Firsts–first car

There are many events in life that will remain in your memory because it was a first for you.  We’ll explore some of those special times and moments from time to time here.   Naturally, I can’t speak with any authority about what “firsts” are most memorable to our disstaff lovelies.   But I might try sometime for that too, after all I am not too shy about offering an opinion on just about anything and everything, regardless of my knowledge level many would maintain.

When I was thirteen I was in the 7th grade and in junior high school.  I had been playing football and all the usual things early teens do.  One thing was a bit different though, I got to drive the family car all alone in the local neighbor.  My mom started off letting me go to the local 7-11 and drugstore to pick up items for her so she didn’t have to make the drive.  I did other such errands for her around the neighborhood.  It was all quite illegal.  The driving age for a license was 16.   In defense of mom and me, I would add that I was very mature for my age both physically and even more importantly on an emotional and behavoir basis.   I wasn’t a wild child and mom knew I would do exactly like she told me to.  I always went only where she said and never dilly daddled around and got back home.  Of course I liked  it if one of my friends happened to see me driving around.

Anyway, that summer I worked at the water bottling plant where my dad was the manager.  This was where the big 5 gallon jugs were filled for delivery to homes and offices.  This was long before bottled drinking water became common and ubiquitous.  I earned a few hundred dollars that summer.  Without me knowing it may dad took the money and got me a car.  He knew I wanted one.   I didn’t think there was a chance that I would actually get one but had my hopes.  I came home one afternoon and there it was–a 1946 Ford convertible.  It was painted black and had some wear and tear marks all over the body and a few dings here and there.  I loved it.   Dad told me right away that I had to clean it up and fix it up.  We parked in out back where the driveway ran to the detached garage, that was the common arrangement at the time.  He had brought home with him a sander to work on the paint so we could have a new coat of paint applied.  He wanted me to do as much of the work as I could.  He showed me the sander and told me to sand the entire car.  I didn’t mind the work at all.  So the next morning I got up and started the sanding job.  It turned out to be lots harder than I ever imagined.  There were at least three layers of paint under the top coat.  I was sanding it down to the metal.  That was how I thought you were supposed to do it.  The fact is it took me all day and I had only finished a door and one fender when dad came home.  But the metal shined bright as a mirror.  I was most pleased with me toils. 

I told him I had worked all day but it was taking longer than I thought it would.  Dad thought I would finish easily in one day with time to spare.  We went out back to the car.  Dad was flabbergasted.  I didn’t know what was wrong.   He asked me why in hell I had taken all the paint off down to the metal.  I said that I was sanding it like he wanted me to.   He explained to lame brain here that I only needed to smooth out and rough up a little the top coat of paint.  I only had to move the sander over it with a few strokes in each area.   He showed me what I was supposed to have done.   In fact I had made things worse because now we would need to add a primer coat to the raw metal I had exposed.   Dad finally laughed about it.  I felt like a complete nitwit.  I was just trying to show dad how hard I could work.  I had no idea that the sanding was merely a light rub with the machine.   We did get it primed.  Dad showed me exactly how this time.  Then a new paint job–light gold.  It was a jewel. 

So the next week school started anew.  I was in the 8th grade now and driving my own car to school.   The only 8th grader to do so.  It was about two miles from home to the school.   With the top down, I was the king of the walk.  Of course it did have mechanical problems.  My best buddy lived down the street from me and he rode with me every day.  The starter didn’t do very well and I would have to pop the clutch usually to get it to started.  David pushed on more than one occasion to get her fired up.  At school I would park on a hill and let the car roll down  a bit and then pop the clutch.   We could lift the hood and jiggle it to start but that was always hit or miss.    I loved that car.  Had it a couple of years.  When I was a sophmore I moved up to a 1949 maroon buick.  One of those old ones that was shaped like a giant beetle and weighed as much as your average elephant.

There is a pretty simple cure for those sticky lightbulbs when you try to remove them.  I have had them snap off at the metal screw on more than one occasion and you probably have too.   Next time before you put the new bulb in take a bar of soap and rub it over the metal screw cap on the end of the bulb.  You will rewarded when it comes time to remove it after it burns out.   It was unscrew easily and none of that grit and scary squeak sounds


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Filed under Culture, history

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