I was interviewed last week by a local news outlet for whom I’ll be writing auto content. Excited about the new opportunity I anxiously awaited the phone call at the appointed time.
Pleasantries were exchanged and recorders were activated as I answered reasonable questions about how and why I blog, where I went to school, what degrees I hold, etc. all of which were expected and welcomed. I’ve lived a few years and have a history.
One of the most poignant questions of the whole interview though, was the one about “How did you get interested in cars?”.
I was transported back in my mind to times spent with family, teachers, friends and the talk of autos. The first voice heard was my Dad. We had a great relationship as I was the last of five children, born in his golden years by surprise. He had mellowed and we enjoyed an easy-going banter that included talk of everything, especially cars.
His years as a police officer had taught him how important being observant was and he was bound and determined his little girl would notice the things around her. On many occasions we would travel together and our conversation would be minimal. Once rounding the bend for home however, the questions began.
What did I notice about our journey? What route did we travel? What were the street names? Direction north, south, east or west? Who did we see along the way? What were they wearing? What were they doing? Did I know them? Were they strangers?
The detective in him fired out questions in a very conversational tone that didn’t threaten, gleaned information, and made one little girl’s head spin. I loved him so much and always wanted to answer his questions to the fullest in the most detailed account I could muster, and then came the cars…
With the string of motorized wonders that passed through our garage and driveway, rivaling the lot at Biggers Chevrolet, I had polished my share of chrome in my young life. Turtle Wax® was in my DNA and was lovingly applied, dried, and polished off to reveal the shine hiding beneath. I found it fascinating for some reason, still do.
Volkswagens, Chevys, Fords and even some Dodges had tenure with us. I learned their curves and design elements like a student studies great art. With Dad’s help I learned how to match cars in a model year by similarities and angles. Emblems became my answer key. As cars approached us I would guess and it would be confirmed or disproved by as the clarity of the emblems revealed their answers coming and going like the Doppler Effect.
Favorites were noted and easy, others were harder as brands often mimic each other during certain generations of production.
With all this in mind, I still constantly scan my field of vision for answers to my car identification questions. My mind developed a curiosity, with the help of my father, teachers, and family that grew over the years. I consider myself a curious person and I believe its genetic. Getting a kick out of a pop-quiz every time we went somewhere doesn’t happen for everyone, just if you’re lucky enough to have a Dad like mine.
Over the years inspiring teachers, as today is World Teacher’s Day, continued to feed my passion. They parked eye-candy just outside the window. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My love of autos extends to this day because of you as well. Not everyone has teachers who bring rims into the classroom to ask “do you like these and what color?”. I have fond memories and great relationships with many from school to this day. Reunions are a reason to chat cars! See below…
My enthusiasm for autos has multiplied over the years as you see…now I’m an automotive journalist. Cars are, and always have been, my thing. Some knew, some didn’t. But for those who knew, what a ride its been. Every day brings a new reason to write about them.
Little did my colleague know what she was asking and the flood of memories it would release. I’m so glad she did.
You can catch more JulesOnWheelz by clicking here for the Partake In Paducah page via the West Kentucky Star news.