Harry’s Chevrolet

pat-1954-chevy-harry-kemper-crop-600pxHarry drove his car around back, pulled it into the garage, hung his keys on the hook in the kitchen and died.

He was missed of course.

The garage shared an interior wall with the basement so Harry’s car stayed warm and dry during those years after his death. His wife Nellie didn’t drive but her son-in-law regularly started the Chevrolet to make sure it didn’t seize up.

Nellie dreaded the idea of selling the keepsake. She once started to write a classified but “sturdy bumpers” and “chrome push buttons” was as far as she got.

She and a neighbor across the street had both married railroad men and they liked to do their ironing together. The woman had a son back from the service, going to trade school. He carried his tools and supplies as he changed buses to get across town. It ate up hours every day.

The woman told Nellie she had bought him a car at a bargain price and hoped it would last a while.

“I wish you had told me.” Nellie said. “Harry’s car’s still sitting in the garage. There’s almost no miles on it. Your son can have it for whatever he can get for that other car.”

The kid referred to it as his “Chevy” which stood for Chevrolet which stood for everything good in postwar America.

He forgot to set the hand brake one night and it careened through a neighbor’s yard taking a row of shrubs with it. It was an embarrassing pimply-faced mistake Harry never would have made.

A hit-and-run driver slammed into its passenger side during the first winter after he moved away. When he came home to visit he parked a used sports car in the driveway.

He walked over to tell Nellie the insurance company had totaled Harry’s car because it was thirteen years old. He certainly liked driving it, he said.

“Did it ever burn oil on you?” Nellie asked. “Harry bragged that Chevy never burned oil.”

“No, ma’am, it never did.” he said. He was lying of course.fingerprint4-only-final-40px


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *