Our First Car
Marilyn M. Muller
When I was first married in 1946, we had neither the money nor a pressing need for a car. We rode to work on the Red Cars (Pacific Electric) and could occasionally borrow my in-laws' car for something special (we lived with the in-laws near Pasadena, California, until we found an apartment).
In my mind it was special because I learned to drive in it. It had a manual choke that needed mastering on cold mornings, and a shelf right behind the seat backs. Padded, that was the perfect place for the baby to ride on, after we had one.
One year we took the Ford camping to Lake Tahoe, and it had no problems at all on the mountain roads. Then there was the time we packed it full to move our little family from Pasadena to the Oakland area. My husband preferred to load the car while I transferred things outside. He would ask for a package that was "just the right size." For example, "I need a non-fragile box less than 9 inches square," or "something soft to fit on top in the trunk."
The radiator overheated during the move, luckily near a gas station. The cause was probably the spare tire that was fastened on the front of the car over the air intake because there was no room for it in the trunk. Everything else went well on the road, and nothing was broken when we arrived in Oakland.
Since the veteran's housing we lived in had no garages, we had to park on the street. We looked out our window a lot to verify that our car was still there. Eventually we deemed renting a garage necessary -- not only to foil thieves, but to keep the engine warmer for easier starting on cold mornings.
When we traded up to a newer sedan, traveling was more comfortable. We had a back seat and a car seat for the toddler. But it was seldom more fun than the Ford.