Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Suspended Sequel by Andy Scheer

Thanks to a Christmas present from my son, I can now read the sequel to a book I first read in 1964.

Living in a suburb of Detroit, I'd taken several school field trips to the Henry Ford Museum and had been impressed with its collection of antique autos. So when my teacher distributed order sheets for paperbacks from Scholastic, I was primed for Kings of the Road by Ken W. Purdy.

I don't remember if I had to raid my Yogi Bear bank for the full cover price of seventy-five cents (this was when quarters were still silver). Regardless, it was priceless. Over the next decade I reread it countless times.

Its twenty chapters (most adapted from magazine articles) opened me to the world of such classic automobiles as Bugatti, Mercer, Stutz, Cord, and Duesenberg (origin of the phrase “it's a Duesey”). Decades later I'm still traveling to classic car museums. More important, I'm still reading voraciously--and helping other writers master the art of dynamic prose.

My copy of Kings of the Road, printed in 1963 on cheap paper, is too fragile for me to revisit its pages. But I knew hardcover versions on better paper were available online. So I passed the hint before Christmas.

Published in hardcover in 1972, Ken Purdy's Book of Automobiles promises to pick up where Kings of the Road left off. After nearly fifty years, I'm eager to resume the journey.


Rick Barry said...

You just taught me the origin of the expression "It's a Duesey." I'd always seen it spelled "doozy," which gave no clue to its origin.

Enjoy the journey!

P.S. At first, I thought the car in the photo was the gift your son gave you. If so, I was ready to adopt him!

Jennifer Major said...

HA! Rick! I knew that already! Neener neener!
Oh, how dignified of me...

What a lovely gift! A few years ago, I gave my brother a first edition copy of the very first of the Hardy Boys series. I thought he was going to cry. I found it at a thrift store and held on to it like it was gold. I got out of there as fast as I could, like the woman in the Ikea commercial, "start the car! Start the car!"

In case it impresses anyone, our wedding car was a 1917 Auburn, with the original upholstery and everything!! It was found up on blocks in an old garage in Vancouver, BC, where I'm from. We literally slowed traffic all around us, it was such a thrill to be rolling down the streets of Vancouver IN history.

Jennifer Major said...

I meant I knew about "doozy"...