Monthly Archives: May 2014

First Car: A Love Story (Sometimes…)

White Mustang

As promised, here is a list of my FB friends’ first cars, with wonderful comments by them and some unsolicited asides from me. I thought I would have posted this last Monday, but I got so many responses (46 of them) it took me a while to transfer them here. I hope you will enjoy reading this! [I will write more about my first car, a 1966 white Mustang, “Secretary’s Car” edition. To tide you over, here’s a link to a commercial for the car which makes me want to cringe, not only because the car was so lame (200 cubic inch engine and automatic transmission), but because the commercial itself is the most patronizing thing I’ve ever seen. Put on your cringe protection helmets! ]

Here’s the transcript from FB:

Hello, FB friends. I want to do a blog post but I’m too lazy to write all of it. So….let me know what you had as a first car. You don’t have to say much about it, but if you want to, go ahead. I’ll collect these for a few days and then put them up on “Biscuit City.” Mine was a white 1966 Ford Mustang coupe. It wasn’t nearly as cool as it sounds, but I’ll elaborate with the rest of you later on. Thanks!

Lee DeArmond: 1961 Triumph. I paid $400 for it and pushed it further than I drove it.

Bethanne Jones: 1979 AMC Concord – powder blue

Glen McCarthy: 1959 Jag. When I bought it t didn’t run and it was a cantankerous beast. Installed an 8 track, had a bench seat. In high school these things were very important. For some reason I received a number of speeding tickets and had to spend a day in behavior modification.

Mary McElveen: 1960 Rambler American: a rust-colored box; stick shift. It had a leak over the accelerator pedal and wonky windshield wipers. When it rained, I couldn’t wear shoes because of the leak, and every time I had to stop for a light, the wipers would stop. I’d have to get out and push them all the way down to get them started again. Likewise, the passenger seat back would flop forward at every stop…My senior year in college, it was parked at a garage to have some repair done over the Christmas holiday, and some drunk oversteered and knocked it into a brick wall. RIP, little car...

Larry Brewer: Whoa, I wlll need to reach back into the memory vault for this one. You have to realize that I never had a car until I was married. In 1968 I needed transportation for my new family and I had no credit so my Aunt Elmira helped me out. She was the head bookkeeper at a jewelry store in Suffolk, Virginia and the store’s name was Brewer’s Jewelry, no relation. It happened that one of the watchmaker’s had a car to sell, It was a 1959 Plymouth. It was two toned grey and white. I will never forget that car. when I went to the gas station I would tell the attendant to fill it up with oil and check the gas. In 1968 gas was about 20 cents a gallon and oil much more. The car cost $ 325.00 and I paid it off in 12 monthly payments. The seller’s name was Randolph Copeland. Thanks for asking.

Christopher Leet: Old VW bug. It was parked outside my apartment when I was in college. Big storm came and blew down a big tree right down the center of the car. Squashed it like a bug-pun intended

Susan Coryell: A grey 1949 Dodge (or possibly a Plymouth) with enough room in the back to carry half the soccer team in high school. It was a bomb!

Laurie Meidt: 64 Beige Dodge Dart, same color, 3 speed on the column. My father- in- law crashed into it on the day my husband and I got married April 1969!

Melissa Sorenson-Washer: Nissan 240 SX w/ a SUNROOF…I loved my sunroof!!

Belinda Miller: My dad got me a 1960 red Olds 98 that would stop at every gas station and didn’t have a working speedometer! It was as big as the Queen Mary and it aptly burned up over the Mystic River Bridge! RIP Queenie!

Marc Wyatt: 1974 red Camaro with a black vinyl roof – in the dash I had an eight-track player installed. Awesome ride!

Dianne Wood Lethcoe: I had a NEW 1966 Chevy Impala.

Hannah Mae: Mine was a 2000 white Ford Contour. Got it 9 years ago and she’s still mine

Eileen Rice: 68 blue Chevy Nova. Used. Practical. Lousy back seat.

Dawn Justice DuBerry: Mine, unfortunately, was a four-door Nova sedan…Nice and clean, but didn’t get the car of my drrreams until AFTER that one.. A 1972 Chevelle! Can ya just use that one for me please?!! (Sorry, Dawn! The Nova was actually much sought after by young fellows who dropped huge engines into a very light car. My parents had a ’72 Chevelle. Nice car.

Shirley Sullivan DeArmond: 55 Oldsmobile. It was a tank, but fully loaded for its time.

Claudia Lefeve: A late 80’s sky blue Chrysler Lebaron (not the convertible). It was a hand me down from my mom when I was a senior in high school. My parents told me that if I was ever late to school, I couldn’t drive it to school anymore. And they would have known…they taught at my high school!

