We all dream of how we can live up to our parents’ expectations, and how we can exceed them. Most of all, we want to show them how much we love them by giving back to them. Sometimes, we have to delve far into the past to learn how to best help them — even if it means uncovering a painful truth.
That’s what Joel Smith had been wondering, until one day when he saw his parents’ wedding video. It was a thrill to see them so young and filled with hopes for the future they would build together. But then he saw something that took his breath away.
1. Teenage Dream
Joe and Beverly were high school sweethearts. In school, she was a cheerleader, and he was an athlete. Some relationships end after the framework of high school goes away, but theirs lasted. After a year going out, Joe proposed, and Beverly happily accepted.
And as an engagement present, Joe did something that would later become a defining aspect of their lives, something that would prove to be utterly unforgettable. It would only be decades later that a detail about that time in their lives would be spotted in their wedding video, leading to an astonishing occurrence.
2. Newlywed Bliss
The bond that had been forged in the innocent youth of high school could not be shaken. Joe and Beverly Smith were married in 1953, each at the tender age of 19. They were eager to build a future together in upstate New York.
The excitement of the event was all filmed by friends of the newlywed couple. They headed off from the church, giddy with excitement to see what their first happy moments together would hold in store for them. But everything was about to take a drastic turn.
3. Turmoil Abroad
As Joe and Beverly celebrated, far away on the other side of the world, events were unfolding that would forever shape their story. The US had been embroiled for three long years in the military conflict in Korea, and it was only getting worse.
Aside from what they had been reading in the news, the war had no direct impact on this newlywed couple’s lives. For now, it seemed distant enough. But that war would soon bear very real consequences for Joe and Beverly.
4. Surprise Events
All of a sudden, just as Joe and Beverly were taking their first steps together as a married couple, fate intervened. Without warning, Joe was called up for service in the US military. It came as a massive surprise to the couple.
They had only been married for an incredibly short amount of time, and now Joe’s duty to his country meant they would have to scrap everything they had planned. This new and extreme life change would require some huge sacrifices they hadn’t expected.
5. Shifting Tides
As Joe prepared for his military draft, it was clear he would be shipped out specifically for the purpose of fighting in the war in Korea. The young couple now had to task themselves with the process of getting Joe ready to leave.
There was one last tragic change that would have to take place. They would have to sell some of their most prized possessions in order to make ends meet in Joe’s absence. Little did they know then how these circumstances of the war would later resurface in their lives.
6. Love From Afar
From Korea, Joe kept in touch with his wife Beverly as best as a soldier on active duty possibly could. They communicated by way of exchanging letters and photographs. It wasn’t even close to enough, but this would have to do.
The fact that Joe had been called up to duty had completely rearranged their daily lives and routines on both sides of the ocean. With no clear end to the war in sight, Beverly constantly worried: would her man come back home safely, and how soon?
7. Finally Restarting
Thankfully for all, Joe came home to America, safe and sound. With his duty to his country fulfilled, he could close that part of the past and move forward with the life he had always wanted to build with his high school sweetheart.
He and Beverly had children. These kids grew up not only hearing stories of their father’s service in the Korean War, but another story. Both parents told them longingly of a part of their lives that they had once cherished, but had been forced to part with.
8. Celebration Day
A lifetime later, Joe and Beverly Smith’s children were grown up, with children of their own. The whole family and their close friends gathered to celebrate a fantastic milestone: Joe and Beverly had proudly reached the 60th anniversary of their wedding.
The Smith’s anniversary party was an amazingly momentous occasion filled with good food, good cheer, laughter, and endless reminiscing. But there was a terrific surprise in store for the guests of honor that nobody, not even the family themselves, expected.
9. Blast From The Past
They gathered around the screen to watch a video that a friend of theirs had brought for them. To their total surprise and delight, it was a wedding video of their big day itself! Some way, somehow, that thoughtful friend had scrounged up an old copy from his basement.
It was truly thrilling, a rare and beautiful glimpse straight into the far past. Joe and Beverly were absolutely dazzled. Their children were watching too, including their son Joel. There was one key detail featured in the film, however, that caught his eye.
10. Hot Rod
Appearing front and center in this newly uncovered wedding video was something Joel had heard of throughout the entirety of his childhood. His beaming parents, young and hopeful, were seen showing off the most beloved thing they had owned back then.
It was the car they had so loved, a beautiful, sparkling-as-new red 1948 Plymouth convertible! For Joel, it was like watching a family legend drive straight across the silver screen. It was beautiful, but why was that car so deeply special and personal?
