Friday, November 18, 2011

Sepia Saturday 101 : Second Hand Memories


We have a Chevrolet as a theme prompt this week and if I look through my collection of old family photographs there are precious few motor cars. There are plenty of bicycles and tandems and a fair few motorbikes, but until the 1960s, I can't find any pictures of cars. I do know that during the 1930s my father did own - for a very brief period of time - a Morgan Super Sports Three Wheeler, but to the best of my knowledge no photographs exist of this splendid machine. The story goes that my proud father took my mother for a drive on the first day he owned the car and its' single rear wheel got stuck in a tram-line in Halifax and turned the entire vehicle over. My mother - shaken and stirred - refused to ever ride in my fathers' Morgan again and he sold it a week later. The above photographs is about sixty years old and must have been taken in Bradford. I have no idea who owned this particular car: but the two young lads posing on the running board are my brother and I. Equally, I have no idea what strange object my brother has on his hand : hopefully he will post in and enlighten us all.

In my second photograph, the car is owned rather than borrowed because by the 1960s my father had finally successfully graduated from motorbikes to cars. This particular Hillman Minx was his pride and joy and it would be polished and shined on a weekly basis. My particular job was to polish the chrome grills and bumpers : a dirty and thankless task that used to leave your hands battered and bruised. My fathers' cars were never new, he would buy them second-hand from the firm he used to work for - the Mackintosh's toffee and chocolate company. They would be ex-salesman's cars and therefore they would have been well used but cheap. He was a proud member of the company car club and you can just make out the Mackintosh's Auto Club badge on the front of the car.  Polishing that badge and that radiator grill until you could see your reflection in it -you can't buy memories like that : not even second-hand.

You can see many more Sepia Saturday 101 posts by following the links on the Sepia Saturday Blog.

39 comments:

  1. I think what he has on his hand is a Howdy Dowdy puppet. If not Howdy, it's a similar character.
    Your father seems quite the character. He really loved that car, didn't he?
    Nancy Javier
    http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/

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  2. What wonderful photos, I too think your brother is holding a hand puppet of some sort. You and your brother were cute kiddies, and it's a lovely photo of your father in action - keeping his pride and joy shining. Love the story about your father's Morgan!

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  3. I think it's a puppet too. I've never heard of Howdy Dowdy. There was something called Archie.....??

    How did your appointment go? I hope you weren't disappointed this time.

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  4. It's a puppet! There's an awful lot of chrome on a Minx - no wonder you got fed up with the polishing :-) Jo

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  5. You guys are so cute sitting there. I vote for Howdy Doody also. What is it with men and their cars anyway? :-)

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  6. Nope, it's Howdy Doody. No doubt. The TV show ran in the USA during 1947-1960 on NBC-TV. Not sure how soon it would have been relayed across the pond -- especially since most of the shows then were aired live -- but the dates obviously coincide.

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  7. All went OK I trust.

    Until I read your piece I thought you had a Classic car. You look like your Father me thinks

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  8. My father used to buy the briefly used company cars too. Our never looked as nice as that Hillman though.

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  9. Lovely old car. I used to polish the Chrome on my Father's Ford.

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  10. Okay, here’s my sixpenny worth…

    The car was “Uncle” Charlie’s, his first when he graduated from motorbikes. The picture was taken on his first run out when he drove it over from Shipley to Southmere Drive for my father to see. The puppet in my hand was part of my Punch and Judy show. My father made me a proper booth - like the ones you used to see at the seaside – and I gave a show for the whole street at the Coronation. I’m not sure what my brother has in his hand but it looks like one of the carriages from "MY" train set!

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  11. @Roger: Punch and Judy? I thought they were usually dressed in more traditional attire. Hmmm. Same hair, ears, and cheeks as Howdy... Maybe I should turn in my "god of trivia" title! Haha!

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  12. Or maybe that was Judy Doody?

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  13. Cute lads, puppet and all. I hope the new cochlear implant is working well?

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  14. The puppet reminded me of Howdy Doody too, although I suspect he never made it to England. The puppet looks like it might have glasses too.

    The grill on the Hillman looks like it would be really hard on fingers. I can't remember my father ever polishing his car, though he must have done it occasionally.

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  15. It would be interesting to see a complete picture of the car. Hillmans were sold for a short time in Canada during the 1950's.

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  16. I agree about Howdy Doody (a bit before my time) but the real question Alan is what do YOU have on your lap?? A harmonica? A flying saucer?

