. Catherine, as I sit inside for another snowy snow day, I am reminded that stories connect us not only to our past but to other people’s memories. Yours was unique because you lived near a tree farm. The closest I could become to that story would be through a book or a mentor text so thank you for building my knowledge of the world.

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  3. Catherine,
    I hope you had a fabulous day reading and writing. My grandma’s car did not look like that – no roadster for us. It was big and black and had four doors. I remember playing in the loft of her garage as well . . . some memories that I will have to tap into this month for sure!

    Yep! Kids driving cars . . . not that unusual. Not so many rules and regs back then!

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  4. Love this, Catherine. I learned to drive in an old topless jeep that we (cousins) & I drove all over an uncle’s farm-stick shift & all. We were about 13 or 14 when we started, & loved it. Your adventures remind me of that time. We didn’t get hurt either, but had loads of fun. Love that you shared a memory, a great idea.

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  5. I loved reading this. I could feel the bumps and the wind blowing through my hair! I could see the tree lined streets and reminisce about a time that use to be. Thank you for sharing a slice of your childhood.

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  6. You created a wonderful world for me. Growing up where I did I never got close to such an adventure. City life didn’t allow for kids in cars! At least not in my neighborhood. Thanks for reaching back and taking me there!

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