My Dad is still driving at 85 years old and is one of the big reasons I love cars! My Dad did not own a car at all until he was he was 33 years old. Owning a car was a luxury item for a post WWII blue collar family man in the 1950's, he car-pooled to work for years. His first car was a new 1956 Chevy (pictured on left), bought the year after I was born, (HEY.. how did they get me home from the hospital?). Already a father of four girls, including me, you can bet the entire family had fun driving around with Dad in his new car. It made shopping for a family of six much easier for Mom too I bet. Can you image living in Los Angeles all those years raising four daughters without a car, my oldest sister was 10 when I was born!
His 1956 Chevy had bench seats, no seat belts and the six of us all fit fine, three in front and three in back. No radio or air conditioning and just basic transportation at that time but luxury for the Meade family after so many years without our own car. No seat belts in the new car turned out to be a problem for me as I was an "active" girl, fidgety and trouble at times. One day while driving with my Dad, I was about five or six years old at the time, I decided to open the door and yes I fell out but managed to hang on to the door handle and was dragged several feet while Dad got the car stopped. I will never forget the look of panic on my Dad's face that day or the road rash on my backside, ouch! I knew however on that day that my Dad loved me with everything in him, that one look said it all. Although my Dad was stern about the dangerous thing I did, he was more relieved I had not been killed or hurt badly. Poor Dad! Man was my rear sore for weeks, I never did THAT again, a good reminder why seat belts and car seats were invented, to keep active fidgety kids from flying out car doors!
Women surrounded Dad was surrounded by women his whole life and I will say that the best thing my Dad did for all of us was to support our ideas about any aspiration to become whatever we wanted to be in our careers and never treated us like we were princesses that could not fend for ourselves. He was the first male 'women's libber' in my book and guess he had to join 'em or else, he was outnumbered for sure! His views on women growing up shaped me and he treated us all with respect. When my Mom went to work later he even pitched in on housework way before it was fashionable for men to do so, kudos for that Dad!
In fact my Mom and Dad will be married 65 years in September 2009 and I attribute much of this great marriage and family life I was blessed to be born into to the respectful, loving attitude and teamwork they did as a couple. My Mother is NO pushover and neither is my Dad he is truly a man's man and the two power-house personalities of my parents survived to 65 years of marriage with so much love and affection towards each other and the fun they have together even at 83 and 85. I do so admire and respect them both for this example of how to build a long lasting loving and healthy relationship. It meant so much to me and made it so much fun to grow up with happily married parents.
Dad nicknamed us all "boys" names for what reasons I still don't know, I was Joe of course for (Jody Sue) there was my three sisters nicknamed: Leroy (Karen Lee), Andrew (Carla Ann), and Jimbo (Linda Gaye). These were terms of endearment for sure and perhaps made us feel more like we could do anything the men could do. It really turned out that way for me for sure. I still love when he calls me by 'Joe' my nickname it is the ultimate term of endearment and affection from him towards me.
Dad took an auto repair course to save money on repairs and as I grew up in this all girl family I became my Dad's pal and was the one in the garage holding the flashlight and handing tools to Dad as he changed the oil and made repairs to the family car or other chores in the yard that he needed help with. He was a stickler on keeping his cars running well, mostly to save on MONEY, taking care of a family of six on one income was a challenge back then, just as it has become now with the economy pressing hard on families to survive.. We can all take a lesson on saving money from my Dad by keeping up with maintenance and repairs, his cars lasted forever and rarely broke down if at all that I can remember, in fact he did not buy another new car until 1966 and not because it was worn out, it was he wanted a bigger car so we could go camping in style. Now I help Dad while he looks on as I help him with his computer and printer, our special bonding time is still tinkering with fixing stuff together.
Our second car was his "favorite" a 1966 Chevy Belair station wagon. The many memories of us camping and traveling to see the National Parks across the west in this station wagon pulling a trailer box goes on and on. We loved to go camping with Dad together as a family, some of the happiest memories of my childhood for sure. A few funny times were when my Dad left my sister at a gas station on a potty break. Guess too many girls to keep count of! This story gets told often at family gatherings! For us five girls potty stops were always a source of trouble for my poor Dad, his bladder worked on a totally different time table than us girls. Dad teased us unmercifully about having to make unscheduled stops and his many trips to buy the must-have ..at the last minute.. 'feminine products' with never a complaint. Dad also drove too fast on our trips (or so my Mom thought), she called it the "GREEN BLUR" as things we wanted to see went by so fast and Dad only stopped at "planned stops", point A to point B on the AAA maps he plotted on for weeks before our trips.
On one fateful road trip with Dad he had a tire blow-out in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. My Mom still claims it was due to him driving too fast, (maybe 60 MPH, giggles). It was very hot that day and Dad managed to get us and the car to the side of the road safely but got stuck in sand and could not jack up the car to change the tire. We traveled often with another family on these long vacation trips and the Hinds were with us and they saved the day and drove Dad to town to get towed in and the tire fixed, while us girls baked in the car until the tow truck arrived, by the way it cost a total of $5.00, tow included, prices sure have changed since the mid '60's!
My Dad is really a very safe driver, don't tell MOM, and as far as I know has never had any car accidents other than a fender bender with a loose truck tire on the highway.
Dad was a pretty good sport with us girls about cars in general and as my older sisters came of driving age he provided the driving lessons and the means for new cars with the promise of getting a job and "being responsible"! There were Ford Fairlanes, Ford Pintos, Nissans, Monte Carlos, and Lincoln Continentals that passed through the family, my Mother still drives a 26 year old 280ZX, and my Dad drives a Toyota Avalon at this point and loves it! Dad is still responsible for the maintenance and repairs of their cars to this day except now he takes it to the dealership! He taught me to take care of MY cars for sure, thanks Dad.
What do you say in closing about such a wonderful and appreciated Dad who is smart, kind, funny, loving and has always been there for me my whole life??
Happy Father’s Day, I am so lucky to have a Daddy like YOU. I love you a ton!
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