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My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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31 March, 2008

Cars and The Stories They Tell

This month's Carnival of Genealogy focuses on more recent ancestors: Those who owned cars. Odd what genealogists consider "recent", but when you're researching family members of two to three hundred years ago, 122 years ago can be considered "recent".

Anyway, Jasia poses the following topic:

What car played a starring roll in your family history and what roll did it play? Did your family build cars or tinker with them? Did they take "Sunday drives"? What was your first car? Was there a hangout that you frequented in your car? How far back can you document your family's automotive genealogy?

I don't really know any stories behind the cars of my ancestors, but I do have some pictures. To be honest, though, I don't even know if these cars belonged to any of my ancestors or not; I only know that the pictures were among those in my father's and his sister's collections. I can tell you that this is likely to be a very long post, as I have some very interesting (and even funny) stories about my own cars

I can tell you that the type of cars that were important to my earliest known ancestors were railroad cars and coal cars.


(picture on right courtesy of www.ingr.co.uk/images/nanthir01.jpg).
This old, decrepid photo is one that I suspect contains my great-grandfather on my father's maternal side, Edward HODICK. I suspect this because the faded picture of the man in the front passenger seat kind of looks like him to me. But I think prior posts show how poor my judgment can be when determining "same or different". Not to mention the poor quality of the picture!
Many thanks to footnoteMaven for starting the digital restoration of Edward HODICK for me!

Below is another great photo in much better condition. I'm not sure of all the women in it, but I know the one sitting in the front passenger seat is Edward's daughter and my grandmother, Mary HODICK. I'm almost sure the one standing up with the hat is her sister, Sue. The other two are up for grabs, as the other one standing doesn't look like Mary and Sue's sister Vesta, and the other one in the car doesn't look like anyone I know.


Again, I don't know who these people are, but the writing on the back of the photo said "Helen and Butch".

These women are my grandmother Mary HODICK and her sister, Vesta (Sylvestina), who would have been a KINNEY by this time, I believe. She was also a KOVALESKI, but her first husband, John, died in a coal mining accident in Pennsylvania in 1940.

Okay, now it's time for some known cars and stories!

In the background of this picture is our old pick up truck. I don't know the make, model or year, but the picture itself was taken on Easter weekend 1976 in Tucson, Arizona. Yes, you read that right. Tucson, Arizona. At the time we were living in Niagara Falls NY. We took a cross country road trip with my dad's sister and her two kids, one of which is standing next to the snowman above. We arrived in Tucson on our way to California on Easter Sunday. We joked that the snow followed us. Years later, after I'd grown up, moved to Tempe, Az and then, yes, Tucson, it snowed on Easter Sunday AGAIN! In Tucson! In APRIL!

That same truck that took us to California and back to New York took my immediately family, a 70 pound Irish Setter mix and a 32 foot trailer back across the country to Tempe, Az. On the way, in Oklahoma if I recall, the steering mechanism gave out while we were traveling. We had a tractor trailer on either side of us to keep us on the road. When we were able to stop (safely, thank God), my dad had a mechanic look at it and the steering box popped right off it! My dad was steaming mad at the mechanics in New York who supposedly fixed the entire front end and steering column right before we left!

Meet Rooney O'Klunk, my first car. Actually, it was the first car my family bought shortly after moving to Arizona, and it was in much better shape then! It was a 1971 Mercury Marquis Brougham, which we bought in 1977/78. It was handed down to me for my high school graduation. After the brakes and power steering were fixed (are you seeing a pattern here?), I drove it for about a year. Then the brake lines got messed up, and I hit a truck when the brakes went out. No one was hurt, the guy I hit drove a pick up and he was a very nice Christian man who kept the whole thing in perspective, and we fixed the brakes again and tore off the fender. I drove it for another year. It's name? Rooney because it was Maroon, Klunk because it was a klunker, with tire blow outs monthly (I could only afford used tires), had a leak in the radiator that required me to put water in daily, leaky oil and transmission fluid, power windows without power and doors that had to be hit before opening. And the "O"? It had to have an Irish name!

I gave up on poor old Rooney O'Klunk when the drive shaft fell off while I was driving. I figured when the bottom of the car falls off while you're driving it, it's time to get rid of the car! I replaced Rooney with Dottie.
Dottie was a 1974 Datson B-210 and was the first standard shift car I owned. It was a four speed and much better on gas than the Mercury! I drove it from 1984 to 1986. I replaced Dottie with Sadie.
Sadie was a 1983 Nissan Sentra. It was a cute little car, and I moved to Tucson in this car in 1987. I drove it until 1990 when I traded it in for another Sentra, this time a brand spanking new car. My first.
This was Sylvie. She was a pretty good car, as far as cars go. I drove her for 10 years when I replaced her with my current car, a 2000 Honda Civic. Extra points for correctly guessing what the license plate means. I'm surprised at how many people don't "get it", which shows you where my sense of humor is. I'll give you a hint: It's an appropriate plate for a social worker. You can
click on it to enlarge it.

The Civic marked my return to an automatic transmission. I refuse to say anything good about any car I'm currently driving, because as soon as I say something good about it, it hears me and breaks down. That would be true whether it be a Honda or a Mercedes Benz. Just ask Murphy. He knows.

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