2015 Reunion Photos on Facebook
As years become decades, the memories of our time in Orleans tend to fade.
How many of these items bring those days into sharper focus?
This page is made possible by the contributions of
Judy Holdsworth Scott
Victoria (Vicki Morris) Ekelund
OHS Newspaper l'Orleanais
Orleans Area Command Newspaper Orleans Item
Newspapers from the ollection of Chuck Ralston, '62.
Like most families in the 1950's and 60's, we were a
one-car family, and we kids spent much of our lives
growing up in back seat as my dad drove us from one place to another. When his orders for France showed up, we had a 1955 Buick Roadmaster. When I see a similar example of this old car today at car shows, it amazes me how really huge it was compared to what we drive around in today.
We three kids seemed to have plenty of space back there without generating too much sibling friction. My Dad had always liked Buicks and the '55 was not the first one
I remember riding around in.
When I was about to enter 9th grade, this was the car
we took to France. We promptly had to install the yellow headlights (hard to forget them!), which always struck me
as looking strange on this big black car. My Dad's initial
job was post commander at Saumur, where I was sent off each week to board at Poitiers. That was a tough year. Fortunately, he was transferred to COMZ headquarters
and life became a bit easier for my next two years of high school in Orleans. But, that's a separate story. About two and a half years into the 3-year tour, I guess he decided to take advantage of the lower cost of a new Mercedes with European delivery, and knowing that the Army would pay
for transporting one vehicle back to the states helped I'm sure. Of course, this meant ditching the Buick. So, some lucky GI with a few hundred dollars burning a hole in his pocket got a good deal on an eleven year old car loaded with lots of family memories.
So, this particular 2cf plate was on two different cars in France. First the Buick, then the Mercedes. We traveled through many European countries seeing the sights before we returned to California the summer before my senior
year. The plate is plainly visible in the short video of the
car in France. The car then became a permanent fixture
in my parents garage in California for the next 40 years.
My Dad retired near San Francisco and drove the
Mercedes daily for the rest of his life.
My Mom drove it for a few years after that, but by then
it was more than 25 years old, needed frequent attention, and we convinced her a new car would be easier to deal with. She bought a new Lexus. As a side note, it is still
in the family too. She gave the Lexus to my daughter
when it was 22 years old and had only 40,000 miles on it.
As the video shows, I decided to hang on to the Mercedes and still have it today. The license plate too. It has almost
300,000 miles on it, never been restored, and still runs. I suppose I will have to sell it at some point since it will likely outlive me too, and none of my kids have shown any
interest in it. It is one of four cars in my garage, so it
doesn't get used much, but is so full of memories from all the travel in Europe and back and forth across the US a
few times. Kinda hard to part with.
Thank you Mark Yuill, Class of '67.
As suggested, you saved it "for future use".
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