When I turned 16 1n 1960, my mother took that afternoon off from her real estate job and waited for me to come running home from the school bus stop. We got into her 1957 Chrysler Windsor and she drove me to the NYDMV office in Garden City. After the necessary processes I walked out of the DMV with a New York State learner’s permit, unlocked the passenger door for my mother, got into the driver’s seat, adjusted the seat and mirrors, and drove home.
This was the beginning of my real life. Driving – legally – on public roads. No more back and forth runs in the family driveway and no more driving slowly around the parking lot of the Freeport Yacht Club when no one else was watching.
I had been saving up money for the time when I could buy a car doing odd jobs like mowing lawns, weeding gardens, paper routes, shoveling snow in the Winter, scrubbing boat hulls in the Summer, and baby sitting. Yes, baby sitting. It was good money and easy indoor work, and all I could eat from the fridge.
In 1960, 100 dollars could buy a reasonable vehicle if you weren’t fussy. I wasn’t too fussy, but I didn’t find anything that struck me the way I wanted to be struck. And, after selling my small boat and outboard motor, I had 300 dollars to buy a car.
One evening in late fall of 1960 I was walking along the dock in Freeport Long Island when it happened; I was struck. It was love at first sight.
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