(The Classics Perspective is a column exclusive to AutoTrader Classics and written by our own Online Editor Brian Medford. We hope you enjoy it.)
I doubt I will ever fully understand the amount of patience my Mother had with my A.A.D.D. (Automotive Attention Deficit Disorder).
From an early age I was a car nut. My room was littered with toy cars of all kinds only to be replaced as I grew up with car posters that lined my walls and a bulletin board filled with cut-out cars hastily tacked in place. A trip to the grocery store usually resulted in my pleas for yet another car magazine, most of which I still have to this day. Mom didn't know it at the time, but her little indulgences in my interests were building a future car guy career.
It probably wasn't easy for my Mom though. I was a very inquisitive child. Toys fascinated me and some begged for further investigation. Once I discovered how a screwdriver worked, my car guy fate was sealed. Unfortunately it was Mom's hair dryer that paid the price (I wanted to know how it worked, too bad it never worked again). I am sure the surprise my Mom felt in noticing that her hair dryer was much lighter now (the parts wouldn't go back in right) was only surpassed by the realization of the "mechanic" responsible. But for some reason Mom never got mad at my exploratory disassembly.
I can actually pinpoint my affinity for cars with long hoods to my Mother's 1978 Ford Thunderbird (light blue with a white Landau top). To this day I can still feel the warm white vinyl bench seat, and hear the unique starter squeal. Jumping into the passenger seat with Mom at the wheel meant a possible trip to the used book store (where she would buy me more car books), or maybe to the grocery store (where I might get yet another car magazine). Mom drove that big car effortlessly, and I remember feeling like it was the safest place in the world.
My first car was actually my Mother's car before I received it: a dark blue 1983 Camaro Z-28. I am pretty sure that none of my friend's moms drove anything remotely as cool as the Z-28. Prior to my ownership, Mom drove the Camaro back and forth to work. I remember Dad asking me to take out the T-tops for Mom on nice days so she could drive to work. I can only imagine how she looked cruising down the road. Yeah, Mom was cool.
I once convinced my parents to take a family road trip to the mountains in the Z-28. Being the smallest of the family, Mom sat in the cramped back seat. As we drove, I was enjoying the twisting mountain roads while Mom kept a steady eye on the speedometer, informing me of when we were going "fast enough." As night fell, I started easing the gauge cluster lights dimmer and dimmer, until finally the gauges were impossible to see. Mom finally noticed and I played dumb, insisting that I would check the fuses when we got to our destination. We continued our trip and I enjoyed the drive. Sorry Mom.
It wouldn't be until I was in my late teens that my Mother's true understanding of her son's A.A.D.D would emerge. My Father and I brought home all kinds of vehicles during the span of several years (more on that in June's column). During that time Mom rarely, if ever, objected. I had a rotating stable of four or five cars at a time and luckily my parent's full length basement kept them from being an eyesore. Mom knew that I was being "constructive" during those hours and weeks spent on each project. Cars came and went while my college tuition was paid for in grease stained dollar bills.
Through it all Mom was a champ. From little toy cars strewn about the house to full size cars parked in the basement she watched me grow up. I think deep down Mom knew that her little boy had not actually grown up, he had just moved on to bigger toy cars.
Is my Mom a car gal? No. But she understands what it means for me to be a car guy. Funny, my wife is the same way...
Happy Mother's day Mom, and to all Moms out there.
(Brian is an avid automotive enthusiast who grew up in his father's shop and has had grease under his fingernails from an early age. He has been involved in the classic automotive industry for well over a decade. He has owned several classic cars and is currently focused on the Oldsmobile brand.)
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