Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cars and teenagers

Cars were everything to teenagers in the 50's and 60's.  In a car you could escape your  parents' eyes.  You could flirt, smoke, do dangerous things.  The car was everything.

Of course the first thing was to get access to a car.  Very few of my friends had their own car.  Most of us had to beg for the family car.  I was lucky that Mother kept her old car when she bought a new one.  I usually could get the car on a weekend night.  Or I could have it to drive to the football stadium for band practice.   The car was a 55 Ford.  It was Robin's Egg Blue and was a 9 passenger station wagon.  Not as cool as a 57 Chevy, but it held lots of us. 

To have the car, I had to buy my own gas, which cost 19 cents a gallon.  I would pick up my friends and they often brought glass pop bottles,  We would then go to the grocery store and redeem the bottles at 2 cents a bottle.  Then we bought gas and hit the road. 

I had boundaries where I was allowed to drive.  I could drive anywhere in the city limits (big city, less than 5000 people; I think the sign said 4799).  I was allowed to push the boundary to go to the Hungry Hound or the movie drive in out on the Falls Highway.  No further down the Falls Highway was allowed.   And never ever was I allowed to drive on Fifth Street Road.  That road and teenagers usually resulted in wrecks.  Yes, the one time a bunch of us went out there, the driver hit a telephone pole.  We were sore but not hurt badly.

What all did we do in cars you ask?  If you weren't driving sometimes you sat in the back and necked.  There were lots of other things to do in a car:  playing chicken, drag racing, scratching off (google doesn't have anything on this other than lottery tickets) also called laying rubber or peeling out.  That I did, not the others.  You put the car in park or neutral depending on whether you had an automatic or stick shift., foot on the brake  Then you floored the accelerator, dropped into gear, and took your foot off the brake.  Loud, smoky, and  rubber covered the street.  We thought it was very impressive.

Others things we did in the car: ate, threw our trash into open car windows, played loud Rock n Roll, drove by our crush's homes, raced 18 wheelers through town (they stayed on the main drag and we went down a street with few stop lights) honking and waving them out of town.  Did not take much to entertain us.

We cruised the drive ins checking out cars, boys, and met up with friends.  Cars were the way to be social.  Not getting the car was cause for great teary scenes.  Cars were not just a form of transportation.  Cars were where the fun was. 

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