I was driving home from having left my Rosemary at UBC Botanical Garden today Wednesday when I noticed that the SUV (a smallish one) was a Highlander, a Toyota Highlander. My thoughts took me to a starry night in 1950 when I was on my back on a flatbed truck, a Studebaker.
My first cousin, Jorge Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena, his mother Sarita, his father (my Uncle Tony) my mother and I had traveled from Buenos Aires to Goya, in the province of Corrientes in a stern paddle wheeler on the Paraná River. After a while, since I was 8 I became bored of watching the jacarés (caimans) swimming in the murky muddy waters of the river. We had arrived at the capital of Corrientes, Goya and from there a man had picked us up, in the evening in his Studebaker to take us to Sarita’s aunt’s estancia, Santa Teresita somewhere in the interior.
Such is the sky of the Southern Hemisphere and being on a truck on a dirt road with no cars that the sweep of the Milky Way was like the huge tail of a monstrous comet spanning the sky from one end to the other. And prominent in that sky was the Southern Cross.it was less a cross and more the hilt of King Artur's sword Excalibur to the mind of the boy that I was.
A few years later, six
to be exact my mother and I got in a Raymond Loewy designed Studebaker. Its
proud owner was giving my mother and me a lift to the Colegio Americano in
Tacubaya, in Mexico City.
My mother taught there and I was in the 6th grade. I made it a point
to tell our driver that his car looked like an ugly Italian shoe.
|Wenceslao, Sarita, Alex|
Not too long after I became thoroughly immersed in the culture of American cars. I made it a point to look into the windows of cars to see how far their speedometers went in that upper register. Speed and horsepower were in my estimation of what made a car interesting.
In was in the latter half of the 50s that Studebaker introduced the Scotsman which was a paired down Studebaker Champion in which you could find no chrome except the bumpers but you had the choice of painted ones. I thought this was a terrible idea not understanding that Studebaker/Packard was trying to do anything to sell cars. They were simply ahead of the times.
When my mother moved to teach at the ASARCO (American Smelting and Refining Company) town in northern Mexico, Nueva Rosita, Coahuila we lived at the American Hotel which was in front of the bowling alley (I learned to bowl very well). One of the company engineers, unmarried, so he also stayed that the American Hotel, had a Packard Clipper. It had an interesting feature, a self levelling (but very electric) suspension. We (with my friends) we would sit on the rear bumper and the car would buzz down, and then buzz up. If its owner was around he would shout at us telling us that we would drain the car’s battery.
If there is any logic in this blog is has all to do on how a Toyota with a vaguely Scottish name took me to the Studebaker Scotsman and from there to that wondrous Milky Way sky in Corrientes as I day dreamed my way home.