When my mother passed away last year at the age of 89, she had accumulated dozens of trunks filled with items that held some significance to her — everything from the keys to every car she had ever owned to a bar of soap that held the imprints of my infant son’s teeth when he tried to eat it during a bath. The soap now resides in a place of honor on Greg’s mother’s shelf.
Cherished items that form bridges are not always small enough to be conveniently placed on a shelf or in a cabinet. Recently, fellow Tuna Club member Vic Edelbrock hosted a lunch at his company’s plant where he shared his personal treasures, many of which were handed down by his father.
The display room was filled with more than 20 cars ranging from an immaculate woody station wagon with a midget racecar on the trailer behind, to a low-slung Corvette that Edelbrock acquired during his years in the racecar industry. There was much more memorabilia from his racing career, including engines and workbenches filled with the many racing innovations developed over the years by his company, Edelbrock which builds performance parts for cars and motorcycles.
In a place of honor near the front door was a 1932 flathead-powered Ford Roadster, his father’s first project car, which represented his entry into the world of “hot rods” and inspired the design and manufacture of the first Edelbrock intake manifold.
When his father died in 1962, Edelbrock was passed on to Vic, Jr., then only 26 years old. Vic assumed the leadership of the company as President and CEO and he continued in that role until 2010 when he stepped down. With only 10 employees and annual sales of $450,000 when Vic inherited the company, he helped grow it into a major name among hot-rodders, sanctioned drag racing and short-track racing.
We saw many beautifully maintained old cars at Vic’s luncheon, and it reminded me of a boat I saw that kindled that same nostalgic feeling in me.
As I stood on the dock at the weigh-in station for the WON Ensenada tournament last month, an old but shiny 17-foot outboard-powered runabout headed for the fuel dock. Two grizzled anglers were tying up the boat and I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.
When I began asking about their vessel, the two brothers, Tommy and Kenny Snyder, were immediately transformed into youngsters as they proudly displayed one of their most valued possessions. Their dad, Dean Snyder, purchased the boat in 1962 after selling Cobra, a 45-foot charter boat that he had built in his backyard in Lynwood, California, in 1952. By the way, Cobra is still running trips in the Channel Islands.
The 1962 Glasspar Seafair Sunliner had been stored in Dean’s garage at Lake Almanor in Northern California, gathering dust. When their father decided to dispose of it, the sons had another idea. Remembering the countless fishing trips the three had made in the small boat around the Channel Islands and even venturing farther offshore — sometimes 60 miles for albacore — the boys decided to restore the Glasspar.
They hauled the boat back to Tommy’s home in San Diego and completely restored it from the hull up. Using the best epoxies they could get and aged Honduran mahogany, it was a labor of love. When the job was completed, they named the boat Bonnie Jean after their mom. The boat came out amazing and Tommy boasted that it would last another 50 years.
I suspect that many of you are reminded of objects that you have acquired over the years that hold a special significance, regardless of value. I must confess that I am my Mother’s son and have followed in her footsteps.
I now have in my cherished collection, all evoking special memories… There’s an old Penn 85 on which I caught my very first fish, a now rusty hook from my first landed swordfish and deep in the darkest corner of our garage there are even older treasures that seldom see the light of day. One is a faded red metal box with “Erector Set” emblazoned on the lid and right next to it is a discolored blue trunk with an American Flyer electric train carefully packed inside. Just the thought of them takes me back to a chilly Christmas morning in a modest house on Grove Street in Berkeley, California, where a 5-year old tow-headed boy enjoyed his best Christmas ever!
Personal treasures enrich the life of the possessor with the memories and emotions that they provide. The treasures come in all sizes… some fit in your pocket, others require a warehouse to store. Size is not as important as is the marvelous bridge they provide between the past, present and future.