This weathervane got me thinking.
I wondered if this weathervane was a depiction of Nellybelle, the 1946 Willys CJ-2A Jeep on the Roy Rogers show. I actually think it is not, and maybe not even a jeep, but it matters not what someone is born, right?
Roy Robers owned Nellybelle, but was it driven in the show by his comic sidekick, Pat Brady.
The real Nellybelle was displayed for many years at the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, California.
Christie’s sold the Jeep at auction in New York in 2010 for $116,500.Nellybelle’s new owner Pam Weidel has treated her well, and made her accessible to the public. This is a fantastic website about Nellybelle.
The original acrylic painting ‘Roy and His Pals’ by Sean Sullivan was also sold in the 2010 Christies auction, for $10,625.
For the record, I am not talking about the Jeep character in the Popeye comic strip, a mysterious animal with magical or supernatural abilities
Back to the business at hand: I started a mental scan of my photographic database for other Jeeps in Berkeley.
This Berkeley Jeep was part of an oral history project focused on those with home front experiences during World War II has put out a call for Bay Area residents with stories to share.
Continuing with the data base search, the first major hit was People’s Park, 1969. When the National Guard arrived in Berkeley on May 16th, they came with Jeeps. Lots of Jeeps.
This is a poster, for sale here. More photos from 1969:
This jeep was a pepper-fogger, dispersing a chemical compound that irritates the eyes to cause tears, pain, and temporary blindness. The use of tear gas in war is prohibited by various international treaties but the United States does not preclude domestic use for crowd control.
I have fond memories of Palmer’s, of going there with Julia when she was young and taking Amaya and Elizabeth from the block. They were fond of the ice cream.
This photo is from Daniella Thomson’s excellent 2006 article on 2747 San Pablo Avenue.
To the present, shall we?
This beauty was for years parked at 7 Virginia Gardens, a house that has recently been reclaimed for a life as a quirky riddle wrapped in a quirky mystery inside a quirky enigma.
This is a no-nonsense, no-joking former Marine Corps truck that I found parked on Cragmont a few blocks north of Marin in 2019 – not exactly Jeep territory and certainly not this heavy-duty style.
Just inside the gate at Ohmega Salvage – a Willy’s as art.
If you are accessorizing your jeep, here’s the perfect trailer.
And then, well, and then – that’s what I have so far.
You might be saying – “Tom, why this interest in Willy’s? Surely it is not the “like a Willy’s in four-wheel drive” line in the Grateful Dead’s Sugar Magnolia, as brilliant a rock song as that might be and as lyric-obsessed as you might be?”
Yes, I know, this is pretty thin. Yes, I know, there is a troubling amount of filler in here (and there’s more below!) But there is a special place in my heart for the Willys and it has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead and Bob Weir singing about a Willys in four-wheel drive.
Think this: “The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea.”
Or think this: “Actually, as it turns out, ‘Rosebud’ is the trade name of a cheap little sled on which Kane was playing on the day he was taken away from his home and his mother. In his subconscious it represented the simplicity, the comfort, above all the lack of responsibility in his home, and also it stood for his mother’s love which Kane never lost.”
Arrows – THUNK – hit bullseye. THUNK. Because:
A late 1940s Willys wagon was the first of my family’s cars that I remember. It was gray. My father drove it from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts when we moved in1954. He took his orchids and our cats TQ (Tertius Quid) and Tinpurr and our white Boxer Teenie with him.
My sister Jeanne is standing in front of the Jeep at our house on Winter Street in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The Hubbards’ house is across the street. There were four brothers. I played with three of them. This photograph was taken between 1956 and 1959. Looking at that little girl with her chump plaid pants you wouldn’t guess how tough and stand-up a woman she’d end up being. Well, she did.
Same driveway, different car, different season. I am standing next to my father, my sister is in the car. The Car Identification Department informs me that it was a four-door 1951 Ford Deluxe Tudor Sedan.
I don’t remember that car very well. In the photo, my father was dressed for work at Arthur D. Little in Cambridge.
Same driveway, same season, different car. This was a 1957 Ford Country Sedan.
It lasted until 1967 when it rusted out and the undercarriage collapsed. Unfortunately I was driving it when the collapse happened. Fortunately it was in our driveway.
But back to Jeeps – I clearly don’t have enough here for a complete post.
Can you help? Can you think of any other Jeeps or Jeep images or Jeep stories in Berkeley? For this post can we temporarily suspend our creed of never needing anyone’s help in any way? Wanting a better Jeep post, I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the door for help in building this post.
Can we maybe crowd-source this one?
This post is of limited interest UNLESS YOU HELP. There are only so many people who want to see photos of the cars of my childhood – I know that. If you, my friends and associates, cannot help build this post, it will die. Just like that. It will die, which is why I’m not ashamed to call and plead to you – ain’t too proud to beg.
Can you please help??????
I showed the post to my friend. He asked if he could suggest a change. Of course, why not? He sat at my computer, tapped up something,and in a minute had inserted this:
Good add my friend! Nice job.
I prefaced my weekly question to him with a acknowledgement that I wished I had found more material for the post. “I know that this post lacks somewhat in the content department. It is a brilliant idea, I concede, but I wish that there were more there there.”
He suggested that I add these three photos:
I wasn’t sure – “Land Rovers? Can we really do this?” He was emphatic, and so here they are, Land Rovers along with Jeeps. We will just have to see how the great reading public reacts to inclusion of the Land Rovers to placate My Friend.
He then handed me an image.
I got it.
“You’re saying I am Tom Sawyer trying to hoodwink readers into panting the fence – building the post for me.”
He gave me a thumbs up. Great. What does he think about the post?