For the whole year of 1982, my 16-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter and I underwent the divorce process. An ugly, painful, gut wrenching, damaging divorce from a person who I thought was my “soul” mate.
Jennifer (now known as Ava) and her big brother, Carl in 1982
In the divorce, I got all the bills, the kids, the sewing machine (a Christmas present) and a 1963 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible which looked more like something waiting for a crusher than for refurbishment.
1963 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible – looks pretty good in this photo!
The car had been abandoned near Underground Atlanta in the mid-1970′s and my then husband bought it for $25.00. My mom thought he’d overpaid until she saw first hand what I needed it for. I moved me, kids and car into Mom’s. I put the car up on cinder blocks and pulled off all the tires and chrome. It was when I started beating the dents out with a 2″x2″ board and sledge-hammer instead of killing my husband when Mom “saw the light.”
Yep. I did all the body work with a 2″x2″ and a sledge-hammer. It did wonders for my soul. I played “What’s love got to do with it” by Tina Turner on the boombox full blast singing along with every WHAM of the sledge-hammer. I kept getting more and more empowered with every strike at the SOB… my ex… n0t the car!
Next, I took Naval Jelly to remove the rust and primer to prevent more. I removed the seats, door panels fixing 25 year old problems. I spent every morning before work at the junkyard with Liquid Wrench, screwdriver, hammer and pliers in-hand pulling scuff plates and anything else I needed off the 1963 Ford Falcon Futura pickup truck there. Only problem was my vehicle not only was a convertible but a 1963-1/2 model which made most of the parts unusable and certainly not returnable. I couldn’t afford to buy new ones from J.C. Whitney Catalog and had to make do. It was more fun. I know… that sounds sick.
I joined a Falcon club to talk shop with other Futura owners and to glean some insider information about where to get parts not found in junkyards. Ava and I proudly drove our topless “in-progress” vehicle to these meetings. Turned out the top I purchased from the catalog wouldn’t fit! Oh well, I still needed to finish the body work, paint job, rebuilding the rear floorboard and whole interior so a topless convertible just felt right.
My dear friend, Bunnie Seignious, from high school used to ride around Sandy Springs with me to garage sales while the Falcon was in this condition, topless and all. It was on one of these excursions that a huge nest of some kind (probably squirrel) fell out from under the dash onto her feet! She and I experienced simulcast, spontaneous screaming laughter! Ya’ see, Bunnie was used to riding around in my crazy cars. In the mid-60′s to late, I used to give her a ride to work every morning in my 1960 Karman Ghia Convertible (“George”). It was on those cold, dark early winter mornings on a curvy road to the Interstate where first, the glovebox door would fall open. About that time, we’d be in full bore right turn mode when her car door would fly open! Every morning was an adventure! Those cars didn’t have heat unless the engine was warm and moving forward. When you stopped, you had outside air inside. Gosh. I miss her. She went too soon.
So, once finished, who do you think got the first ride? Bunnie. She couldn’t believe the transformation any more than my mom.
My friends complained that I spent too much time on the car as did my young daughter. It was a necessity. It was therapy.
It was after the car “turned” on me that I became eager to sell it. Yep. It turned on me. Ava and I would be on a nice Sunday drive when it would just come to a dead S-T-O-P, and refuse to crank. I’d push the darn car over to the side of the road when it would then promptly crank. It was “Christine” before Stephen King ever dreamt it up. Actually, maybe it was him who witnessed this event and decided to make millions off my misery. Wish I’d thought of it first!
After all was said and done, I got out of it less than I had in it, monetarily speaking, but I certainly gained some level of sanity over the experience.