I’m in the mode of “Buy American.” In so doing, I have to overcome my practice of buying Japanese cars. My Datsun and Honda represented a 25-year investment, on my part (I keep cars a long time), so switching my purchase pattern won’t be easy.
(Pic of 2013 Chevy Impala to the right. Mine, in 1967, was teal blue. Loved that car.)
I’m not like other people: I don’t change autos often. Not like my Dad. He bought a new Chevy every 4 years, whether we needed one or not. I think he viewed driving a late model car as a sign he’d arrived, that he was truly living the American Dream.
But we only ever supported Detroit, meaning we “bought American.” After all, my parents were the generation who personally knew the horror of Pearl Harbor. They weren’t likely to buy a Japanese car, no matter how economical.
This is what I recall our family owning: A turquoise and cream (maybe it was white) Chevy, hard top convertible (they were said to be ‘so cool,’)…a black and white another. I don’t really recall most of them, just knew that as soon as the payments finished (4 years out), Dad would opt for another, bring it home, and we’d all inspect it, appropriately Ooohing and Aaaahing, as we pressed buttons, worked the radio, fingered the leather interior.
We only had one car in the family. What’d Mom do, when Dad took the car to work? Stayed home, mostly. She never worked outside the home but with 6 of us (4 kids), she had plenty to do. On Fridays, she had “her day.” That’s when she got the car to go shopping, whether to the Mall when it was built, or grocery shopping, to stock the shelves or buy items we fast-growing kids needed.
What was my first car? A Chevy Malibu. I loved its rich, deep blue/green luster, with its black leather interior. I liked the fact even better that I bought it with my own money, straight out of college, when I landed my first job as teacher. Those payments, like my father’s for the family car, went on for the next 4 years.
Quite simply: We were doing our part for America, contributing to its industry. Each week, on TV, we were encouraged to “See the USA, in your Chevrolet” by none other than America’s Sweetheart, Dinah Shore.
I kept that car through 200,000 miles (with poor attention to upkeep) and only turned it in when its leaky rubber gasket around the front window drove me to distraction. I’d get out, in the early morning freeze, of 10 degrees, with a sleepy child on my hip, in the process of taking her to her sitter’s. If it rained, the accelerator stuck, and I’d have to chip away at the rubber floor mats, to release the accelerator from the floor’s icy grip (water had pooled and formed a frozen pond on the floorboards.) Not a nice way to start the day as single, working parent.
Then, there was its pre-ignition problem, as the car would start up after I turned it off (never could figure why called ‘pre-ignition.’)
On one memorable occasion, the heater coil went and water from the radiator (with fresh antifreeze I’d just added), backed up, into the car, creating a steam bath that clouded the front windows. Water sloshed around, on the floor, wicking up my bell bottom stretch pants (remember these?), making a ghoulish, green line, against the cream-colored fabric.
I kept wiping the front windshield to allow me to see, as I traveled a heavily-trafficked road. Wiping…wiping…and and telling my little one “Don’t worry, we’ll be all right,” (tho’ I worried we wouldn’t be.)
But over the years, my support for that vaulted American company, Chevrolet, waned and I joined countless others who deserted, preferring the Japanese brands: Datsun and Honda became my next cars. On one occasion of auto buying, I believed the hype about one such car and went the route of that Swedish car maker, Saab, and finally, in my realtor years, I bought the reality that “Image matters” and drove a Jaguar and then a Lexus.
But I am ever-so-pleased to note a shift in car production, as the formerly-revered Chevrolet makes a serious stride to recapture America’ s loyalty. Yep, it’s touted lately as the Comeback Kid, and I’m one who’ll welcome its reemergence on the scene as power player. After all, I can still hear Dinah Shore’s invitation, ringing in my ears, as she punches the air:
Now, for a spin down Memory Lane, click on this link to hear America’s Sweetheart, sing “See the USA”.
Read up on how Chevrolet is blowing the doors off its competitors in all categories….We’ll be checking out the product; we can’t wait to help America get its game back on, in this market.
Then, too, we plan to “See the USA,” just as Dinah suggested, and word is: We’re not a minority in this; most of us Baby Boomers are planning that same cross-country trek, determining to spend our money in our country, instead of the usual European haunts.
With Chevrolet leading the pack, we stand a good chance of re-establishing our nation’s auto dominance…You know, the way things used to be…. Here’s the article…
***Now, what’s your favorite car? Will you put your toe back into the American car pool and “Buy American” in future years? (Too bad this re-emergence didn’t happen in time to save Detroit.)
***Please note: While Colleen Kelly Mellor completes her book Patient Witness, documenting her lifetime experience with the health care industry (it’s ‘wicked interesting’ as they say in Rhode Island), she’ll post to biddybytes on Mondays, only…..