Tuesday, April 01, 2008

1967 Model No. 1

Source: Robbins, Miriam Joy. Birth Announcement. Created March 1967 by Faith Valk Robbins. Original pasted in baby book of Miriam Joy Robbins in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

It's no surprise that my parents came up with this clever birth announcement for their first model of little Robbinses. You have to understand that Robbinses have been working on cars probably as long as they've been invented. My great-grandfather was a chauffeur before he joined the Army in WWI. In fact, that's how he met my great-grandmother...he was driving the hearse for her grandfather's funeral. My grandfather was working in the automotive repair business when he enlisted in WW2, and after he was discharged from the Army Air Corps, he started Robbins Body Shop in Coopersville, Ottawa Co., Michigan. His father and brothers helped out, and his sons--my dad and uncle--grew up learning how to repair cars; not just body work, but engine work as well. In 1967, when my parents were living in Kodiak, Alaska and assisting in missions work there, both of them worked for a tire shop to bring in much-needed income; dad worked in the shop and mom did the bookkeeping.


While they were expecting me, my parents took a ride one evening on the mountain road to the ski resort. Mom was getting rather large with me and decided to wear her seat belt, just to see if it would still fit (these were the days before retractable seat belts; remember them?). They hit some ice on the road and ended up rolling their 1958 Lincoln Continental down the side of the mountain. Fortunately, the only injury sustained was a cut on Mom's knee from some glass as she exited the vehicle when it was all over. I guess I didn't like that bumpy ride, because Mom said I kicked all night long, so she knew I was okay (and probably protesting!). They made their way walking to the ski lodge and spent the night. The phone at the lodge only worked sporadically, and no one knew where my parents were, so some excitement was stirred up among their friends until they were found!


You can see they were in need of a new vehicle. They researched what they wanted and ended up with a pile of car folders and advertisements. One of them got the idea that these would make great birth announcements, so back to the dealer they went to get more brochures!

They eventually purchased a 1967 Chevy full-sized sedan. They had it all: a new baby, a new car--and shortly after--a new residence and jobs, when they transferred to Fairbanks from Kodiak to begin work with The Salvation Army.

Source: 1958 Lincoln Continental and 1967 Chevrolet sedan. Photographs. Originals affixed in "Our Memories" Scrapbook (1965 - 1970) in the possession of Bryan and Faith (Valk) Robbins, Colville, Washington. 2008.


Chery said...


Gee! I didn't get a birth announcement like THAT! How clever! Your parents must have felt you were a good luck charm baby, indeed, after surviving that accident with nary a scratch. Wow.

Thomas MacEntee said...

I love the birth announcement!

Apple said...

A very creative birth announcement! You were lucky your mother chose to wear her seat belt and luckier that she had the option. When I was talking with my mother about old family cars we couldn't remember which was the first car we had with belts. Front seat belts weren't standard until 1964. Rear belts wouldn't be standard until 1968. Ford was first to make them standard in 1956.