It began at an early age for me, ever since I can remember, my dad and grandfather have been into hot rods. My parents always tell me about when they took me to “The Mad Mallard Stomp” when I was 2 years old and I had a blast dancing and picking out a bright pink show t-shirt, that was too big for me of course. I remember wearing that t-shirt as a night gown since it was floor length on me. Early on car shows became a regular outing for the family.
My grandfather has had his 1939 Chevy Coupe since my mother was a kid, it was their family car. Since it got a lot of use on a daily basis, it was time for a restore (photos below are before and after the restore). My dad and grandfather decided it was a project they would do together, at the time I was about 5 years old. The project was something they did when they had spare time. They completed the car about 8 years later.
Along with the cars, I feel the 50’s garage and home decor had a major influence. As a kid our whole basement was an entertaining area so it was decorated with tons of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean memorabilia. I was constantly around the 50’s era and “hot rod” lifestyle. I remember always looking at the posters of the icons, especially Marilyn Monroe, thinking, wow she is beautiful I want to look like her. When my parents would have company at our house they would play pool in the basement and listen to rockabilly music, especially Elvis since he was my dads favorite. At the time I didn’t know any different, it was just the norm for me and I think that is so awesome! We even had 2 dogs named Elvis and Norma Jean. The hints of the rockabilly lifestyle were there all through out my childhood and I feel this all had an influence on me and it made me who I am today.
As time progressed and I became a teenager, I began to take notice in my dads hot rod magazines (Car Culture Deluxe and Ol Skool Rodz). There was this particular issue that I loved looking at with Cherry Dollface on the cover at Viva Las Vegas, so I would sneak into the garage to get the magazines and take them to my room and admire all of the pinups and greasers. Rockabilly became something I wanted to be apart of I just wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.
By this time by dad had his own hot rod as well, a 1937 Chevy Sedan that he had been restoring. I can’t explain how kool I thought everything was even after being around it for 15 years. He and my grandfather would still go to local car shows and I would occasionally get to tag along. I started collecting a few pieces to add to my punk/skater wardrobe and I slowly began dressing more rockabilly. I liked being able to wear my pinup clothing to the car shows. I felt like I was closer to becoming my true self.
One show that really stuck out in my mind was a Streamline car show downtown where Bo Huff attended and Mad Max and the Wild Ones were playing. This show was so fun, the weather was nice and sunny, free food, drinks and great music. It had a great rockabilly atmosphere that made me feel at home. I even got a photo of my grandfather with Bo! The only copy of that photo is still hanging in my grandfathers basement along with all of his other car memorabilia. Overall it was an amazing day and after that I knew I was hooked!
I actually started dressing rockabilly more and more in my early 20’s. I began to find my pinup style and have been living the lifestyle since. I love wearing Pinup Girl Clothing, Freddie’s of Pinewood Norma Jeans, hair scarves, bandannas and of course, always carry a Lux Deville handbag. This has all evolved with time of course! For me it is not only in the daily clothing and makeup, it is every aspect of my life, music, home decor, collectibles, hot rods & kustoms.
When I met Stan, the lifestyle just started to make a lot more sense and it all sort of fell into place. We were inseparable from the time we met and still are. He his my soul mate and best friend and I enjoy our love for the rockabilly lifestyle and I can’t wait to teach Cherry Mae everything we know! We are always looking for the next vintage find, new music or car shows and of course more cars, more cars and more cars! One of the first things Stan and I bought together was Lucy Ledsel, our 1959 Edsel. It is one car that we always say we will never sell. When we first got her my dad was questioning why we wanted it, but now that she is somewhat finished and kustomized he loves her and so does anyone else that sees her.
We also enjoy searching for the perfect pieces to complete our home. We like going to antique malls, flea markets and also looking on eBay and craigslist (Cherry is going to have tons of cars, collectibles and memorabilia when she is older). During summer months we are always at a car show, working on cars, having bbq’s, going to see bands, hanging with the car club, cruisin our cars and enjoying living our rockabilly lifestyle. Overall I feel I am exactly where I should be in life and very happy I found the perfect fella to share it with. I hope you enjoyed my story of how rockabilly and car kulture have influenced my life while growing up and how I have become who I am today.
Jessica Rockabilly Mama
I love, love, love this! This made me smile so much as I read each word and I’m so proud of you and the wonderful ‘Rockabilly Mama’ you’ve become! I love you ! Mom
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