This new blog post by Bill Icely about Classic Cars, Identity and Aging ties in with important issues as we get older, particularly for men who often identify so much with their role in the working world. Figuring out who they are in retirement can be a challenge.
Bill shares his own experience and an important life lesson as we age. The photo is his entry at last year’s car show on the Venice Friendship Center's campus. Bill’s wife, Jane is our Planned Giving Officer, and both Bill and Jane have been part of “People Helping People at the Friendship Centers for 28 years.
IDENTITY – that was what a car meant when I turned 16. In l965 jobs were prevalent where I lived, so I worked after school and on Saturdays. I bought a new 1965 Chevy II. Now, I had MY identify.
From that day to the present I have owned over 100 “classic cars”. When Jane and I were married in 1966, a large garage was added to our property and it became the “hangout” for all my car guys’ friends.
We either worked on each other’s cars, or I had my own project in process…as that was my hobby.
Saturday mornings my wife always had the coffee on and sweet rolls, as she knew there would be at least 5 guys hanging out in the garage most of the day.
We moved to Florida in 1979 and I started a restoration business dealing mostly with corvettes and corsairs. Then I went into electrical contracting and teaching. My wife knew what I wanted more than anything…a 34 Ford Coupe. She decided to save my paychecks for a few months until she had enough money to purchase a “kit” to start building my 34. What a surprise that was when she handed me the check to make the purchase. It took me 5 years to complete that project and get the car on the road.
Our home now sits on over an acre. I built a HOT ROD garage…. (MAN CAVE) and started my own car club that meets once a month in the garage. Ages of members range from 35 – 78. The “No Name” car club has given these car guys new friends, camaraderie, and community engagement. We attend fundraisers and support different non-profits – from the Komen Foundation, to the Friendship Centers.
In summary, YOUR IDENTITY as you grow older is as important as it was when you were young. Make sure you have a hobby, and a circle or a few circles of friends. Every guy in my club has told me how great it is to get together….talk cars….have something to eat….and just have a good time! (Did I tell you no women are allowed in the garage?) I recently purchased another classic…a 1957 red Chevy truck. Come to the car show at the Friendship Center in Venice on Saturday, March 29th….you can see it and many many more beautiful classics. It is a perfect setting on the intercoastal waterway…under beautiful oak trees with prizes, trophies, food and a band. Don’t miss it!