It was not a looker nor was it considered a racing vehicle; it was previously-owned when I got it but because it had belonged to my Uncle Bill, daddy was positive that it was cared for, serviced, and was in excellent operating condition.  I remember it as painfully plain but I was thrilled to have my own transportation and I dared not complain. 

My first car was a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air; green on the bottom with a white top and green and white interior.   It had a three speed shift on the column which delighted daddy for several reasons; he was convinced that every driver should master the art of changing gears; he knew it was reliable transportation, and was certain that the vehicle could never win a race. 

 It was a two door sedan model and was in pristine condition.  The oil had been changed frequently; back in the day when there were no local lube centers but we had acquaintances at the local dealerships and service stations who were delighted to have our business.  Uncle Bill washed that automobile every week and hand waxed it more frequently than anyone imagined. 

Uncle Bill had purchased it new for his wife, Aunt Inez so when they decided to trade cars as we called it in those days, daddy offered to buy it from them.  When the negotiations were complete, he let me drive it to school, as long as I obeyed the laws, did not cause an accident or get a speeding ticket.  I distinctly remember that the family car insurance premium only increased a few dollars when I got my license but it doubled when my brother David got his license. 

My second car was completely different and I was convinced that the reason daddy bought it was because he enjoyed a sporty ride.  I will never forget that he saw this beauty at Fred Kelley's Chevrolet dealership, fell instantly in love and negotiated for only one day before making the purchase. 

It was a candy apple red 1962 Falcon Sprint Convertible; the rag-top was white and it had a red and white interior with a three speed in the floor.  I remember driving it all around town every day for weeks, with the top down, and daddy riding shotgun.  He enjoyed the car and I was ecstatic with my new ride.  Learning to shift gears with my first car was an added benefit but it did not take long to discover that if you listened to the sound of the engine, and changed the gear slowly, you did not have to use the clutch; daddy referred to that a sweet benefit. 

You might wonder what happened to the bright red convertible, I got married and began driving momma's even fancier baby-blue Thunderbird, and Otto's owned a 1964 Chevrolet Impala Super Sports, so David inherited the little Falcon.  After a few months he traded it in on a blue 1966 Mustang, and the vehicle buying and trading continued.

Brenda S. Brown 


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