Everyone has a dream —to retire wealthy, to meet someone famous, to spend the summer backpacking across Europe… I could go on and on. Some of these dreams are realistic whileothers are more for our fantasies. My husband is not unlike everyone else; he has a dream. His dream is to build a 1933 Plymouth Coupe from the ground up. I’m not really sure how this dream came about. It has been his dream longer than we have been together. In fact, before we ever met, he had started working on his dream by purchasing the frame and body from a man in Georgetown, Indiana.
From hearing him talk, he worked on the frame here and there through the years. In my mind this is considered “tinkering”, but say that around him and he gets quite offended. (Anyway, this is my blog so we will use my terminology –LOL). Through the years, Chuck tinkered with his new toy and purchased new/used parts in the hopes that one day they would find their way to their final resting place on his coupe. Chuck didn’t have a garage so his dream lived in his backyard under a tarp for many, many years.
The family tells me that he would go out to the backyard, remove the tarp, tinker a bit, and then come back in frustrated. I believe the frustration came from not really knowing where our how to begin. The tinkering came to a screeching halt one afternoon when he was welding something. The sparks flew off and burned a hole through his shoe and in to his foot. The tinkering may have stopped, but the dream continued.
Fast forward several years, Chuck and I married and later moved to Florida. During our house-hunting in Florida, Chuck saw the opportunity to reignite his dream by simply finding a house with a garage, which we did. As we started packing for the move, he began packing his toy, tools, and all the loose parts he had collected. We arrived in Florida and moved into our house and his dream took up residence in the garage. Little did I know that the garage would be off-limits to me or anything that was not associated with his coupe.
Now that he had a proper place to work, his dream began to take shape again. His tinkering started back up with a fury. He also started scouring all sorts of places for tools that he would need. One such purchase was an 6 ft tall air compressor to be used with some sort of air tools. When he brought home this tank, I had to laugh that one would need such a monstrosity to pump air. It would be several years before he would be able to actually put this to use on the car. In the meantime, the kids in the neighborhood found their way to our doorstep to pump life back into their basketballs and bicycle tires. I would also occasionally find Chuck using the compressor to pump air into old rotten tires for the thrill of using the machine.
I should mention that Chuck has never met a person that he doesn’t consider a friend. He talks to everyone and anything that will talk back. Most of the time, I admire this about him. As our life in Florida meandered on, Chuck met a fellow car enthusiast with the same dream. It was a match made in heaven. The dream now had a life of its own. When Chuck wasn’t in our garage, he was in Alan’s garage. I think I always knew that my husband’s dream would be a reality, but now it was just a matter of time. Every weekend, when I would come home from my travels, I would see something new on his car. It was so amazing watching this car being built.
He lucked up on finding an old Monte Carlo eyesore with a near perfect engine and transmission. There is no way to describe how awful this Monte Carlo looked in my front yard. I came home from work to see this hunk of junk sitting in my driveway with Chuck smiling from ear to ear, saying he was just using it for “parts”. I could just see my beautiful front yard turning into a salvage yard. Luckily, he took what he needed and then sent the car off to the junk yard.
Chuck’s dream had become an obsession. A good obsession, but an obsession nonetheless. My honey-do lists had taken to his back-burner. I doubted that he would ever get my to-dos done, which frustrated me to no end. We would have “discussions” and he would put the car on hold for a few days to pacify me. Thinking back, I have to chuckle because it worked. He did enough to appease me and then went back to work in the garage.
Every so often, I would remind Chuck that I had to be the first to drive the car!!! As the wonderful husband that he is, he always agreed. One Friday afternoon, I rounded the corner on our street and heard a very loud engine sound. I knew that today was the day. The car was out of the garage and the engine was running. Excitement was in the air. The dream had come true and we were about to experience a life changing moment.
Chuck backed the car out onto the street, drove up and back just to test that nothing was going to fall off. It’s probably a good thing he did, because the rear end needed tightening. After pulling back into the garage and making a few adjustments, we were ready for the first full test drive.
I climbed into the driver’s seat and very cautiously backed the car into the street. Keep in mind, the car (while drivable) had no rear-view mirror, no side mirrors, no brake lights, no turn signals, no seat belts, no license plate, and no insurance. We drove his dream car approximately one mile while Alan and Allie (my daughter) waited for us in the front yard. The kids in the neighborhood stopped and stared at us, as did pretty much everyone we passed.
This was probably the first time that I had driven the speed limit in our neighborhood. On this particular day, the thrill was not about the speed. The thrill was about the moment, the drive, the car, and the man who made them all happen. The thrill was about my husband.