Gould's Micro Car Event Pt. 1
It was about 9 am when we passed through the sunny streets of Newton, after a beautiful drive down from Westminster with my wife, Stephanie. We were both shaking in our seats with excitement for the rally of micro cars, and for her to come, was a definite plus. Getting closer to Charles Gould’s house, we noticed yellow signs pointing the enthusiasts and drivers in the right direction. Upon arrival, micro cars, beetles, and rare cars strewn about the area in the street in front. A white event tent was poking out of the backyard, and early morning viewers were studying the cars, hands behind the back, linked. The neighbors, driving by in their Maserati’s and Mercedes held no one’s attention when there were micro cars around!We followed the group of people to under the tent so we could check in and socialize with fellow enthusiasts. We found the morning crew was caffeinating up and sharing small talk as they awoke from their night of serious margaritas, wine, and good friendship (all of which can be intoxicating). There was a hearty spread of fruit, pastries, coffee and juice for consumption, and though we had already ate, the food looked too good to pass up. There seemed to be an endless supply of water, which would help as the heat increased. The tent and breakfast area were decorated with items from past Gould’s Annual Microcar Classic Events that Charles and his wife, Nancy, have organized. Their daughter, Monique, designed the event’s t-shirt, complete with pin-up girls and a 50’s style, highlighting the 20th anniversary of this event. Clothing, mugs, and other memorabilia were for sale as a way to commemorate and fund the day. As an avid fan of Monopoly, and once a collector of different versions of the game, the Monopoly customized hot plate was surely a detail worth capturing! As people gathered under the tent and around the micro cars, Charles began by thanking everyone for being a part of the event and cheered on those who have been there for multiple years. He was also as eager to say welcome and thank you to the newbies, myself included, and hoped that they would continue to return each year. At one point, their dog, Bullet, an energetic Chow, needed a little calm down time – he was excited about the event as well and couldn’t contain himself! As leaving time approached, Charles began his ritual of finding seats for passengers, ensuring that everyone was able to ride in a specialty car, thus truly being a part of the experience. It wasn’t even a question that someone would be left out, further illustrating Charles’ kindness and altruistic manner. This event is for everyone, and that feeling is felt right away. After a few car switches and double-checking that everyone had a seat, we began to line up, making sure not to crowd or block the road. We met Helga, our co-pilot and Rob, our driver. The car, though micro, had a lot of room and had sturdy seats. As Helga noted, since it was German made it had less spring then French cars. Our conversations with Rob and Helga ranged from pronouncing car names to mathematics (of course, Stephanie was in the car!) to what makes micro cars unique to the concepts of yard sales in other countries. It was at this time that it made it sense a reason why Charles divided people up with new people to drive: the social piece. Charles later shared that the social atmosphere was vital to the event: ride with a new person, the ability to take short breaks and chat between rides, have lunch with group you haven’t met yet, and all the other nuggets of time given to make connections with other enthusiasts. At the first stop, a service station, we were offered to ride in the back of a Japanese Subaru Fire Engine, equipped with a motor and hose to pump out water from nearby sources. Where we sat there was no roof or sides, just a seat belt buckle, a cushioned seat, and a metal bar or two. The owner, Bill, had his vehicle transported from Washington to take part in the micro car event. He actually has two of these fire engine minis! His friend, Jim, from New Jersey, co-piloted and offered support with the directions that were provided. Stephanie and I felt like kids at an amusement park with the lights and horns in front of us, as we buckled in the back and rested our hands on the metal bar in front of us. We had a clear view into the fire truck as we were sitting higher above than Bill and Jim. The only thing missing was our own buttons to hit to make the lights go off and the horn honk. Stephanie suggested a modification of a little bell for us to ring. This micro fire engine was a showstopper. Of course, seeing a parade of micro cars through your town can turn heads, but the fire truck brought out the smiles and wows from the on lookers. Grown ups could be seen making connections to their childhood, remembering their dreams to be a fire fighter and smiling at the way the truck had a childish feel about it. As we traveled, we took a stop in Hudson at a local store for ice cream and snacks. We piled into the parking lot, at least six cars deep and five wide. Charles was pleased with the groups’ ability to stay together and commended everyone for being a part of the event. Waves and honks to others as we passed through town were encouraged. Ice cream was enjoyed quickly, due to the heat, and soon we were on our way towards Barber’s Crossing for lunch. As we passed through Clinton (and coincidently on the way back), I saw my friend Steve, out at his bike. I wonder his thoughts as we passed in the mini sized fire engine. Another friend, Shane, messaged me that he had saw us pass through Hudson, after seeing a post of the vehicle Stephanie had posted online. The trip through the back roads of Massachusetts were serene and calming. We passed horses and farms, along with stands of fruit and veggies for sale, and smiled and waved at others out maintaining their lawns and landscape.We continued on and Wachusett Reservoir came into sight. We pulled over to an old courthouse that was in the middle of renovations and parked with the crew in the shade. The sun was definitely beating down on us as we traveled, offering a later found famers tan! As we grouped in front of the courthouse, Charles told us of the importance of this site. Charles’ father was a judge in this courthouse. Up the road, him and his friends would hang out in the tunnels. His family grew up close by, in Clinton, and he was very knowledgeable of the history of the reservoir. As he spoke, he continued to create a connectedness to our environment as we learned more about the area we were travelling through. We made it back to the car, happily, since the seats were not going to be hot. Next stop, Barber’s Crossing! Barber’s Crossing was a nice stop to grab a bite to eat. We lined the restaurant’s parking lot, and the wait staff and back of the house workers were in awe of the rareness of the cars in their lot. We had a back room reserved for us. This was our next social piece. Over the next hour or two, we had a chance to talk to others in a smaller group, possibly (again!) with someone new. At different times, both Nancy and Charles weaved their way through the tables and personally thanking the supporters and registrants. In the end, we decided to stop for desert later and continue to trip. We treaded back through Sterling to make our way to Princeton. When we got to the base of the mountain, we pulled over and Stephanie hopped off. Her trip would end here, as she had to get back home.