The Blonde and I have had our share of cars – probably more than our share. I will note that we have never been as welcomed at a dealer’s as one of our neighbors here in The Villages. He was such a very frequent buyer at one dealer’s that they went into a fit of depression when he moved to Arizona. However, Arizona turned out to be a mistake and he returned to The Villages. When he did, he was met at the Orlando airport by the dealer with a new car for him. He had ordered it, but I don’t know of anybody else who would have been welcomed like that. Of course, my friend was the same guy who complained about a large maintenance bill on the car he had. Said he wouldn’t pay it and traded the just maintained car on a new one. Probably why the dealer likes him so much!
In our case the first car The Blonde and I had together was a well-used 1951 Ford. When we were married, she had never driven a car. In fact, growing up her family never had a car. They lived in Pittsburgh and just took good old trolleys everywhere. I was drafted two months after we wed, and she took driving lessons while I went through basic training. She managed to pass the driver’s test and became the terror of her section of Pittsburgh. Gas station attendants (remember them) would fill up her tank and then drive the car out to the street for her. (The pumps had to be protected!) When I got back home, I found that the once you turned the motor on, the car would immediately start going 25 miles an hour – which she thought was great.
I had the speed problem fixed and we drove down to Fort Gordon, Ga. where I was to be stationed. I let her drive and found out why the gas attendants in Pittsburgh did what they did. I asked her to turn into a station – and she did with a whoosh that woke up everybody in the station or near the pumps. Back then, you did not have the interstates as they do now. Thus, we went on a number of two-lane roads. She would drive until we came to a bridge, then she would pull over, and I would drive across. Those bridges were too narrow! Despite the above, I hasten to mention that she became an excellent driver. For example, when we lived in northern New Jersey she had to drive our little daughter down the Garden State Parkway once a week for several years to a doctor in Philadelphia.
One of the cars that she drove was a 1968 Bel Air Chevrolet station wagon that we had had for about two weeks. She was going through a collection booth when she was smacked by the car behind her and pushed through the opening. He claimed that his brakes failed. When the cop was through with his paperwork, he turned to my good wife and asked if she would give the guy a ride home. Can you imagine that? She did though. Our first new car may have been our favorite. It was a 1959 Rambler American with a continental tire kit. We had that little beauty for about seven years and might have had it longer, but the Blonde was driving with the kids one day, luckily slowly on a city side street, when the brakes failed. The brake fluid line had dropped down and the tire wore a hole in it. We had that fixed, but no more driving the Rambler for The Blonde! Used cars weren’t worth much in those days – especially a seven-year-old Rambler. I sold it for my advertised price of $98.35 to the President of the School Board. He had had a 1960 model just like ours and missed it. His wife did wonder what the 35 cents was for! I told her that I would use it to buy a couple of comic books for our son. (It was actually a brilliant advertising ploy!)
I could go on in this vein, but perhaps I had better quit before I write something that gets me in trouble!
Barry Evans writes about “Life in The Villages” for Villages-News.com.