My First Car

In 1963 I was 15 years old and working at the Dog N' Suds drive-in.  I was finally making some money without having to do farm work for the neighbors.  When I would get paid, my mother would make me put most of my pay check in my savings account at the bank.  "For college", she would say.

My brother Jim discovered a woman who had several cars that she was selling cheap.  I don't recall why she was selling them, or how my brother found out about them.  My brother had bought a '56 Chevrolet for around 25 dollars, and he told me that she had several others.  After much consideration, I decided that I needed a car. Immediately tried to figure out a way to get money out of the bank without my mother finding out about it.  I got my deposit book, I noticed that the last several deposits were on a new page in my deposit book.  I figured that if I cut the last page out of my deposit book, it would look like I still had almost all of my money.  Jim drove me to the bank, where I withdrew 35 dollars.  I then cut out the last page in my deposit book and put it back in the bottom of the china cabinet.  

Jim then drove me and another of my friends to Hardin, Ky. about 25 miles from my home.  We went to the place that had the cars.  My friend bought a '49 Ford, and after much debate, I settled on a '53 Oldsmobile Delta 88.  It was in really good shape, except for a large caliber bullet hole in the driver's side door.  The lady wanted 25 dollars for the car, and I gladly paid it.

After the sale, I realized that I was going to have to drive it home.  I had driven the family tractor around the farm some, which familiarized me with shifting gears and braking.  I had never driven on an actual road, but had no doubts that I could do it.  We took off.  Me driving my own car.  I was in heaven.  I didn't have much trouble, once I got used to the car and figured out how to keep it in my lane.  Where I had my worst time, was driving through Benton.  I knew all about stop lights, but when I stopped for my first light I entered my first predicament.  Those of you who have never driven cars with a standard transmission will not understand the problem.  In a standard transmission you have to come to a stop, by holding the brake and the clutch down simultaneously. When you take off, you have to give the car gas.  My predicament was that I was holding down the clutch and brake, but had no other foot to give the car gas.  The people behind me were honking their horns, and yelling at me, but I didn't know what to do.  Finally an Idea came to me.  If I could put on the emergency brake, I could use that foot to give the car gas.  This is what I did, and after getting enough torque with the car, I let the emergency off, and took off.  Not bad for a first time driver, and I only sat through the light 3 times.  On the way home, I was trying to figure out what I would do with the car once I got home.   I couldn't park it at home.  That would be suicide.  I had a friend who's sister's husband ran the Phillips 66 station just down the road from my house.  It was close enough that I could walk there in order to get my car to drive.  I took it to Raymond's station, and he agreed to let me keep it there temporarily.  I was home free.

I parked the car, and then walked home.  When I got home, the Storm door was locked.  This was strange.  We lived out in the country, and I can't remember anyone ever locking the doors anywhere.  I rang the bell, and my mother came to the door, but she didn't unlock the door for me.  She told me that before I could come back in the house, I had to sell the car.  Now I am not a believer in clairvoyance, but how did she find out about the car.  It was almost time for me to go to work.  My brother took me to the Dog N' Suds, and said he would try to find someone to buy the car.   Jim finally found someone who would buy the car.  The fellow that bought it from me for 25 dollars, sold it the next day for 75 dollars.  Is there no justice?  I had missed out on a quick 50 bucks, and I still couldn't figure out how my mother found out about the car.

I asked my mother on several occasions how she found out about the car, but she would only smile and say, "Mothers have their ways."  To this day I don't know how she found out about the car.

Dave Wilson © 2001