Today in Jane’s World, we take a deep dive into my Mom’s massive slide collection and time-travel back to 1969 when the Johnsons got a brand new Panther Arctic Cat Snowmobile delivered to their house in Old Mission. At least, I think it’s around 1969. Read on.
While I’m not sure of the exact year of these slides, I did a little digging into the history of the Arctic Cat, and the design and logo look a lot like the photos of this 1969 sled over at Boss Cat Legacy. Hopefully, Rocko Fouch or my brothers or someone equally skilled in snowmobile history will weigh in.
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If it’s indeed 1969, then I would have been nine years old, Ward would have been 13, Carol 16, and Dean 19. Or if the snowmobile was made in 1969, then maybe ours was delivered a year later in 1970. It’s anyone’s guess.
Knowing my Dad (Walter Johnson), the Arctic Cat was likely acquired to help with farm work; specifically, trimming trees in the cherry and apple orchards during the winter. And it may very well have been used for that; however, I only remember us riding around Old Mission on it, including on frozen East Bay down to Haserot Beach and back (we grew up about a half-mile south of Haserot as the crow flies). In fact, it was so much fun that Ward managed to secure his own snowmobile – a Yamaha – a few years later.
As you can see, the day the shiny new Arctic Cat was delivered was a very exciting day for us! Let’s take a look at the photos…
Here’s the new machine being driven off the back of our mid-1960s green and white Ford pickup (it looks blue in the grainy slide, but it was actually green and white). Excellent use of the snowbank on the side of our driveway in front of the garage. Dean is in the driver’s seat, with Ward behind him, and Carol on the right. The house in the background is our neighbor’s beach house – Lillian Wallace and Annette Evans – directly south of our house.
Here’s my dad in the driver’s seat, with me behind him. Ward’s on the right, with Carol and Dean in the background. The house in the far background is our neighbor’s, Lillian Wallace and Annette Evans, directly south of our house (near the corner of Smokey Hollow Road and Mission Road). Clearly, we were all super happy to have this new high-tech winter machine to play with!
Here’s Carol taking a turn in the driver’s seat, with me and Ward on the back. That’s in our front yard, with East Bay in the background. We had a few of those winter hats with the big long tail on it, and it looks like Carol might be wearing one of them. I loved those hats. “Stocking hats,” I think they were called.
Here’s Ward in the driver’s seat, with Carol on the back. Again, that’s our front yard, with East Bay in the background. You can already tell that Ward had the “need for speed” bug.
In this photo, I *think that might be Ginny Dohm (Coulter) on the left, with Dean in the middle and Carol on the right. This is our front yard right in front of the house, with East Bay in the background.
I’m not completely sure on this one, but I think that might be Dad in the driver’s seat with Mom on the back. Again, that’s our front yard in front of the house, with East Bay in the background.
Here’s a very grainy photo of Dean in the driver’s seat with his German Shepherd Duke beside him. This is our front yard, with East Bay in the background. Love those fancy snowmobile glasses.
Did you get a new snowmobile when they first came out? Share your story in the comments below!
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb