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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our 1950 Pontiac


The picture above is me, back in 1950, standing beside our fancy, new Pontiac Silver Streak coupe. Man--wasn't that a cool automobile???? Look at those whitewall tires. I remember washing and waxing that beauty, and cleaning those tires like crazy making sure they were really white and pretty!

When I turned FOURTEEN (in 1956), I got my driver's license. Back then, in the state of Virginia, we could get our license at that age---with no driver's training. I actually started driving when I was 13---with my Daddy's help. Can you believe it????

The old Pontiac was a straight shift and I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, learning to drive on those narrow, curvy back roads. I certainly got the 'hang' of driving at a very young age!!!! BUT---I don't think I convinced my parents just what a GREAT (???) driver I was--------until we took a trip to Daytona Beach when I was 16 years old.

On that trip, my Dad developed sun poison while in Daytona. SO---young Betsy got to drive all the way back to Virginia, including a drive through downtown Jacksonville. (Remember, there were no interstate highways back then!) I did a good job, got us home safely, and my folks never complained again about my driving...

The following year, they sold the Pontiac and bought a HUGE 1956 Oldsmobile '98. I missed that ole' Pontiac---but certainly had some fun times driving the Olds... Recently I looked at Classic Car prices on the internet and found an old Pontiac (similar to ours) on sale for about $19,000. Guess we should have kept that car. Ya think?????? ha

What age were you when you got your driver's license??? Did you learn to drive a 'straight shift' (or 5-speed)??? What kind of car????

Have a great Saturday.
Hugs,

54 comments:

WILBO43 said...

Amazing. A driver's license at age 14. I never heard of such a thing. With most car accidents caused by younger drivers,here in Australia there is now talk of lifting the age for a driver's license from 17 to 21 years of age. Who knows.

I do love that 1950 Pontiac. It would have been a little petrol thirsty I bet. Great blog post.

Jo said...

Wow, Betsy, 14 and legally driving. I waited until I was 19 before I got my driver's lisence. Both our sons could drive competently at 11 (growing up on the farm all kids drove dad's pick-ups around the local roads) and had to wait until they were 18 to get their permits. That's the law here, although many of the people drive without any training at all. I love the look of that ole Pontiac. I'm off on another bike ride with hubby and will be home in about a week. Oh yes, I have my learner license for my motor bike but have not taken my road license for it yet. That will warrant a post when I pass that one in my late 50's Ha! (((Hugs))) Jo

JLS Hall (Joysweb) said...

What a cute photo and story! You certainly got an early start with your driving. My husband started at 13, too, but I didn't really learn to drive until I was 21 and married and had to drive to get to work. And I did learn on a "straight" manual shift. It was an MG Midget sports car, and it was lots of fun to drive. But these days, all our cars have been automatics and I wouldn't have it any other way! Thanks for all the memories.

SquirrelQueen said...

That's a great story, you really had a chance to prove your driving skills at an early age. I started learning how to drive at 14 but had to wait until I was 16 to get my license. I learned on an automatic and it was years later before I learned to drive a straight shift. My first car, one that was just for me, was a Corvair.

Judy

Neal said...

I don't remember how old I was however I know I was older than 14 because we didn't have an automobile when I was that young. I learned to drive in a car with a manual transmission. I bought cars with manual transmissions for a long time before I got one with an automatic. If it wasn't for resale I would still buy a car with a manual transmission..assuming I could get one in the car I wanted.

Arkansas Patti said...

You really proved you self with that trip. Way to go.
My brother drove us from Key West, Florida to Ohio when he was 15 with no second gear. He is my driving hero.
I had such a fear of the boys in blue, I was 19 before I finally passed my test but it was a stick shift. Not many young people today even know what a "stick" is.

Pam said...

Love the picture! I learned to drive in St. Louis, and I am absolutely terrible at these winding hilly roads in TN. Really, you don't want to get behind me, I go so slow there is always a huge line of cars behind me.

Darla said...

I bet you do wish you had that beauty still. I was made to get mine at 17, I hated driving....

