Wednesday, August 26, 2015

CARS and Junior and Senior years and more CARS! Episode l

I got my license to drive in 1956, my Sophomore year in high school. I didn't have anything to drive as my mother didn't have a license and our one car was with my dad all day. Then fates began their work. My great-uncle, and a very real part of our family, retired from being a chef on an ocean going dredge that was part of the workforce of the Army Corps of Engineers. He was 65 and had never owned a car. But he was retired and could do as he wanted. He rented an apartment in Santa Monica and then went to a Chevrolet dealer. He paid cash for a new, 1956,  mid level 210 Chevrolet 4-door sedan. He drove it back to the apartment, (without having a drivers license) parked it and then died of a massive heart attack; still in the car.

Of course we grieved and there was a funeral,. He is buried at Inglewood Cemetery. The estate was settled and our family were the sole heirs. He had been a bachelor and during the years he had adopted us as his 'family'. And we loved him.

Back to the cars. Part of the estate was that brand new Chevy.  And I was allowed to use it. Part of the deal was that I had to take mom shopping whenever she wanted. That was okay with me; I just wanted to drive!

After a few weeks the glow of new car ownership had faded and I saw that the car was simply a cheap Chevy 210. It had blackwall tires and factory hubcaps. It was becoming embarrassing to park it in the school lot. Why didn't Uncle Len buy the Bel Air model with a V-8? I was driving a stick shift with a 'Blue Flame' six cylinder engine.

About this time, a new friend of mine told us he had made a fantastic deal on a car, Like most of us, Ken had been mowing lawns to get gas money. He owned a Model A coupe at the time. Earlier in the year he had been mowing the lawn every week for a very old lady and noticed that she had a car in her garage. It was covered with sheets and he peeked under them. It was a 1940 Chevrolet business coupe. It was flawless. Except for the paint which had become very thin in spots because she had the local service station come and wash it for her every week. Did I mention that she never drove it? It had less than 10 thousand miles on the odometer. He made a deal with her and would mow her lawn for a year for the car. Ken told us to come over and take a look at it...

That car became a big part of our lives; Ken, Dan and myself.  

#miracosta #1956

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