American Graffiti

Recall of my high school years 1953 thru 1957, came roaring back when watching the classic movie “American Graffiti.”  The music, the cars, drive-in restaurants, hot girlfriends, … wow, such a indelible period of time.

My proud memories include first honors for an excellent report card, setting a school discus record in track, selection on the all district football team, and the arrival of that college acceptance letter with a football scholarship.

Vivid imagines of the cars were especially memorable. Checking out the morning’s arrivals in the schools parking lot was a must. Who just added dual exhaust, who owns that lowered chevy, where can I get a pair of those hairy dice for my rear-view mirror?

I was driving a 40’ Ford Coup at the time that my father thought was a total waste of my money. And when the transmission failed in the first week, it suggested he wasn’t far from wrong. But a $25 dollar replacement from the junk yard, installed in my friend Billy’s back yard under a shade tree, had me back on the road in no time.

My next installation was a 50’ Merc engine to replace that 40’s flat head. I didn’t tell my dad about that modification but one evening when he was returning from work in his new Buick Super, I slipped in behind him at the bottom of Sporthill Road, floored the gas pedal  and blasted by that new set of wheels he was driving.

“What did you do to that car?” was his astonishing question when he finally pulled into our driveway.

Sock hops, drag racing, smoking cigarettes, and oh those wild parties. I don’t remember hard liquor, but three cans of beer was all it took to overcome wise behavior.

I attended a private all-boys prep school that required wearing coat and ties which set us apart from those guys in peg pants and DA haircuts at the public high school. But a lot of those guys were my friends from grade school, and we envied them their female classmates in their tight sweaters. Some of those gals could really steam up the windows in the back seat of a car.

Be cool. See ya later alligator. After a while crocodile.

5 thoughts on “American Graffiti

  1. Jim, those were the days, my friend. I wish they’d never end. A lot of good times. You brought back many memories. Thanks!!

  2. The photos are as great as the text. It is a treat to read this!

  3. Oh my teenage years happened somewhat earlier than yours, your words and pictures managed to mirror my own experience at that time of my life. Thanks for posting.

  4. Jim,
    The photo of the car in your story looks newer than a 1940 model. Looks like a post war model.

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