Wednesday, June 22, 2011

San Tong's Ford Roadster

Ford Model T Roadster, 1926
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Jeff Tinsley, Negative #: 2003-32651

"When San Tong became a young man in the 1920s, and before he married Rose, he wanted what all young American men dreamed of having. A sportscar! He saved every penny and bought himself a Ford Roadster. He was so proud of it. (I remember seeing a photo of him waving his hand from out the car's window.) But later he couldn't make a monthly payment of $50. So he asked his father Jue Joe for the $50. "My father wanted to teach me a lesson," recalled San Tong to me with a smile, "he wanted me to learn to live within my means, so Pa said to me, 'NO!" Just like that. What could I do? I hid the car every night on different streets so it wouldn't get repossessed. Finally, I got so tired of doing this that I just left my car where it was and let it be repossessed." Jue Joe had many lessons to teach San Tong. After San You died, Jue Joe began training San Tong to be a marketman. "I was scared," recalls San Tong to me, "I didn't know how to negotiate and buy additional produce to add to ours at the Produce Exchange on San Pedro Street. So I would buy, for example, carrots and pay too high a price for them and then my father would chew me out. That was his way of teaching me. Throw me into a pool and let me sink or swim. He was a cranky guy. When I learned to do well he never said so. When I made a mistake, wow, he let me have it." Auntie Soo-Yin.

Here is nice video history of Henry Ford's Model T.

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