What Was I Like At Sixteen?

Before I turned sixteen my social life was dismal failure, what with fifteen miles of deserted, country road between me and the girlfriend I was absolutely nuts about. She lived on Plum Street, “plum outta town,” she said more times than I care to remember. She didn’t know the definition of outta town.

So a week before I turned sixteen every free hour was spent making the car somewhat legal. Driving was not a problem. I’d been driving tractors, combines, and farm trucks since I was tall enough to reach the pedals. The car was the problem, 1939 Buick, two years younger than me, that had never seen a proper repair in its lifetime.

I was probably skilled beyond my years in solving mechanic and electrical problems, but I was severely challenged that autumn in 1953. This thing had to be right, or at least seem that way to the tester.

The dimmer switch was burned out, and I had no cash for a replacement. I cut the park light wire at the headlight switch, and wired in the low beam in its place, because I knew the tester would be out front looking at my lights and not inside seeing what I did to make that occur. The park brake was a different problem. A cables coming from each rear wheel met halfway forward where a length adjuster was installed. It would have been a simple matter had my adjuster was a ball of rust. So, I fastened a 4×4 to the car frame, making the park brake cable, for all practical purposes, shorter.

What was I like on my sixteenth birthday? I was a nervous wreck. What if he listened for the click of the headlight dimmer switch? What if he got on his hands and knees and spotted my 4×4? Without a doubt my name would be added to a list and I wouldn’t be permitted to test again for forty years.

But the old Buick passed. I passed. Nothing else mattered. I had wheels.

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9 thoughts on “What Was I Like At Sixteen?

  1. Scott, love this story! We live 12 miles out of town and my 17 year isn’t interested in driving…even with a fairly nice older pickup ready for him to drive! I work at school,,so he hops a ride with me! I often worry out kids have so much and the simple things of life, the desire to want and wait for something, is taken from them with our overabundance. He is a lover of books and writing. We try to instill the life we live is fragile and the stability of our times in bases on the Rock and corner stone, Jesus. He is a good boy, but reading your story, the evidence of how our times have changed for 16 year old boys is striking. Simple events that made a impression upon you and set the course of life. I know God has great plans for my boy as He had for that 16 year old of years gone by:) blessings Scott! denise

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    • Scott says:

      Thank you very much. Up to 16 my getting around was confined to a saddle hours, bicycle, and my thumb. Well, there was a scooter, a used doodlebug that didn’t work out so well. I’ll post that story soon.

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