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Posts Tagged ‘1959’

My dad sent me the photo below as a follow-up to yesterday’s post. (You remember, the one about my grandfather going to see his old friend Fred Dearborn perform.)

This was taken in August 1959 at Lake George, in the central Massachusetts town of Wales. It was my dad’s only trip to Lake George, which was a favorite hangout of my grandpa and his friends when he lived in Springfield.

My dad believes the shorter, balding man in the back row is Fred Dearborn, and his wife and mother are both seated in the front row.

Lake George, Wales, MA 1959

This also happens to be a superb picture of my grandfather, who is seated in the front row, smiling as if he owned the place.

Lake George, DB Wales, MA 1959

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My father is a good sport.

When I brought up his semi-legendary ’59 Plymouth, the Shrimp Boat, he could have shrugged his shoulders and pleaded ignorance. He could have said that all known pictures of the car mysteriously and spontaneously combusted one dark autumn night many moons ago.

Instead, on his own initiative, he went back to an old box of family slides and dug up the goods.

Check the ride, ladies and gentlemen:

Summer 1963. Got me a Chrysler, seats about twenty.

I had always been told the Shrimp Boat was orange, and that’s what I wrote in my earlier post.

But photographic evidence — plus the word of my father and aunt — convinces me that the car was, in fact, a garish surfer-boy shade of coral.

You’ll note that the colors of the yellow flowers and green grass in the photo are pretty true to life. So the slide hasn’t faded from some other color. Pink is as pink does, duuuude.

What we have here is a ’59 Plymouth Belvedere, bought for roughly $700 from a used-car lot somewhere in Stamford. The intent was to provide cheap transportation (Blumenau’s Corollary: “Cheap transportation isn’t”) for my dad, who needed a car to get to music gigs and to and from college.

As he himself put it: “Tell me, what self-respecting co-ed could resist a slide-rule-toting engineering student in this superb melding of design and function?”

For the record, this is not the same model as Stephen King’s infamous Christine, which was a ’58 Plymouth Fury. The Shrimp Boat didn’t make its owner malignant and murderous … just dorky.

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

Unfortunately, the Shrimp Boat’s build quality was not on a par with its dashing good looks. The car had chronic mechanical problems and died at about 60,000 miles, a remarkably low number by today’s standards. Even though it was my dad’s first ride, I do not think he was sorry to see it go.

In fairness to my dad, I will point out that his taste in cars massively improved once he got out of college and landed a job with a big company.

Brand-new Mustang, British racing green, summer 1966. Hell, yes.

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