Tag Archives: Youthful Memories

My First Car~Part 2

17 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Cross Plane


The extra money I saved working at Furr’s Super Market allowed me (with my parents help) buy a new Harley Davidson Sportster when I was 17. This machine was the one that got me interested in motor cycle clubs there in Albuquerque. They had all kinds of cool club events that I participated in. The one I liked the most was the “Hare & Hound” chase at night. A bunch of us would line up abreast with our lights on, and then act as the “Hounds” and slowly take off across the desert until we flushed a rabbit. Then it was open throttles to see who could chase down the rabbit first. Do any of you have any idea how fast a rabbit can run and make a 90-degree turns? Needless to say, that could be a very bumpy ride as the wind would deposit small mound of sand around each little tuft of vegetation, and running over one would sometimes causing unexpected airborne adventures.


When I was 18 my parents finally relented and allowed me (Here it comes!!) to buy “My First Car.” I think the main reason for their decision was that the car was in pretty sad shape and needed a lot of work, so they figured I couldn’t get in too much trouble with it. I can’t remember who I bought it from, but I paid a whopping $50.00 dollars for it. It was a 1940 Chevy Coupe and all I can say is that it ran. Now came the challenge I had been waiting for all those years. Rebuilding lawn mower and motorcycle engines had kept me busy over the years, but it had not satisfied the desire to rebuild my own car. Now I had a car to work on that I could call my own. Believe it or not, when I said it would run, I wasn’t kidding, flat out it wouldn’t go over 50 mph on a level road, and much less up hill.


The first thing I did was to get the car into our garage and began to clean up the engine. I didn’t have a lot of tools or a hoist, so I didn’t remove the engine. But I degreased the engine, flushed the radiator, replaced the water hoses, replaced the spark plugs, cleaned up the distributor and installed new points. I changed the oil and installed a new oil filter and a new air filter. Then I rebuilt the carburetor and, with a friends help, adjusted the timing. I painted the rocker cover, oil filter, air filter, oil filler cap and water pump to make the engine compartment look a little flashier.


Then I started to work on the body. I found some replacement bumpers and grill at an auto salvage yard (that was back when you could remove the parts needed yourself and very cheaply). I had to replace the heater hoses, install new seat covers, install new floor mats, and recover the platform under the rear window. Of course I had to have a “Necker’s Knob” on the steering wheel. And amazingly the radio worked (on most local stations). The next thing was to sand down all the rough spots on the body (apply and sand “Bondo” where needed) and primer the entire body. We didn’t have clear-coat finishes back then and I didn’t have the money for a fancy multi-coat lacquer job, so a friend helped me with a nice enamel paint job. When I was finished with all that, the only difference between how my car looked and the one in the photo below is that my car was painted Turquoise, had a permanent windshield visor and no fog lights.


As it turned out, I finished fixing the car up just in time to meet, DiVoran, the love of my life. However, the when, where and how we met is another story for another time and blog. I knew DiVoran’s brother, David, from working with him at Furr’s Super Market, and when he told her he knew this guy at work who had a car and a motorcycle, she said, “I know a Bill Lites from school. Maybe I should get to know him a little better.” Well, she did get to know me better; a lot better, and we spent many evenings after that in “My First Car” running around town and at the drive-in movies. I drove that car until I shipped out with the U.S. Navy. Funny thing about that car; I had waited so long to get it, and now can’t remember who I bought it from. Then I put all that time, money and effort into restoring it, and now, for the life of me, I can’t t remember exactly to who or when I sold it. Oh well, I’m just glad I have this much of the memory of that time during my teenage years.


—–The End—–


The Classic

13 Jul


Judy Wills



I’ve mentioned before how my brother was always fascinated with model airplanes. How he would build them, fly them, fix them up and fly them again. He was really good with his hands.

Another thing he liked to do – as I remember – was to work on car engines. I remember a time, after we began to become friends instead of just picking-at-each-other siblings, that he bought an OLD car and brought it home to work on. I believe he totally removed the engine and other parts and re-worked them. I’m proud to say that I helped him with that a bit – I actually HELPED him! When it was back together, he painted that car a gorgeous turquoise.

When Fred and I met, he was a sophomore at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He lived on campus and so didn’t need a vehicle. He also didn’t have his driver’s license. So if we went anywhere, I was the driver.

It didn’t take him long to remedy that situation – at least in that he obtained his driver’s license. However, he still didn’t have a car. He either walked or took the bus. Albuquerque had a good public transportation system.

Long about Springtime of 1960, he purchased his first car – a 1957 Chevrolet Belaire V8. He paid a grand total of $1,100 for it. It was a soft green, four-door, bench seats, automatic transmission.  It was a beauty! It didn’t have air conditioning, but in Albuquerque’s climate, we didn’t need it. He was so proud of that car.

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In 1960, we, and my parents, drove in that car to Englewood, California for Christmas with my brother Bill, and his wife, DiVoran. We discovered that Bill was working on another car. Fred helped him put the engine back together and everything back in place. We had a grand time with them there. We took in Disneyland



and Knotts Berry Farm.



Great memories. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner at Bill and DiVoran’s little house, along withher parents.










On New Year’s Eve, we drove to Pasadena, to spend some time with Fred’s Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Bob. One of Fred’s cousins and his friends, took two picnic benches and some bedrolls, and set them up on the sidewalk at the starting point for the 1961 Rose Parade, scheduled for the following day. They slept on the benches to keep our spots. After the parade, we went back to their house and had a lovely lunch, then we headed out, back to Albuquerque.

That next summer – June 20, 1961 – 53 years ago – we loaded up that car and, following our wedding – headed to Fort Worth, Texas, where Fred was to study at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


While it was a smooth ride, we really wished for an air conditioned car! Texas climate is NOT the same as New Mexico!!

We drove that un-air-conditioned car for several years before trading it in on another, newer vehicle. As we look back on those times, Fred continues to say that he wishes he had kept that car. It is now considered a CLASSIC. Of course, we were dirt poor at the time, and couldn’t possibly keep that car and have another one. And we couldn’t possibly know that, that particular car would turn into a CLASSIC.

But it’s fun to look back and remember those times.

The Fox and Hound Chase

14 Feb

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

author of Window Wonders

Louise Gibson

I have to smile as I reminisce
about my “high school days”-
So many memories of good times and bad,
of friends, exams, and plays.

My transportation in those days
was a boy’s two-wheel bike-
It served me well for many years-
no choice but to ride or hike!

I planned a “Fox and Hound Chase”-
I was the Fox, naturally.
The plan was to ride ahead and post my signs-
clues of where I might be.

I had to be fast with the “hounds” on my trail-
I was having so much fun.
My plan was to be the first at the park-
After the chase I had won!

After posting my “CLUES”
and enjoying my fantasy-
Who won the chase?
It was not ME

The designated area for the big event
was Metropolitan Park-
where all the kids went!

We were to have a picnic-
and play baseball for fun.
But the secret got out-
to my chagrin- the hounds won!

By the time I arrived at the park,
the game was well under way.
Everyone laughed as I wandered in
and joined in the play!

Ah, but chivalry rose to
the forefront by far-
as the “Hounds” insisted
I ride home in their car!

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