––––– Illusion of Darkness –––––
In 1950 I was a college student as well as a "weekend warrior" with
the California Air National Guard. With the Korean conflict in full
swing my CANG squadron was activated to duty with orders to report at
an Air Base in South Carolina USA.
With this change in routine and plans to drive back to the SC Air Base
it became apparent my old '37 Chev "stove bolt" was in no shape to make
the trip so I shopped for a more reliable vehicle. I bought a '42
Hudson Commodore coupe. This was a big straight eighty beauty. The
hood (bonnet) was a hugh one piece monster hinged forward of the
radiator with a locking lever under the dash-board. It did prove to be
a comfortable road car and the 8 mpg didn't bother you too much when
gas was only about 25 cents a gallon.
A couple of my ANG buddies and I packed up and set out across country
to the Atlantic with a detour along the way to see New Orleans. The
South, which I had never seen, was beautiful in the Spring and we
settled in for South Carolina duty at Donaldson AFB.
A couple of friends from the base one weekend decided to go to a
carnival in an adjacent county out in the country side. We closed the
carnival down at midnight and started back to the base. There were no
city lights, that night, or moon and way out there the only glow were
Heading down a narrow country road all was fine when suddenly my head
lights went out. I slowed down to a crawl immediately and to my
surprise the head lights returned. Troubles appeared to be over so I
resumed my speed to probably 40 mpg when we were in the dark again.
This on again off again routine happened a couple of more times before
I began to realize it wasn't the head lights that was the problem but
the front hinged huge hood was floating up in front of me with the
increased air pressure under it. As we slowed down the hood would
reseat itself but not secure itself as I had neglected to set the under
dash latch device.
Another adventure with the Hudson that never made it back to
California again, but that's another story. h o w a r d