Hatcher writes op-ed
piece for Herald-Sun


School of Communications faculty member Anthony Hatcher wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the May 7 edition of the Durham Herald-Sun.

Titled "What will Mom do without an Oldsmobile?" the column recalled the various Oldsmobile vehicles his family owned throughout his childhood. It was inspired by GM's recent announcement that it will discontinue the Oldsmobile line.

Here's a sampling of the column:

My mother requested only one option when she ordered her new 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale: it had to be red. And red it was, from stem to stern, including the bumpers and the grill.

The ship metaphor is appropriate, for even by today's SUV standards, this was a huge vessel. Six adults could ride in comfort in her cloth bench seats, shoulders barely touching. Children could lie down in the back with pillow and comforter with room to spare.

I rode with Mom in her white 1966 Delta 88 to pick up the new Olds. I was 15, and reluctant to give up the old one, hoping I would get it. The 1966 Olds had a 455-cubic-inch V-8 engine that would snap one's neck back when the accelerator was depressed quickly. I loved it ...

I recall taking the eight-mile journey with Mom from Kenansville to Warsaw in eastern North Carolina to pick up the new red beast. We crossed the railroad tracks beside Warsaw Motor Company and saw several cars parked in a dirt lot. Only one was fire engine red ...

A smaller V-8 was beneath that red hood, but she was still potent enough to propel us down the road at dangerous speeds. Mom was and is a sensible driver, though, and the new car not so much rolled as floated along the highway.

These things weren't called freeway cruisers for nothing. Mom held on to that car for 13 years until she bought another white Delta 88 in 1985. This one also gleamed, not only from the paint, but also from the miles of chrome on the front, back, sides and even the hood ornament. She traded that one in 1996 for an Olds Cutlass Supreme.

Now that the Oldsmobile nameplate is retired, I don't know what her next car will be. Perhaps one of those 2004 Aleros that finished up the 103-year-old Olds legacy last week.

As for me, I drove my little Dodge to high school and then to college, relinquishing it after my freshman year ended in 1976. I had put roughly 120,000 miles on it in three years, and it couldn't take much more. My uncle the car wheeler-dealer then found me my dream car - a four-year-old 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88.

The Olds was dark gray with a black vinyl roof, black vinyl seats, and a black interior, including the dashboard. It looked like the family car that follows the hearse to the graveyard. I thought it was beautiful ...

I have owned about a dozen cars over the years, and I still miss the ride and room of a large Oldsmobile. My Olds was lower to the ground than those giant SUVs, and it got better gas mileage. In an era when every make and model of car is designed in a wind tunnel and shaped like an egg,

I will miss the distinctive styling of a square, boxy Oldsmobile. No teenager should be allowed to grow up without owning at least one.



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