SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — To the cheers of her family and the ka-thunk of her 77-year-old car, a 91-year-old Northern California woman recently made good on a bucket-list wish to once again steer the 1937 Ford coupe she learned to drive in.
Clara Mae Blasingame, a long-retired schoolteacher, had repeatedly expressed nostalgia for the black Ford she had inherited from her father, Blasingame's two sons, Ron and Ken Blasingame, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (http://bit.ly/15SUWEW ).
"She wanted to drive it once again before she went home," meaning before she died, Ken Blasingame told the newspaper.
Clara Mae Blasingame had learned to drive in the car in Knoxville, Tennessee, when it was brand new and she was 13. She drove it much of her life before the engine gave out around 25 years ago. Earlier this year, her sons took the old car out of storage and fixed it up for one last ride.
Blasingame's sons tweaked the engine — a replacement transplanted decades ago from a Ford Mustang — enough to get the car running again, barely.
Late last month, Blasingame's family told her they were taking her out for a family trip, and instead pulled into a large public parking lot in Santa Rosa.
The '37 coupe was waiting there.
"Oh, that's the Ford! That's the Ford!" she cried out.
Her grandson, Malik Blasingame, 15, got in the front passenger seat, riding shotgun as his grandmother took the steering wheel.
"I don't know if I can drive or not," she said. After a couple of tries at the ignition, the engine started. The 91-year-old drove it for two loops in the parking lot, then stepped out of the car to the shouts of her family.
Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com