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  • Roger Chamberlain shared a letter in the Group logo of To the people we loveTo the people we love group 2 weeks, 3 days ago

    The First Car Enthusiast

    Dear Bertha,

    I remember the first time I read about your story. I had purchased a car that bore your last name upon it. The story I read that day left me amazed then and even more so now. What you would do as you blazed a trail into infamy is something I have longed to write about. That day is today.

    You saw the potential for the motor vehicle your husband was designing and building. However people at the time were pretty set on remaining true to their horse and carriage. You would set out to change that viewpoint in epic fashion. You made plans to show the world how this invention could change the world, you didn’t even tell your husband what you were planning on doing.

    Your story connected with me in so many ways. First my love of automobiles resonated within your story. A steadfast belief in something or someone also connected me to you, much the way my own Mother inspired me, you did as well. Your story blazed a trail through things that women still battle today. Your story can and will serve as inspiration for them as well. It is a story that should be told to everyone, not just people who love cars.

    On August 5th, 1888 you would set out to be the first person to do something most of us take for granted today. You set out from your home with a vehicle designed by your Husband. This day would see you face difficulty but in the end triumph. You took that vehicle and drove it over 60 miles that day. Along the way you faced the challenge of failing brake blocks, you responded by creating in a nutshell, the first brake pad. You also cleared a clogged fuel line with your hat pin and with several of your children’s help, pushed that vehicle up a slope that was too much for the gears. In the span of a single day you traveled the distance which might have taken several days by any other means. You demonstrated that this invention would change life as you knew it then. This story alone was in addition to you investing your dowry into the business venture of the man that would become your husband. You knew by law that once you were married, you would not be allowed to do this. Through your actions, this world changed immensely.

    The Impact your story holds for me is multi faceted. It shows the character and will of a strong woman to do that which has never been done before. It also demonstrated the very thing which is so very ingrained into our daily lives, the car. In essence, you were the very first car enthusiast, the very idea that dominates my life today. Without you Bertha, I would not likely be the person I am today. I certainly would not have been able to own several vehicles that bore your last name. My own Mother cried while recalling your story. Your life lasted 95 years on this planet we all call home, but its your legacy that will last the test of time. I know that I think of you whenever I calmly fix some vehicular calamity on the side of the road. I am encouraged on knowing that if you did it, that I can too. I know that if someday I have a daughter, that I may have to convince my future wife to name her after you. You made the road possible, by driving on it first.

    Roger Chamberlain
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