Some of the happiest hours of my life were spent “rambling” on public footpaths in England, or driving cross country, like these two women. We didn’t dress in riding breeches, of course — our clothes were more comfortable. But there is something to be said for the text of this 1924 advertisement. I’m certainly thankful for the freedom to go where I like, dressed as I like, alone if I like.
“To own a Ford car is to be free to venture into new and untried places. It is to answer every challenge of Nature’s charms, safely, surely, and without fatigue. Where a narrow lane invites or a steep hill promises a surprise beyond, a Ford will take you there and back, in comfort, trouble-free. Off and away in this obedient, ever-ready car, women may “recharge the batteries” of tired bodies, newly inspired for the day’s work.” — Ford Closed Cars advertisement, Ford Motor Company, Detroit, Michigan. 1924.
Women who live in the United States take our freedom for granted — to drive, to work, to dress comfortably, to vote, to own property, to attend school, to travel unaccompanied, to enjoy solitude — but not every woman has it, even in the 21st century. For those of us who do, personal freedom (and men of integrity, like this father) are blessings to consider on Thanksgiving. I’ll be remembering all the good people, men and women, who have made my life of physical and intellectual freedom possible.