“I need you to sign for the car dad.” I had waited a whole year and saved up money for car insurance for a used car.
“Did you test drive the car and check it out Peter?” My father stared at me. “A used car can be someone else’s troubles you know.”
I was in my high school senior year and at first I didn’t care what kind of car I could get. I just needed wheels. Borrowing dad’s car was always according to its availability, and what I was going to do with it.
“You going out with those AZA boys? You better not get in trouble with those Jewish girls.” Dad was suspicious of my Jewish fraternity friends. He was the only Jew I ever knew who didn’t like Jews.
“You can’t go to the drive-in movie on a date with girls.” My mother warned. “The drive-in movie is a ‘flesh pit for transmitting venereal diseases’.” She would never tell me how she knew this.
“I’m double dating with my best friend Gary.” We had lined up two BBG girls from last week’s BBG house party. “They’re B’nai Brith Girls, Ma. BBG are well behaved.”
My father chimed in, “Those BBGs are sluts of the worse kind–Jewish sluts.”
It was obvious to me and the world that I needed my own car. Once I had the money, I looked for one for two months before I found it–a 1952 light gray Chevrolet convertible. I first saw it with the top down. It looked fantastic. This was 1957 and the Chevy was only five years old. The radio worked, the power top went up-and-down flawlessly, and it had an automatic transmission.
My dad was too critical. “The tires are practically bald and the front end doesn’t feel right.”
It was a great looking car. I loved it. My friends loved it. My best friend Gary, who worked in his father’s automobile repair garage thought it was a “piece-of shit”.
There were a few defects. Most notable was the two-speed Powerglide® transmission. It was slow and getting slower with time and mileage. I brought it back to the shop and the seller tuned up the six-cylinder engine. It did go better until my five-thousand mile warranty was up. The car began to deteriorate badly. Rainy days were a disaster. There were several leaks in the canvas top–one right over my head. Driving over a puddle splashed water from the street, through the floorboard, and up my pant legs or my date’s clothes. The tires were now completely smooth and made a loud whining noise at 30 mph. Above 30 mph the front wheels began bouncing like I was driving over tree trunks.
“Bad king-pins,” my friend Gary said. It was too costly to fix. I still don’t know what a king-pin is.
The car now had such a slow pick-up that I had to floor the gas pedal when I was first at a red light and often barely made the green light before it turned red again. I had to get rid of the car.
“This time listen to me when we get the next one.” My father asserted.
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