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Studying my drivers manual diligently to pass my test was uppermost on my agenda

in the two weeks prior to my sixteenth birthday. At last I had my license and now
I could legally drive into Orleans to attend school. I was looking forward to
using Dads motorcycle. It was a smaller Honda that I always felt more comfortable
riding and it would have worked fine for me to use, but in the fall of 1970 the
weather became less temperate. Unable to use the motorbike, I was forced into
walking a half mile every morning to catch the bus to school. When I was fifteen
it was easy stuff to walk everywhere and I was accustomed to it, but you know
mom's. She didn't want me to walk. A few days before my 16th birthday Dad told me
it wouldn't be long, and I would be driving to school instead of riding on the
bus. It was a mystery how this could happen as mom had the car during the days for
her job. I didn't question him on it though, not just now.

Later that evening when we were eating dinner I seen a chance to ask dad about
my driving. Looking toward both of them I asked, "How am I going to drive to
school when mom has the car at work?"

At first, you could have heard a pin drop, it got so quiet. I almost wondered if
I should have said anything by the looks on their faces. Then Dad glanced at mom
and she nodded her head. "Well, it was going to be a surprise on saturday," she
mumured, "but we're going to the Lion's Club auction." Looking directly at me dad
says, "You're going to need a car to commute to and from school this year." "You
have your drivers license and a job, Paul, I see no reason why you can't have your
own car." I sat there listening intently while Dad explained there was a car on
the auction block that he intended to purchase if it was fairly inexpensive. He
said it was a 1958 Chevrolet Belaire that belonged to a friend of his. He said he
knew that it was a dependable car and that it would make a good means of
transportation for me. "It's what your mom and I will have for your birthday this

I barely could contain my excitement until saturday arrived. This was just the
type of thing that my Dad was so notorious for, bringing something to my attention
days beforehand, then the anticipation would make me crazy. He and Mom had given
me access to all their vehicles and I had been driving locally for a couple of
years. Living in the country, most kids drove farm vehicles, trucks, combines, a
tractor; long before city kids even had a thought about it. During harvest, I
drove the stock truck and the combine, because Dad needed the help. Every
afternoon, I grabbed Dads pickup and went to a neighbors farm 3 miles away to
gather hay for the horses. Just as often I took the motorcycle to Mandy's house.
I knew how to drive.

Walking into the auction house I could see the car sitting just a little to the
left of the podium. I'm sure I was walking a little too quickly towards it because
Dad was laughing at me, "What's the big rush?" He kept teasing me the closer we
neared the car, and I was laughing at the things he said. "You'll have that car,
and then you're gonna get uncontrollable" he said. Chuckling, snickering and
taunting me, "Mom and I won't see you after that." Then he goes, "You're just
gonna hold your head in the air when you meet people on the road cause you'll have
the hottest car around." He was correct in that thinking because the car looked
almost new.

The mileage was extremely low for a car that was 12 years old. It was blue and
white with a cloth interior and not a dent or sign of rust in the body. The engine
was clean and it purred like a kitten when Dad turned the key. Of course, I fell
in love with it immediately. I'm sure the look on my face told the entire story
and the car went for $255.00 so Dad purchased it.

The car had belonged to a friend of Dad and Mom's who purchased the automobile
new off the showroom floor. Him and his wife only took it across town to the
grocery store and post office, otherwise it sat in a garage, which attributed to
the low miles on the odometer. Through till the end of school and beyond, the
Chevy took my brother and myself to school, sports functions and family get
togethers. Mandy and I took it to the drive-in movies on weekends and my friends
enjoyed joy-riding many days and nights in the 1970's.