An Old New Arrival…………….#23 (the 50’s)

The family car 37 DeSoto

The  37 Desoto was no longer a member of the family,  in its place taking up residence in front of the house on Greenly Drive was the new family car,  a 1936 Oldsmobile four door sedan.   It was powered by a straight-eight engine,  entertaining more power that it’s six cylinder predecessor,  much heavier,  plus having a very impressionable simulated wood grain dash and complimentary interior.   The demise of the Desoto was predictable,  taking two incidents to resolve the cars nemesis.   The first episode indelibly marked, the family embarked on the long trip north traversing on highway 99 to Yreka,  the soaring summer heat in the Sacramento Valley reaching 105 plus degrees.    With the air-flow vent cranked open,  all windows down and  wind buffeting the interior,  the unimaginable suddenly happened.   The in-rushing cataclysm of air causing a small rent in the headliner to evolve into a large tear.   The headliner began to flail in a torrent  of promptitude,  causing the fabric glue,  which long ago had digressed into powder,  to explicate out from its metal roof entrapment forming  a cloud,  choking and covering everything,   including the occupants.   Continuing on for a short distance,  the boy’s Dad finally stopping and setting about in the removal of the remaining loose headliner.   Mike could tell that the mood of those traveling had changed and to further add to the carnage,  his Mother complained of a shortness of breath.   The boy’s mom looking distressed,  but in the stifling heat so did the rest of the family.   A stop was made in Red Bluff and a brief retreat from the swelter was achieved.   A reassurance from his Mother that she would survive,  enabled  them to continue  traveling to Yreka in the maimed DeSoto.

36 Olds – A car with a “Joey the Jeep” Heart


Beautiful wood grained dash

From the headliner event Mike knew the days of the DeSoto were numbered, not having long to wait for the final deciding factor to seal the fate of the automobile.   The family was returning from an overnight visit to his grandparents in Sebastopol when the handwriting on the wall made its presence known.   Having attained Oakland, just  past the Park Blvd. intersection his dad unexpectedly asking for complete silence and when this was not achieved,  in a stern voice he make the request again.   Everyone was quiet, wondering and waiting for a response from the driver.  The answer soon coming,  a problem in the engine,  his Dad conjecturing that the very slight knocking  resonating from the engine saying it sounded like a rod bearing insert starting to go.    Slowing the car, they continued on in silence, if for some reason it would make a difference, finally achieving their destination,    Later the youth observed as his Dad consulted the Motor’s  Auto  Repair Manuel  for the DeSoto,  his Dad certain of his rationale of the problem and began his labor of repairing the car.    The was car parked on Greenly Dr. in front of the house and for Mike it was the first time his Dad had asked him to help. He watched the ongoing process his job was to hand Dad the necessary tools when  beneath the car  but being observant with a new-found interest, the draining of the oil,  dropping the pan, removing the rod cap that grasp the crankshaft, replacing the bearing insert.  All a new enlightenment, discovering  the mechanical how and why complexity of an engine, their conterminous components, a curiosity fulfilled,  initiated a decision to explore this new-found realm.

The do-it-yourself auto mechanics Home Bible

An unsuspecting pitfall on Shone Ave.

Shone Ave. was a steep road with a 36 inch wide, 24 inch deep open cement culvert that snaked down the incline along the Willson’s  property line, and with no Stop Signs at the intersection of Greenly Dr, its presence having never presented a problem.  A recent decision by the City to place stops  sign on Shone Ave’s steep incline changed all that.   Drivers would stop on the hill,  forgetting to slip the clutch to remain in place, sometimes killing  the engine and while trying to start-up they would frequently roll back not realizing that there was a deep culvert present.  Mike would watch as they attempted to drive out, but with one wheel spinning in the Culvert, there was no traction, the only recourse  was to call a tow truck.  On occasions there was one exception, a 3421 lb. 1936 Oldsmobile, with a 121 x 59 inch wheelbase, having 7.50 x 16″ tires,  a 240 cubic inch engine, the body featuring solid chromium steel bumpers and a logging chain in the trunk that could be used for extricating cars from culverts.

The Boy lost count of the number of people who were thankful there was a 1936 Oldsmobile with a   “Joey the Jeep heart” and a congenial teamster living at the corner of Shone Ave and Greenly Drive.


15 Responses to “An Old New Arrival…………….#23 (the 50’s)”

  1. Candace Caples Says:

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.

  2. Nancy Says:

    I had to listen to Joey the Jeep after your comment (thanks to Fran I could). I really enjoying your perception of what was going on during the early years.

  3. Burton Melander Says:

    I always enjoy reading quality articles by an individual who is definately up to snuff on their chosen subject. I’ll be following this thread with great interest. Keep up the good work, see you next time

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I enjoy sharing these true-life episodes giving an insight to a past era. The Memory Series allows me to write and relive the past. I hope you enjoy all my youthful decries on Inquisitive Quest. Take Care………Gary

  4. bulova watches Says:

    I would like to express my appreciation for your post. That’s really great to know that there are such people like you who do their job very well and with such enthusiasm.

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I enjoy sharing these true-life episodes giving an insight to a past era. The Memory Series allows me to write and relive the past. I hope you enjoy all my youthful decries on Inquisitive Quest…….Gary

  5. Cheap Car Rentals San Jose Says:

    Cool stuff, but the posts don’t display properly on my iPad, perhaps you could check that out. Thanks, anyway.

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t have any suggestions except if you were to click on the title it would establish a permentant link to that indivualal post. I enjoy reliving and sharing these true-life episodes and hope you continue to participate in my youthful decries on Inqisitive Quest.

  6. Joe Cvetkovic Says:

    Phenomenal job here. I actually relished what you had to tell.

  7. papillonsj2013 Says:

    Good job Gary!! Entertaining and great photos too!

  8. papillonsj2013 Says:

    Good job Gary…entertaining and great photos! Wish I had your excellent memory of events that go back that far! Sue

  9. Teddi Says:

    I really enjoyed reading about my family and yours in your Feb 2010 post. (The Pepitones.) My mom was “Bugs” or now known as Diana. I am truly in awe about how much you can remember from your childhood and growing up on Greenly Dr. Thanks for sharing and I love the pic of my grandmother aka “yia yia” (Diamond Pepitone).

    Kindest Regards,

    BTW I loved how your parents would hide coins in their tree in their front yard and called it a “money tree.” I truly believed money grew on trees until I was about 8 years old. 🙂

  10. doncrower Says:

    Good job Gary. Are you going to place all of these articles in book form and publish?

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