Hotrods & Cool Summer Nights
Summer Nights filled with a cool breeze from Conneaut lake, those unforgettable songs from my youth and, a shiny, sleek classic Hotrod. These are the memories that made up my teenage years. I remember when you could still cruise your classic car through Conneaut Lake Park on a hot summer day and then head for Diamond Park in nearby Meadville, Pennsylvania, for a night of cruising. I have always had a passion for classic cars and trucks as well as custom bikes. I remember buying all the hotrod magazines and motorcycle rags like Easy Rider and hotrod magazine. However, my life as a hotrod enthusiast began on my 16th birthday. I had been camping all weekend with friends, and I knew my Dad had an appointment to look at my dream car over the weekend. When I got home, I could not wait to see what he thought of the car. He was busy with clients and asked me to go out to the garage to get him a screwdriver.
When I open the door to the garage, there it sat, my dream car. A beautiful mint condition aqua blue 1966 Mustang Coupe was just sitting there in the dusty old garage. It was love at first sight. That car was the most beautiful piece of chrome, rubber, and steel that I had ever set eyes on, and it was all mine. I remember working all summer long for my father’s construction company and every cent I made went into fixing up that beautiful piece of American ingenuity. I had every bit of chrome on that car polished and re-chromed. I had her painted her original colors, new tires, and rims, followed by Hijacker Air Shocks. I was so proud of my little Ford coupe. Every Friday and Saturday night, weather permitting, my buddies and I would be out cruising all night, hoping to meet some girls and show off how cool we “thought” we were. Those are some of the best memories of my young life.
Most of the time, we would start our day cruising the drag at Conneaut Lake Park, then it was off to Hank’s for some of their world-famous custard. Next, stop Meadville for a night of cruising in Diamond Park. I will never forget the night that the Hotrod club of Meadville and Saegertown asked my friends and me to cruise with them. I am not sure if I had ever been prouder in my young life. That is what it was like for me growing up in Conneaut Lake. Just a young man and his Mustang filled with hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow. At that moment, in that place, anything seemed possible.
The years have gone by, and much of Conneaut and Meadville have changed. It has been a long time since you could cruise your hotrod through Conneaut Lake Park. The park itself was recently purchased by an investor who hopes to breathe new life into that old park. Conneaut Lake Park has provided us all with memories since 1938. Meadville has grown, and not as many people cruise diamond park as they did in the day. Sometimes I grow sad when I remember how simple things seemed back then. Then I see a beautiful classic Hotrod from back then, and an old song comes on the radio, and I smile and remember how good things used to be, and I feel hope for the future. I hope my sharing this memory with you has sparked a memory of your youth in Conneaut Lake and that car that captured your imagination all those years ago, on a hot summer night beneath the stars.