When I was a kid, I rode the school bus everyday. When I was a senior in high school, I was still riding the bus everyday. We had one car and mom used it to drive to work. So I rode the bus. I did not have my own car. None of my friends did either. A few juniors and seniors had cars, but the student parking lot west of the school building was not full.
Once in a while I got to drive because I had something going on after school. But I had to get up early and take my mom to work at 7:00 AM and then pick her up after work at 4:00 PM so that cramped my style.
The first car I can remember was our little green 1950 Chevy. It had a button on the dashboard that the driver pushed to start the car. The headlight dimmers were on the floor next to the brake. No radio. No air conditioning. Crank windows. No seat belts. No bucket seats.
When I was in high school, we had a 1963 Chevy Belair. That was the car I learned to drive with. It had the same features that the little green car didn’t have but it had a radio! When I was a sophomore in college, mom and dad gave me the 1963 Chevy to drive back and forth to school.
My favorite memory in the 63 Chevy was driving home from college for the last time. I finished my coursework in the summer of 1971, loaded up all of my belongings and headed south on I 75. On the front seat beside me was a giant TV set that my parents had let me use in my apartment. It was the size of a small refrigerator, I swear! The trunk of the car was full of clothes and apartment stuff and the tv would not fit through the door to the back seat. So I pushed the front seat as far back as it would go and pushed and shoved until I got that TV into the passenger seat.
It was a hot summer day, I was on Cloud Nine, because I was going to graduate in a few weeks with my Bachelors Degree, I had a teaching job lined up, and I was getting married in 2 weeks. The radio was playing “Joy To the World” by Three Dog Night and I sang at the top of my lungs all the way down the highway. The windows were all rolled down and I was blowing in the wind.
There are just some moments you never forget.