"I was always amazed at the kindness and thoughtfulness of others."

Dauphine, a cherry-red 1961 Renault Dauphine, takes the reader on a sweet journey down memory lane. Purchased by Pope when her husband, Connor, was drafted during the Vietnam War, Dauphine explores a time when gas was 30 cents a gallon, and cars traveled 40 miles on that gallon. This was a time when girls slept with rollers in their hair, companies had six-month-pregnancy policies “for your and the baby’s welfare,” and hospitals allowed stays of five days for mother and newborn. Pope does the talking, but Dauphine is there, carrying the newlyweds through the tender beginnings of a young marriage: the joys, the thrills, the penny pinching, and the many moves of a stateside military family.

With a perspective sometimes sad, sometimes humorous, but always optimistic, Pope brings alive the ‘60s and ‘70s. With the details she chooses to share, Pope demonstrates the relative innocence of those decades. Dauphine breaks down in the middle of nowhere one Friday night, and the repairman shares his sandwich. When Connor needs Dauphine, Pope’s landlady drives her to work and offers friendship. Neighbors become fast friends and give clothes, cookies, manual labor, and a ride to the maternity hospital. Pope expects the best of others, and perhaps that’s why she receives it.

Pope’s unadorned writing style brings a smile, showing her sweet yet practical nature along with her deep-seated sense of gratitude for others’ kindnesses. From the poverty of young married life to the help of instant best friends, though the building blocks of good communication and sound decision-making that form a steady, loving marriage, this trip with Dauphine is a most pleasant sentimental journey.

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