When I entered the Nantucket Daffodil Festival, I had no idea it was such a big deal.
My 1952 Army Jeep was a gift from my husband, Pete. He gave it to me instead of an engagement ring, because I didn’t care about things like that (I got the ring later, anyway).
So we brought the jeep to Nantucket for the Festival for the Antique Car Parade. It was an amphibian-style jeep, and had belonged to a police department in Western Massachusetts. So it had a siren. I loved that siren! I wore my father’s World War II uniform and hat. Pete wore his uniform from Vietnam. I had these big Canadian geese decoys. I put them in the back of the jeep because I thought it was funny. And we decorated the jeep with daffodils. I drove. I used the siren. Pete had a “machine gun” that shot bubbles.
The jeep wasn’t running that well. It kept backfiring. I had to keep my foot on the clutch, which was hard in the parade, my leg got tired, but I didn’t want to run anyone down.
We passed the reviewing stand and they came to us with the First Prize. I was so thrilled.
The Festival has another part, a Tailgate Picnic down at ‘Sconset. As I said, the jeep wasn’t running well. It stopped. Some DPW guys came to help us and put oil in the car. We were late getting to the Tailgate Picnic. I used the jeep’s siren and everyone cleared out of the way. There was trouble with the brakes. My seat was right on top of the gas tank. There were no seatbelts. Sometimes, I used a regular belt as a seatbelt.
For the picnic, I’d put together some things I thought were authentic. I had an old Army blanket. I had some Chesterfields, Hershey bars, SPAM, K-ration tins, stockings. Even the dogs sniffing around the place didn’t want to have anything to do with the SPAM.
People felt sorry for us and gave us food.
We won second prize in the Picnic Division.
The most profound part of the weekend was that people recognized us wherever we went. The jeep and the uniforms meant something to them. They came up to us and shared their personal stories. Some of them cried when they did.
We eventually sold the jeep to someone who was talented in restoration. The jeep found a good home.