11. Driving Vicariously
Some of Joel’s earliest memories from his childhood weren’t even his own memories, but those of his parents. They were constantly remembering aloud the car they had once owned, a physical object that symbolized the beginning of their new life together.
These memories of longing colored the backdrop of his childhood. It was as though the car had been a family member all to itself. Many years later, watching this special wedding video, he now had the opportunity to do something incredible with this knowledge.
12. A Painful Parting
Getting that dream car in the first place had not been easy. When Joe and Beverly were still but boyfriend and girlfriend in high school, he scrapped and saved toward getting that 1948 Plymouth convertible. He even had to turn to his mother for help.
Once Joe’s mother heard his idea, she was happy to join in, but on the condition that he would give her his future paychecks every week. In January 1953, they finally made the purchase. But they had no idea what would happen to their beloved hot rod.
13. A Painful Parting
Back then, having a car so bright and brassy truly made Beverly and Joe stand out. The two would drive around in it with the top down so often that they didn’t realize they were freezing! But then came that big shift to their everyday life: Joe’s draft.
They were forced to sacrifice the 1948 Plymouth convertible in order to make ends meet. As if the possibility of losing Joe in war wasn’t horrible enough, this was truly painful. It was as though they were saying goodbye to their freedom, to feeling carefree, young, and in love. But their story didn’t end there.
14. Hatching An Idea
That lovely red Plymouth convertible was featured prominently in Joe and Beverly’s wedding video. Naturally, it was the beaming couple’s proud getaway vehicle as they pulled away from the church where their ceremony had taken place, driving off into the hallowed halls of their memories.
Joel had always heard tales of this legendary vehicle, and now he truly got to see that dream car in action, and how strongly his parents reacted to watching it. It got the gears in his head turning. He had a wild, crazy idea.
15. Giving Back
Joel had always wanted to give something back to his parents, and seeing this wedding video made him certain of what it had to be. Joel decided on the ultimate way to make his parents happy. He was going to get them a red 1948 Plymouth convertible!
Joel wanted them to experience the joy that they had once felt. So many emotions of theirs were invested in that one car in their wedding video. But now the question became: where and how on Earth was he going to find one?
16. The Search Begins
The task before Joel was extremely daunting. Finding that car in his parents’ wedding video was far from obvious: it was, in fact, incredibly hard to find. For starters, serious car collectors really coveted that particular make, which made it even more rare than it already was.
To make matters worse, after weeks and weeks of scouring the Internet with his research, he only came across a scant handful of Plymouth convertibles. Unfortunately, two had already been bought, and one was in display in a museum. But then came a bombshell.
17. Needle In A Haystack
That special car in the wedding video had eluded Joel all throughout his search — until now. To his great surprise, he managed to locate one Plymouth convertible! According to the seller, it was still in excellent condition, as it had been kept unused inside a garage for decades.
According to the Craigslist ad that was posted about this Plymouth convertible, it had never been taken out in the winters, so it was in great shape, with a fairly low amount of mileage. There was one huge problem though.
18. Trust Issues
There were no pictures of the car on the Craigslist ad, just a description. As it turned out, the seller was an 81-year-old man living in Indiana. He didn’t really understand technology, and so he didn’t know how to send pictures.
Joel felt there was no other option other than to test it out. He sent a friend of his to Indiana to investigate his claim. It had to be just like the car in his parents’ wedding video. He didn’t know it then, but Joel would be totally blown away by what his friend would find.
19. A Winning Find
Upon arriving in Indiana, Joel’s friend reported there was nothing to fear. He sent back plenty of snapshots and proved that the Plymouth convertible was worth his investment. The seller even had all the maintenance records and the original manual.
Immediately, Joel made the purchase. That very same model of 1948 Plymouth convertible that represented his parents’ courtship and wedding video was now on its way from Indiana to where they lived in New York. He couldn’t wait. The excitement was electrifying. But nothing could have prepared him for how his parents would react.
20. Hiding The Prize
The eagle had landed in New York. But now there was another problem. There was nowhere on his own property that Joel could properly hide the vehicle from his father. Luckily, a friend, Donnie, from the local car dealership, knew a place he could conceal it.
But even if that magic car from the wedding video was relatively out of sight, there was still a risk: Joel’s dad knew everyone around town, including Donnie, and was constantly dropping by. What Donnie would do in the meantime, though, was truly unbelievable.
