In the 1950’s, small town America was booming. At least in the small town that was home. There were three car dealerships, two drug stores, JC Penneys, several clothing stores, two jewelry stores. And they all were doing fine.
The Chevrolet dealership had a promotional event in 1956. It was in the high school gym and there were people everywhere. “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” was the theme (if you are my age or a little older you just sang the jingle to yourself–didn’t you?!?!). But the main attraction (for me) was a replica of the 1956 Chevy Corvette that kids could ride in (like the kiddie rides in front of stores). It was on a high pedestal and you had to have a ticket. My mother bought me a lot of those tickets. I LOVED that little car. All it did was bounce back and forth but I rode it at least a dozen times.
I must have made a real fuss for my mother to spend the money to buy those tickets. What I didn’t know, and, apparently, what my mother DID know, was that each ticket was part of a raffle. The more I rode the more chances there were to win the prize. Whatever that was.
Now I was, to say the least, a spoiled child. I was cute and blonde and sassy. The world, as far as I was concerned, had its center right where I stood. My roots in that little town went back four generations and I loved telling the stories of my great-grandparents. I walked around oblivious to anyone who didn’t adore me. Of course, I was five years old. I have learned a little since then.
So I had no clue what the “promotional event” was really about. I had no clue what the prize was. And I sorta forgot about it.
Then one day my mom dressed me up in one of the fancy dresses that my grandmother made, combed my hair just so and added a matching bow. We were going to see Mr. Jackson.
I remember, vividly, riding the little car at the ‘event’. I remember seeing the little car again when we met Mr. Jackson that day. I had no idea that my mother had, in essence, bought it for me with those tickets. I thought it was a present from Mr. Jackson. I was so very, very excited.
And someone took a picture. And somehow, I found it on line and managed to save it.
Don Jackson, me and Barbara Turney Gisvold. 1956
I was five. Mother was 36. Today she would have been 100 years old.
I never thanked her. I think I will do that now.
Thank you, mom.
P.S. For more information on the Kiddie Corvette please go to http://www.packautomotivemuseum.com/PEDALVETTE.HTML
I had no idea how special it was.