mark c 1949 Ford F-1 1/2 Ton 2dr Stake

Learned to Drive - Delaware Style, the hard way

There were driving laws in the early 50's in Delaware, but there was a lot of "looking the other way" by law enforcement due to the farming nature of the area and the need for those in outlying areas to get to school. There were busses but as today, they were for the young'ans and those that did not possess some sort of transportation. My grandfather, Sherman had a 1949 green pickup truck. He was a chicken farmer, mechanic, etc. and he would let my father use it to take the trash to the dump on Saturdays. Gotta tell ya, a trip to the dump was a major event as we got to take 22's and shoot rats. This truck had the manual 3 speed with a super long shifter up from the floor. One Saturday when my Dad was working, Mom let my older brother take the truck along with one of his friends and me. (I was part of the deal that let him take the trash, so to speak) At this time I am 7 and he is 13. He would rev the truck, pop the clutch and spin wheels on the dirt roads and leave a trail of dust. When we arrived at the road that led to the dump he asked if I wanted to drive and said he would help. Help he did, me barely able to see over the steering wheel, hardly able to reach the pedals and scared, moved into position. He had me step on the gas while he stood on the running board holding the clutch in. He then gave me the 3-2-1 count down, released the clutch and jumped off of the truck. Not sure how fast that truck could go in first gear, but I was holding that accelerator down until I realized that I could not make the turn into the dump. I guess I sat up to better steer and took my foot off the gas and power slid into the dump opening and lucky for me the engine stalled. There was a lot of yelling and hollering by others that were there, the fellow who ran the dump and finally my brother and his friend as they had to run about a half mile to catch up. The truck was promised to me but my Grandfather died when I was overseas in 1967 and I never got to see him or that great ol' pickup again.

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