Sandra said...

this post brings back fond memories. When we moved to Kentucky from Georgia in 1953, my dad bought a brand new 53 pontiac, it looked a lot like your picture. I bought my first car when I turned 18, a 56 Chevy, 2 door hardtop. I taught myself to drive in that car. My dad was under the impression girls did not learn to drive, my brother learned at 15. I graduated, found a job and bought the car. loved it. love the memories.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Betsy: I was a Chevy guy growing up and my dad had a similar Chevy growing up. I learned to drive on an automatic but learned how to drive a stick shift real soon.

SmilingSally said...

I was 26 when I FINALLY got my license, and I drove a VW Bug with the gear shift. I still cannot parallel park!

Tabor said...

I got my learner's permit at 15 and my license at 16. I remember my mom learning to drive in her 30's while I sat in the back seat.

Dorothy said...

I married at 17 and didn't get my drivers license until after that. I never learned to drive a straight shift car, although I did learn to drive a John Deere tractor with shift gears. Our first car was an Oldsmobile.

Jayne said...

I leaned to drive when I was 15 and got my license when I was 16. Never did learn to drive a 5 speed, and my first car was a 1970 Chevelle Malibu with a 350 engine... bad car for a young lead foot!

Beth said...

Wow, driving at 14---that's amazing. Such a beautiful car you had then, Betsy. Do you still enjoy driving? Like Jayne, I learned to drive at 15 and got my license at 16. At 17, I bought (from my parents) a 1964 Plymouth Belvidere that my aunt had given to them. It was in pristine condition with a push-button transmission and I wish I had it still. And, no, I never learned to drive a stick-shift because I was traumatized when I got my brother's stick-shift Volkswagon Bug stuck on the railroad tracks when he was trying to teach me to drive a stick-shift, and I could never make myself try it again.

Richard said...

I learned to drive when I was around 11 but then I lived on a farm. First car was a 49 Chevy and an old Jeep and of course tractors.

Daisy said...

Cool old car, Betsy! I learned to drive and got my license at 16. My younger son is 15 and a half and will be starting his driver's training soon. I'm not looking forward to that! HA! :D

Sunny said...

Love the picture, Betsy.
I learned to drive when I was eleven on an old stick shift truck on a friend's farm. Old dirt roads connected a lot of farm areas, there was no traffic except for old trucks and farm equipment.
I took my driving test on a stick shift in the city with a lot of hills. I can remember my father sitting in the back seat as white as a ghost while the man from the Registry sat in front giving instructions.
Those were the days!
Sunny :)

Wendy said...

Oh my!! Driving at such a young age!!! And all the way home from Daytona beach!! You must have been one determined lady.

I took the appropriate driving school lessons at age 16 up here in Canada. I really did not drive the family car as my Dad wouldn't let any one of us drive it. So, I really didn't drive very much until I was married and we bought our first car in 1975!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a great piece of Betsy History!!! I can't believe you started driving so young...but times were different I suppose and there were less people on the road too.
I was 15 when I started learning and I learned on a stick and automatic.

Cheryl said...

I took Drivers Ed when I was 16 but didn't get my license until I was 18. My parents had a VW bus and I had to practice driving on that with a stick shift-horrors! All three children love to drive standards but not me. Here the new driver cannot have any passengers that are not immediate family in the car for the first year they have a license and cannot be on the road between 12:00 midnight and 5:30 a.m. Enjoyed your driving stories Betsy.

:: flyingstars :: said...

Nice going down vintage lane & driving at 14, I think you did a great job...for me it was at eighteen feeling whats to be behind the steering...!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Way to go Betsy.
I was 16 when I learned how to drive and it was an automatic.I don't remember what car it was as Dad had the habit of buying new cars often.When Jake and I got married he had a stick shift so I had to learn how to drive that as well.
Blessings,Ruth

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I was 17 when I got my driver's license. The car that I learned on was an automatic Chevy Chevette. Never could master the clutch in my hubby's car, so all our cars since he traded that one in have been automatic.

Tricia said...

