Posted by: patwogan | April 20, 2010

Cars I Have Known…and Loved or Hated.

Early on in my posting, I told about the Oldsmobile that my parents bought when I was little…and then wrecked a few weeks later.  I think it was the only new car they ever had.  After the wreck, they didn’t seem to have any money to replace the car.  I don’t know about insurance at the time, but I am sure the fact that Dad was at fault in the wreck may have had something to do with the lack of funds.  Anyway, because they lived in the country and had to have an automobile to get back and forth to work, they bought what in my young mind was an ugly car.  I’m not sure what kind it was, but it was black.  The Oldsmobile had been green and a very pretty car, I thought.

After we moved to the farm across from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, they bought a Hupmobile.  Talk about ugly…it was as ugly as the name.  I didn’t realize at the time, but do now, that it was war-time by then and cars were probably in short supply.  I imagine you got what you could.  But a Hupmobile…I may be mistaken in the spelling, but I am not mistaken in knowing it was ugly.

When he was in High School, George had a 1925 Model-T.  There was some way you could make it go very slowly by doing all the stuff with the gas and the spark and whatever.  Anyway, sometimes he would get out of the car and then get back in while it was still running.  I remember his doing that coming up Grandpa’s driveway one time.  I thought that was really the equivalent of what is now ‘”cool”.  This car had to be cranked in the front to start and I know there was sometimes a risk of getting an arm broken if the crank “kicked back” or something.  That car was one I really liked.  It, too, was black, the only color it came in.

Uncle Dayton was a mechanic and had a gas station and repair shop in Independence.  The MaGees had a big Packard…either a 1926 or 1929, I’m not sure which.  It was a really neat car.  It was also black,  but the paint was oxidized on it and it looked navy blue.  The thing I remember best about that car was that the windows opened and closed with a strap.  You pulled the big strap out of a slot on the inside of the door and it raised the window.  To close the window, you lifted the strap up and then let it go into the slot and the window closed. The strap worked on some kind of rachet. The MaGees had that car forever.  I’m not sure whatever happened to it, but Uncle Dayton kept it running like a fine watch.  It would have been a real find for a collector.

The car I remember best was the one Mom and Dad had and that Mom got in the divorce settlement.  It was  a black (what else) 1935 stick-shift Ford four-door sedan.  I learned to drive in that car.  The way I learned was that Dad would hitch a small trailer to it and then take hay down to the pasture to feed the cattle.  He would put the car in low gear  and then get in the trailer and throw the hay out while I steered the car.  He had given me a few lessons before he trusted me to drive while he was out of the car.  At the time we started, I could barely see out of the windshield.

Later on, I learned the H gear shifting model and only a few times did I crunch the gears while shifting.  We then went out on the road in front of the house.  This road didn’t really have any ditches on the side as it was a hill.  It did have high clay banks on each side and my job was to steer the car between the two banks.  I soon learned the art of subtle steering instead of cranking the steering wheel from side to side.  I was thirteen years old at the time.  One time, Dad let me drive to town and we were going to the Glencliff Ice Cream Store.  There was a large plate glass window in the front of the store and when I pulled in to park, I hit the gas instead of the brake.  We went over the curb, but I did get the car stopped before we hit the window.  That little incident scared me to death….I can imagine what it did to Dad!

I hated that car because it was old and had a stick shift.  It was the car we had until I graduated from High School.  It was one reason I took the bus everywhere I went and walked where the bus didn’t run.  I was ashamed that we had a car that old when my friends parents had new cars.  By that time, Dad also had a new car and I really resented that fact.  Aside: ( I know my girls are thinking about the Ranchero now, and I do understand.)

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