The car was the one

Luckily, the car was the one that got hurt when my parents and I got creamed when I was 2. Daddy had just gotten his first brand-new car, a yellow-and-white 1957 Chevy Bel-Air; he named her “Betsy.”

57chevyBig bench front seat. Giant steering wheel. No child-safety laws.

Mother was cuddled up to Daddy and I stood on the front seat next to her. Don’t gasp; it wasn’t negligence – that’s just how things were in the old days.

The teenage boy who slammed into the passenger side of the car ran a stop sign. Mother saw him coming or heard the squealing tires because she had enough time to slip her arm behind me and throw me onto Daddy.

I very vaguely remember crying with grief over the small bit of blood on the neck of “my poor Daddy!” I don’t think anyone else was hurt by flying glass, miraculously. In all my toddler-fussing over Daddy’s blood, I was oblivious to Mother’s dislocated shoulder from saving my life.

But we all walked away, and the car was repaired. We kept it until Daddy traded it in (I cried) on a white 1964 Pontiac Tempest station wagon years later.

That Tempest was a lemon, if there ever was one, but I did learn to drive in it. Yes, I was much below legal age, but again, things were looser back then.

It didn’t like to start much of the time, and Pam and I had to learn to “poke the choke,” as we called it. We took turns removing the air filter and pushing something while Mother started the engine. Not bad for pre-teen/adolescent girls.

That one got traded in on a 1969 Ford LTD. Nothing held a candle to Betsy, though.

And no car is more important than the loved ones it transports.

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