I’ll never forget the day in 1955 when I, being four years old, leaped into the driver’s seat of my dad’s brand new Chevrolet station wagon. I was pretending to drive the gleaming whizbang motorcoach as it sat motionless in our GI-bill financed tract-home driveway. The car was a shiny beige color, with a brown top and chrome trim. What a dream, to one day grow up and drive such a machine!
This was in America in 1955. . . America, home of the yanks who had helped our Allies to drive the Nazis back into their German holes, and the Japs back onto their little setting-sun island. America, home of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Wayne, Doris Day, Elvis, Mickey Mouse, Lassie, Howdy Doody, and Chuck Berry. America. . . home of Coca-Cola, Bell Telephone, Lucille Ball, Jackie Robinson, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson. America. . .home of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, cowboy movies, American Bandstand, Hollywood and freeways. America. . . home of the Corvette, the Mustang, the Rambler. America, home of Motown, Smoky Robinson, Berry Gordy, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Aretha, the Four Tops, and Sam Cooke.
America . . . home of the original Motor City of this world, Detroit!
America . . . home of Detroit, now deep in bankruptcy blues?
Aw, g’on! Who’d of thought? Say it ain’t so, Joe! Who knew?
This couldn’t be the same Detroit I remember, couldn’t be the home the Detroit Tigers, Ty Cobb, Al Kaline? Couldn’t be the great world-class City that sent that gleaming, du0-toned Chevy machine in 1955 to grace our driveway? The same Detroit that put space-age fins on the 1959 Cadillac? The same Detroit that drove our Chevy on the levee? The same Detroit that built my first car, the hand-me-down from my parents Chevy II wagon, the one that had gear linkage that used to get stuck in second gear so that I had to jump out at the traffic light, open the hood and jerk the gears back into operation before climbing back into the driver seat while motorists behind me had impatient looks on their faces?
Detroit, in bandruptcy? Detroit. . . the high-energy happ’nin City that pumped up our automotive dreams for the better part of a century? That Detroit?. . . that fueled up our mojo since we wuz kneehigh to a Coupe de Ville bumper? Detroit?. . .that epicenter of Motivational gas-powered Motion that enabled our cruisin’ to the bebop drive-in for burgers n’ shakes on Friday night?
That Detroit? The great Motown that, decade after decade, was kept hummin’ by thousands, yeah I say unto thee probably millions, of line workers who were tightening bolts, turning screws, clamping body parts, body-slammin world-record productivity with infinitely sustainable prodigious wonders of automotive virtuosity?
That Detroit? Those workers? Those pensioners who are now left behind wondering What the hell?
That Detroit? now to be rescued from pension failure by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina?
Good luck with that, as we say in Ameica. See ya!