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How I Met My Future Husband Through Our Shared Love of Cars

Would our initial encounter have been possible without the Meteor and the Corvair? Not likely. And look at us now!

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Patricia’s 1956 Meteor, a.k.a. The BatmobileCourtesy Patricia Madigan

Star-crossed cruisers

In the spring of 1967, I became the proud recipient of a shiny, new driver’s license. No longer limited to walking, I experienced the freedom of the road, or more correctly, the streets of Parry Sound. My father kindly allowed me access to one of his old cars, a blue 1956 Meteor (pictured above) that my cousin Louise Armitage and I dubbed “The Batmobile,” simply because we hung a big rubber bat off of the rear view mirror. A two-dollar bill bought us about five gallons of gas, and we spent many evenings “cruising” the main street of town from the Esso gas station at one end to the town dock at the other, and back again.

Driving this continuous loop on a beautiful summer evening brought us a great deal of pleasure, mainly because we were in motion. We were not the only ones who enjoyed cruising the loop, however, and I could not help but notice a red 1964 Corvair that summer. More particularly, I noticed the good-looking driver! How was I to meet this fellow, since we had no friends in common, and I was too shy to introduce myself to him?

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Patricia's cousin, Louise, seated on the Meteor’s trunkCourtesy Patricia Madigan

Lovebirds in pursuit

On the last day of July, Louise (pictured above) and I were driving the loop downtown, when we noticed the red Corvair seemed to be following us. Was it possible? Yes! As we were making a slow, awkward turn at the gas station, the driver asked me if I drove much. Fighting words! So, I challenged him to a race, which he handily won. I looked in my rear view mirror a bit later, and there he was again, following me, so I drove past the gas station, and down William Street to the cemetery. I figured that he would give up as I turned into the cemetery itself. No! He followed me in until I parked on a dead end with the Corvair on my bumper. Hemmed in, we had nowhere to go, so we all got out of our cars.

You won’t believe the before and after shots of this 1952 Studebaker truck restoration.

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Patricia's future husband Glenn and his 1964 CorvairCourtesy Patricia Madigan

The beginning of a 50-year marriage

With the driver was a fellow we knew from high school, so we were not all complete strangers after all, but it was the driver who caught my eye. He kicked the tires of my Meteor, checked out the engine, and kicked the tires again. By this time, I figured that he was either ignoring me or didn’t know what to say. So, to ensure that he didn’t just drive away, I asked him if I could drive his car. I am not sure which one of us was more shocked, but he readily agreed. He introduced himself as Glenn Madigan (pictured above) and that was the beginning of a relationship that has lasted for 53 years, 50 of which were celebrated on our wedding anniversary last year.

Would our initial encounter have been possible without the Meteor and the Corvair? Not likely! And look at us now: two people who enjoyed cruising back in the day are still on a wonderful journey that will last until we reach the end of the road. All thanks to one magical night in 1967—and I have been driving his cars ever since!

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Originally Published in Our Canada