When their son, Wade, died at the age of 36 in 2008, Paul and Edith Taylor were devastated.
And they still continue to grieve after their loss of a child.
But getting the restoration completed of a car that Wade used to own and their involvement in the Aiken Horsepower Association have helped the Taylors cope under trying circumstances.
“The people in the club just lift us up,” Edith said. “They give us lots of laughs, and that brings up our spirits.”
Exhibiting the automobile – an orange 1970-1/2 Camaro – at Aiken Horsepower events has been a big part of the couple’s recovery process.
A photograph of Wade often is displayed with the car.
“It brings memories back to us of Wade, and how he loved old-time cars,” Edith said. “He really wasn’t into the new cars at all. People also talk to us and share things with us about the loss of their children.”
In 1991, Wade spotted the Camaro, which was for sale, parked beside a road in Columbia and purchased it.
“He loved the car,” Edith said. “He raced it, and he did all kinds of crazy stuff, as boys do, with it. Then he decided he was going to get married and he couldn’t handle all of the payments for the several vehicles he had bought, so he told his father he could have this one (the Camaro) because he owed him a little bit of money.”
Later, Wade and Paul decided to refurbish the vehicle so it would look almost like it did when it was new.
“They had it painted, and did a few other things with it,” Edith said. “They kept ordering parts and ordering parts, and then Wade passed away.”
The restoration of the Camaro stopped.
“Paul just couldn’t work on it by himself,” Edith said. “He just couldn’t do it. He didn’t have the heart to go on without Wade being there.”
The Taylors got Monetta-based Salters Custom Paint & Body, which had painted the automobile orange earlier, to finish the project.
“We knew how much the car meant to Wade, so we couldn’t just up and sell it,” Edith said. “Our hearts wouldn’t let us do that. It was a healing process, I guess, for us to go on and finish the car. We got it back in September of 2009.”
Afterward, the Taylors found they received comfort from seeing others enjoy the Camaro and discussing Wade with them.
“It has helped us work through the grieving part of Wade’s loss,” Edith said. “My daughter (Patricia Yonce) and her two sons go to many of the car shows with us. It’s a family thing. We all have a good time eating and talking and sharing memories of Wade.”
Aiken Horsepower has approximately 200 members. Vickie Reynolds is the president, and her husband, Manny, is the vice president.
The organization, a nonprofit, holds two shows annually, a Spring Fling in May at the Western Carolina State Fairgrounds and a Fall Fling in September at Stable View.
There also are Aiken Horsepower cruise-ins every month, except for May, at The Home Depot in Aiken.
The organization is all about “fellowship and fun” for lovers of cars and other vehicles, Vickie said.
In addition, Aiken Horsepower raises money for the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons.
“Over the years, we have given them more than $100,000,” said Vickie, who is a member of the Cumbee Center’s board of directors.
For more information about Aiken Horsepower, visit aikenhorsepower.com.