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Jessie Birtha's Autobiography (submitted 5/15/06)
The 1937 black Chrysler sedan served faithfully during World War II. New cars were unavailable and tires so scarce that the trunk was always filled with retreads. It belonged to my husband's younger brothers while he served in the South Pacific. They traded it to him for college entrance fees. It was 1945 and after three years apart, we were ready for marriage.
The car was not ready for travel, but after repairs, it successfully made the trip from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Norfolk, Virginia. We were married two days later. With excitement and anticipation, four suitcases and my new fur coat, we headed south on our honeymoon that warm November day. The next half-hour was the happiest (and shortest) I have spent in a car.
We planned to board an auto ferry to leave Norfolk. Approaching the river, we suddenly heard loud grinding, clunking noises from beneath the car as it began to shake and shiver. We would not be crossing the river that day.
The automobile mechanic towed our car home to let us off before he took it to the garage. The lingering wedding guests stared in amazement at the bride and groom returning so soon.
That first half-hour of my marriage, the joy of leaving home with my husband in our own car, was one of my happiest times in any car. We have had newer and better cars, but memories of that old black Chrysler still bring a smile to my face.