Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Wednesday's Post

January 15, 2014

A dollar down, a dollar a week…forever

Jan. 15, 2014 —

What is it about having your own motor vehicle that makes it so important, even a rite of passage, for teenagers?

I was almost through high school when that compulsion overpowered me. I begged and pleaded with my mother to help me buy my own car.

At 17, I knew I was underprivileged because

my best buddies had their own wheels. They were cooler than me because they didn't have to use a four-door family sedan for dating.

One of them had an old Cadillac with impressive power windows and seats. Another had a red Chevy with sharp fins and spinner hubcaps.

A classmate told me about his uncle coming back from the Army with an English Ford. It was a tiny car that didn't cost much but it was too small for his growing family.

What he didn't tell me was that it was almost impossible to get parts from England and that the car was badly under powered.

  It got great mileage but gasoline was only 30 cents a gallon in those days. In fact, no one ever talked about fuel economy.

I had the little car for several weeks but it sat in the driveway most of the time while I waited for a new starter to come from England.

A visitor spotted it one day and offered to trade me a customized light purple Ford coupe that looked good and seemed to run well.

I never thought to ask him why he kept a case of oil in the trunk. I soon realized that it leaked more oil than it burned. I had to park it in Granny’s gravel driveway to hide the oil stains.

I finally traded it for a convertible which looked bad but didn’t use any oil.

Winter was coming on and I quickly realized all too soon that a shabby ragtop with a bad heater was not too impressive to the ladies.

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Wednesday's Post
  • What happened to the art of roasting?

    I was channel surfing recently when I happened upon one of those late night programs selling videos of old television shows.

    April 16, 2014

  • Some political stories are worth retelling

    With Kentucky in the midst of the political season, it’s time to share some stories I’ve heard about the art of politicking.

    April 9, 2014

  • What happened to the safety of childhood?

    In the years before air conditioning, we slept soundly and safely with the screen door often unlatched. Our family home never had a working lock on an outside door until our parents died and it became a rental property.

    April 2, 2014

  • Memory of an old foe brings reflections

    We hadn’t seen each other for about 50 years but his face came instantly to mind when I saw his obituary. He was three years older and newly out of the military when we met as college freshmen.

    March 26, 2014

  • Parents have always scared kids straight

    The tactic of “scared straight” has been used for several years to shock misbehaving teenagers by exposing them to short stints in a jail or prison cell. But that concept actually started when a mother first told a scary tale to keep her kids from doing something dangerous.

    March 19, 2014

  • She was ‘a ghost with a beating heart’…

    Be warned that this is a tragic tale of someone who couldn’t believe that others loved her for the person she was.

    March 12, 2014

  • The one-eyed monster that changed our lives

    I’m not exactly sure of the date but was at least 25 years ago when that “thing” came out of a storage closet and changed my life forever. It was a personal computer.

    March 5, 2014

  • More stuff I wish I’d said or written…

    The old sports writer wasn’t happy when the editor asked him to cover a high school band concert after another reporter became ill.

    February 26, 2014

  • Out of the mouths of babes come good words

    As the grandfather of 16 I’m constantly amused or impressed by the things our grandkids say and do. Here’s another sampling.

    February 19, 2014

  • We must say what we feel in our hearts

    He was a proud old sailor, a veteran of World War II, and he was anxious to tell me about a book written by one of his former shipmates on a destroyer in the Pacific.

    February 12, 2014