11 April 2008


Fleetwood Bro-Ham

My dad bought my mom one of these to replace the lemon Buick station wagon he had replaced her Chrysler New Yorker wagon with. Her Fleetwood Brougham was white, with a black vinyl roof (that once ripped off coming down Monteagle Mountain on I-24).

I recall my brother and me riding up to Nashville with my dad to pick it up. On the day after Bobby Kennedy got shot. Our maid Jennie—a wonderful woman who I learned much from, but who would've been dismissed at that time as my mom's colored girl, as they would say back then, and nothing more—came into my room that morning and told me, "Well, they shot our man."

I always—always—hated that car.

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I didn't know that. I really liked that car! I drove it overnight from Winter Haven to Centerville the time when Linda and I moved to Florida. Mother and Daddy were living in that neat block house with the atrium.
90-115 mph all night long up thru Georgia on I-75.
Oh, I understand that it was likable, if you like tanks. I think my sensibilities had already developed about big vs. small, and I was, generally, in favor of small. The house on the highway, the humongous Cadillac -- they all seemed unessential to me.

Now the house on the bluff, the Audi 100GL: Those I liked!
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