Growing up on the tree lined streets of Sharon, Massachusetts many people never knew that my sister and I actually had a brother. Yep. We did. His name was Jimmy. Dad lovedddddd Jimmy and spent most every weekend with him, taking him out, working in the yard. Jimmy could do no wrong. Born in 1979, just a few years after me, Jimmy was often the favorite. Dad was an English teacher and he’d take Jimmy to school to show off to the students. People would snap photos with Jimmy. They’d talk about Jimmy. Dad even wrote to a magazine about Jimmy and they printed his story. Jimmy’s photo and the article were framed in the house. I guess I was jealous. Scratch that. I’m sure I was jealous and a little like Jan Brady growing up, as my sister and I would often think Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.
Well by now you may have guessed that Jimmy wasn’t actually my brother. He was a truck. Jimmy was a 1979 GMC Jimmy- fiberglass top, wall to wall blue carpeting, bucket seats, fully detailed with racing stripes across the side. My dad bought Jimmy at Powers Pontiac in Taunton, MA before 495 was even an interstate. He’d make the long trip from Sharon to Taunton to get the truck serviced. Or should I say WE’d make the trip there. I’m the only middle age guy who remembers that a guy named Bob Champagne worked at Powers Pontiac because he helped my dad with the truck so much. Yeh as a little kid I knew the name of the dealership guys. And they knew I loved the little Coca Cola machine they had in the garage, the kind where you’d put in coins and then pull the glass bottle out of the freezer. That was the reason I liked going to the dealership. Well that, and the milk bottle restaurant down the street. We were there frequently. Dad babied that truck. He worked on that truck. He made that truck perfect. Every weekend. In the driveway. Every weekend. More tweaks. Every weekend. More touch ups. Every weekend. More things to do. Every weekend. It was no secret to many of the neighbors either. Jimmy was his favorite.
I hated Jimmy. There I said it.
Dad spent so much time on Jimmy, and we barely ever used it. It sat in the driveway most of the time with the odometer perfectly low. Perfect. Sitting. Jimmy. So when dad died unexpectedly in my sophomore year of high school, I hated Jimmy even more. No dad to teach me to shave, or to drive, or to pass on the keys to Jimmy. My mom and sister had had enough of Jimmy too. So much of our childhood and their marriage went into that truck. SO much time. SO much. I drove it a few times and always feared the ghost of dad would come back for me if we ever did anything bad to it. We eventually sold Jimmy. And I was we glad.
It’s a funny thing about time. It plays tricks on your mind. 27 years after my father died and all I’ve thought about lately is Jimmy. What ever happened to him? Did he meet his fate in a junk yard? Did another truck enthusiast give Jimmy a loving home? Is it possible, possible at all, that Jimmy is still out there somewhere? Nostalgia is a strong emotion. Mom and dad are no longer around. Their voices are fading in my mind. But I still remember the sound that Jimmy would make when the engine started. I still remember the seatbelt buzzer my dad disabled. I still remember the rattle in the tailgate that drove him nuts. I still remember the smell of that carpet and the leather floor mats armor-all’d to a shine.
I guess I really never hated Jimmy. And I’d love to see him again if he was still around. And I’m sorry to my dad for being so short sighted in high school as to sell something that was clearly special to him.
Here’s what I know:
Powers Pontiac is out of business. I found an obituary for the owner and news that the dealership was eventually bought.
The truck was written about in Truckin Magazine in the early 1980’s. I’ve written to the magazine to see if they have that.
It may have been sold to Rodman Ford in MA because that’s where mom bought all her cars. I’ve written to Rodman Ford as well to see what they know.
Jimmy looked a lot like this at one point (I found this pic online of a similar Chevy Blazer from a seller across the country). I wonder what he looks like now.
Have YOU seen Jimmy? Do you remember the English teacher from Norwood High School who would always show his truck around school? Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org