|HISTORIC DESOTO HOOD ORNAMENT|
Between Mount Vernon, Kentucky and Berea, Kentucky is a small used car lot that sells both semi-old and historic cars. I'm not a car buff but I am attached to old cars in another way. Like so many people that were raised in and around the Great Lakes states in the twentieth century -- we as families have a cultural relationship with the auto industry. Starting with the Ford factories in Detroit to the spread of plants to surrounding states, our fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, and aunts plus our siblings were touched by this industry. You might say it is in our bones. We have stories to tell that can't be found in history books.
The auto industry was huge by the end of twentieth century and had changed considerably from its first half. A secondary industry of sorts had grown as a result and it was one that was worker driven -- that industry was the unions. Unions have both a good name or not-so-good depending on which side of the worker's rights you stand on. But for all the farm boys, Africans Americans, immigrants, and others during the twentieth century, it meant, finally, that they could make a comfortable lifestyle for themselves and their families.
My Irish grandfather worked for Henry Ford in the beginning of the century -- he was fresh off the farm located in what Michiganders call the thumb area. He had four brothers that all signed on -- copies of their Ford employment applications lay in my old trunk. My father followed in my grandfather's footsteps and worked 36 years for General Motors. Although he was not union his salary was compensatory with union demands. Both my grandfather and father retired from these giant industries.
Now we are in the twenty-first century and things have started to go awry. Autos are over-populating the earth, guzzling oil, and filling up our landfills. The days of one car families has disappeared along with the mindset left over from the depression days of limited household spending. A dilemma of huge proportions.
The next few decades will tell us if our thoughts of "living comfortably" are now being overdone. Will we benefit from the lifestyle we live today? Lots to think about.
|HISTORIC DESOTA POLICE CAR GRILL|