I saw this posted the other day and it really hit home. “Are you a Seenager?” A Seenager is apparently a Senior Teenager. Explain!
Well it’s someone who has everything they wanted as a teenager, only 55 to 60 years later! Think about it. You don’t have to go to school or work, you get an allowance every month, you don’t have a curfew, you have your own place to live. Your real ID gets you into bars and the liquor store, and you hang around with people who aren’t afraid of getting pregnant! They aren’t afraid of anything, if you’ve been blessed to have lived this long, what’s there to be afraid of? You don’t have acne, and you have a driver’s license and your own car.
Do you remember the feeling you had when you got your driver’s license and drove away all by yourself? Alone in a car without an adult or a parent with you. Just you and the car and freedom! What a great feeling that was. I was lucky enough to have access to the family car. A white Chevy II coupe. It didn’t win any car show awards, but it had 2 doors, 4 wheels and an engine. I had a weekend job at a gas station that gave me enough money to put a dollar’s worth of gas in that chariot, and a dollar’s worth of regular would do me for the entire weekend, and then some.
I can’t remember too many kids at school who owned their own car. Most relied on the generosity of their parents to use the family car. I’m sure parents held their breath and crossed their fingers every time their car disappeared down the street. I know later in life, as a parent, I wasn’t able to go to sleep until I heard the family car back in the driveway.
In high school I owned half a car for a few months, with my old friend, Charlie Brown which I think was the greatest scheme of our youth. I mentioned Charlie in an earlier edition of The Word, he was the guy I went to see the Beatles with back in 1964. He was a good buddy who would always come up with great ideas that I would always go along with. One of those brilliant ideas was making our own wine. We had all the ingredients, but the quality control was severely lacking. It seems making wine in the rafters of the garage doesn’t produce the finest wine. That’s for another edition of the Word which will be titled, “How not to make homemade wine.” But I digress.
One day Charlie saw an ad in the paper for a 1947 Rover, R75 Sedan with Eagle Claw fog lamps, well worn leather seats and as Charlie recalls, “a backseat so big that you could dance in it.” It also had something called a centrifugal clutch. When the centrifugal clutch was engaged, you could shift gears without working the clutch pedal, all you had to do was let off the gas, shift gears and apply the gas. Brilliant!
We went to have a look at the car in a backyard in East Vancouver. It was magnificent, and we fell in love with it. Camillo, the seller, agreed to take a $10 deposit, and we could come back with the balance on August 7, a day before my 17th birthday. As you can see by the receipt the total price for the Rover was $20! Not only is that an amazing price, but amazing that Charlie still has the receipt 58 years later!
The old Rover was truly our Rolls Royce! We cleaned it up, and purchased a day’s worth of insurance, loaded it up with kids from school, and headed to the Annual High School Track Meet. In those days the track meet was held every year at Empire Stadium at the PNE.
It was a school tradition on track meet day to meet in the school parking lot with whatever vehicles we could get our hands on, and decorate the cars with streamers in the school colours. We would then form a parade and make our way from Prince of Wales Secondary School on the west side of the city, to the PNE on the east side. It was a long drive and caused a few traffic jams along the way as we all tried to keep the parade intact. The old Rover was a shining centrepiece of that parade if I do say so myself.
What exactly happened after that day is still a mystery. Charlie recalls that the Rover lived on but ran into some transmission problems that were fixed by the school shop teacher. I seem to recall that following the Track Meet, as we were making our way home, the Rover started making horrific grinding noises from the transmission and started to lose a lot of fluid at the corner of Hastings and Renfrew. The kids on board abandoned ship, and we hung our heads and limped back home.
What became of the 1947 Rover? The two of us didn’t have the money to bring the old car back to life, so we sold it to an older kid at school for $50! Yes, we made a profit! Amazing.
One might say we had champagne tastes, on a beer budget, but it sure was fun while it lasted.
Till next week...
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1328 Johnston Road
White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2
White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2