Jill Anne Tomlinson: I bought a yellow AMC Javelin….my dad was a big American Motors fan.

Sherri Craun Katoen: Mine was a white 1979 American Motors Hornet sedan. Bought it for $150 and sold it 4 years later for $500! Great first car and the best part was my dad could do all the repairs and oil changes on it.

Jill Anne Tomlinson: My dad was too. In fact my brother had a Javelin. Really good cars.

Jeanne Isley: The first car I bought was a used Vega that was silver with gray Rustoleum spots. It burned 4 quarts of oil per tank of gas until my brother dropped a new engine into it. I was teaching kindergarten and my students thought my car was the best car in the lot because it was a “Dukes of Hazard” car. (Jeanne, I think Vegas came from the factory looking like that. Or they did within about a year.)

Maryellen Lewicki: Oohh, what fun! Mine was a 1968 Ford Mustang, shared with my brother.

Kay Young: The first car I purchased was a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass, black with red pin stripes.

Genilee AndSharon Swope Parente: A hot bright green Dodge charger with a rust hole and a 484 engine. Janice A. Brown: I had a white1962 Plymouth Belvedere. It was a tank but I loved it.

Joan Kalyan Curtis: My first car in 1978 and ’79 was a red ’57 Chevy Impala. After a while it wouldn’t start unless I put a screw driver on the solenoid. You may have seen my sweet ride in the Robinson parking lot! (I remember it well. My uncle had a ’57 silver Bel Air. A sweet ride!)

Mark G. Cooke: ‘56 Chevy pickup – 5 cylinder because one didn’t work! (Ah, you Texas boys and your pickups!)

Mimi Menzies: 79 Pontiac Grand Am – – -sporty!!

Dustin Lawyer: 1992 Dodge Monaco. Classic champagne beauty. I don’t know that it will ever make it onto anyone’s list of “classic” cars, but I remember it fondly. It was actually a very comfortable and roomy car that never gave me any problems except for the loose belt. Or, maybe it was a bad alternator. You could hear the thing starting up at the other end of the block. Do I win the award for newest/least exciting first car? (Wait until I write about my first car, Dustin…in another blog.)   May 10 at 9:12pm · Like

Marion Gibson Sheaffer: 1976 Chevy Vega with denim seat covers. The heater was permanently stuck on high, even in August. (Did yours have Rustoleum patches like Jeanne Isley’s? You had a rolling sauna! I can’t imagine that in the summer…)

Genevieve C Starkey: In 1947, just before we were married, my fiancé bought a 1935 Plymouth. It had a stick shift – of course. We bought it from my husband’s brother-in-law. My husband said it was worn out after Deward was through with it, and he’d probably have to spend all his time working on it. Sure enough, he did. But we kept it for a few years and enjoyed it in spite of all the work.

Kimberley Purnell Hill: I had a copper penny colored Honda Prelude with a moon roof. It was a stick and it took a cute boy to teach me how to drive the thing. I guess you could say it was a prelude of cars to come…*Groan.*)

Denise Almazar: I had a ‘63 Volkswagen Bug. The poor thing had a vinyl brown top with huge beige flowers on it. The body was beige with flat dark brown wheel well cover things. Awful! I sanded that little bug for months and took it to Earl Schieb and had it painted bright yellow for $49.95 back in 1978. It broke down at least once a week and my poor Dad had to rescue us every time. The man was a saint! p.s. The car was named Minerva. I don’t know why, but it fit. (Good old Earl Schieb. In his ads he promised, “I’ll paint any car any color for only $49.95.” What the poor fellow didn’t tell us was that the paint peeled off in about six months…or at least it did with several friends of mine…)

Dawn C. Bryant Crowley: 1969 Ford Fairlane- pea green with a black top. It had all the requirements:

1- Two full seats ( for all my friends to climb on).

2- A/C.

3- A radio and an eight track player.

It was rather funny that to see to drive I had to sit on two phone books.

Karen Wallace: My parents got me a ‘79 Ford Pinto. No, it never exploded on me, but it did develop a temperamental problem where it would have to sit and rest at least 30 minutes when I stopped somewhere. First car I actually bought – an 88 Ford Mustang with 5 on the floor. Loved it!

Judy Miller: Mine was also a Maroon 66 automatic in the floor Mustang with beige interior. Had to have my Redskin color back then also.

Mary Ann Rackowski: ‘72 Pontiac LeMans convertible — hunter green with a white top. Very, very fast car…loads of fun! My Dad said he bought it used for me and my sister, but he had his fair share of fun with it too!

