Sock hop, doo-wop, flattop, malt shop …

06-28-14

… were all words bouncing around in my head as I walked the Lincoln Park portion of Cruisin’ Downriver this morning. The clock was turned back in time as cars cruised incessantly along Fort Street to the delight of onlookers. It was already sticky and hot when I left the house and I was a weary road traveler after walking four miles in the sun. I was ready for a respite and looked for a shady tree near the grandstand in Memorial Park. I slowed down, then slowly merged into the row of rubberneckers who were watching this retro event, now in its 15th year. Heads were swiveling as people didn’t know which classic car to focus on – and near the grandstand, the vehicles, as colorful as peacocks on parade, preened to their onlookers, laying down some rubber, tooting their sometimes odd or bizarre-sounding horns and gunning their motors. The crowd cheered in response or oohed and aahed and often held camera phones high above their respective heads to capture the image of classic cars as they rolled by. It was truly a picture-perfect day, a tad hot, but people had staked out their viewing location in the dawn, or even pre-dawn hours, and brought along canopies, folding chairs and coolers of fluids to stay hydrated. A church group was offering free bottled water to the people that lined the sidewalk by their canopy which was set up in the church parking lot. No one seemed to be complaining about the heat though, as they bopped to the tunes heard blaring from the radios of the cruisin’ cars, and most of the drivers cranked up the radio a few decibels as they whizzed by. Great puffs of exhaust filled the air nearly choking you at times, but people seemed fairly oblivious as they were so caught up in the ambiance of the cruise. I passed umpteen placards and banners advertising oldies station WOMC 104.3 along the cruise route and it seemed everyone was tuned to this station as oldies were pouring out of car radios, boom boxes, bars, restaurants and strategically placed loud speakers. The familiar music beats and songs were infectious, stirring most people to sing, or at least mouth, the lyrics to the featured tunes – me included. In fact, I could sing most of them from heart having listened to oldies station Honey Radio AM 56 for years and most recently to WOMC. There were the usual sights: bright-colored muscle cars with fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror, sleek, long and low-riding Caddys that seemed to stretch forever and many classic Corvettes and T-Birds. Taking advantage of the superb weather to roll back their respective roofs, a multitude of cool-looking convertibles kept zooming by, their proud owners and guests waving like celebs as they drove past us. It is cheap entertainment for the onlookers – not so much for vehicle owners who are paying dearly at the pump for the pleasure of cruising past the crowd that was burgeoning, especially after the event officially got underway at 10:00 a.m. The cars pictured above were my favorites from Cruisin’ Downriver in the 9:00 o’clock hour and the photo will give you a flavor of the various old cars. There were so many retro cars, but those vehicles must drive the speed limit of 35, so it is not always so easy to get a decent shot of them, unless they are at a stoplight or fueling up. I watched the cruise for about 30 minutes after I got to the grandstand at Memorial Park and then I headed home. I stopped to chat with an older gentleman who had parked his pale-yellow classic car at the end of my street. I probably surprised him when I asked if it was a Studebaker and told him I thought I recognized the model from pictures in the old family album of me as a baby sitting atop the hood of my father’s pride and joy, his two-tone blue 1955 Studebaker. Well, I was spot-on because it was indeed a ’55 Studebaker and for my curiosity, I got a tour under the hood, revealing a pristine and gleaming engine and I sure wouldn’t have kicked those tires … they had bright-white whitewalls despite having just travelled 700 miles to compete in cruise events in Elkhart, Indiana and Flint. Since the owner realized he had captured my interest, just like a proud father, he whipped out a packet of photos of his other five classic cars which he exhibits and drives in cruises all through the U.S. As I walked home and up the driveway, finally the smell of exhaust was no longer in the air, and the squeal of tires was just a memory, but that silly song “The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis has lingered in my brain all day long.

Linda, Linda – bo Binda,
Banana, fanna – fo Finda,
Fe, fi – mo Minda – Linda.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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