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A daughter keeps her dad's memory alive by restoring his old Ford Mustang


Time now for StoryCorps. Today we hear from Ashley Cosme, who grew up with two sisters in northern Indiana. Her dad, Al Plumley, taught his daughters about one of his greatest passions - fixing up old cars. Al died in October of last year, and Ashley came to StoryCorps with her husband, Nicolas, to talk about how they are keeping his memory alive.

ASHLEY COSME: He knew absolutely everything about cars. He knew what they were worth. If we were buying a used car, he knew every little thing to look for. You know, his first car was a blue Mustang. He was able to, even back then as a 16-year-old, figure out what was wrong with the car and actually carried the entire engine up to his bedroom, and he fixed it himself. When we were growing up, he would find cars on the internet. My mom would just jump right in the truck, and they would go look at them and haul them back if it was something he wanted to fix up. And he, you know, had been working on this Mustang for a while.

NICOLAS COSME: He didn't say a lot, but he lit up to talk about the car.

A COSME: Right before he passed, I remember he was sitting in his chair with his oxygen, and he had this folder that said old Mustang. And there's just a list, all in his handwriting, with all the parts that we need to get. And he said once it's done, he wants it to be painted the 1966 Oldsmobile blue metallic.

N COSME: After he passed, we were entrusted with the task of completing the Mustang, essentially this baby that he was working on and putting all this time and effort. I was honored and then terrified.

A COSME: I know. But I was also really excited that he chose us.

N COSME: I remember staring at the front end and just looking at where the engine should be. And I'm like, I have zero idea, but we're going to make it happen. So what are you looking forward most to when it is finished?

A COSME: My mom driving it. Can you imagine the feeling? This is something we're going to do together in his memory. My dad did everything for us. I mean, he was my go-to guy for absolutely everything. So just being able to see this was one of dad's dreams, I think that will be really special.


FADEL: That was Ashley and Nicolas Cosme remembering Al Plumley for StoryCorps in Chicago. They've recently finished gathering all the parts on Al's checklist and are looking forward to getting under the hood. Their conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Janmaris Perez