I bought my first car when I was 15 years old. This was back in 1956. It was a 1933 Chevy sedan and it cost me $35. I didn’t have a license. I didn’t have insurance. I didn’t even have a registration, but I drove it home anyway, down a bridle path where no motor vehicles were allowed and parked it in a neighbors field. A neighbor who’s son was a local police officer. I didn’t say I was smart. Just young. But that was the start of my love affair with cars.
Over the years, I have had many. Many of the same or an older vintage then I. But it didn’t matter. Within them I found a sense of freedom that did not exist elsewhere. They were my time machines, taking me to places where I had not ventured before, either by design or mistake. Many were cranky and possessed malady’s that had to be dealt with or worked around. Like the old Pontiac that had no first or reverse gear. Had to be very careful where you parked and be pretty skillful with the clutch. Or the Hudson Jet that, while driving back to base in northern Maine in the middle of the night, during a wicked snowstorm, decided to drop the drivers door window down into the casing. Or the one that allowed you to watch the street through the floorboards on the passenger side. All adventures for the taking.
I look back now and wonder “what the hell were you thinking” and of course the logical answer is “I wasn’t”. I was simply driving down another uncharted road without any real concern for destination. It was all about the ride. Still is in many cases. I still love the sense of adventure attached to turning the next corner or realizing that you have somehow ended up, perhaps not where you expected, but somewhere you may never have seen had it not been for that instant decision you made several miles back. As George Hamilton once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there”. He was right. I’ve been there.