Friday, October 20, 2017

GM Holden or Ford Falcon Pt 2

Much happened between our family owning the HR Holden and the next car. My parents officially separated and it was not a good time for the young Andrew. Less so for my younger siblings. Mother refused to clean the HR Holden, 'for that slut to ride around in'. Father was a friend and drinking mate of the owner of the local town tv and radio service and sales place. He at times would visit his mate in his shop. These visits became increasingly frequent as Father became interested in his mate's secretary. She was a couple of years younger than him, and god forbid, had the same name as Mother.

A relationship, nay love, happened. Love like I had never seen between Father and Mother. She went on to become our Step Mother. She was sharp of tongue at times but her bark was much worse than her bite. She was kind and cared for us all at different times when we visited Father. I lived with them for about three years, with her own children of an age similar to myself. I have a special connection with her. Tradie Brother sees her and her new partner often. Even Oldest Niece spent two nights with her in the north of Victoria, with her two younguns, while her husband to be went on to the Bathurst car race. Her daughter is a Face Book friend to me, although we don't interact. Her very smart son died at about the age of 50 from a brain hemorrhage.

Though Father and Step Mother used to squabble constantly, it was good natured and by what I heard at night, their love making was very successful. They were a great couple.

But I did not like my young teenage years disrupted by insecurity. Father used attend to the farm during the day at home, and then go in to his fancy woman at night and sleep with her. We had a lovely Guy Fawkes night at a neighbours and Father at least attended that. Once we were home, I quickly sabotaged both the HR Holden and the EJ Holden to stop him leaving home to spend the night with his woman. It was a token effort, just pulling off the distributor caps. I heard Father try to start one car, then the other. He was no fool and worked it out. Obviously I wasn't too serious about preventing him leaving, or I would have just mass cut wires. A cry for help? A cry for something? I don't know. I don't think I was smart enough to make it an illustration of what I found distressing, but perhaps that is what I did.

Mother and Step Mother will both attend Fire Fighting Nephew's wedding. They speak together now as old acquaintances. I had forgotten this, but Mother was reminding me she was a bit of a firebrand when she was younger. She got stuck into her father in law and his partner because they weren't married but lived together. She said it was one of the few times Father spoke up to her and made her apologise. Mother hadn't finished with them. There were often areas of friction, often because Father's two brothers lived with us. Those with a long memory will remember what went on between Mother and one of the brothers. One morning on the farm, Mother rose to find Nanna Tess passed out on our kitchen floor in an alcoholic stupor. I heard it with my own ears, get the drunken slut out of our home and tell her to take her two useless step sons with her and she can look after them for a change. Mother, had three adults, one a little brain damaged from a work place accident, and four children to cook, wash and clean for, and if that is not a full time job, I don't know what is.

It is funny that Grandpop Charlie, a house builder,  married above his station to a classical musical teacher, who bolted to Sydney with one of her music students,  leaving her four sons with their father. Nanna Dorothy was an artistic person. While my mother's family weren't artistic, they were a church going family with very high moral standards. Mother's parents paid for their daughters wedding, but quelle horreur, there was no alcohol. I doubt any of my father's family hung around for long after the wedding. Actually, as was done back then, they probably went out to the carpark to drink from their own supplies. History inappropriately repeats itself.

When Father met Step Mother, she used to drive a Morris Minor. I loved driving it, although I was underage and I can't remember the circumstances. It was such a fun car. Father had the HR Holden. Step Mother was by then working behind the bar of a hotel for better money than she used to earn as a secretary. My step brother got the old Morry and the HR was traded in on this! It's a Valiant VT Charger, made by Chrysler Australia. It was a three speed on the floor manual with a very heavy clutch. The huge doors were so heavy that they had to be often adjusted every so often to shut properly. Its rear was very light and had a tendency to spin out, but wow, it was much nicer than anything we had previously owned.

Remember the advertising? Hey Charger, with the victory/peace sign made with the fingers.



