(first posted 5/5/2012)
LuAnn was a modest, quiet, and unassuming woman.
During the late 1980’s, she was in her mid-60’s. LuAnn had had a sad, rough life. Widowed at an early age, she was left to raise her only son whom had various issues that would never allow him to live on his own or work outside the home. She was rail thin and gaunt. Time had not been kind to her.
LuAnn had been left with little by her late husband. She had found a job as a school cook in a small public school in the vicinity of her home in extreme Southern Illinois. She and her son lived in a well-worn house on the banks of the Mississippi River. She kept her two Ramblers, the newer one being a 1964 Classic 770, in a makeshift carport.
She strongly preferred her green ’64.
LuAnn had a 12 mile drive to the school for work. As money was always a precious resource for her, she could not entertain the idea of anything new. Economy was paramount in acquisition, operation, and maintenance. LuAnn had found Rambler products to perfectly fit her needs. Maybe the old Rambler was not as stylish as a newer car, but LuAnn had never been one to bother with stylishness.
As a woman who did not believe in excess in either words or behavior, LuAnn’s nature would have caused her to pause had she been shopping for another Rambler and encountered such extravagances as a V8 engine or frivolities such as a transmission called “Flash-O-Matic”. She couldn’t fathom spending extra for whitewall tires.
No, LuAnn’s Rambler was 25 years old at the time and still going strong. It’s straight-six and three-speed manual suited her needs. She knew it slowed considerably on some of the hills in the area, much to the chagrin of the high-schoolers following her home. Some of these hills were enough of a strain on her six-cylinder Rambler they sometimes caused her to have to downshift to second gear. But her Rambler was still highly reliable regardless of how warm or cold the weather. It always started immediately and got her to work and back.
LuAnn surmised she had another five good years left in her 1964 Rambler.
Sometimes the smallest things can trigger memories that had seemed forgotten. LuAnn had not crossed my mind since graduating from that small high school.
I do not know what happened to LuAnn or either of her Ramblers.
This particular Rambler has had an easier life than LuAnn and her Ramblers. Time has been kind to it for the last 48 years. Having been born with a V8 and a Flash-O-Matic, it was parked in front of an ice cream parlor, extravagances in which LuAnn would not have likely partaken.
How fitting to have found this modest ’64 Rambler Classic 770 in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River. It may have made LuAnn take notice.