This ’46 Chevy was loved by his grandpa, and years later Robbie would begin restoration on it himself.
Story by Robbie Bray
Dobbs Ferry, New York
My grandpa called me Duck. He said I had big ears and big feet and probably wouldn’t become famous.
Grandpa was a roofer and a coppersmith. He and Grandma raised a family in a small house in a town called Dobbs Ferry on the banks of the Hudson River in New York. The local people said Grandpa was known as the best roofer for miles around.
I know Grandpa loved me a lot, but I always wondered if the thing he loved most in the world was his little red truck. He paid $450 for his truck, a ’46 Chevy. I was about 5 years old when I took my first ride in it, and every Friday he took me along to the bank.
I, too, grew up in Dobbs Ferry. I studied to be a teacher, working with wood—a craftsman, like my grandpa. But a war was going on when I graduated from college, so I joined the Navy and shipped out to a foreign land called Vietnam.
After the war, I returned to teach high school in a village near Dobbs Ferry. I also became a firefighter and traveled the same streets that Grandpa and I had covered years before.
Grandpa’s business closed in the late 1960s, and he passed away in 1974. My dad sold off all of the equipment, including the truck, a few years later. As time went by, I often thought of Grandpa’s little red truck and wondered whatever happened to it.
One day in 2006, when I was at the dentist’s office, Sandy, the receptionist, and I were talking about trucks. She told me that in her garage in Yonkers she had seen a little red truck with some writing painted on its side doors. I told her my grandpa used to own a similar truck, so she invited me to come and see it.
The first chance I had, I drove to her garage. Slowly I opened the large door and in front of me was a very special memory come to life. It was Grandpa’s little red truck.
My eyes widened and a tear ran down my cheek. After so many years, the truck had two flat tires and was covered in dust. But it really was the one.
I walked over and opened the passenger door. I had ridden on that side so many years before.
Although I’m a grown man now, for a split second I felt like little Duck all over again.
For the first time in my life, I slid across and sat in the driver’s seat. I imagined I was driving down the streets of Dobbs Ferry.
My dream had come true. Before I left that day, I said softly, “Grandpa, I found your truck.”
I bought the truck and moved it to the very first garage Grandpa put it in when he brought it home. I am hoping that with lots of elbow grease, as Grandpa would say, the little red truck will soon journey down the familiar streets of my childhood once again.