I don’t have enough pictures scanned yet, so this one is bringing up all the memories of our earliest years in Portland, Oregon. There is no date on this picture, but I’m guessing December, 1968, and I am barely 17. We have just moved to a house from an apartment complex that had four units hooked to one thermostat – ours. We had ALL the heat, and the neighbors at the end had none. Our windows were open all winter.
You can’t see the little white house, which I later burned up partly. We rented from Mr. and Mrs. O’Bara this wonderful house between Glisan and Burnside on 68th Street. I wasn’t driving yet, but I had taken driver’s ed in the summer to a disastrous end. You can see the car behind us. It was a Beetle, like many people had in those days, and it went a long ways on a dollar when gas was $.27 a gallon. Mom could never afford more than that at a time, and I didn’t drive unless I absolutely had to.
Mom felt magnanimous one day and told me I could drive to Fred Meyers, which was on Glisan and 67th, one block and one light away. The car faced the way you see it. I turned left on Davis that side street you see, and left again on 67th. One more block until the light, and I made it. Unfortunately, the light turned red. I stopped. The light turned green. I put the car in gear, and pressed on the gas. Jolt – stop. I started it again. Jolt to 1/4 the way through the intersection. Stop. Again, I started the car. By this time I’m panicked and crying. Mom gripped the grab handle so hard her knuckles turned white. The light turned red. Glisan traffic was ready to go, and I was only 3/4 of the way through the intersection. I kept going. Jolt – stop – jolt – stop. The right hand lanes of traffic zoomed past my little air-cooled motor.
As soon as we cleared Glisan, I gladly jerked to the curb, and Mom and I quickly traded seats. She drove the half block down a steep hill into the parking lot of Fred Meyers. I didn’t drive again until summer, and only then because Mom was out-of-town, and our great-grandparents were staying with us while she was gone. Neither of them could drive a stick shift. (hahaha)
So what do you think happened?
What crazy experience did you have driving when you were 15-17?