American Nostalgia

Bombs Away - '48 Hudson

Bombs Away - '48 Hudson Original Art by Gwendolyn

It is no secret to my family that I have a deep affection for American cars. The contemporary aluminum, fiberglass, or plastic American-made cars are not the vehicles that catch my eye, but I gape open-mouthed at those beautiful classics of steel and chrome of yesteryear. Nothing can turn my frown upside down as quick as seeing a muscle car or a vintage pickup truck driving down the road. The memory card in my cell phone is filled with pictures of gleaming classic trucks and the curvaceous or angled vehicles that have been known to stop my heart mid-beat from time to time.

My appreciation for classic American-made vehicles runs so deep within me as to affect my reading choices. I have read a great memoir by Michael Perry titled “Truck: A Love Story,” about an International Pickup, simply because of the word “Truck.” I read John Grisham’s short story collection, Ford County, just because the word “Ford” was in the title. Even though I’m not an avid reader of genre fiction, I really enjoyed Grisham’s book, and I think that the title itself had a lot to do with it. I’ve also felt that the author who goes by the ingenious name of G.M. Ford would definitely be worth my time and I have added reading at least one of his mystery novels to my “must do” list.

Perhaps it’s natural for a person to become nostalgic as she ages, but the reality is that we have to go pretty far back in time or search the internet fairly aggressively to find anything that is being made in America these days. Nostalgia encompasses more than material things. Anymore, I am feeling nostalgic for the heyday of American production, for that was a time when people in the U.S. had jobs.

At the time of this writing, the national unemployment rate is 9.6%, where my home state of Oregon holds steady at 10.5%. It appears that our America is no longer working, and we have only ourselves to blame. With only 14.16 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. compared to China’s 112.63 million, it’s easy to see why we no longer have power tools that can take a beat- ing, small appliances that last 20 years, or jobs by which to earn a living. We wanted cheap and we got it in full measure. If we would have paid more attention in school to our Economics teachers, perhaps we would have better remembered that we get what we pay for.

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 Tami Richards

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