Monday, November 28, 2011

My Dad Would Have Voted For Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney
     My Dad was a true blue, full fledged, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Democrat, but if he was still alive I think he would vote for Mitt Romney.
     It isn't because Mitt Romney is a Mormon. When Dorothy and I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my Dad took me aside and told me to "unjoin." Twenty years later Dad and Mom also joined the Church, but still, he always said that religion is not a reason to vote for or against any one.
     He didn't think race was either.
     When my grandma, Alta Bockhouse, was selling her house she was concerned that some Black people were looking at it, and she called him.
Tom Stark, My Dad
     I was there and was listening when he said into the phone, "When I was going down for the third time in Freshwater Pond, that big Black guy pulled me up. If a Black guy is good enough to save my life, he's good enough to live next to me."
    So my dad wasn't prejudiced against religion or race, at least after he talked to the Missionaries and finally understood what the Church was all about.

    It was his car!

    He would vote for Mitt Romney because of his car.
     In 1956 Dad bought a brand new red and white Plymouth with push button drive, power steering and power breaks. I thought it was great. To change gears you pushed a button on the left side of the steering column. I didn't have my drivers license yet, but I had my learners permit, so I got to drive it quite a bit. Dad even let me take Dorothy, my future wife, on a date. Jim Vega was a little older and had his license, so he went along as the licensed driver. I'm not sure who his date was.

Me and my 41 Chevy, 1957
    Dorothy lived six miles outside of Eureka past Elk River School on a little road with a covered bridge, Berta Road. After crossing the bridge you drove down a one lane dirt and gravel road to her house.
    We picked her up and drove back down the one lane road back to where it met Berta Road. I had a 1941 Chevrolet coupe with a standard transmission and a clutch, but this Plymouth was automatic, and with power breaks, the only automatic I had ever driven, and I had never driven much with power breaks.
     Since I had driven my Chevy on my Examiner newspaper route quite a bit, I naturally didn't think about not using my left foot on the clutch before I pushed on the break. 
Dorothy 1957
     We were only going about seven miles per hour, but when I hit the "clutch" the power breaks slammed the car to a stop instantly, and Dorothy who was sitting between Jim and I, flew up and hit the rear view mirror in the middle of the windshield with her head. She broke the mirror and still has the scar today, 55 years later.

     I never liked that Plymouth again.

     My Dad didn't like it either, but for different reasons.

     He kept hearing a clunking when he turned a corner a certain way. He would tell me about it, and I could hear it too. It came from the right side of the car and made a thump, thump when you turned left some kind of special way. Finally he took it in to the Plymouth dealer and they figured out what it was, ...after checking the suspension and springs and what ever else you normally check. A mechanic thought the sound was coming from the door, no one else thought that.  So the mechanic took off the inside door panel and found a Coke bottle hanging from a string.   
    My dad was then angry at Chrysler and unions and even at the dealer, but that wasn't all.
1956 Plymouth
    One morning my mom was going to let me drive the Plymouth on the paper route. She went along because I still only had my driver's permit.  I don't know why she kept doing that, because I was a parent of teen agers for 20 years, and I'm not sure I would get up at five  a.m. and take my kid on his paper route and have to sit there while he drove and threw the papers out the windows, but she did.
      The Plymouth wouldn't start. We took the Chevy, but when Dad found out, he was angry again at the Dealer, at Chrysler and for some reason at the Unions too. Dad always belonged to a union, for most of his life, the Teamsters.
     He took the Plymouth to the garage, mumbling about a brand new car being frozen up, just like an old clunker. A few days later he came home more angry than ever. They had to take the engine apart, and the mechanic showed my Dad what was wrong.

     It was eggshells. 

    He complained and swore and said all kinds of bad things about unions after that. Some angry worker had put an egg into the engine before the car left the plant. That's what Dad thought anyway. And the same one or another had tied that Coke bottle to the string and put it inside the door. Dad demanded his money back and got most of it, and gave them back the car.
This is the Rambler with our daughter Theresa, who's now 53.
    He went over to 7th and G Streets in Eureka to  Robbie McRae's American Motors and bought a brand new Nash Rambler Station Wagon. He loved that car and praised it over and over. It didn't break down, got better gas mileage than any car he had before.... except the little second hand Nash Metropolitan he bought for a  work car that he also never had any problem with.
   A few years later, Dorothy borrowed, that Rambler and a drunk driver went through a stop sign on 14th and J Streets in Eureka and totaled the car. Jeanette, who was one, fell on the floor, and Robby who was about nine, hit his mouth on the padded dash board, but no one was seriously hurt. Dad praised that Rambler for keeping his family safe. He bought another AMC then for the last car of his life, an American Motors Rebel, and then he talked my Grandma B into buying a 1970 AMC Hornet. We still have it, sitting outside under a shade structure with a flat tire and over 400 thousand miles. It still runs.

    Dad learned that George Romney was the president of American Motors and became a fan. Dad would have voted for him in the Primary election and was mad at the government and California and the Unions because they wouldn't let him vote in the primary because he was a registered Democrat.
    When George Romney said he had been brainwashed by Nixon's Republican Administration about Vietnam, dad agreed, and wanted to vote for George (Dad called him that) for President, but never got the chance because Romney lost the nomination.
      When my Dad was loyal, he was fiercely loyal, like to FDR, and to American Motors, so Dad would vote for Mitt Romney now because  he looks a lot like George, and has the same last name, and .......  over the years Dad became a lot more conservative in his views. He believed everyone should work for what they get.


  1. I enjoyed reading this post about Grandpa Tom, cars, and Romney...So interesting!

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