NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

August 29, 2013

How many cars have you owned?

Every Thursday night a group of us gather for “Thirsty Thursday” at the house of a longtime friend, affectionately know as “Gram Haley,” for finger food and libations.

As you would expect when a small crowd gathers, many topics of discussion arise, from world events, local politics, sports, boating and sometimes even reminiscing about the days of our youth and the things we “got away with,” being mindful that a few younger ears are hanging on every word.

Well, this week was no exception, but somehow the conversation with the men got around to counting up all our vehicles we’ve owned since having a license.

I have to admit that it was a nice walk down “mechanics row” to remember all the classic ones and the clunkers that I sank what seemed to be a life savings into.

I guess we all have looked in that rear-view mirror with regrets and uttered, “If I only knew then what I know now.”

My first was a classic in its day. A 1962 red and white Olds Jetfire that I bought from my cousin Wendall for $50. It had very high mileage and was OK for around-town driving, but it met its demise when four of us attempted a ski trip to Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley, Maine.

Needless to say, it was not up to the task. It made it as far as Ogunquit before the engine started to knock. We managed to limp off the highway and back to Kittery before it finally gave its last knock.

No. 2 was a 1965 Plymouth Fury III with a slant six engine. People my age and older will attest to the reliability of this proven machine. This time we made it to Saddleback! In fact, when we got up in the morning and found the temperature around 12 below, my friends’ parents’ car, a brand new VW Super Beetle, failed to start, so we hitched the battery cables from the old, that fired up with the first turn of the key, to the new and bingo!

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