Tuesday, June 29, 2010

End of an Era

I have worked with Saab for almost all of my adult life. That’s a rare thing these days, to stay with one company. So is living in one place for a long time, which I also did, until last week when we sold our home on High Street in Ipswich, Massachusetts. We moved to Ipswich just after our first son was born in 1988, and for my wife it was a coming home, for she had grown up there. In 2007 we abandoned the remote and quiet Labor in Vain Road and settled into a town-house built out of a Victorian home in the heart of the “historic district.” Built in 1900, ours was the new house on the street, with most of the other homes dating from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Long before we moved there I had always noted a number of Saabs in the driveways up and down High Street. The density was quite astonishing. Then we moved in, and it went off the charts. Not only were there my 900’s and my wife’s 9000 aero (later her 9-5), but each of the older sons had a car. Then all three sons went in on a 1985 SPG racecar project, but that had to move off-site to Ipswich Outboard, where son Pascal works during the summer. Still, with the townhouse affording only two parking places, lots of Saabs ended up parked on the street in front of our house.

Lots became lots more. As friends and co-workers of ours, and our boys (especially) came to appreciate Saabs from knowing us, they started to own them. AndrĂ© started dating Muriel, who drives a Sport Sedan, her dad drives a 2005 convertible and brother a 2002 9-3. Have to work on her Volvo-driving mom! Then there was Kevin, Zach, Alex, Kevin’s dad, Ed, Henry, other Ed, Paul, Yvonne, Dan and probably others I’m forgetting who would come by our place and park their Saabs. High Street is a well travelled thoroughfare, and on one day where there were a few friends over, our driveway and the street were packed with Saabs. We were in the backyard doing something not at all Saab related. A gentleman came down the driveway on his bicycle and stopped, asking if there was a Saab club meeting going on!

It used to be easy telling people where we lived. “Oh, the house with all the Saabs.” Then there were the Saab spectacles. One year the boys wanted to decorate the front door of the house but the scrooges in the condo association said no. Not to be denied, Pascal and Andre mounted a 1970s Thule roof load carrier on his 1992 900S rally-x car, which was already festooned with rally stuff, and proceeded to decorate the roof rack. All manner of bauble and bangle was secured to the rack, it was finished off with a bedding of fake snow, and then adorned with blinking battery powered Christmas lights. It was so wonderfully tacky! He then parked the car right in front of the front door. Who knew that a Saab could be that palette for an act of civil disobedience?

The Saab density on High Street in Ipswich, while still strong, took a hit last week. We’ll see how things go when we get into our new digs next month. What will the folks think of their new neighbors with all the Saabs?!

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