An Auto Body Experience

RR

 

I grew up in my Daddy’s shadow in his body shop. I learned to shape metal the old way, with donkey dick hammers and dollies and mashed fingers, kinda like as an apprentice to my daddy, who apprenticed to his uncle. Some families are doctors, some lawyers… My family is known for fixing cars. Think Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny… I bet one of my family members has worked at damned near every body shop in south arkansas at some time or other. My very earliest memories in life are the cars… I once heard someone make a comment that they put me on the hood of a Road Runner to put me to sleep. If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, then even the powder puffed scented infant’s dreams that wafted through my burgeoning soul and escaped on milk scented breath were comforted by the sound of a thudding steady metalic heartbeat of a Dodge Hemi. I DO remember an orange road runner from those earliest years, before my Dad had his own shop and worked for Uncle Tom… The sleek black seats, the tiny road runner emblems.. I would look at them and say, ‘Beep, Beep.’. It would make the windows rattle in Uncle Tom’s office… I remember a red probably mid sixties mustang.. I remember an old VW bug that was covered in so much overspray film I don’t know what color it was. The scent of lacquer thinner primer is my scent of home. I remember watching my Daddy expertly grind away at a dent with a huge grinder, sparks flying all over him and he didnt even flinch… He would then squirt out a huge turd of cold grey bondo and begin squeezing the red hardener in.. His big strong hands would then expertly mix the mound like a chef with a pastry, a modeler with his clay… Then he would slop the wet dripping mess onto a car fender, and almost magically mold it with a little plastic putty knife into an actual part of the car…. I would lay my little girl hands on the bondo and feel it heat up… Not knowing it was a chemical reaction and thinking it was something magical my dad did to make the car well again… Well, I grew into those same skills.. I spent many, many hours barefoot without a paint mask, laying a gleaming coat on car after car after car.. A kaleidoscope of machinery… The rainbow of my youth. I adore cars… I always have and always will…. I’ll write more about what it was like growing up a car girl soon.. I am enjoying these memories .. I can still feel the roaring engines of the ghosts of autos past… I will perhaps share with you a 57 t bird that my daddy painted pearl white on a cold thanksgiving morning… I may whisper in your ear the secrets I thought about as I sat at age 11 or 12 atop a Mack truck and expertly prepared it to be painted… For now, I shall now go and dream big girls dreams of the steering wheels of the past which have guided my soul…

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One Response to “An Auto Body Experience”

  1. Oh my gosh, my childhood made over!! I did trannys and motors with my daddy from the time I could walk and the smell of the parts store was like Chanel #5 . I dressed and walked like a grease monkey and people thought my dad had one boy and one girl. I loved every minute of it and can still name most every classic car by sight alone which drives my husband nuts on my accuracy level as to model year and name, LOL! I said what can I say? It’s in my genes! Love this post!

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