JB: I imagine that's part of the reason that you write, confer and speak extensively about Asperger's, autism and your experiences. All this while running JE Robison Service since 1986. Can you tell our readers about your business and how you got into it?
JER: I quit electronics because I didn't understand the social dynamics of a larger workplace. I wanted to be in a smaller setting, and one where I felt I could not be capriciously fired.
I cast about among my skills, and decided to start fixing cars for people. All the co-workers work for me, which means I can't lose my job for misunderstanding them. There was no boss to fire me - just lots of different customers, each of whom dealt with me one at a time, individually.
You can read about the car company online at www.robisonservice.com
some recent projects by courtesy of the author
JB: Your website describes your business as "sales and service of fine used European and exotic automobiles". When Cubby was growing up, your Rolls Royce played a role in enabling the two of you to gain access to places ordinary citizens don't have access to. Can you talk about that a bit?
JER: I sure was proud of that car! I lost all my money the first year I ran my new business. Three years later, I'd turned the corner. I was well on the way to pay off my debts and I was making a profit. I had the chance to buy that car for $10,000 in a bankruptcy sale and I grabbed it.
It's true that car was an entree to many places and things. We attended Rolls Royce Club events and car shows, and began building the substantial Rolls Royce service business we have today. We also toured all of New England in the car, and it's true what I wrote in the Cubby book: You can never be a trespasser in a Rolls!
If I were to pick one car to drive somewhere I should not - like the big rail yards in Selkirk, New York - it would be a grand old antique Rolls, or maybe a Cadillac or Packard.
And I've still got that car, by the way!
a beauty! by courtesy of the author
JB: Cool! What year is it and how many miles does it have on it? Is that the car with the interesting history or was that another Rolls? Tell that story too, please.
JER: The car in the story is a 1976, and it has about 45,000 miles on the odometer. It's not driven much anymore but when my son was small we drove it every weekend the weather was nice.
One of the interesting cars from Raising Cubby is Chairman Mao's 1972 Mercedes 600 limousine. We restored that car for a client when Cubby was young, and I have a funny account of our trip to the Newport Car show one year.