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Journeys--Short Stories Of Good Things Remembered
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  • Letter From the Owner

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    QUESTIONS? Call Hal (the owner) at
    (518) 374-5078

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    Owner's Letter

    A warm welcome to you. Thanks very much for stopping by.

    Have you ever wondered how the years go so very quickly? When I was a kid, I used to hear my parents say how the older they got, the faster the years went by. I had a problem then understanding how that could be. I have no problem understanding it now. And I'm growing in the understanding of how important it is to enjoy to the fullest what is real and meaningful in each moment--moment by moment by moment.

    For over 54 years, I have been involved with and admired classics of all kinds. While in high school, I spent many years working in true service stations, where we labored in love over the classic cars of today that were daily drivers then. I also remember the hot, humid summer night drives to see the old covered bridge that lay quietly secluded in the heavy pine thicket. The sound of the AM dash radio with those beautiful now-oldies. I remember. The quality of these experiences was real. They all combined to equal a classic reality. These, I have discovered, are realities that became for me such nice, warm anchors in my life as time went by.

    As the years passed, I began to realize that I enjoyed the classics so much because they were representative of times gone by--yes--but also because they were representative of excellence in a world where excellence was getting harder to find. They were part of a special category of things and abilities that grew more rare as every moment passed. There are many classics--of course, and in doing my small part to restore them, I am also helping to preserve a piece of history, as are my customers.

    Through the years, I have tried to carefully guide The Classic Preservation Coalition with the same basic principles we followed in the old service station days: honesty, hard work, and caring. Some would say, perhaps, that these things are meaningless and silly now, but of course they aren't. They were meaningful and they worked then, and they are meaningful and they work now. Some things, after all is said and done, just do not change.

    The newest part of this site is Hal's Blog, in which I try to share the past in a way that I hope makes you not only understand it, but feel it as well. Also an important part of the site is an area which contains a section where you can learn about my book "Journeys"--a collection of short stories, poems, and prose I have written through the years. I write these stories, because I very much enjoy writing. I also write them as a way to remember, and they have been posted on a Geocities website entitled "Journeys," which was created for me many years ago by my daughter. The site was given the Spotlight Award by the Athens Academy, a writing academy which also resided on Geocities. In January of 2000, the site was spotlighted again by The Geocities World Report, an electronic report sent worldwide on a regular basis to all Geocities account holders. This public exposure generated over 5,000 visits to my site in three weeks, and I have received e-mails regarding the stories from readers all over the globe. As I mentioned earlier, writing these stories is a way for me to remember everyday things that I have experienced in my life--not monumental things, but everyday events. So, they're written down now, and that means they will outlive me and be there for my children and their children, and so on. Perhaps as they grow older, these children will come to realize, as I have, that those everyday experiences get more important and meaningful as time passes--that the raging glitz of life consumes itself very quickly, indeed, while the long, slow, dedicated burn goes on and on and on. The writings in "Journeys" include reminiscings about old cars, old friends, other classics, and many other things in life and times gone by that somehow take on a higher importance as time passes. So, please visit the "Journeys" section of my site, and I'd appreciate it if you would order a copy of the book.

    By all means, don't miss an important service I offer: mechanical/restoration consulting to individual classic vehicle owners all the way up to classic vehicle fleet owners. It's a great way to have your vehicle/fleet restoration/maintenance come out the way you need it to. You can find out more about that here.

    I thank you very much for visiting. Please bookmark this site and come back often to check for new arrivals and to slow down and enjoy. Additionally, please feel free to send me an e-mail with your comments about the site. I also want you to know that you may call me on my private line at (518) 374-5078. You may get an answering machine if I'm making noise in the shop, or if I'm on another phone line, but I guarantee that you will also get an unusual experience--someone who will return your call. The internet is a powerful tool--there's no doubt about that--but talking with people will always be more powerful.

    To the following, I owe a "thank you":

    To my son, who labored long, hard hours to convert my ideas into that amazing tool called "computer language" in such a way that my website initially evolved into what I wished it to be. He did all this while working a full-time job, attending college full-time, and being involved in all the other things that a young man of his age is. It was no small feat, and I appreciate and admire his professional efforts and dedication.

    To my daughter, who created the Classic Preservation Coalition logo that you see on this site. I should tell you that the logo was the result of her creating many, many "possibles" for me to review--most of which I rejected--the final one being the one you see. As my son moves on to other areas of his life, my daughter has become the webmaster for this site. Her creativity shows throughout the site, and I am honored to have her working with me.

    To the many, many vendors, rebuilders, and classic artists who have worked together with me on the arduous tasks of creating many of the rebuilding kits, as well as the myriad of other items you see offered on this site. This has often been a grueling process, and their dedication has made it possible for us to collectively save a small bit of the past--the beautiful, unique classics--and offer them up to you here.

    To my wife, who has put up with me for over 42 years, and for the past 26 years has had to accept me as her somewhat "absent" husband (as I labored long hours doing all the tasks which have been required to bring the business to this point). Without her support, this site could not exist. I love her more today than I ever have, and her support is very much appreciated and acknowledged.

    To Kay, my Mother-In-Law. In 2009, I moved my shop to her property so I could take care of her. She was 91 years old, had multiple health problems, and, more often than not, was in pain. She and I formed a very special bond in the 2 years we spent together. I learned about her life as a child on the farm, about the depth of her love for her family, and about her very special love for her husband, Ralph, who had passed 10 years earlier. Occasionally, when I had to go out to the shop or take care of some other work, I would always tell her exactly where I was going to be, what I was going to be doing, and how often I would be in to check on her. Her favorite answer was: "you have to do what you have to do, Hal." She knew that, and she lived it. Kay passed away in June of 2011. I miss her very much, and I will never forget her and her common-sense approach to life.

    To God, who has always been there for me, giving me the strength and encouragement I have needed to live life daily, and who has gotten me through many a difficult time when I thought there just might not be any way to get through.

    To all these people, and more, I say, "thank you."

    This site is for you. Please enjoy it, and please remember to take the time in your lives to enjoy all the wonderful things that are a day-to-day part of them. The years do go so very quickly.

    Best wishes.

    Hal Houghton
    The Classic Preservation Coalition

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