Tuesday, August 07, 2007

You Know Your Getting Old When . . .

1969 Olds Cutlass
So as I am driving down the main street of a small town in Maine today a car pulls in front of me which looks familiar. I immediately recognize it as a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442. I recognize it because is very similar to the car I took drivers education in while in high school. That one was a brand new 1969 Olds Cutlass, wine colored with a black interior. It was a very slick car to be taking drivers ed in and with the 442 cubic inch V-8 and 4-barrel carb, she was very fast. It looked almost identical to the one pictured on this page with the exception, ours did not have the over-sized sport tires.

I had the misfortune of taking drivers ed with three of the first stringers on the Loughlin basketball team. They were all well over six feet and when crammed into the back seat of the Cutlass, well, breathing was a problem. In all cases, my long-legged friends would have to shove the driver's seat practically into the trunk. I could get by with crossed legs, but the other three would have to their knees wrapped around their heads. It was not a pretty picture.

Ray Hyland had a lead foot and whenever it was his turn to drive, we all held our heads to avoid whiplash, including Mr. Sieve our instructor. Doty and McQuinlan were average drivers. And, I - of course - was the best driver having already been driving for several years. My first drive, at age 13 with Uncle Dick, is story for another time. Suffice it to say, Mr. Sieve liked me best and I was almost always chosen to bring the car back to school as the last driver, and sometimes also asked to be first to drive, bringing the car down to under the Brooklyn- Queens Expressway where we practiced.

The Cutlass was a super car. It had a hare-trigger accelerator that took some getting used too, and power brakes - which our family car did not have - that also took some getting use to; they stopped the car on a dime. Hyland would vacillate between gas and brake to the point of psychosis. It was a lot like bumper cars at Coney Island, without the fun.

So why to I share the story today?

Well, as I got closer to that '68 Olds today, I noticed something that made me feel VERY OLD. The car had "antique auto" license plates.

So, you know you are getting old... when the car to used to take drivers ed in when you were in high school is now considered an antique.

As Mr. Sieve was fond of saying, "Oiy!"


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