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Thursday, 02 February 2012


By Terry Hamburg of Baby Boomer Daily

1950s Car

It was a 1950’s high school coming-of-age ritual.

The crowd began gathering at 10:00AM Saturday morning in front of Schwab’s Drug Store on the northeast corner of Devon and California. Guys auditioned in cars; girls on the sidewalk.

The cruise route was a square block: west on Devon, hopefully catching the long red light at the corner of Cal and then turning right. Three to five times around and it was a day. That took an hour or two, depending on the traffic. No one was in a hurry.

Without a cool car, you looked like a nerd; not necessarily late model, but it had to be cherried-out or hip. Convertibles were ideal. Cruising by in your grandfather’s Oldsmobile or the family station wagon drew guffaws.

The male game was to entice the right girls into the car for a ride. The girls were looking for the right boys to entice them.

Around 100 cars participated. Jockeying for position was fierce. The object: approach the big corner just as the light turned red with the right song blaring on the radio: Diana, Wake Up Little Susie, Are You Sincere, et al. Try to lock eyes with the girl of your dreams and hoped she locked back.

A great ploy was to teach a neophyte how to drive. Unlike boys, who got a license on their 16th birthday, most girls waited until college. The learner had to practically sit on your lap for her instruction.

Occasionally, a group of girls would cruise, but it was to “drive” boys crazy or invite a car to follow them, usually to a Dairy Queen where the mating dance would continue.

A brief word about s-e-x. In this relatively innocent 1950's, middle-class world, there was little “consummation.” Making out (what our parents called “petting”) and feeling bare skin in places normally covered was about as hot as it got. At least for me.

My father appreciated the ritual so he let me borrow his black Impala convertible every Saturday. Best “chick magnet” I ever had.

Many years later, when I already had my chick and I wasn’t looking, I discovered an even better one: a miniature poodle. I recommended it to those on the prowl at any age.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


And we wonder how and where today's teens learned their lifestyle.

In our little town out in the midwest, we had no such sophisticated mating activity. I wonder if that is why 8 out of 10 girls (and boys) had "shotgun" weddings as they were called by the time they had graduated (or dropped out). Perhaps where you lived the Saturday night car parties was an alternative activities????
Enjoyed your story.

Loved the black Impala; would love to have been one of those girls you tried to make eyes at. Great story.

This story is a memory magnet beginning with the '58 Impala. Mr. Johnson in the next block had one just like your picture. People parked on the street back then. I would walk to his house and stand and dream. That was how I cruised in his car. I was sure he was looking out the window, so I never touched it. For sure, he loved that I loved it.

Last summer I was in a thrift store and came across a framed picture of '50's cars parked at the Dairy Queen. I had to buy it because it had a '58 DeSoto in it which was my first car. It wasn't new, of course. ;-)

Funny about your story. I grew up when the price of fuel was going through the sky. Dragging main street stopped like someone slashed the tires. Years later, in the late eighties and nineties, I saw kids driving in a nearby city on a Saturday evening, just like you wrote about. The price of gas was $.99. Funny how memories and the price of gas are linked. Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Terry, thanks for the memories. Just for you I put together a slideshow of cruising convertibles from Somerville, NJ. Somerville has had summer Friday night cruises for many decades...


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