Author Topic: A tribute to the "Autoist"  (Read 1816 times)

Offline rxsleeper

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A tribute to the "Autoist"
« on: November 10, 2010, 01:54:19 PM »
As written by his daughter and posted on a British Car forum.  I know many of you would enjoy reading this.

I attended the auction but did not speak to Shannon.

"Sorry to go MIA on you all-- saw Mickey's summary of the day. I needed a little time away from the auction before communicating. I would say it was a hard, hard day, one that I have dreaded for almost nine months (Monday will be nine months since the accident) and one that has weighed heavily on me as it approached. Mom, of course, handled the day like a trouper. The auction company told me last week that most people find the estate auction harder than the funeral, because it brings such closure. That was true for me. At the memorial, where I spoke, it was still so fresh, so tragic, and I was so numb, it was all surreal. Friday was very real.

I’ve told myself, many times, that we were just selling stuff, possessions, metal, wires, but the truth is, when the time came, we sold my dad's time, and his passion and his dreams. I remember Dad telling me about falling in love with MGs. He was in high school and someone from out of town stopped at the gas station in Starkville, Mississippi driving a red MG. Dad had never seen one, he coveted it, wanted it, instantly loved it and promised himself one day he'd have one. It took enlisting in the Army in his sophomore year at Mississippi State, with full knowledge that he'd go to Vietnam, to get out of Mississippi and see the world. He chased MGs in California, in Europe, across the world, before he started the collection we sold Friday.

At the end of the day Friday, Mickey and I looked at the garage, stripped of the antique signs, banners, cars, parts, engines, banners and all the fun memorabilia-- a shadow of itself-- and we both said "he had a lot of fun here" at almost the same time. At the end of the day, that's what matters. How the auction did financially (I'm told by Mickey and Bob White that we did well), doesn't matter. Dad had a lot of fun, he lived every day of his life to the fullest and he lived his dreams. That's worth more than the price of any of his cars.

Here are some of the lessons I learned along the way the last nine months, they might be of interest to your children:

Truth is, I never appreciated Dad's cars. One or two cars, I could understand, but his collection seemed unwieldy. I didn't understand why he didn't finish a car before buying another-- now I get that logic—and, now I understand that the goal isn't having a museum quality car, or a road ready car. A lot of the fun with antique cars is the journey and dreaming about what will be. Really, isn't life all about the journey, not the destination?

I used to think Dad was wasting his time tinkering around on these forums. Whenever they'd come to keep Will, come to visit, come for holidays, or we'd go on vacation, Dad would drag along his laptop and fire it up to British Car Forum or MG Experience.
"Dad, you're retired, why do you need to check in?!", I'd ask. I didn't understand his commitment to you all, or what joy and purpose that commitment gave him post-careers.

Dad was always talking about "my friend Mickey, the Episcopal priest", or "my friend Wray, in South Carolina" or "my friend Bob, who builds cars in North Carolina", or his friends in South Dakota or Montana, or Nevada or Texas, or..... I didn't think you were real friends. Real friends, to me, were friends with whom you have lunch; friends, are soul mates, friends are people you meet in real life, not online. I've learned, these last nine months, that Dad wasn't just building cars, he was building relationships, with real, true, lifelong, soul mate friends. You are friends who knew my dad in ways I didn't. I hope you'll be my friends now too. Real friends, like Mickey, Bob, Wray, and so many others of you are hard to come by in this crazy world.

On collecting--- whew. Some days since the accident, I think I need to purge everything in my home and take the 100 item challenge, where a person commits to only owning 100 things in the world. Other days, I look around at what made Dad happy, and what makes me happy, and I realize that, unfortunately, for some souls, stuff is part of the fabric from which we’re made. I never understood Dad's car fetish. He never understood my fetish for antique white ironstone, silver or antique furniture. What I've learned about his collection-- your collection-- is that, unlike most collections where items are placed on a shelf, in a drawer or in a room, with antique cars, the collector puts a part of himself or herself into each item. You lovingly restore the car, you make it your own, so that, at the end of the process, each car is a reflection of you, and where you were at that moment of time in your life. A beautiful chest, or mirror, or platter, may be easy to pass down to generations, but a car carries the spirit of the person who restored it, which makes it that much more special.

I could write pages about Dad’s cars, and books about Dad. He was a special man, a terrific husband, an incredible dad, and a one-in-a-hundred-million granddad. I can’t wait to get his first and most special MG, the ’79 B that he called his “baby”, tuned up and ready to hit the roads on Saturdays, and I’ve promised Will that, car seat or not, we’ll drive the ’53 TD in the local annual road rally every year, I can’t think of any better ways to honor or remember Dad.

So, I leave you with this question: is it sacrilege to put a CD player in these cars? It’s not Dad without some doo wap blaring on the highways….

Thanks to you all for your support Friday and these last nine months,

Shannon and the whole Autoist family "

Godspeed Tony!  You have spent your time on earth well!

Paul

Offline Bobby B.

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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2010, 03:24:36 PM »
Wow.  Thanks for sharing that. 
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Offline goodfellow

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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2010, 03:34:02 PM »
Man, I'm choking back tears right now!!

She's right -- the most important aspect of the car restoration hobby is the journey; the experiences you have, lessons you learn, and the people you meet along the way. The finished car is secondary ---

Offline shovel

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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2010, 04:30:21 PM »
rx, thanks for posting this. Tony was a neat guy that shared his knowledge with everybody. It is really cool that his his daughter now understands his passions and hobby.
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Offline Keeper

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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 09:24:33 PM »
Man, I'm choking back tears right now!!

You are not the only one.

Thanks for sharing.
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Offline Lookin4_67GalaxieConv

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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 09:44:39 PM »
Man, I'm choking back tears right now!!

She's right -- the most important aspect of the car restoration hobby is the journey; the experiences you have, lessons you learn, and the people you meet along the way. The finished car is secondary ---

+1

Very well written piece by Tony's daughter.
This car is a pile of crap. Noisy, rattly, slow and underpowered and has a reputation for being unreliable. I want one.

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Offline Papaw

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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 05:37:06 AM »
Shannon's comments and thoughts about her father are a testament to him and his outlook on life and family.
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Re: A tribute to the "Autoist"
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 05:37:06 AM »

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