My First Car
When I was about fifteen, I developed car fever and the only way to cure it was to get a car, but there was one problem- I did not have enough money. Well guess what, one night while suffering with this fever, my uncle from Dallas called. He owned an automobile repair shop on Beckley Avenue in Dallas. He called and said he had a car for me if I wanted it! Sure I wanted it and I could just picture this beautiful car sitting there in his shop all gleaming with a fresh wax job! The next day I filled a bag with my clothes, tooth brush, and hairwax and took off for Dallas. No, my daddy did not drive me to Dallas. I have already told you, in a previous blog, that my recreation was not his problem. I walked about a mile out to the highway and hitchhiked to Dallas! When I got there, I was let out about two miles from my uncle’s shop. It was pouring down rain and I had to walk the two miles. It didn’t matter though because I was getting ever closer to that “gleaming Jewel”!
My heart was just pounding when I finally got to the shop! I made a quick scan of the shop but did not see that little jewel. My uncle ran over to welcome me. I asked him where my car was and he walked me over to a side window. As I looked out the window he said “there it is” while pointing to this old broken down 1936 Ford sedan, buried up to it’s axle in the mud! My heart sank and I felt like I just took a hard blow to the belly. Of course, I could not let my disappointment show. After all, it was a free car. My uncle got his wrecker and we drug it into the shop. Here set my pile of wet, muddy, junk!
I stayed with my uncle for two weeks while we got my car running, cleaned up, painted, and installed a new headliner and seat covers. It looked pretty good and I only owed my uncle $36, which he let me pay back over a few months. We only needed one thing- tires! The tires were bald with worn-through spots. To solve this problem, we split an inter-tube for each tire and put the good inter-tube inside this split tube. Essentially what we had was a tire with the thickness of an intertube between me and the road! Guess what? I got home without having a blow out! If I had lost a tire I would have been in a fix, being without a spare tire. There may have been one micron of rubber left when I got home!
The next priority was to get a good set of tires, but I had no money and it was no use asking my daddy for help- it just wasn’t his problem. There are ways to get by without money and one of my tricks was to go to the city dump to get tires. You could always find four tires with a little tread left- enough to last about three or four weeks. Then I would go back for another set. I learned to change a set out as fast as an Indy 500 pit crew! Later I got a 39 Ford coupe and used the same “supplier” for tires. After a few years of this someone got smart and started cutting the steel cord which rendered them useless.
The city dump was only about a mile from my house so it was easy to go “shopping”. It was located between the levee road and the new river. It was about due west of the Sonic near Brazosport High