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Gotta love Jay Leno’s Garage

Updated: May 12, 2023

When I was a kid, my grandfather, Paul Rush, bought a car every year, especially in the 1950s. It was always a big deal when the new cars came out…and in the years that we lived on Jenny Lind Road…inevitably the excitement ramped up when Papa turned into our driveway with some shiny new something on wheels. The only one that didn't last a full year was an early, very cool, Ford Thunderbird which was too small for him to drive comfortably. Other than that, it was an annual ritual.

When Papa and his newest vehicle showed up in our front yard, we‘d all go out and admire it, while he stood around proud as punch. Daddy always crawled under the new treasure to see what was what with this year’s product. Mama…who in those years, hadn’t yet learned to drive…stood a few feet away, admiring the latest in Papa’s long line of fancy rides made possible by his furniture business, Rush Manufacturing. For people who’d been young during the Depression, these humongus cars were symbolic of success. All I knew was that ”new car” day was a big event for us.

I sat on the front porch, waiting for Daddy to give a thumbs up. Then, Papa hoisted me into the front seat of his new treasure and took me for a ride around the block.

I don’t think his was exactly like the one below, but since I would have been only a few months shy of my fourth birthday at the time, it looks a lot like what I remember. In those days, new designs came out every year and he’d always exchange his year-old beauty for a newer better one…a ritual that made that decade of car designs exciting.

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