July 13, 2018 | Ryan
Nostalgia has become a big part of our culture. As life goes on, more and more people are fondly remembering better times. Some say this is all about comfort and security, because when we look back, we know what we’re going to see, as opposed to looking forward to the unknown possibilities of the future. While this makes a lot of sense, there are still some aspects of the past that remain hidden, part of forgotten memories that reveal themselves at just the right time…
This is the story of a lost wedding video and a surprising revelation that led a son on a long trip down memory lane. And he not only experienced some powerful nostalgia, he also decided to act on it. His name is Joel Smith, the son of Joe and Beverly Smith, and this article is about how his life changed after he came across a relic from the past that he and his family didn’t even know existed. Its reappearance could’ve been enough, but Joel wanted to do more…
The Wedding Video
The Smiths are, and have always been, a happy family. Before Joel was born, his parents were laying the foundation for a good life and loving connection that would carry them through generations of the types of ups and down that all families go through to one degree or another. While the first couple years of their time together went smoothly, something would happen after they got married that they weren’t able to fully get over.
While they’ve spent the majority of their lives thinking about this rough time, they had no idea that something related would reveal itself in way that would help them to right the wrong. After several decades, a family friend randomly found an old copy of the Smiths’ wedding video in the archives in someone’s basement. The friend waited until the Smiths celebrated their 60th anniversary, brought it to the big family dinner and presented it to them…
The 1948 Plymouth Convertible
The Smiths were shocked to see the video after so many years, and there was a lot to love about the opportunity to remember everything about that special day. After 60 years, so many details fade away, even with photographs, there’s only so much a still image can do. But the fact that the video came back meant that all those memories would to. The family got together to watch the tape, and enjoyed every second of the forgotten footage.
From the weather, the locations and the outfits, to the guests and the overall proceedings, the Smiths were able to relive and recall so much from what is still one of the best days of their lives. As his parents took in all the nostalgia, Joel was focused on one aspect of the video. When their old 1948 Plymouth Convertible was on screen, his parents talked about how much they loved it, as they had throughout the years leading up to seeing the tape, but…
As the Smiths discussed their beloved car, which they lost when their lives changed dramatically, the idea of having it back came up again. But the thought passed just as quickly as it appeared, for his parents, at least. But Joel knew this was the last time he wanted to feel that way without doing something about it. While his mom and dad got lost in the next part of the wedding video, Joel planned…
His mom and dad had this conversation many times over the years, missing their first car, remembering how much they loved it and wishing they had it back. But these feelings never turned into action. Joel knew what he had to do. As the Smiths finished happily watching their lost wedding video, Joel was already figuring out how he was going to find a 1948 Plymouth Convertible to give to them as a 60th anniversary gift.
The wedding video, and his plan to find the Plymouth, were filled with flashbacks to when Joel was a kid, and even before to times he’d only heard about. To fully appreciate what this task would entail and how important it was to succeed, Joel had to factor in everything about his parents’ lives together, starting from all the way back to when they first met in the middle of the 20th century.
Love At First Sight
It was the late 1940s, when Joe Smith, a high school athlete, met Beverly, a cheerleader. It’s rare that high school sweethearts actually stay together after graduation, but what Joe and Beverly had was special. In almost no time at all they both knew they wanted to be together, and within just one year of seeing each other romantically, Joe was ready to propose. But would Beverly say yes?
The Big Day
As we all know, Beverly accepted the proposal and the happy couple began planning their wedding. At that young age, they did the best they could to make it as great as possible. Everything was in place, from the location to the clothes and the cake, and with all the invitations sent out the soon-to-be Smiths couldn’t wait to tie the knot. As important as all the details were, there was something that made that day extra special…
The first car the couple owned together was their 1948 Plymouth Convertible. So many fond memories that are associated with that time period link directly back to the car, one of the best ones being its place in their amazing wedding. After saying the vows, cutting the cake and celebrating with family and friends, the Smiths drove away in the vehicle, which had been decorated with cans, streamers and a classic “Just Married” sign.
