Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Drive Down Memory Lane: Family Cars

It’s time again for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver!

Our task this week is to:

1)  Drive down Memory Lane – what were your family cars – from childhood to now, year, model, color, features.  Can you remember?

On the surface, this task appears fairly easy because my family only owned a few cars and Dave and I haven’t owned too many either. The difficult part is remembering much about them.

I went digging through my old family photos and a trend became clear right away. I have at least partial photos of our cars as I grew up, but know little about them.

As an adult, I can tell you which cars I owned, but I guess we weren’t ever into photographing our cars, so I only found one of the back of my first car after I moved to California.

Here goes:

This is the car that my parents owned when I was born in 1952, although this picture was taken the summer before my birth (based on the 1951 year on the front New Jersey license plate).

I don’t remember this car at all and can’t tell you make, model or anything else about it. I didn’t even realize they ever owned this car until I went digging through my photos so I learned something new here.

Behind my dad and me, there is a car parked in the driveway. I have no idea if this is the same car – the photo was taken in the winter of 1953. I don’t remember this car either.

This looks like it was taken in 1954 and the car behind us is the one for which I have any memories. It was a very light blue Ford, two door I think, as I remember climbing into the back seat. It had a radio, but no seat belts. Instead, there were little straps hanging from near the roof of the car (inside, of course) that passengers in the back seat could hold. There wasn’t any air conditioning in it, either, and I don’t know if any cars even had air conditioning in them back then.

I do know that my parents didn’t have a lot of spare money and they never bought any new cars – they were always second hand – and my dad shopped at the Fette Ford car dealership, located at 977 Bloomfield Avenue in Clifton.

Oddly, I also remember one other fact that stuck in my mind way longer than any car details. Fette Ford’s number was PR9-7000. Our number was PR9-7007 and we got LOTS of wrong numbers from people who wanted to talk to someone at Fette Ford.

We had the blue sedan until about 1963 when my father paid another visit to Fette Ford and came home with what I thought was a cool car – a Ford woodie station wagon. 🙂

This was taken on Easter in 1964. We had moved from Passaic to Wayne three months earlier. The station wagon is parked in the driveway behind my Nana, brother and myself.

My parents had that car for maybe five or six years. The next car was a light green four door sedan and I think it was actually a Chrysler. It’s the same car they gave to me to use during my six months of student teaching as I finished college. However, I haven’t found any picture of that car.

I moved to California at the end of summer in 1978 and bought my first car – an orange Ford Pinto.

Dave was horrified that I had a Pinto – it was about the time the news came out about all the safety issues – so we soon bought our first brand new car.

It was a 1981 blue four-door Honda Civic.

After the Civic, I had a maroon Toyota Camry – it was a 1990, I think, and also new. No photos of that one!

We really liked the Camry, so in 1998, we bought a gold one. What I remember most about that car was the retractable sun roof, which I loved, living in California. It also had a tape player AND a CD player. I don’t think I ever used the tape player, as tapes were already near extinction, but I loved the CD player.

My last, and current car, is a 2009 Lexus RX350, which we bought in preparation for retirement in the mountains, as it has 4-wheel drive. Dave decided he didn’t think he could live with snow, so the 4-wheel turned out to be not so necessary.

However, I love my car and we use it for most of our car trip vacations. It’s seen a lot of the western United States.

The other part of this challenge was to think about details pertaining to each of the cars. I honestly can remember very few. I tend to see a car as the means of getting somewhere that is too far to walk!

Of the light blue Ford, I remember the riding being rather bumpy and bouncy, but it got us where we had to go.

There were fun rides in the back of the woody station wagon, but it wasn’t very comfortable sliding around the back on the turns.

The only real memory I have of the Chrysler was driving home from New Hampshire one summer, probably around 1973, and the radiator developed a leak. I had to stop and put in coolant about every 30 minutes and wait for the car to cool down before continuing on my way back to New Jersey. An eight hour ride took about 14 hours on that day!

Not many memories for all those cars. They were just cars!!

Thanks, Randy, for a fun trip down Memory Lane in my family cars.

 

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