14 YEARS OLD?!!!? Didn't have to wear seat belts back then either, so man oh man! hehehee

I should have gotten my driver's license at 16, but didn't get around to it til 17. My grandparents gave me their Chevy Citation, but honestly, I had been driving all over town since I was 14, (so I was driving illegally) cuz my friends let me drive their cars. Shame on them, huh?! They could have gotten in a lot of trouble. I didn't learn how to drive a stick til I was 23 or so when I found a CJ5 Jeep & HAD TO HAVE IT, so I purchased it, brought it home, then learned how to drive it - Now, that was FUN!

storyteller said...

Wow ... THIS brings back memories! My brother (9 years my senior) inherited a green Plymouth from my Uncle's family (Mom's brother who died in his mid 40s of a heart attack) ... and taught ME to drive it when I was 12 (first in the long driveway of our house and later on private streets nearby. I did take Driver's Training but it was my brother who took me to the DMV to take the written test and driving test too when I was 15 and a half (much to my parent's dismay I had a REAL license after that trip). Interestingly, my brother's next car was an Oldsmobile Cutlass. Strange, eh?
Hugs and blessings,
Hugs and blessings,

Kirigalpoththa said...

That is a grand car!

Snap said...

I was 16 when I got my license and drove a 57 chevy -- manual transmission. That car was a tank.

imac said...

Great and interesting story Betsy, they certainly dont make cars - like they used to.

Carol said...

My Dad raced and trained Harness Horses..he told us he'd teach us to driver but first we had to learn how to "drive" the wheelbarrow (clean stalls)..once the track closed for the winter he let us drive all over the barn area..we practiced driving thru and backing thru the manure bins. I was 15..my brother 14.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

Joy said...

What a great story. Little you and that big car. I can't believe you could see over the steering wheel. I got my license at 16 and learn to drive on a stick shift a little Datsun B210 I think.

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

I'm impressed...driving at 14...don't let any teenagers hear that story, it would give them ideas. I got my license at 16 and my Daddy made me learn to drive everything anything, stick shift, trucks, tractors, lawn mowers...no saying "I can't at my house"!!!
I did enjoy this post Betsy...

♥Kathy♥ said...

That is a neat looking car Betsy. I was 16 and my mom taught me to drive. She had just gotten her drivers license a couple years before that. Heck I remember the poor man he was in the car for my drivers exam. He passed me, he said, only because the car was so tiny and I had to have the seat all the way forward. He had to set crooked in the seat.

mountain.mama said...

What a great car! I love old cars. The first car I ever bought was a 1963 Studebaker lark. I still have dreams of that car. I got my license at 17 and learned to drive a stick first. Best thing.

Small City Scenes said...

My wierd and strange story---I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 16 but then I got married and had a family and a small farm and never did get a license or ever get to drive a car or anything. Well only a horse. when I went to work (after all the kids were in school) I walked until I got a bike and then--in my mid 40s mind you--I bought a car and learned to drive--well I already was a good driver watching my husband all those years and FINALLY got my license. Now I just love to drive. MB

bookbabie said...

Great old photo! My dad started driving young too, Lived in the UP of MI on a farm and pretty much had to:)

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Sixteen, or rather fifteen if you count learner's permit. I'm thankful I learned manual early on. Like riding a bike it's something you never forget.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I rememebr my Dad had a similar car when I was young betsy! I could almost stand uoright in it as it was so roomy. I rmember the steering wheel was so big!

Growing up in NYC criving was not a priority, as there is such great public transportation.
I didn't learn to drive until I was married and 7 months pregnant with my son. I wanted to be able to drive him to the pediatrican's office if I needed to. My husband didn't learn until we were married. His father never even had a car!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

What a wonderful huge car Betsy !
Fourteen years old, my I can't even imagine driving at fourteen.
I didn't know how to drive an automatic when I first came Stateside, so my husband bought me a stick shift. Nowadays, I wouldn't trade an automatic for a stick shift, but it was what I knew best, all those years ago.
My first car was a 54 Ford Prefect, an English car driven by a gentleman who hardly ever took it out of the garage, except on Sundays. I was sixteen when I passed my drivers test. When I first came to America and took my test, I passed, but my dear hubby didn't (he's American) and I had to drive him home ...lol

NCmountainwoman said...

I got my license at 16. We always had a Chevy. When my own children learned to drive I insisted they learn on my stick shift and they both were glad I did.

