About this time I sold my Austin Bantam and bought a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster. I paid $45.00 for it, so it was a big step up for me. I worked on it and got it running real good, and then I painted it Packard Green with Chinese red wheels. It had a rumble seat and a fold down windshield; you talk about a cool set of wheels, I was riding in style!
As usual I did everything by just jumping in and doing it. It had bad brakes, so I went to Sears, bought some brake lining, took the wheels off and relined the brakes with a screw driver, a set of pliers and a hammer. We had a small shop area in the garage where I had put a small vice that I used as an anvil to set the bands on and peen the brads over with a claw hammer.
That car did almost get me in big trouble-once again. We drove our Model A’s to school and parked in a lot on the west side of the school. The parking lot was loose gravel, and extended right up to the building where the music room was. The floor of the music room was about two feet below ground level, and the windows on the outside came down to the ground. During warm weather, the windows were always wide open, because there was no air conditioning in those days.
One hot day, Bill Kliene and I had backed our cars right next to the music room. We had backed them in so we could make a fast get away when school was out. When school let out, we all ran out to our respective cars, and since they had no tops, we just ran up the back of them and dropped into the driver’s seat. Well, we had learned that you could really have a lot of fun running the engine up then shutting the ignition off, waiting about 5 seconds and switching it on again, so the engine would give a loud backfire. When the ignition was off, the carburetor would suck up a lot of gasoline, and when it backfired, flames would shoot four or five feet out the tail pipe.
Well, this particular afternoon we went through our little testosterone routine, each of us trying to outdo the other. So it was BANG< BANG<BANG and so on with flames shooting out toward the music room windows. Then someone gave the signal, and it was a race to the exit of the parking lot. As we took off, our rear wheels were spinning on that loose gravel and throwing gravel out to the back-again towards the music room.
Well that was bad enough, but the rest of the story was that particular afternoon the Music room, which was normally vacant after school, was the location of the Parent Teachers Association meeting. A student who was picking up his instrument later told us that it was pandemonium, lots of screams, running around and chairs being turned over.
The next morning when I got to first period, the teacher gave me a note from Mr. Ivy. Mr. Ivy was the assistant principal in charge of discipline. I still didn’t have a clue as to why he would want to see me. We had been so busy making noise and having fun, we didn’t realize what havoc we were causing in that music room. Mr. Ivy gave me a stern lecture and sent me back to class, but Bill was required to park his car out on a street and had to walk about a block to school the rest of the school year. I don’t know why I got off easier than Bill except Bill sort of stayed in one jam after another, and I suppose I was classified as a non-repeat offender. I guess we were lucky not to be expelled!
In the summer of 1941 Dad and Margaret had moved to Corpus Christi, and Dad was building the Navy Base at Flour Bluff, just south of Corpus. They lived on Topeka St, about three blocks from the beach, and Bill, Mike and I went to the beach every day.
I returned to San Antonio in August 1941 because we lost Muggie, my grandmother. She had been suffering with ALS for some time. This was a hard loss for me because I was close to her. She was a very sweet and gentle person and a very devout Christian.
Photo of 1929 Roadster found here.
Photo of NAS at Flour Bluff found here.