I still have trouble getting my mind around the idea of parents buying their kids a new car when they graduate from high school. Maybe there’s some envy involved because there was never a chance my parents would consider giving me more than room and board (for awhile longer at least). In fact, I don’t recall any of my friends receiving cars either, but it’s possible I simply wasn’t aware that those new cars they were driving around weren’t paid for by their own hard work as I had assumed.
I tried to find some statistics on what percent of our high school graduates receive a car from their parents, but I came up empty. I have to believe the practice is more prevalent these days than when I was in high school back in the late 70′s (note: LATE 70′s). As best as I can recall we walked everywhere and it was always up hill and raining, of course. Well, perhaps it wasn’t that bad. In fact, I owned my own car back in high school. My 1967 Pontiac LeMans was my first car and I’m proud to have paid $300 for it myself from income earned working part-time.
My LeMans served me well and was the first of many a classic I found myself cruising around in. One of my favorite was a 1973 Chevy Camaro my dad had outgrown. He sold me that beauty for $2,000, which was a bargain. That Camaro was the best ride I had for many years to come. It looked great, has some power, and didn’t have any mechanical issues.
At least not until the engine caught on fire and ultimately totaled the car. Fortunately the fire didn’t start until after I had parked the car at the dentist office. It was quite a scene watching the flames shoot out of the engine compartment along with the other patients in the waiting room. Strangely I recall those flames, but not the dental work of that day.
Lately I’ve found myself reminiscing about the cars from the good ole days. A friend told me he was going to restore an early Chevy and that seems like a romantic idea. Not sure how to get my wife to warm up to the idea, but I’m working on that sales pitch. Maybe I’ll pull the sob story about not getting a car from my parents for graduation on her?
Don’t worry too much about keeping up with the Jones’ dads. Those of us who didn’t get squat when we graduated turned out fine and are probably more resilient and appreciative of our material things than most of the “getters”.