I know we all remember the stories that our grandparents told us of their youth without an automobile. They had to walk three miles to school in all kinds of weather, and uphill both ways. My grandmother never had a family car, but would walk or get a ride with someone when she wanted to go anywhere. When her son got his first job, she taught herself how to drive his car in the sagebrush of rural Utah. Later, he would supply her with his used vehicle when he purchased a new car. Finally, she had her own transportation. (Photo above of my aunt Ethel, her husband to be Sonny with his Dad's car in front of my grandma's house in Silver City.)
Modern teens avoid walking at all costs––they either have friends or parents or older siblings who chauffeur them. As a teenager, I shared the family car (on the right the family car and me as an A&W car hop) with my widowed mom. Dropping her off at her job in order to be able to drive to my ballet lessons and other activities, I always picked her up promptly from her work. Walking to high school, during college I was lucky enough to have a bike. The only problem was I no longer lived in the mild climate of California. It was a real shock that first winter day at BYU riding my bike on snow. Many days, I walked to classes rather than sliding around on the ice with my two-wheeler.
When I graduated from college, I was able to buy my first car. With my first fulltime job, I bought my own automobile. What an exciting event. I was now a responsible adult as a teacher at BYU. Thrilled to be able to make monthly loan payments for my used Ford Fairlane (photo on left), I felt I had arrived. Though a real gas guzzler, it had four doors and an automatic shift that made it a lot easier to drive. Fuel only costs a few cents/gallon in those days,
My husband’s first car was a 1952 used Chevy. He describes it as brown and ugly. Nicknamed the Tan Can, it did have a radio and four doors but wasn’t sporty at all. As a junior in high school, he got it from his dad’s business where he helped out before and after school. With wheels now, my hubby could drag Main Street with his friends and head to the local teen hangout-the A&W Root Beer Drive Inn (in Texas). This same car would take him to college a few years later.