As many of you recall, Perry Como was a star in the ’40s and ’50s. He is among the many recording artists who captured my heart with a particular song.
I’m actually pretty eclectic in my love of music. I tend to enjoy specific songs, but rarely do I love every tune from a specific singer or group. I loved The Beatles’ early work, for example, but don’t care for anything they did after their second album. I always get excited to hear “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller, but some of his tunes do nothing to make my foot tap. I consistently crank the radio volume high to sing along with Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” but I don’t like any other song he’s ever recorded.
So Perry, who was one of my mom’s favorites, just captivated me with a song entitled “Round and Round.” I first heard it as a child. As a teenager, I bought the record and wore out the 45 on my little player. As a middle-ager, I had it uploaded to my iPod. And now, well now, I can listen to it any time I want on my phone. It just makes me happy, and for that, I thank Mr. Como!
Having said all this, you can imagine my delight when I took a tour America’s Packard Museum in Dayton. Let me digress just a moment to say that if you haven’t gone to this place, which is located right downtown on Ludlow Street, then you must go!
The company began by two brothers as the Ohio Automobile Company in 1899 in Warren, Ohio. They manufactured a horseless carriage that so impressed a Detroit businessman that he bought into their company. Within a few years, it was renamed the Packard Motor Company and moved to Detroit, Michigan.
The Packard Company produced incredible machines. Some were used for racing, and some for war efforts, ambulances, taxis, and police cars. But the greatest number were simply luxury cars – cars that could be created to order in terms of accessories, color, and engines. Notables such as Mrs. Gamble (yes, of Proctor and Gamble), and Mr. Proctor (of the same company) purchased specially-ordered Packards. These are on display at the museum.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Packard. This, too, can be seen there. It was quite prestigious to own a Packard throughout the life of the company. The last Packard automobile was produced in 1958 — the end of an era in many ways.
Jackie, the museum docent, patiently answered my many questions as I gazed at the dozens of automobiles and learned their history and ownership. My mouth fell open, though, at the red Packard Caribbean convertible that had been owned by Mr. Perry Como! Complete with one of his albums in the back seat, this is a dream car.
“Find a wheel, and it goes round, round, round, as it spins along with a happy sound…” I found some wheels at the Packard Museum. You should, too!
Email me at email@example.com.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.