Young Love and Austin America

I am still unpacking, months on from our move and have started on my past. All those years ago, in my mid-teens I used to write and collect poetry and verse. This one goes all the way back to the early 70's.  I could never bare to part with it and would like to share it with you. I do not know where it came from, I credited the author and all I know is that her name was Jean and she lived in New York.  Most likely it was from a magazine because it was the 70's and we only had limited options back then. My how the world has changed! 


a memory is but a dream
  too tangible to hold
like a snowflake that has glistened and sparkled
only to melt
into icy cold water in the palm of your hand
leaving no hint of past lacy whiteness

and if in ten years I have forgotten
how much shorter I am next to you
      or the middle name of a boy I call "Cav"
I will remember all that is important
     between leaves of English verse, a pressed orchid
     a pair of white Levi's on some other, worthy boy
     or a yellow Austin America glimpsed from
                   a strange corner (different faces inside)
will bring alive two seventeen-year-olds
         unspoken dreams and promises
         fingers entwined in quiet moments
         soft I-love-you's whispered in the transiency
      of a summer evening
(I marking time with the crickets song until
       autumn and Yale abort you from our world)
and the familiar contentment will rest aside me
as I remember the times I needed you
  and you held me so tenderly
when I cried for those huge realities
even you could not change
although you would have if you could
so I will remember
and shed a tear for two
and shake a fist at the sky 
for whatever it is
that melts snowflakes

By Jean Grasso
 17 years old
 Tarrytown, New York

There you have it, young love.  I wonder what happened to Jean and the boy with the middle name "Cav". For those of you who like me, were unsure what she meant by Austin America, I discovered that it is a car fashioned by the designer of another favourite of mine, the Morris Minor.

Built by the British Motor Corporation and designed by Sir Alec Issignois and Pinin Farina who also designed of the Morris Minor and Mini. The Austin America was exclusive for export from the UK to the USA and was sold from 1968 to 1972. Approximately 59,000 were exported to the USA with production ceasing in 1974. Short but sweet. For more information you can go to Austin America.

I have written the poem as I typed it all those years ago.

Top image
Bottom and reference to car here~image

Blogs by Jeanne
Collage of Life~one woman's view
Finding My Way~ discovering England
CJ..Style Notes~travelling style


  1. Wow I don't know whether to be upset or flattered so I'll go with the latter.
    I originally took the picture of our 1969 Pale Primrose Austin America in this article (of why I have no idea its been used other than the fact it fits the writings of the author fairly well.)

    In the summer of 2005 while on a road trip to Camden Maine with FABAC Fredericton Area British Automobile Club out of Frederiction NB. It appears beside a great Morgan belonging to friends of ours. This picture is also there and I thought it looked sort of vintage postcardish (if that is a word?)

    Unfortunately the author is incorrect in stating "The Austin America was exclusive for export from the UK to the USA", in fact it was the Austin America was introduced in March 1968 - production and export to the U.S.A. began. (Americas were also exported to Canada and Switzerland.)

  2. this is such a nice blog Jeanne, and we are very honoured you used our little Austin in your description and picture. This was taken in Camden Maine a few years ago. We love our little car and have had so many great memories in it.
    Faith and Earl Sharpe

  3. Hello Faith and Earl!

    I appreciate your comments and am glad to be set straight on the car. It is interesting to see where all these connections have led. First with an old poem, to my trying to find an Austin ( it took a while) to yourselves in Maine no of the prettiest places in the USA. I grew up in Massachusetts. My husband and I often think of settling in Maine one day, it is just a matter of finding the perfect spot. The debate continues...

    Apologies for getting my information mixed up.... it is nice to know and so nice that you stopped by to comment.

    Best wishes ...Jeanne

  4. Jeanne, I have saved and treasured the very same poem all these years! It perfectly expressed how I was feeling at the time...the school was Notre Dame, not Yale, the car was a Fiat Spider not an Austin America, and the boy's name wasn't Cav -- but the pain I felt at the parting was the very same.

    I googled the first few lines tonight to see if the original author was anywhere to be found. I think this poem was in a magazine, like Seventeen or something like that.

    I feel I have found a kindred spirit in you!

  5. Thank you for the poem.
    The richness of memory and the joy it brings. Poetry with its concise and compressed lines expresses emotions perhaps better than prose.Probably it's just my preference.

  6. I am so happy to have found this poem again! I read it back in the 70's as a high school teenager, published in some long forgotten issue of a teenage magazine, and it became a very special part of the bond between my mom and I. Snowflakes became our own symbol of this bond, and we collected snowflake suncatchers, jewelry and any other thing we could find. Over the years Mom and I would often 'shake a fist at the sky for whatever melts snowflakes' together and smile as we shared a private moment of what it meant to us. My mom passed away 3 weeks ago and I miss her terribly, but I know she is in a place where snowflakes don't melt and that gives me comfort. I had lost my paper clipping of your poem and today went searching for it online, not really believing that I could be so lucky as to actually find it. I hope you don't mind, but I printed it out on her FB page so she can have it again. I just wanted to share with you how much your poem touched our lives! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. I have always loved this poem. Thanks for posting it so that when I Googled short bits, I actually found it!



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