Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Saturday, February 25, 2017

driving to the dump

 The first car I can remember " driving " was a 1956 Cadillac. Dad let me sit on his lap and steer. I can remember going across Abrahams path on the way home to the dump. Dad working the pedals as I couldn't reach them, but I was driving. Keep it on the road Bub, he hollered as I went onto the shoulder. That's as much a memory as I have of that time and place. Funny how I can still live that experience every time I think of it. Alan Jackson wrote a song in 2002 called, Daddy let me drive, that captured that experience perfectly. It is a universal thing I'm quite certain of that. And yes, Daddy let me drive his boat too, sometimes.
 I took drivers education in high school. You got a discount with the local insurance agent if you did so. I don't believe it was a requirement to obtain your license. I may be wrong but I think the school had a Dodge four door that was used for that purpose. Perhaps it was a coronet ? I just remember it was coach Ted Meyer that was my instructor. Mostly we just rode around town. Coach Meyers had his sunglasses on and would turn on the radio. There wasn't a lot of pressure as I recall or instructing going on either. The movies we watched were made by the Ohio State Police and were very graphic. By todays standards they would be rated R for extreme violence and graphic content. The girls just closed their eyes and the boys tried not to laugh. It was the laugh that accompanies that uneasy feeling you get seeing such stuff, but you gotta be a man about it !
 I took my drivers road test in my Moms car. She had a 1968 Dodge charger. It was an automatic, with power steering and power brakes. It was equipped with the 318 cubic inch engine and so was quite tame. Still I thought it was a cool car to take the test in as I didn't want to look like a nerd. It wasn't easy to parallel park that long body but I got it done. Right after getting that license my sister came into possession of a 1960 Chevy Belair. It had a six cylinder and was a real granny mobile. She gave me that car which I promptly traded to my father for his car. I was now the owner of a 1963 Oldsmobile F-85 ! Sure it was a four door but it had a V-8 ! In fact it was an all aluminum V-8 one of the first available. I bought a Craig 8 track stereo and installed that under the dash. Man. I was rolling now.
 That Olds didn't last long with the abuse I handed out. The driveshaft had what is called a carrier bearing in the center of it. This allowed the driveshaft to " bend " in the center. In that way you didn't have that big hump in the center of the floorboard. That bearing failed several times. I kept replacing it until Buzzy Browns junkyard didn't have any more of them. The killing blow was when the rocker arm snapped in half and she dropped a valve. I just couldn't afford that repair. In a stroke of good luck my Uncle had a car he was willing to give me. It wasn't anything to brag about, a 1963 Ford Falcon station wagon but it was free. That car was his and he had run it for years. He told me it had lost oil pressure and he didn't want to spend any money on fixing it. He purchase himself a new pick up. So, he towed that car to my house with his new truck and I went to work on it. Turned out all it needed was a good cleaning out. The oil screen was so clogged up the oil pump couldn't get oil. A good bath in a tub of gasoline fixed that problem. I was on the road again. That was the car I drove until I left for the Navy, I gave it to my brother.
 I've had a few cars since but still think about those first ones I had. I believe if I could have anyone of them again it would be that station wagon. That little old 170 cubic inch engine rated at 85 horsepower never failed me. Reliable ? You bet it was. It was so uncool, it was cool ! Well that 56 Caddy was something special too but I wouldn't want it for a daily driver, just for special occasions,  like going to the dump with Dad.