Diane said...

I'm pretty sure that's the same kind of car my 1st husband had when we were dating and when we got married. I've been searching through old pictures today trying to find one of that. Ours was bronze colored. If I find it I'll send it to you. In fact he taught me to drive in that one.

Diane said...

I'm pretty sure that's the same kind of car my 1st husband had when we were dating and when we got married. I've been searching through old pictures today trying to find one of that. Ours was bronze colored. If I find it I'll send it to you. In fact he taught me to drive in that one.

Lola said...

Betsy, my dear, you do know how to bring memories to the forefront.
I learned to drive at the age of 15 in a 1950, 2 door, black Chevrolet. It seems I only knew how to drive on the left side of the road. Forget the brakes, rocks flying from the wheels on that gravel road.LOL
A long time ago.

Kelly said...

...I love those big old cars. Some day I would like to own one (for fun, not to drive everywhere--they are gas guzzlers!). 16....automatic...Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme! The first car I bought was a LeCar stick shift. I learned to drive the stick on my way to school the next day. Boy oh boy!

diane said...

What a great old photo of you and the smashing car. I remember them..... I learnt to drive when I was 17 and got my license at 18. That is the age we had to be. I learnt on a Holden (Australian General Motors car)It was a column shift. I had to beg my Dad to let me drive but I was allowed to go and buy the paper on a Saturday morning. Great idea for a post.Friday 13 was good to us. We picked up a photobook I had printed of my photos of our trip to the Kimberleys. It turned out really well.

sinnlighet said...

Your blog = love love love & love!!

Footprints from the very very south part of Sweden, through....

Agneta

Valerie said...

Did you know that there have been studies done that show that the mentality of an 18 year old today was the mentality of a much younger person years ago? I will have to do some research on that. A friend of mine and I have discussed this for ages, as we see the immaturity of 20 somethings (I don't mean to offend anyone) now a days!

I can't imagine my 13 year old learning to drive! I have trouble with the 18 year old who just got his license being out in my car alone.

Me, I was 23! My mom had a rule that we couldn't get our permit until the sibling older than us had their license. I was 4th in line - and my older sister went thru a couple of permits, cause she was so afraid!

Love the picture. Makes me want to look up my favorite car that my parents had, a green station wagon that was made the year I was born ('63). I will have to ask my siblings if they remember the make and model. I cried terribly when we got rid of it after 10-12 years!

Deb Murphree/Alabama Politics said...

What an awesome post, Betsy! Now, is that mountain in front of my old home on Wood Avenue in Big Stone Gap??? It looked a little bit like it. I love the Pontiac...I used to love Pontiacs when I was a little girl too. What a beautiful car, and how cute you looked standing by it LOL...I can't imagine you driving at 14, that's....REALLY AMAZING! I started driving at 16, and got my license at 17. I drove a 4 speed Pinto. Was so funny, when I drove up in my dad's green pinto...to a car lot to look at cars once, and they said, "ma'am, I don't think you could drive this car, it's a 3 speed"...I told him, "Look, I just drove up in a 4-speed," ha ha. Have a good day Betsy girl. Just catching up, sorry I'm late on this post. I LOVE IT!!

Janie said...

Great car shot! We had a 55 Chevy when I was a kid, and later got an old 48 Chrysler for a second car. They were like tanks!
I learned on an automatic station wagon, then drove a cute little stick shift Volkswagon in my college years. (I loved that VW!)

JOE TODD said...

When you were 14 I was 10 and if I had known you then I would have just loved to pull your hair LOL

Mary said...

I guess I was 16 when I got my license. Driving dad's big old Buick, it is a wonder I ever managed. Could barely see what I was doing. Never felt like a real driver until I got married and had my first small car. I still can't drive a manual shift.

Marge said...

I'd love to have that car! My first one was a 1974 Buick LeSabre and I still miss it! Have a great week :)

Connie said...

Age 15. Since my parents had seven kids we had a volkswagon bus. I dreamed of a Ford Mustang, but for our family a car was a means of transportation.

Picture Imperfect said...

Hi Betsy!

That is a fantastic picture... great car, cute kid!