Cars — My First Experiences

Posing in a '62 MGB

In the US, most of us can trace our histories by the cars we owned, used, or learned to drive in. Not to mention the cars that provided room for early sexual  exploration. Whether you “made out” or “went all the way,” who doesn’t remember a few cars that were special?

My first driving lessons were in my dad’s  1953 white Ford convertible. My mother was my first instructor, but she was so nervous in the passenger seat she was already slamming on the imaginary brakes a half block from a stop sign in a residential area. The top was down so visibility was great, but my mom was a worrier. My dad didn’t fare much better, although he stayed calm during the lesson. “I need a beer,” he exclaimed to Mom when we got home safely. I got my learner’s permit but no car or permission to drive the family Ford.  I’ve recently used a photo of me sitting on that Ford’s hood in Tripoli.

Driving lessons in an old Nash Rambler were the perfect excuse for a boyfriend to get a few kisses and a little “petting,” as we called it then. After a little night driving practice and warnings about oncoming headlights, we found a likely spot for some action.  A few kisses later, we were in the sights of a large flashlight brandished by a policeman. It was just a warning that where we had parked was inappropriate (the grounds of an Episcopal seminary), but embarrassing nonetheless.

When the boyfriend took me home that night, he walked me to the door in his socks. The cops pulled up and, suspicious about the socks, questioned him, he told me later. When they got a close-up view and interviewed him, they realized he was quite reputable and not a potential burglar.

In college, one of my favorite memories was the white Corvette driven by the charming Army lieutenant who squired me about. He was stationed nearby and had more money to spend than the typical underclassman. Making out by a Virginia lake in spring, however, wasn’t a good choice. The next day I was taking semester exams and could barely restrain from scratching the hell out of the 40 mosquito bites on my legs. The car pictured here is similar to the lieutenant’s car, but he had the  US version with left-hand drive.

In my senior year I was trusted with my graduate student boyfriend’s MGB. He let me drive it by myself from time to time. I think he was serious about me, but I wasn’t ready to settle down, despite the nice car.

Years later, at the end of my marriage and the beginning of single life, my most vivid memories concern an aging Oldsmobile ’98, a Datsun, a near decrepit Ford LTD (retread tires and a trunk that didn’t open), a borrowed Porsche 944, a Yugo, a used BMW that was in great shape except for the broken AC,  and finally a brand new Mustang! Such is the brief version of my single life with cars.

I remember them all quite fondly, even when these cars were giving me grief. In Los Angeles, the best advice is to find a good and trustworthy mechanic.

3 Comments

  1. Diana Becker Mullins says:

    You have had quite a journey with the cars in your life

  2. Tyson Luthy says:

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really love the article. It proved to be very useful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had fun writing this article.

  3. Heather Vesterfelt says:

    Victoria, we met one time about 9 years ago and have maintained contact via e-mails. Your Blog has allowed me to know and appreciate you more and more revealing your history framed by your gift for writing. Thank you.

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