A love affair that's still running 60 years on
Published 04/01/2013 | 05:00
LIKE a lot of new cars, this Ford Popular was bought in January, but it is running as smoothly now as it did 60 years ago.
Michael Leslie remembers the day his parents, Tom and Margaret, picked up their new purchase from Jimmy The Master's garage in Killarney as clearly as if it were yesterday.
He was 16 in 1953 when his parents bought the car for £316, one of only nine motor vehicles in the parish of Listry, in Co Kerry, at the time.
"You'd be looking forward to anything new and attractive but we were all excited about the new car," Mr Leslie recalls. "We used it for many family trips although we didn't all fit in it together as there were eight children, but it brings back many happy memories."
The old green Ford was also central to Mr Leslie's own love story which began at the 1966 Rose of Tralee when he first set eyes on his future wife, Collette O'Sullivan, who was representing Toronto.
Collette never returned to Canada, where she had emigrated three years earlier, and instead returned home to Brosna and married Michael two years later.
"All our courting was done in that car. I remember the long journeys from Drombrick in Beaufort to Brosna and you'd be frozen. There was no heater in it," he adds.
Sadly, Collette passed away in 1991 of ovarian cancer when she was only 47. The car remained in a shed for years until the romantic tale sparked the interest of the next generation.
"The youngest of our four boys, Kevin, was getting married and when his wife-to-be, Elorina heard about the car, she said she wanted to be brought to the church in it," he said.
In time for the wedding, Kevin set about restoring the car with his dad and they have continued to maintain it in pristine condition, creating new memories for the family.
The old tax book is still in his father's name.
"It holds special memories for each member of the family but the best for me are the ones of Collette and I going to Brosna all those years ago," he said.