21. Another Trick
As Donnie watched over the vehicle, he gave it a few touch-ups just to make sure it was in tip-top shape. This gave Joel some more time to set up the perfect reveal. Joel had to think of a ruse that would throw his parents off.
It was absolutely essential that Joe and Beverly could never know the Plymouth convertible from their wedding video was soon within reach. Joel needed someone to help him, on the inside. Who could he find that would be able to infiltrate his parents’ home?
22. Fishing Trip
Joel decided he had to send in the heavy reinforcements. He tapped his eldest son Colby to help out with setting the scene for the fantastic surprise. After all, what grandparents could resist having their grandchild come in for a loving visit?
The set-up was that Colby was supposed to go on a fishing trip with Grandpa Joe. It was irresistible, and foolproof. They would never suspect what was actually about to happen. And when Colby showed up at their home, Joe and Beverly didn’t know he was armed.
23. The Stage Is Set
Joel now had an inside man on the job: his son Colby had a hidden camera with him. As Colby sat reminiscing with his grandparents, preparing to go out for that supposed fishing trip, Joel prepared his own part of the surprise.
Joel took the Plymouth convertible out of Donnie’s garage and drove it on up to his parents’ house. The car that had driven away in their wedding video was now inching closer to their grasp. He pulled up in their driveway, but nothing could have totally prepared him for how he’d soon feel.
24. Look Outside
All the while that he chatted with his grandparents, Colby knew to keep focused, keeping one eye on them and one on the window. As soon as he spied a glimpse of it, just out of the corner of his eye, he switched on the camera in his hand.
His grandparents had no idea it was even a camera to begin with, let alone that it worked and was filming them for what was sure to be an unbelievable reveal. He casually told his grandparents that they should take a glance outside. What happened next would forever be ingrained in the family’s collective memory.
25. It’s Back
Joe and Beverly got up from their chairs and looked out the window as their grandson Colby had directed them. They were instantly delighted to see the car of their memories pulling up to the front of the house. Colby followed them outside as they went to inspect.
Like stepping straight into a dream, or back into the very same frames of their wedding video, they came out the front door in total disbelief to behold this wonder. All the while, Joel waited in the front seat. But what happened next left everyone dizzy with emotion.
26. In Disbelief
At first, Joe and Beverly didn’t understand what this lovely car was doing in their driveway. But just the sight of this incredible relic, long lost from their past, was plenty enough to make the memories come roaring back in a flood.
Joel got out of the sparkling red 1948 Plymouth convertible and stood by the side. He was burning with excitement. This was the precise moment he had been longing for. Then he told his parents the words they never dreamed they’d hear.
27. The Handover
Joe and Beverly were in shock at seeing the car of their past, but they didn’t understand just why it was there in the first place. They hadn’t seen a car of this model for longer than they could even remember. It didn’t make sense to see it now.
Then came the sweetest piece of the surprise yet. Joel handed Joe and Beverly the keys to the 1948 Plymouth convertible, and explained to them calmly that this beautiful car was all theirs. He watched his parents’ faces, but soon Joe would do something no one expected.
28. Pure Joy
Grandma Beverly was giddy with excitement, looking the car over from every angle, marveling over it, inspecting this tangible dream. In her elation, she didn’t realize at first that her husband Joe had broken down and was sobbing beside the driver’s seat.
The heartbreak of being sent to Korea, the dream that they had been forced to give up so long ago, everything vanished. The circle had finally been closed, and that piece of the puzzle of their lives had been replaced. And there was only one thing left to do.
29. Go For The Horizon
As they embraced and wiped away the tears of the purest joy, Joel didn’t need to tell his parents twice what to do. The keys were in their hands, and the adventure was only about to begin. All they had to do was put them in ignition.
Giddy like the teenage newlyweds they had once been, Joe and Beverly hopped eagerly into that 1948 Plymouth convertible. With their son and grandson proudly watching, they sped off for a joyride in the countryside, happy as can be. But the best part was yet to come.
30. Family Heirloom
Thanks to the beautiful gift that their son Joel bestowed on them, the 1948 Plymouth convertible now belongs to Joe and Beverly for good. No matter what happens, this car will stay in the family, and will be passed on from generation to generation and treasured.
Nothing can make them give up this prized dream car. Joe and Beverly will never have to part with their beloved toy again — and it’s all thanks to the imagination and determination of their loving son. And it all started from a clue in their wedding video.
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