The older I get the more I can see and appreciate just how blessed I’ve been across the years. With Roy and Margaret Davis as my parents I simply could not have been hatched into a more comfortable, nurturing, love-filled nest. Everything that has unfolded in my life is rooted deeply in that priceless beginning.
My father will be 90 years old on August 8th. Roy’s 80’s have been checkered with a laundry list of health-related challenges but he’s endured them all and remains very much alive. Like me, he too has been reflecting on his life with a great deal of appreciation.
My dad grew up the youngest son of an itinerant preacher in the hills of West Virginia. He served in Europe during WWII. It was during the war when his mother, my Grandma Davis, went to one of the parishioners in their church and asked if she would encourage her granddaughter, Margaret to write to Roy over in France. It was out of that war-time pen-pal courtship that the seeds of love were planted. My mom and dad met face-to-face for the first time on his birthday, August 8th of 1946, the day after he returned home from Europe. He was 20 years old, and she was just 15! She greeted him that day with a birthday cake and a smile. The rest is still unfolding history!
Two years after their initial meeting Margaret was accepted into the nursing program at the University of Cincinnati. Roy faced a dilemma. He was working at the Willys-Overland auto plant in Toledo and quite clearly his 1937 Chevy was no longer reliable enough to make routine treks across Ohio. It was out of his needs for reliable transportation that my dad stumbled onto his first Hudson. New cars were in short supply in the early post-war years. When the Toledo Blade advertised the availability of new Hudsons at the local dealership, Roy went shopping and drove home in a brand new 1948 Hudson Super Six.
The ’48 Super Six was the first in a line of five Hudson automobiles that my parents ultimately owned. My dad hung onto those last two Hudsons long after Michigan winters had taken a significant toll on their sheet metal. And in the years following the Hudsons nothing else ever quite measured up to the automotive bar they had set. Nineteen years ago my wife and I surprised my dad on his 71st birthday with a ’51 Hudson Pacemaker. It was one of the better things we’ve ever done. He can’t drive it anymore, but he is delighted to this day with a Hudson in his garage.
This past October I made an emotion-packed impulse purchase. I bought my first Hudson, and like Dad’s first, mine is a 1948. I remembered a photograph Margaret had taken of Roy next to his new ’48 Super Six. When they were at our house this past Thanksgiving I did my best to re-create that pose. These two photographs encapsulate 67 of my dad’s 90 years, the Hudson chapters of his life. I’m so grateful to have literally been along for the ride through some of them. Happy 90th birthday Dad!