Baltimore writer Caryn Coyle weaves a true story of classic romance and classic cars.
The crush I had on my dad faded when I was a teenager. I was selling shoes at Hutzler’s Department Store and met a startlingly handsome man. He had dark hair and eyes as blue as my father’s. His voice was soft, jovial. He smiled as he leaned on the counter, next to me, writing receipts. I was a wreck and I did not want the evening to end.
When the store closed, he asked if he could walk me out. At the store’s entrance, he told me he’d see me again if I was working the next day.
I was three years from getting my driver’s license. My dad was my chauffer, but I told him not to come the second day of the shoe sale unless I called him.
The following evening, I walked through the store again with the handsome man. I told him I had to call my dad for a ride. Tilting his head, he smiled at me, “I’ll drive you home. Where do you live?”
He pushed one of the department store’s double glass doors for me and there was my dad’s 1962 Chevy Impala. The car rolled slowly up to the wide concrete curb by the store’s entrance.
My dad’s window was down. “Oh. You have a ride.” He was cheerful, matter-of-fact. The car never stopped and he drove away. I was stunned. Embarrassed. Furious at my dad.
I could feel the cold pavement through the soles of my shoes. It was winter. February. 1972. “That was my dad,” I finally said.
He nodded, “He probably just wanted to be sure his little girl was all right.”
My embarrassment lifted and I followed him through the parking lot to an identical Chevy Impala, the same year as my dad’s. He opened the passenger side door for me and I slid in.