Mack Fisher: ’62 Oldsmobile F85 white. a good small car to learn to drive with. Except when the throttle linkage jammed. Wide open. (So, Mack, what was your top speed in that condition?”

Ted Murray: Mine was a 1965 Pontiac Tempest, bronze color, 6 cylinder, with “3 on the column”. It was my “pride and joy.” [Like the Novas of the time, that was one fast little car. And didn’t it have the transmission in the rear (transaxle)?]

Wanda Cromer: My Blue Girl I was a 1952 2-door Chevy, 6-banger with power-slush automatic transmission. Her fender skirts were in my parents’ basement when their home was sold in 1990.

Judith Johnson Smith: My first car was a light blue Corvair. Of course, according to Ralph Nadar it was the unsafest car ever. But I loved it! [They were great little cars. The front tires were supposed to have 16 pounds of pressure, but because most people don’t read owners’ manuals, they inflated them to the same pressure as the rear tires, which some say affected handling. Others contend that there was a design problem with the front suspension. This is “Car Talk” on NPR…J

Come to think of it, Judy, I’d like to have a Corvair! A friend in college had one, and it was a blast to drive! (Fast.)]

Elysa Earle: A ’71 Chevy Nova – tan with Marine green interior – a premonition of things to come?! Loved it and paid for it myself!

Stephanie Earle Gunter ’93 Chevy Caprice – light blue exterior. It was given to me by my grandmother because she felt I needed my own transportation to get to school. I think she just wanted a new car! But I nicknamed the car Tank, because that is what it felt like to drive.

Stanley Earle: A ‘72 Ford Pinto. We fit seven high school seniors in it. : ) Robert Chaddock: A 1957 Desoto with push-button drive and the big fins. It was black and had a big hemi under the hood. My Batmobile.

Mark Hazlett: A ’74 Ford Torino station wagon (351 Cleveland). Dad said he didn’t feel safe driving it so I could have it. (Nothing like a father’s love, huh, Mark? Amy called me once because wisps of smoke were coming from her Chevy Lumina. I drove it to the shop, which found out that small blobs of grease were shorting out some of the connections in the steering column. I had visions of being incinerated in a huge conflagration, but I made it to the shop safely.)

Dani Rogero: The 1980 Riviera was silver, with a lighter silver stripe down the body and a signature “R” hood ornament that I used as a driving guide to keep the car centered on the road. Other memorable characteristics:

Two gigantic doors with switches for the electric windows and door locks.

A trunk that could easily fit a rather large stuffed pink flamingo and two classmates.

An analog dash with progressively deeper orange lights labelled “Turbo” that I dared myself to make light up (all the way up) as a regular practice when I was on that straight stretch of country road by Logan’s Farm lined with corn fields.

Zero to crazy at the stomp of a teenaged foot, I could feel the car dig into the road for traction as it lurched forward, and those turbo lights would light up like a distant cousin to KITT from Knight Rider.

The deep Vroooom sound was a great complement to the 80’s rock music blasting through six speakers—after I fitted the eight-track player with a cassette converter that is.…and on the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s the story I wrote in graduate school about buying a minivan.

Jim Vaught: I had a 50 Chevrolet that I think we paid $80 for. Of course, it was a stick shift and two tone with a white top and a blue body.

Dan Verner: Wow, friends, you have outdone yourselves! These are all classic “first car” accounts. Thank you so much! I enjoyed reading these. And thanks to Joanne Hazlett for the conversation that led to this idea!

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Introducing Guest Blogger Harry Foster


I’m pleased (I think) to introduce my great uncle on my mother’s side, Harry Foster, who lives at what he calls an “undisclosed location” somewhere in Georgia. He won’t tell anyone, including family, or as he would say, especially family, where he is. We only know that it’s in Georgia, and, according to Harry, “down the hollow from Dick Cheney.” Now, Harry has his reasons for not telling us where he lives. He’s not exactly estranged from the family. Let’s just say he’s (in his own words) “about half a bubble out of plumb.” But everyone has relatives like that somewhere in the family tree. And you don’t have to shake it hard to have a few fall out. I had a student (no lie) whose creepy elderly uncle gave her lacy underwear as a present. I don’t need to tell you, Faithful Readers, that she stuck close to her more nearly normal family members during special occasions at her house. And I am not making this up, as my Humor Idol (a writer’s version of American Idol) Dave Barry has so often written. It’s da troof. I think Whoopi Goldberg said that, among other people.

