Studebaker Stories:


A true story by

Ed Fusco,

Dumont, NJ

It was a few days after the big blizzard of '47. The streets had not been completely cleared of the giant drifts of snow from that un-expected storm. The weather that day was cold, gray and threatening.

My father, upon finishing his breakfast, lit up a cigareet and put on his overcoat in preparation for driving to his print shop in mid-town Manhattan.

My mother asked him if he was really going to drive to work as she looked out the kitchen window at the windblown snow and the grey scudding clouds. "Sure," he said as he put on his 1947 Dick Tracy-styled hat. "No problem," he reassured her. However, his memory bank must have shorted out and deleted the "Winter of 1940" episode, But that's another story.

As my mother and sister watched from the windows, dad made it down the icy steps. Then, looking like a drunk, he slipped and slid the twenty or so feet to the garage. There he stood puffing like a steam locomotive before he managed to open the garage doors. Then, sliding behind the steering wheel of the '47 President, he inserted the key in the ignition lock. Pressing the starter button, the engine roared to life. Sitting back, he let the Studebaker warm up.

Putting the car in reverse, he proceeded to back out of the garage. When it was almost out of the garage, the Studebaker lost traction and stopped. When dad felt it stop, he went into his old routine, from first gear to second and back to reverse, hoping to break free. Dad was never the kind of guy to get out of a stuck car and shovel or put muscle to it to get it moving. He just sat in the car and did some clutch pushing and gear shifting.

Meanwhile, my mom, who was watching all this from a window, decided it was time to swing into action. Putting on a heavy winter coat and scarf, she went down the cellar and grabbed a big coal shovel, (Coal, kids, is a hard black substance that burns and the shovel was used to hurl said substance into a furnace to keep the house warm.) Armed with her weapon, ma hurried out the back door to help dad free the Studebaker from winter's icy grip.

Going around to the back of the car she commenced digging furiously as the car's wheels spun forward, then backward in a frantic attempt to get traction. Then, suddenly, the Studebaker rocketed backward, pinning ma underneath and dragging her seventy-five feet out onto Colden Avenue!

My sister, who was watching all this from another window, screamed and banged her hand on the window. He went right on past. A neighbor who was shoveling his sidewalk saw it all ran around to the driver side and motioned dad to stop! As he alighted from the car, he was told that my mom was pinned under the rear of the Studebaker. Other neighbors came to the rescue and helped to pull mom from underneath. Miraculously, she wasn't badly hurt though she did suffer some cuts and bruises from the undercarriage. Dad had to be assisted from the car as he was in near shock when he heard what he had done.

A few minutes later, he was back in the house limp as a dishrag. Now everyone was concerned about dad's wellbeing as he was slumped over in his chair. Mom, chipper as ever, ran to the liquor cabinet and poured out a glass of dad's favorite fermented high-octane grape juice. As he finished the drink he began to regain his composure. When mom asked him if he was OK, he replied, "Yeah, Yeah... I'm OK, but how'd you get in back of the car?" He didn't realize that ma had taken for granted that he had seen her as she went past him. He didn't see her!

One thing is for sure. Ma was ONE TOUGH LADY! I think that if mom and a Studebaker ever met head on, it would definitely be a DRAW!

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