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My Brother's Car

My Brother's Car

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Published by David1949
Chapter XL from My Back Pages by David L. Newman. K.S. Good, Editor. The Oldsmobile convertable which belonged to my older brother, should not have been left at home. When he returned, there was nothing left of his car. My friend, John and I had taken really good care of the car! As Johnny Cash sang "One Piece at a Time." That's how we spld it!
Chapter XL from My Back Pages by David L. Newman. K.S. Good, Editor. The Oldsmobile convertable which belonged to my older brother, should not have been left at home. When he returned, there was nothing left of his car. My friend, John and I had taken really good care of the car! As Johnny Cash sang "One Piece at a Time." That's how we spld it!

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Published by: David1949 on Oct 09, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chapter XL

“My Brother’s Car”
The car in this story is an Oldsmobile convertible. My oldest brother, Carl Wayne left the car parked beside our house for several months. The clutch was bad and he couldn’t or wouldn’t get it replaced. John and I discovered that we could start the car while the transmission was in neutral and then by revving the engine, shift it into gear. Once the car was in motion, we could do the same thing. Pushing the clutch pedal helped some but the grinding of the gears would be bad for the four-speed transmission. I don’t remember what year model the Olds was but it had bucket seats, a four-barrel carburetor and the four-speed transmission. Instead of driving our cars, we would usually drive this convertible around town. The main reason was- it had gas in the tank. Something that was difficult to have in our own cars. Besides the gas, it was fun to drive. We put many miles on that old convertible, plus a lot of strain on the transmission. The engine wasn’t in the best of shape either. It was the first thing to quit working. The engine broke down. We had gotten every mile possible from the old car. We couldn’t drive it anymore so that only left one option. We were going to strip it for everything we could sell. The bucket seats were the first things to go. We removed the seats, put them in the trunk of one of our cars, and headed to Denison to the first wrecking yard we could find. It didn’t take long to sell them. We split the money fifty-fifty. The money we received from the seats would last us about a week. We kept our plan to ourselves because if our brothers knew what we were doing they would have taken advantage of our new found fortune. When the money from the bucket seats ran out, we removed the intake manifold with the four-barrel carburetor. We took them to the same wrecking yard in Denison where we sold the seats. After checking the carburetor, we were once again given some muchneeded cash. By this time, we had made about a hundred dollars each. The money had lasted us almost two months. It was extra cash and very little work on our part. When the money from our other sales ran out, we removed the heads from the block. I think we got seventy-five dollars for them. We were slowly running out of things to sell. We were now down to the four-speed transmission. We saved it for last because of the damage we had inflicted on the gears. We didn’t think we would get that much for the transmission with what surely had many stripped gears. Finally, it was time to try to sell it.

We crawled under the car, removed the transmission, and headed off to Denison to our friend at the wrecking yard. We asked for one hundred dollars for the transmission with the shifter. The man at the wrecking yard said that he wanted to inspect the transmission first. As he was removing the bolts holding the side plate, John and I were standing there watching him. I don’t know what John was thinking but I was remembering every time I had revved the engine and heard the grinding of the gears. There was no way we were going to get a hundred dollars from that transmission. There would have to be ground-up pieces of metal on the bottom of that transmission. John and I were holding our breaths as he removed the last bolt. He laid the cover on the ground and then began to turn the shaft to look at the gears. We were in a state of shock when he stood up and reached for his billfold. With his greasy hands, he handed over five twenty-dollar bills. We didn’t stick around long after that. We were in the car and gone as fast as possible. I know we talked about that for days after. Still not believing we got that much for the transmission. I guess G.M. made good quality parts back in the day. Now that we had sold everything possible from the car, we were left with the stripped down body. I talked to my Mother about the car being a piece of junk and if Carl Wayne didn’t want it, she should get rid of it. There was no reason for it to be parked there. He abandoned it and apparently, he didn’t want it anymore. She agreed with me. She didn’t know that John and I had been cannibalizing it for months. She wanted it moved and we were just the ones to do the job. One of John’s uncles had a shop right up the street where he bought and sold cars to be crushed. My Mother said to tell him she would pay him to haul it off for her. Now if John and I had truly been dishonest, we could have made ten or twenty dollars each from my Mother. We couldn’t do that to her. John’s uncle paid us thirty-five dollars for the car. We told my Mother about the money and she said for us to split it between us. She thanked us for getting rid of the eyesore that had been in the way for months. “No problem Mom.” She made sure to tell us that she would have fresh milk, crackers, sweet pickles and two cans of chili waiting for us to eat around two thirty or three A.M. That was our weekly early morning snack after a night out on the town. She gave strict orders nobody was to eat our chili! I don’t know why but from the day I was born nobody was allowed to call my Mother by her first name. Nobody except for John Washburn. If any other person but John had called her by that name, they would have been in big trouble. John still calls her by her first name but I am not going to write the name for fear of what might happen to me if I do. Several months later, my older brother came home for a while. He had not been at home long before he asked about his Oldsmobile convertible. “What happened to my car? Carl Wayne asked my Mother. Her reply, “I got rid of the piece of junk!” He never said

another word about that car. As for John and me, we just wished he would leave us another car. The money sure would have been appreciated.

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