I can’t verify that story from my student any more than I can verify that Great Uncle Harry actually exists. He’s enough of a, uh, “special friend” (my daughter Amy uses that to describe her students who are half a bubble out of plumb) that I’ve never met him. No one seems to have done that. I’ve tried to, heaven knows, but he communicates with the world through his nephew, Zack Jordan. Harry doesn’t do computers. He will tell you about that in a trice. He will share his many and, well, odd and varied opinions and thoughts (read: rants and screeds) at the drop of his oak walking stick. Actually, it’s more an oak cudgel. Harry prefers chestnut for his sticks. But let me have him tell you about that (and other things, as he is wont to do.) Heeere’s Harry!

You can’t get no darned chestnut any more. The darned government kilt them all off in the ’20’s. Darned shame, too. Remember to pick up some Biscuit City Brand Biscuits at your grocery today! You know they’re good because they have the word “biscuit” twice in their name! That’s Biscuit City Brand Biscuits, Faithful Readers, available by the dozen, the gross, the pound, the ton, any size to feed that growing and hungry family of yours! Look for the big picture of the big biscuit on the label.)

ImageBiscuit City Biscuits
Made with real flour and mostly natural ingredients by elderly grandmothers where allowed by law. Ingredients: Flour, water, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and the other stuff you use to make biscuits.


And now, back to Harry (in progress):

They was fine trees, big and shady. What in tarnation would that poet fellow, uh, that Longfeller person, have writ that famous poem about without the “motley chestnut?” You are surprised I know poetry? Well, friend, we learnt that pome in school when I was a kid. Lemme see if I can remember it. “Under the crenelated chestnut tree the village smithee stands. The smith a mighty man is he with hands as big as cans. He works in iron, not plastic, because everyone know you put plastic in a fire and you got you a big melted mess…” That last part didn’t rhyme, or maybe I’m remembering it wrong. Now, I’m an old fellow, but I don’t take no Social Insecurity checks. No siree. Don’t trust the dadblamed guvmint to get onto where I live and come creepin’ around my property and find my still. Zack, is this thing going to be read by a lot of our no-count relatives? ‘Cause I don’t want to have to share my moonshine with anyone but folks I like, and they ain’t too many of them.
“Anyhow, we learnt pomes in school back when school involved real learning and not that play-time recess all day crap they call school. And you know who’s responsible for that? It ain’t the guvmint as far as I can tell, though they probably got their pointy noses stuck in that business somewhere like they do with everything else. No, it’s the parents and teacher who have ruint schools and by extention (bet you didn’t think I knew that word. I got a huge vocabaluary. And I spell good, too) the youths of the U. S. of A., God bless her! Makes me want to sing a old-time patriotic song like “God Bless the U.S.A.,” but I won’t because you wouldn’t be able to hear it anyways. Zack says you can put songs on here, but I don’t believe it. How would you hook a Victrola up to a device like a computeer? I have a windup machine for my Willie Nelson songs. It was hard findin’ the wax cylinders of his songs, but I done it! I can do anything I set my mind to, which ain’t much. It would skeer people if I went at it whole hog. Don’t want that. People scared enough especially of the guvmint and rightly so with them big black helicopters huntin’ my patch of Mary Jane. If they did find it, I’d tell them it grew like that naturally. I wouldn’t know what it was if I did stumble upon it taking one of my healthy walks which I didn’t (wink, wink). I won’t go on about that now because I like to say my piece and clear out real quick lest someone shoot me because my opinions and statements ain’t what you’d call popular with most people, but if someone don’t like what I say, they can kiss a certain part of my anatomy which I won’t mention in polite company because I am somewhat raffeeneigh as the Frenchies like to say because they can’t speak proper English like real Americans. So I’ll share what I think about schools and a whole bunch of other stuff like those cheese eatin’ surrender monkeys if Zack comes by with my groceries like he’s supposed to. He generally remembers but sometimes gets to spending time with that girl of his and forgets everything because he’s thinking with certain part of his anatomy which my delicate sensibilitees do not allow me to mention that word in polite company. That’s a problem because Zack is my pipeline to the outside world because I don’t have a computer. H*ll, I don’t have electrical power here, and you need that to run on of those machines that has ruined education and so many peoples’ lives. I didn’t mean to go on so long when I started tellin’ you about walkin’ sticks, but one thing leads to another, you know and pretty soon it’s time to eat but I’ll be danged if I’m going to feed a bunch of people I don’t know. I don’t even want to feed my relatives which is another good reason to live where I do. I’ve said enough, but I’ll be back if Zack can pry himself loose from his honey for a few minutes, which might take a power tool and a strong man. I’ll refrain from making a crude comment here because you know I am, well, you know what I am by now. Later, taters. Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down no matter what you’re flyin’.

For better or worse (you decide), I expect to hear much more from Harry. Let me know if you need to unsubscribe. I’d be sorry to see you go, but I would understand.

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