My father always loved going to the Chicago Auto Show every year. He would go several times each year and he would always take my brothers, sister, and me the first time he went. He always managed to get free tickets either through work or some promotional event. Somehow, he always found free tickets and took us every year.
When I was older, he would go with just me so we could take our time and really look at all the cars. He loved looking at the cars and we loved collecting bags and bags full of automobile literature, pamphlets, key chains, and anything else they gave away there. My father was a mechanic at Curtiss Candy, so he loved to show off his knowledge of all things mechanical while we were at the auto show. So if they had a motor displaying the internal parts, my father would explain how the internal combustion engine worked. My brothers weren’t all that interested in his explanations, but I always tried to learn something new everytime we went to the auto show.
My father always fantasized about owning all the latest expensive sports cars. He would always insist that we sit inside the car, behind the wheel. Then, he would explain all the features of the car, as if he were a car salesman. My favorite part of the show was the celebrities who made appearances. They were so accessible to everyone. Usually all the Chicago sports teams such as the White Sox, the Bulls, the Bears, the Blackhawks, and the Cubs sent a few players to represent them. I don’t really remember exactly who specifically showed up, but I do remember that if you waited long enough after their presentation, you could walk right up to them, shake their hand, and talk to them. We would always wait to meet the celebrities, but I was too shy to actually talk to them. I was content with shaking their hand and standing close enough to listen to them talk to others. The only Chicago player I really remember meeting there was Walter Payton. I also remember meeting Jesse Owens who came every year. He was always so patient just standing there waiting for everyone who wanted to greet him.
And long after the auto show was over, we still had our bags of automotive literature to entertain us well into the summer.