After the family farm was sold post divorce, Father went back to the building trade that he knew well and built speculation houses, that is built new houses and then sold them. It was profitable. The first car with an automatic gearbox was bought, a CL Chrysler Valiant. I drove the car often and it was very nice. When fishing once, Step Mother bogged the car in sand and the tide came in. It was rescued but had been flooded with seawater. Its interior was taken apart and sprayed with fish oil to prevent rust, but they never felt the same about the car after it was flooded.



The last car Father owned was a second hand VB? Statesman Caprice, going back to General Motors Holden. I drove it a couple of times and it was a lovely and luxurious car. After Father died, Step Mother bought a very basic Ford Falcon station wagon. She has changed her cars a couple of times since.



Maybe I should go to to tell you of my life in cars, and there haven't been many. Who said, oh no?

20 comments:

  1. This is an intriguing potted history. Thank you. I love that your mother and Step-mother now speak to each other.

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    1. EC, thinking back to those times made me rather unhappy, but I am pleased I wrote about the times. Yes, they are quite pleasant to each other now. Age has mellowed them.

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  2. Cars and relationships. A grand saga.

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    1. Victor, bit of soap opera script, really.

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  3. Today is a sad day in the history of Australian car manufacturing. The Holden plant in Adelaide closes its doors, forever, today.

    We'll never see car manufacturing return to our shores again....an industry gone forever...very sad.

    The Valiant Charger was a tank (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way). My boss when I worked in the Queensland office of the Kolotex Group of Companies had a 1969 or 1970 (either one or the other) Valiant Charger for a while.

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    1. Addendum...a few years later he traded the Charger for a Sigma, also made by Chrysler at that stage.

      I guess because it was a smaller vehicle, was the reason why he downgraded in size... fuel costs came into play.

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    2. Lee, it is a very sad day. Our manufacturing industry is small and very specialised now. At least some of the car companies are maintaining a design and engineering presence.

      The Charger wasn't a great car around town, it felt heavy, but quite ok on the open roads.

      I developed my own uncomplimentary name for Sigmas, which began with sm and is male related. I did not like them at all, but they weren't as bad as the Chrysler Centura. Yes, I expect the Charger was a thirsty beast.

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  4. Interesting read Andrew.
    You quite and extended family.
    Holden's, parents had a new one each time they came out for years until BMW then Audi was their choice.

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    1. Margaret, funny how when you get older, your number of friends reduce but the number of your family increases. I've never driven an Audi, and not a BMW since about 1978. The BMW was very nice.

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  5. I've only ever owned ONE luxury, fast, car. It was a 3.5 Rover SDI, and was a bit like a Spitfire on four wheels. It drank masses of fuel.

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    1. Cro, 3.5 litre engine? My goodness, what a large donk for a relatively small car. While we did have modern Rovers here, by photos at Google, I don't think we had this one. There was the older larger Rover with a 3.5 litre engine. Such a nice car.

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  6. Andrew interesting to read about your family

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    1. Gosia, maybe it takes you mind off your own family problems.

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  7. That's quite a complicated family you have Andrew.
    I remember the charger very well, it was the car of choice for young hoons everywhere and the most popular colour seemed to be orange. We'd hear them at night, tearing up and down the roads, using the intersections for burnouts, as well as supermarket parking lots.

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    1. River, I had forgotten the orange one. Yes, they were a hoon car. there does not seem to be many around now. Perhaps they were all smashed up.

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  8. That's a real family salad ! Difficult to get through. How boring was my childhood and later, a one child only, parents married, then me flirting around, getting married and 48 years later still with the same man !

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    1. Gattina, it didn't seem interesting at the time. My mother was an only child

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    2. My mother also was an only (unwanted) child.

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  9. Enjoyed muchly Andrew, you have a way with words. Perhaps something to do when you retire 😀

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    1. Thanks Grace. Not sure about that. I spend long enough sitting here as it is.

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