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The First Car I Ever Drove – in 1962 – a 1932 Chevrolet Sedan

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The first car I ever drove was a 1932 Chevrolet 4-door sedan. I was 13 and the car belonged to my aunt and uncle, Dorothy and Dudley Tice, who lived in the tiny hamlet of Barryton, Michigan. We used to vacation with them when I was a kid, and I experienced some of the happiest times of my young life there. This was one of them.

In small-town America in those days, 1962, lots of kids drove the family car around town at my age or younger. I had never been behind the wheel of moving vehicle but I as a car-smitten kid I had read all about it and was pretty confident I could handle the starting, steering, stopping, and gear shifting. When Aunt Dorothy asked me one morning if I would like to drive her to the grocery store because she had a sore foot, that was all I had to hear.

Emergency brake on, clutch to the floor, foot on the brake pedal, key in the ignition, and – liftoff! I carefully backed out onto the street, managed to shift to first gear with a minimum of crunching, and with a bit of help from a slipping clutch pulled away slowly from in front of the house. I managed to wind her down at the only stop sign between me and the needed groceries, and again pulled away with minimal distress. Ditto on the way home, and I stopped the car exactly in its starting position, under the tree beside the driveway. My aunt was flatteringly complimentary and at dinner announced to one and all that I had done a fine job as her chauffeur. We were leaving for home the next day, so that was my last driving experience in the old Chevy.

There is a corollary to the story. The last I heard, not too long ago, that old Chev is still sitting in my cousin Nancy’s garage, waiting for one of her grandkids to put it back on the road. I would love to do that myself, but the car is just not for sale, so I have to be content with my memories.

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