The two wires pictured here are not from an old personal computer or a
vintage 80s VCR no, it is of something more powerful and enduring, nostalgic: a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 Police Interceptor, black and chrome. While in the process of a minor repair to the powerful 390 engine the distinctly different wires, one thick with black and red striped casing and the other thinner with white casing, have over time and a hot engine lost pliability making them brittle and prone to failure. Hands bending and twisting them I got to thinking of the events over the past half century since the car and wires rolled off the assembly line.
Not sure what city the Galaxie was put together in but being from the Detroit, Michigan area I’d like to believe it is here. Detroit today is a mere shell of itself in 1965 as racial riots where close, baseball’s World Series Championship is captured by the Tigers in 1968 and the nation’s fledgling space program captures my young mind’s attention and has yet to let go. As the young car races across America’s roadways, it’s original coloring of gold with black pinstripe gleaming in summer sun, dirtied in winters mess, the two wires contribute to performance as man walks on the moon six times, Vietnam becomes a controversial mess, and political assignations tarnish accomplishments of the decade. The 1965 Ford Galaxie, synonymous with space, rockets into the 1970s and a coming oil crisis, larger size vehicles sucking gasoline, and an Asian car market poised to take advantage of ignorance by introducing economy to the American driving public which they gobble up. Watergate, the Vietnam War concludes, Disco comes and goes taking the polyester leisure suit with it, I graduate from high school, vote for the first time, and am legal to drink twice before the seventies come to an end. What a whirlwind but the mighty 390 keeps rolling over the miles as Gerald Ford, replacing the “I am not a crook,” Richard Nixon looses to Jimmy Carter, the Middle East is full of shock and awe, and America’s space station, Skylab plummets back to earth in a ball of fire.
The thick and thin gauge wires continue in keeping the Ford on the road providing the necessary transportation for families or friends as they motor about the land, drive to parties, or rush a pregnant wife to the hospital. Without these important metal strips the in dash AM radio would not be able to deliver the mono-tone sounds of Country, Motown, Rock and Roll, and news programs reporting important events. In 1980 I move to Eugene, Oregon and then migrate to Southern California for 17 years, gold is captured by the United States Men’s Hockey team after beating Finland in the Winter Olympics, President Carter boycotts the Summer Olympic games of the Soviet Union in protest to the invasion of Afghanistan. Then Ronald Regan, Iran Contra, personal computers, Pac Man, and the Space Shuttle but through all of these ups and downs the Police Interceptor marches on maybe now with a new owner rushing to work, to the airport to pick up a friend not seen in years, or to the train station to take part in a hobby loved since childhood. The 80’s exist with the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. Good going Ronnie!
Maybe by now the Ford is nestled in a garage waiting renovation or still pounding the pavement however, the two wires still sturdy and doing their part. William Jefferson Clinton is the new president for two terms and more scandal as the Galaxie is off on new adventures perhaps touring the country from sea to shining sea. I don’t know but the car could be near the Trade Center in New York City when the first attempt is made in 1993 to topple them. Possibly it is driven to the Grand Canyon on a family vacation, or just through rush hour traffic in Portland, Oregon, perhaps the Galaxie was parked at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit when the Red Wings ended their championship drought in 1197 by winning the Stanley Cup. During the Galaxie’s adventures of the 90’s I rent a room from a married couple to recuperate from the 80’s move back to Michigan than back to the Pacific Northwest. Where the car is when the new millennium rings in is anyone’s guess but those wires hold fast. By 2010 planes have crashed into buildings and fields, I visit Canada numerous times, celebrate my 50th birthday, visit Las Vegas, quit my day job to start a business, and purchase the Ford Galaxie 500 from an auto dealer. Presently, with the repair complete and new wires installed the car’s back on the road, pistons producing power better than ever.
Whose hands secured these, now, frail wires, what happen to that person over the years, how long did they work on the assembly line, where they affected when the auto industry decided on cheap labor in other countries? I may never know but since 1965 the Ford Galaxie 500 Police Interceptor has passed through times of turmoil and triumph, outings and garages, rush hour traffic, and who knows what is yet to come along the roadway. The two pieces of color coded copper wiring are now enjoying the golden years of retirement and hang in a prominent place in the garage; oh yes if only they could only talk what a tale could be told.