3 weeks, 3 dates, 3 classics
1958. Finished Stadium high school in Tacoma, Wa. Had saved my money, bought my first car, a 1936 Ford 5 window coupe. Towed it home. No wiring, no brakes, transmission and engine parts in the trunk, along with a driveshaft & many small, unknown parts. Complete original body and interior including a radio. Spent the summer after work installing a rebuilt Mercury 90, adding hydraulic brakes, wiring, etc.
1959. Been attending a junior college in Bremerton, Wa. Meet my wife to be, Dee. I figured she was used to a bit more comfort than the ‘36 could offer, so I warned her about my car…don’t wear good clothes.
Friday comes and I head to Tacoma, where I have family and laundry facilities. Clean clothes for the first date. Unfortunately, while messing around in Tacoma Saturday morning, I lose the driveshaft on the ‘36. Priorities loom; first date or fix the car. I chose correctly and borrowed a cousin’s car, a 1957 Robin’s Egg Blue T-Bird. The date went really well, but she wondered what I was talking about when I described my ‘36! A second date planned for the following Saturday.
Following Friday, clean clothes, messing around with an old friend, break a transmission gear. Borrow another car, this time my mother’s. She was generous. Her car, a 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille. This car had every new, powered gadget available at the time and huge inside; could sit 4 in the front seat, unlike the T-Bird with a gearshift between 2 seats. Chrome galore inside and out and one could hear the radio so clearly you would think it was live (for that time anyway). My father had modified the exhaust so it echoed driving down Broadway at night. COOL! Dee was suspect that I wasn’t who I said I was because I kept talking about my ‘36 Ford but hadn’t showed up with it yet. Still she agrees to another date the following Saturday, only she has a choral performance before our date. I’ll drive you and hear you sing.
Saturday I arrive in my ‘36. She’s not impressed like she was the previous dates. For the performance she wears a black and white dress made of, I would guess, 12 yards of tulle. It’s pretty, wrinkly and puffy. It fills my ‘36. Trouble finding the transmission lever, seeing out the window, and adjusting the radio; couldn’t hear it well anyway. Driving to the veterans home where the performance was scheduled, smoke suddenly appeared from under the dash. Being a quick thinker I told Dee to be ready to jump when I pulled into an empty service station. I feared all that tulle bursting into flame. She exited the car quickly, although she did not jump. Fortunately, one of Dee’s friends and fellow singers was following in a ’55 chevy and saw the smoke and pulled in to help. They went on to the performance while I fixed the problem; electrical shorting. I attended the performance and we continued on our date. I think it was a movie.
Dee and I have been together going on 53 years come Sept. The ‘36 went away, but not before many more exciting events to enrich our memories.
Classics-’36 Ford, ‘57 T-Bird, ‘54 Cadillac = 3 dates, 3 weeks