I want a time machine. I’ve been shopping, but so far no luck. Ebay doesn’t have what I want, Craigslist has a few listed that would do in a pinch, but I have particular specifications for my magic conveyance. Here’s what I require: it needs to be a 1955 Ford. It’s not necessary that it be a snazzy convertible or even a hardtop convertible, just a basic (probably two-tone blue) 1955 Ford Fairlane. It’s ok if it’s scratched up a little, maybe dented a little, maybe faded a little, it’ll still be exactly the right time chariot for me.
I plan to park it out by my garage where I can go out anytime and access my memories. I will probably wash it and wax it; as we know, you can’t accomplish time travel in a dingy machine. I want the seats to be comfortable, refurbished if necessary, the windows must be in good shape so I can see more readily into my past, and with a little luck the engine will start every time I want to hear the rumble of the glass-pack mufflers. Maybe if the neighbors don’t mind too much I can ‘rack the pipes’ (rev the engine) occasionally, which should open the time portal for me and allow my trip to begin.
I want to go to Borger, Texas, sometime in the period of my junior high or high school years, around 1956 – 1961. I know, I know, I didn’t own a 1955 Ford during all those years, but I just don’t have room to park a 1950 De Soto, a 1950 Ford, and a 1953 Ford – just the one vehicle will serve my purpose. The movie that comes closest to describing my high school experience was “American Graffiti”, and the tag line for that movie was ‘Where were you in 62?’. Pretty close, yes? I’ll lean back in the seat, allow my eyes to close, maybe rack the pipes once or twice more, then head back in time.
My first trip in my machine will be to drive down Main Street, just about dark, on a nice summer evening. Borger is on the ‘high plains’ of Texas, not far from Amarillo, and the humidity was low and we had no mosquito problems – summer evenings were always perfect! Windows down, radio pumping out some early rock-n-roll music from KOMA Oklahoma City, 1520 on the dial. The reception wasn’t perfect, sometimes faded in and out, but it was just right for us. You saw it in the movie I just referenced, and that’s how it was. Sometimes you waved and honked, sometimes you engaged in an impromptu ‘drag race’ from one traffic light to the next. You knew most of the other drivers; you saw them in class or in the hallways all during the school year.
Maybe on the next trip to yesteryear I can go out to the Kone ‘n Burger, which was sort of our Sonic drive-in, but without speakers – we had real carhops. No roller skates or fancy costumes, just kids we knew making some spending money bringing orders to our cars. They’d bring out the tray and hang it on our windows, then make change as necessary from their little aprons they wore. If we had a little extra money, maybe we’d get a burger basket, maybe just a hot dog, or if we had hardly any money just a vanilla Coke or a cherry Coke. No, not Diet Coke, not in those days! Some of the kids liked to go to the Jet Drive-In, but for me it was always the Kone ‘n Burger. Sometimes you might not buy anything at all; you’d just go there and just drive round and round the drive-in, just as you saw them do on Happy Days, to see who was around. Frequently the ‘driving round and round’ involved some racking of pipes and squealing of tires. Ahh, the memories!
So many good times in high school and junior high. Some memories not so good, but we tend to push those back, don’t we? We just want to savor the sweetness of youth as it’s best remembered.
My time machine. Come over some time, we’ll take a trip.