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  17. We always had used cars - usually vintage. We were all expected to do duty as 7/16ths socket man and to use bailing wire, friction and electrical tape to limp the car home should it break down while driving. I always had skinned knuckles from slipping off the wrench and ramming my fist into the engine.

    I miss designs of the vintage cars but modern reliability is pretty nice! My hands don't have a single bruise or cut now.

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  18. At first glance I thought he was eating an ice cream cone...you boys were just darling...great old family photo of the good old days to share...your few cars appear to be quite cool, especially what I see of the second photo...do you have a picture showing more of that awesome car? I hear about those old auto clubs, lots of great stuff they did...we don't have them like that so much that I have ever seen...but they were big in their day! Great post Alan!

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  19. I empathize regarding the auto buffing! Hillman Minx, what a great name for a car or a double-agent. These photos remind me of my mother's stories about riding in a rumble seat of a car when she was a child in the 1930s.

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  20. Super picture of your father polishing the Hillman Minx. I used to earn my pocket money, polishing the chrome, too.

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  21. Those were the days, when a running board was also used to sit on. I can see it’s a puppet and Roger has confirmed that. He was obvioulsy feeling generous letting you play with his train set, and he is giving you a brotherly squeeze too.

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  22. Great photos, and such cute boys!

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  23. Your father polishing the Hillman Minx is a study in concentration and attention to detail.
    Why is it I wonder now that the only car I get to polish is my wife's?

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  24. Hello Allen,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your post about the cars your dad owned. The toy in your brother's hand looks like a wooden version of one of the characters in a children's story. I wish more blogs would post interesting, to me, stories as it would make getting around and reading them a lot more fun.

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  25. The puppet is what I think he has. My kiddos had one like that. A super looking car. I remember loving to wash my uncle's car and shine it up and he would then take us for a ride. No photos of it though.
    QMM

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  26. More great photos with a family story (dispute?) to entertain. Chrome seems left out on modern cars, except for little fake plastic bits that never have the same shine and appeal.

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  27. I would also say some sort of puppet, perhaps a Brit cousin of our stateside Howdy Doodie, others have mentioned. Your dad polishing up the car there is a good photo too but the first is just TOO CUTE..

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  28. What a shame they don't make cars with running boards any more. They looks so much nicer, besides providing small children with somewhere to sit.

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  29. How do car companies come up with the names of cars? A Hillman Minx. What were the names that were rejected.

    A friend once took me to Malvern proudly telling me it was the home of the Morgan factory. I didn't know what she was talking about, but soon learned. Pretty amazing cars!

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  30. Hope all went well with you Alan this past week, loved your post, you and your brothers always seemed so willing to pose.

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  31. Alan, what a wonderful post. I think that he is holding a puppet too.

    So, did your Mom ride along on the back of your Dad's motorbike? I would be more afraid of crashing on that than in a car, but I've never been in a car that fell over on a train track before. Dang!

    Love the picture of your Dad and the other car lots.

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

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  32. Two great photos. I especially like the story the car cleaning and the memory of the toffee and sweet company.

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  33. People used to be so proud of their cars in those days. I have a photo of me, aged about 3, supposedly helping my dad to polish one of those big black cars with running boards - but I don't know who it belonged to.

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  34. I see others have said this, but yes, it was clearly a Howdy Dowdy puppet. Great photo!

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  35. Alan, you and your brother were adorable! When I was a kid my maiden aunt had a very big car which she always kept in pristine condition. I was part of the reason why she could do that. Of course, she paid me. But I certainly remember polishing the grille, the hubcaps, and every other chrome surface.

    I was curious to know what you would say about second hand memories, especially because it was a title for one of my posts, too.

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  36. Wonderful pictures, Alan! You and your brother were adorable!

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  37. These are fine memories, but I almost feel sorry about the 3-wheelers. I would have loved to see that.
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  38. Your Story About 1930s Halifax Reminds Me Of My Mum Telling Me That When She & My Dad First Moved To Halifax in 1945 They Lived on Savile Park Road/The Boulevards (you know it?Near Bull Green & The Irish Club).Cars were so few in those days that maybe just one or two would drive past the house each day.How times Change!

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  39. I remember sitting on a running board of a car waiting for the three brothers who were at the country school. I was too young to even to remember the car or much else at that time but the sitting on the car step has always been there. Great post and photos of the family and of you.

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