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The Italians think Jeanne and Joe Cusimano are crazy American drivers

That Jeanne and Joe Cusimano met was serendipitous. They both happened to be at the same credit union office. Both were seeking car loans. While seated in the waiting area, she was nice enough to allow him to strike up a conversation about new cars. The rest is a rich and memorable history of romance, children and fast vintage cars. They have been married for 18 years and between them have four children and nine grandchildren.

Joe has always been interested in vintage cars. While in Orange County, he owned a 1955 T-Bird and belonged to a T-Bird only car club for 13 years. Joe drove the car in several parades and would let neighborhood kids use it on prom night. They currently own a beautifully restored tan ‘64 Mercury Comet Caliente which they drive to FVCC activities.

The T-Bird and Mercury have a couple of things in common. Both were purchased on a handshake and driven off with no money exchanging hands, and each had only two prior owners.

Jeanne and Joe love taking international road trips. Over the last few years they have taken road trips in New Zealand, northern Italy, Sicily, Croatia, and England.

One of their most memorable road trips was a 2002 trip to the medieval walled town of Lucca, Italy. While looking for their rented apartment in Lucca, driving involved navigating the narrow, one-way streets.

Jeanne tells the story, “What we didn’t know, however, was that this was a pedestrian only area. We parked on a tiny alley near where we thought we needed to be and went into a shop to ask for directions.

When the clerk inquired where our car was, we responded that it was right next to the shop. She said that was impossible and ran outside to look, laughing in disbelief. She had never seen a car there before.”

Visiting again in 2008, they found the same shop and the same clerk working there. She still remembered the crazy American couple who had parked where no one else had ever parked before, or since.

Fallbrook reminded Joe of his western New York hometown of Jamestown. They purchased a house here and spent next 18 months renovating and landscaping. Upon retirement in 2000, they moved here from Orange County.

Jeanne, a California native, had lived her entire life in the big City of Angels. She loves being able to go “downtown” in the friendly village of Fallbrook for errands, where she always sees friends and neighbors.

They both retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Joe and Jeanne have been the FVCC Activity Co-chairs for the past 2 1/2 years and are responsible for such activities as car runs through Fallbrook and neighboring areas, visits to auto museums, theater performances, baseball games, and breakfasts or lunches.

The Fallbrook Vintage Car Club (FVCC) is always open to guests and new members. To receive more information about the car club, send an Email to: [email protected].

Monthly meetings are held at the Fallbrook Woman’s Club, 238 West Mission Road, in Fallbrook, on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

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