The Plymouth, literally and figuratively, carried them into their marriage. The first years of which were some of the best of their lives, as they settled into their adulthood in their own house with a child on the way. It wouldn’t always be easy, but they were off to a great start. Joe Smith laughs every time he thinks about how they ended up owning the car in the first place…
The New Car
As a teenager with big plans for himself and his then-girlfriend, Joe knew he needed his own car. And much as he wanted one, at the time, he wasn’t able to afford it alone. So he asked his mother for help, and she happily obliged, but only as long as he gave her all of his weekly paychecks after she signed for the Plymouth. Finally, in January of that year, the car was his. But…
Top Down In A Snowstorm
It was the middle of winter, and the car was still in need of some repairs, one of which would definitely be the most desirable on the day they picked it up. There was a terrible snowstorm, and Joe and Beverly actually had to drive the car home with the top down. He remembers cranking the heater as high as it would go, but the happy young couple still froze. This was the first of many magic moments in the Plymouth.
Gone Too Soon
They fell in love with their first car as they fell in love with each other, and this connection would always exist in their hearts. The fact that they had a good time driving it together with the top down in freezing cold conditions, meant they’d have that much more fun when it was all fixed up and ready for anything. While it was always reliable, something was about to happen that no repair could prevent…
Something else, besides the relationship and marriage of Joe and Beverly Smith, was happening in the early 1950s. The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, and as was customary at that time, the United States government began drafting troops to send overseas. Joe Smith was exactly the type of person the armed forces were looking for, and despite attempting to get his life going with his new wife, he was forced to leave the country to fight…
The Korean War
The Korean War was a war between North Korea, with the support of China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea, with the support of the United Nations and the United States. It began when North Korea invaded South Korea. After the Cold War, Korea was split into two regions with separate governments, neither of which accepted the border as permanent. Tensions escalated until the conflict broke out, involving other countries and powers all over the world.
Everything changed dramatically when they found out that Joe would have to leave. They had just started their lives together and hadn’t considered something like this could happen. As they made all of the necessary adjustments, one of the hardest changes was accepting that they had to get rid of their car. The Smiths truly loved the Plymouth, but it would be impossible to keep it under the circumstances.
Far From Home
With their beloved car gone and Joe all the way on the other side of the globe, this was definitely a low point for the Smiths. Joe and Beverly did their best to be as positive as possible, making sure they stayed strong even with the difficult distance. Joe kept an elaborate series of her photographs and letters to always have Beverly with him until he got to go back…
With Joe home, the Smiths could finally get back to their lives together. This meant starting a family. By the time their son Joel was born they had a new car and were well on their way. At the time, they had no idea how much they’d end up missing the Plymouth, but over the years it never left their memories as an amazing reminder of a better time before the draft.
Remembering The Plymouth
Anyone lucky enough to own a car as a teenager knows that, no matter the quality or style of that vehicle, it will always have a special place in their heart. When we’re young, cars represent freedom, giving us the ability to go wherever we want and get there fast. Combine these associations with finding true love and marriage, and it makes sense why the Plymouth meant so much to the Smiths…
The ’48 Convertible
Some of Joel’s earliest memories are of his parents remembering their first car. He says his mom and dad have been talking about it forever, and this made quite the impression on him. Even though it wouldn’t fully click for decades to come, the seeds were being planted in Joel’s head early on, just waiting for the reappearance of the wedding video…
Three generations of Smiths came to be since the wedding video was shot. Six decades is an incredibly long time when viewed in the context of a single life, so Joe and Beverly probably had quite a different experience watching the lost footage than Joel, who was able to zero in on the car and think of the incredible idea…
The Search Begins
Joel knew this was going to be tough, but loved his parents too much not to try. He said that the 1948 Plymouth Convertible was “Not something that’s easy to find. It’s not one of the most desirable cars in the world for collectors.” After an extensive online search, he had only found four of them. Two were already sold and one was in a museum. But the fourth Plymouth…
After a few dead ends, there was one more Plymouth to look into. It was part of an expired ad on Craigslist that was posted by an 81 year old man in Indiana. According the post, he was only the second owner of the car, which, at the time, had been around for 65 years. Apparently, it had just been sitting in a garage. So what kind of shape was it in?
Before Joel learned any details about the car, he had to get more info from the owner, which would prove to be another challenging task. While the man claimed over the phone that the car was in great shape, he couldn’t provide any pictures as proof, seeing as he didn’t own a computer. This was especially tough for Joel considering the man lived far away. What would his father do?
A Helpful Friend
Joel had to get creative. He trusted the old man enough to stay interested in the sale, but knew he needed some sort of confirmation before closing the deal. While he was unable to go see the car himself, he realized he knew someone who lived close enough. He asked his friend if he’d be willing to help, and they agreed to check it out for him…
Good To Go
When the friend was done looking at the car, he was excited to report his findings. Joel remembers, “He looked at the car and took a bunch of pictures of it. He had all the maintenance records, the original manual for it, all kinds of things for the car. It was pretty amazing.” With his concerns out of the way, he purchased the Plymouth.
