Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fast Cars

Most men love fast cars. We don’t necessarily have to see it go fast.  It’s enough sometimes that we know it does.  And red is a favorite color.  I don’t know exactly why.  Red is flashy.  Maybe it’s because we remember what it’s like to go fast and want to do it again.  Or perhaps because we want to experience that speed for the first time.  Maybe it’s the beauty of the machinery.  Or the artistry of the design.  Do fast cars look like women?  Different shape, but mainly sleek.

Toy cars gave always been popular as gifts to children.  At least since the development of the mass-market vehicle.  Cast iron toy cars.  Plastic models to build.  Pinewood derby.  Soapbox derby.  Cars you can sit in.  Kid scale.  Today the popular thing is drivable battery powered vehicles.  My kids had one a while back.  But they are not the same as what was available in the 50’s and 60’s.  Metal pedal cars.

ImageI never had one as a kid.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I didn’t ask for one.  My parents were pretty good about providing me with everything I needed, or wanted.  Although, I never did get that Stingray bicycle all my friends had.  Maybe these were really for kids born a little earlier than I was. 

You sat in the car and pedaled with your feet.  The thing went and you could steer and it was just like driving a real car!  Fun.  Prelude to a bike maybe, or adjunct.  I didn’t have one, but I wanted my kids to.

In the late 80’s I liked to go to an antique market in Atlanta.  At the old fairgrounds.  One day I found a rusty old pedal car.  It was in pieces, and a few were missing.  It needed new rubber on the wheels and was missing a hubcap.  I think it was supposed to be a fire truck.  It had some kind of step on the back instead of a bumper.  And here was a bell on the hood.  Missing its string.  It was a mess.  But I took it home.

Over the next few years I found new wheels.  With rubber.  And a new hubcap.  Never found a ladder or the bell so I just turned it into a regular car.  I did some sanding, laid in some bondo and gave it a coat of red paint.  It was cool.  Ready.  And waiting for me to have some kids.

The kids came along but somehow they weren’t interested in the car.  And eventually they outgrew it.  Never having ridden it as I had planned.  And so it remained in the basement.  For years.

And now it sits proudly in my store, Living History Antiques.  Waiting for a new owner.  With children who will want to ride it.  Or at least a father or grandfather who has dreams of some kid riding it.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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Television Surprises

My daughter watches a lot of television.  At least it seems like it to me.  I’m not a TV snob.  I’ll admit I watch television.  I like the History Channel, and old movies, and public television.  I like slapstick comedy.  And crime dramas.  I don’t like talk shows or chick flicks.  Or news the likes of such and such a movie star was seen at so and so restaurant.  Not my thing.  I think my daughter watches some of that stuff.

Personally, I’d rather see her read a book or take a walk around the block.  But I don’t see me walking around the block either so I can’t really say much.  Lead by example. I’ve always tried to get my kids interested in art and antiques and they are doing pretty well.  They have been to art museums in London.  And Rome.  And New York.  They tag along sometimes when I go antiquing.  And actually buy some things for themselves.  And I was surprised this weekend when they agreed to go to an auction with me.  I bought a bunch of treasures.  They didn’t see any.  Or didn’t buy any I like to think.  But progress.

Lately I’ve been buying a lot of fixer upper furniture.  I have a vision for how it might look restored to its original appearance, but not how it might be repurposed.  Or restyled.  But it turns out that my daughter, the TV watcher, has a good eye for what can be done to give something old a great new appeal.  Great ideas!  I’m so proud of her.

Did I mention?  She picks up a lot of tips and ideas from…television.  She loves HGTV and that’s what they do.  Buy a junky old chair, wipe off the dirt and grime, paint it bright green and voilà!  Major interior design statement.  Or something like that.

She’s been a big help.  Her ideas are going to make money.  I may be able to take her on as a partner yet.  I still think she should read a book, but if TV gives her these ideas I guess I’ll let her continue to watch.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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The Phone Number

What?  Disconnected? That’s impossible.  But there she was again, that nice lady on the other end of the line telling me that she was sorry, but the number I had dialed was no longer in service.

Other than my social security number, which I will not share with you, that phone number was better known to me than any other number in the world.  Yes, I know Pi to umpteen decimals, and all the basic integers.  And my birthday.  But this phone number….

I still remember the phone number from the house I grew up in.  Thirteen years.  And nearly forty years ago.  At least the last four digits.  1883.  That’s pretty good considering I don’t know my wife’s office number.  Or either of my kid’s cell numbers.  Or even my own work number half the time.  But this number….

For thirty-eight years this number represented home.  Not where I lived, but where my family was.  This was my parent’s phone number.  For 38 years.  And today it was shut down.  Forever.

I say forever but the phone company will probably give it to someone else.  I might call it one day to see if the new owners are deserving.  Like my parents.  For thirty-eight years I knew I could call this number and a person who cared about me would answer.  Someone who gave me everything.  Who would do anything for me.  And had repeatedly done so much.  It just rolls off my tongue, straight from my memory.  Without a second thought.  But now I don’t need it anymore.

My parents moved today.  They didn’t take the number with them.  Take that you nasty telemarketers!  They were downsizing.  Starting anew.  So they decided a new phone number was in order as well.  I hope they can remember it. 

I’ve got the new number plugged into my iPhone.  One of my contacts.  That way I won’t be tempted to call the old number.  By force of habit.  But I’ll probably never remember the new number.  Not like the old one.

New life for them.  New chapter for me too.  There will be plenty of memories associated with the new number I’m sure.  But it won’t be that number….

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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