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A Love Affair that Lasts a Lifetime

Updated: Jun 11

By Kathy Cook

Al and I fell in love just after we finished high school. But I was not Al’s first love. Al had already fallen in love with MGs. In high school, he restored a Model A truck and he drove it as his everyday driving. He would often pick me up to go on dates. I could see then that old cars would be part of our life.

Our senior year in college, 1972, Al had an opportunity to pick up a disassembled MG TD, the car that he really loved. We both went to law school and Al repaired and rebuilt other cars over the summers including the Model A truck and an MGA. He had little time to spend on his own love, the TD. We needed money, and working on these cars and selling them was a way to help finance our way through school.

He reassembled the MGTD, drove it across town, and we went into the military, and were stationed overseas. Upon our return we had children, busy careers, and had little time to spend on hobbies. But Al still loved those MG TDs. One day he came across one that had been restored and talked me into buying it. Of course, he sold the original one because he now had a car that he could really drive and had loved all his life. While we have been married over 50 years, I never found out exactly when he fell in love for the first time, but I knew I could not stand in the way of his first love.

Now with a drivable car, Al and I joined the Classic MG Club of Orlando. We have been to many car shows, driven around the State of Florida, and enjoyed the TD and the fellowship of our fellow MG owners. We added a second MG, an MGBGT, which was to be my car in honor of our first grandchild whose initials are MG. More recently, we moved to the west coast of Florida and joined the Florida Suncoast MG club. The cars and the people have become an important part of our lives over here.

Unfortunately, Al developed NPH, a type of hydrocephalus which robbed him of many of his abilities. As a result, Al is now residing at Twin Creeks Assisted Living Facility where he can get extra help. He still loves his MG and has pictures and signs and a miniature MG in his studio apartment.

The Florida Suncoast MG club has been incredibly supportive of our family. They suggested that I arrange for a mini car show with the cars from our club. The club has done this before, and they had a showing of the cars at another assisted living facility during last year's MG Jamboree. I arranged for the car show. The theme, just in time for Valentine's Day, was “We love our MGs.” Since morning activities are great for the residents, we had heart-shaped doughnuts for everyone, and the residents got to vote for their favorite MG. The lobby was ablaze with activity. In fact, I have never seen so much enthusiasm as I did that day as residents talked about their old cars, including MGs. People who usually had little to say, had much to say that day. Al was a celebrity that day as the owner of his MGTD. Maybe it was the lobbying, or maybe it was the magic of seeing their friend with his car, but he ended up taking first prize.

What I have learned from spending time at the assisted living facility is that residents remember a lot of their past; cars are an important conduit to these memories since it helps the people to open up and remember those days. Many of them had cars like the ones we drive.

Assisted living facilities welcome opportunities like this. It is an easy activity, and it is a chance to drive your cars and help people relive the good times of their lives. We followed the car show with lunch at a pub across the way. Your club could do something similar and go to a restaurant or pub after the show or have a picnic. Perhaps the more mobile residents could also take a spin in the car! That would be exciting.

We love our MGs. They are definitely a love affair that lasts a lifetime.

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