15 September, 2011

{this memory} 17

Every photo has a story behind it, and this one, of course, is no exception. The photo was taken in Roanoke, Virginia in the spring of 1971, and I have no idea why I was sticking out my tongue at the photographer.

The building behind the car is the science building at Hollins College, and I was just completing a master's degree in general experimental psychology. It was an interesting year. Hollins is a small independent women's college that happened to have two co-ed master's programs, and we young bucks were warned very early on not to prey on the undergraduates. What I remember most, however - southern gentleman that I am - is that it was a mistake to hold the door for these young women, especially if the auditorium was just letting out. You could stand there a long time.

Note that I have on desert boots, bell bottom corduroy jeans, a nifty belt woven in an Indian design, and sideburns. Of course. We weren't far out of the 60s, after all. Those were some good times, and except for that war thing, we members of the flower generation were a happy lot.

What I treasure most in this photo, however, is the car I'm in front of. A 1970 Mustang Mach I - dark metallic green with white racing stripes and a tan interior. 8 cylinders, 4 barrel carburetor, 351 cid (5.8 liters), ram air scoop, 300 bhp @ 5400 rpm. Unfortunately it drank premium gasoline at about 11 mpg, but ... 0-60 in 8.3 seconds with a top speed estimated at 125 mph (I never tried). And, it made all the right noises. Oh, it had an 8-track tape stereo system. Remember those?

I purchased it with my father's help (to be repaid) in the fall of 1969, my last year of college. I was due to be commissioned in the navy in June, and this was a hot car for the soon-to-be bachelor officer. It didn't happen that way, of course. My Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosis in January made me physically ineligible for service.

Nevertheless, I loved this car.
I wish only that I had more photos of it.