With the car in his name, Joel then hired a transporter to ship it home. Joe had been a Chrysler Plymouth franchise owner for almost three decades, so he had a super reliable service manager who he’d worked with his whole life. Donnie Cooper was the perfect man to take the car in and help get it ready for the big reveal.
Donnie was happy to hide the vehicle and get to work. But it wasn’t easy to keep the secret from Joe, who was very well known in town. He said the hardest part was taking the vehicle to the detail shop. Donnie was sure that on the drive over someone would see them and the word would get back to Joe. Did they get caught?
Once the work was almost done, and the secret still kept, Joel had to fly in undetected. He booked a room in a random hotel where he knew his parents wouldn’t be able to find him. From there, he’d go back and forth to Donnie’s shop to finalize the work on the car. With the Plymouth finished, there was one more person Joel wanted there for the special day…
Joel flew his youngest son, Colby, to town so he could fake a fishing trip with Joe, his grandfather. But that wasn’t the only reason he was there. Colby was also going to sneak a hidden camera into his grandparents’ house to capture their first reactions to seeing the convertible drive up. They had no idea what was about to happen…
The Big Reveal
Right in the middle of talking about the fishing trip, the car appeared in the distance. Colby was able to film the footage, and watched happily as his grandparents realized this wasn’t just a random 1948 Plymouth Convertible pulling up in their driveway. As they walked outside to get a closer look, it finally hit them that it was theirs.
After so much hard work, not just on the car, but also keeping the secret, Joel was thrilled to officially announce that he’d found and resorted the Plymouth for their 60th wedding anniversary gift. Beverly was shocked and Joe was actually moved to tears. He sat down in the driver’s seat and was immediately transported back in time. Joel couldn’t have been happier with their reaction.
Mom and Dad
The gift did exactly what Joel wanted it to do. Seeing that car again reminded his parents of an almost forgotten time, from their days as high school sweethearts to getting married and how important that Plymouth was to them at such a crucial period in their family history. As Joe and Beverly processed what had just happened, Joel also became emotional with gratitude for all the help he got along the way…
A Son’s Love
Joel was grateful for so many people. It all started when an old friend came across that wedding video. Then there was the old man who sold him the car, his friend who helped check it out, and, of course, Donnie, who was instrumental in the restoration of the Plymouth. But most of all, he was grateful for his parents. Working on the car was an expression of how much he loved them and they definitely felt it.
Joe and Beverly could only sit in and look at it for so long before taking the Plymouth for a spin. That first drive was as magical as Joel hoped it would be. He just wanted to “give them back some youth.” And he certainly did. Joe said, “It’s like we are, it’s a classic.” Beverly agreed, “Yeah, we’re all classics.” And the couple couldn’t have possibly looked better behind the wheel…
All Comes Back
The 1948 Plymouth Convertible isn’t just a beautiful car, for the Smiths, it’s a time machine. Joe said, “It brings back the memories of when we were young.” This, combined with the lost wedding video, made for quite the exciting 60th anniversary for them. Since the big reveal, they’ve been driving the car around constantly, and they’re not the only ones who love it…
Center of Attention
Joe said, “Driving around in the older car is just super. You get in it and you feel proud all over again.” Beverly added, “It’s so cute going down the road.” They said that one day they took it into town and parked it with the top down. In no time everyone around wanted to get a closer look, take pictures and meet the owners. The 1948 Plymouth Convertible was a hit.
Donnie Cooper was so happy that everything happened as planned. While he admits that the car isn’t exactly his style, he knows it’s the perfect ride for Joe. His biggest concern was seeing if they’d be able to get one over on Joe. He said, when they first started working on the Plymouth, he thought keeping it a secret would be impossible. But, against all odds, they did it.
Joe especially was blown away by the Plymouth. He said, “Geez, I cannot imagine this, it’s like a gift from Heaven. It’s just a great car and we’re going to enjoy it.” Beyond the nostalgia and the excitement of driving around in a super cool car, Joe and Beverly knew the most important person to thank was their loving son Joel. It mean so much that he would do this for them.
In The Family Forever
Now that they have the car back, Joel says it will be in the family forever. No matter what happens, the 1948 Plymouth Convertible will never be sold so that the car, and all of the memories attached to it, will always be with them. The Smiths know it’s irreplaceable, especially considering everything that went into pulling this off and getting it back.