Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Colin Washburn, San Mateo High, and the Packard One-Eighty


 From our man in the Sierra foothills, Colin Washburn: 
"My father saw an ad for the Packard in the San Mateo newspaper back in 1947, when he first came to Cali from Iowa. He saw it, put $10 down to hold it, and went and hustled up the remaining $390 immediately. Yep, only $400! The original owner had been killed in WW II and it had been parked in his parents garage for some six years. They finally decided to sell it to be rid of a painful reminder of their son. I assume they wanted it gone ASAP, and put a lowball price on it. Dad lucked out and got there first. It was our family car and we drove all over the country in it. My sister and I had the luxury of the HUGE back seat, that was equipped with individual heaters, Belgian carpet, a liquor compartment built into the back of the front seat ( we stashed our comic books, snacks, and other road gear in it ), and silk curtains on the wind wings. There was always a desert water bag hanging off the front bumper, and we used it often, especially when the flathead 8 -- 356 c.i. -- overheated when climbing the Sierra Nevada passes. I remember drinking out of it too, the taste of canvas somehow pleasing to a kid because it was the taste of the road, of adventure!
    Anyhow, when I turned 16 the old man gave it to me as a birthday present. It was by then in rough shape and not driven much. I fixed it up, got a $29.99 el cheapo paint-job, and drove it to high school. Nearly all of the San Mateo High School basketball team would cram themselves into the back seat, and we'd make grand entrances to games, resplendent in our bright orange warm-up suits. Most of my teammates were big black brothers. They loved cruising around in the big, black Packard.
    Yeah, lots of fine memories of that great car. Like a fool, I sold it when I got drafted and went off to Viet Nam. ( I didn't have a place to store it. Fortunately, the man who bought it had it completely restored. ( It's the grey one. ). Today that car is worth in excess of $200,000.

 "More Packards at the Ironstone Vineyard Concours d'Elegance..."--CRW 

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