“When did you get your first car?”
The quick answer is: when I left home the day I graduated from Spaulding Institute, high school, in May 1965.
We had a friend, Pete, who lived and worked in Waukegan, Illinois. He found me a job in Skokie, Illinois. I wrote about it earlier. To this day, there are times I regret going to work in the foundry.
Left too soon:
I had not turned eighteen, and I didn’t spend graduation summer at home. So I accepted my diploma in the morning and, by midnight, was in an apartment in Waukegan. I shouldn’t have been so eager to grow up.
Back to the car!
Pete drove me to Waukegan and let me stay with him for a time. For a time, I used the train to get to work until Pete brought a black 1959 Ford Galaxie to me. It was a present from my parents.
First Car—A danger?
It was my first car and freed me. But, so young—with a teenager’s sense of invulnerability—I often pushed myself to the edge of exhaustion. Until I joined the Navy in 1966, I often drove the one-hundred-eighty-three miles home after work to stay a couple of hours. Then it was jumping in the car to get back to Waukegan in time to go to work again. Looking back, I was a danger to myself and everyone on the road with me during those trips.
Of course, I used the car for things besides going home. There were shopping trips and an occasional date. But mostly, I used it for work and a college course at the Loyola University Chicago. Later, it was transportation for extension courses with the University of Illinois, but the draft notice interrupted them.
The car and I made one last trip from Waukegan to home in October 1966. It had been an interesting seventeen-and-half months for me and my car.
Do you remember your first car? Tell me about it using the comment form.