I Chose The 1938 Plymouth – My Life In Cars – Part 1

#2: Left A Mark

The Ford Model T for all its virtues had a body feature that could cause injury to driver and passenger. This feature left a mark on me that changed my legal fingerprint for life.

Dad and Mom had decided to take us for a ride. My sister and I finished washing up and were ready to go. With a few words of warning our mother released us to settle into the seat of the Ford to wait for the jaunt through the country-side. My plan was to race my sister and arrive first on the only seat in the car. With a shout of glee I took off. Winnie followed in hot pursuit. Because of my head start I got there first and jumped in. Quickly I pulled the door on the passenger side to shut out my sister. To give my right hand more leverage my left hand braced itself at the inner door post. My thumb ended up submerged between the door and the front car body. When the door closed, my thumb got jammed between the cowl and the door edge.

Old cars have no space between the door and the door post when the door is shut. This is because the thick rubber weather stripping glued into this space to keep out wind and rain in modern cars was not used in the 1920’s. In today’s cars a finger stuck in a closed door smarts but is not mutilated.

The closed door held my thumb, but when I opened it again the end of my left thumb was chopped right off. I ran into the house to show my mother the piece of thumb dangling from my left hand. My mother bandaged the thumb and immediately declared that we were heading for the doctor in Teulon.

ThumbOnce in the doctor’s office the detached tip of my thumb was re-bandaged more tightly to the end of the finger. The doctor pompously predicted that the tip would probably fall off on its own accord.

It didn’t. My thumb healed without a murmur. Feeling came back to the entire thumb and the thumb nail grew long enough to cover up the end of the digit.

No problem. No complaints.

But the fingerprint of my left thumb shows that I’m a veteran of a minor Ford Model T accident.

Great Classic Cars of the World by Hans Georg Isenberg,

The oldest Canadian company making cars today is Ford, established at Walkerville (now part of Windsor) in 1904. The First Canadian Fords were assembled from chassis and other parts shipped by ferry, two or three at a time, from Detroit. The bodies were made in Canada by Wm. Gray & Sons of Chatham, ON. The first Ford plant at Walkerville was so primitive it didn’t even have electricity. The only piece of power equipment was a drill, driven by a belt attached to the rear wheel of one of the first cars made at the plant. (from Canada On Wheels by John de Bondt, “A Portfolio of Early Canadian Cars”, published by Oberon Press, 1970)

Picture taken from Great Classic Cars of the World by Hans Georg Isenberg, Transedition Books, England, 1993, page 28, with Mr. Henry Ford seated beside the driver in a 1907 Model R Ford.

Ed Janzen is the editor and publisher of CANADIAN STORIES, a literary folk magazine that publishes short stories and poems from Canadian writers of every province of Canada. Story Quilt is an electronic magazine similar in content. Ed has written four memoirs. He also writes for the old car hobby and has a column in OLD AUTOS - a biweekly newspaper featuring mostly Canadians events and automotive history.
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