By Larry Cook
While growing up in Falls City, Neb., I bought my first car from working farm jobs — haying, walking corn and bean fields on rainy days and the worst job of them all, cleaning out chicken coops while dodging snakes and rats! Eventually I was able to come up with enough money to buy a green 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten two-door for $325 just before my 16th birthday in 1962. My dad found and approved my purchase of the “three on the tree” beauty, but he would not allow me to take possession until he had installed a set of aftermarket seat belts. He always reminded me that I owned the car and the expense of operating it, but he owned the keys!
I loved that old Chevy, but with 80,000 miles, the engine was getting tired and I was convinced that I needed a farmer friend’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. So, in 1964, I traded away the ’53 to get the ’57. That ’57 Chevy was awesome in Sierra Gold with a white hardtop, and it had the rare padded dash. It was yet another “wish I had it back” classic.
I am still a car guy and have a couple classics — a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette roadster with the 350-cid V-8 and four-speed and an all-original 1979 El Camino SS that I bought on the spot at a car show from the original owner.
While walking the show field in a small northeast Kansas town, I spotted a familiar-looking 1953 Chevy. It was my old Chevy all restored and better than new! It now had nice aftermarket wheels and an owner had added dual exhaust, but the stock 235-cid six-cylinder was still under the hood. It had been perfectly repainted the original green and the interior had been refurbished. Yes, I wanted it back, but in finding out the “I don’t want to sell it” price, I decided to just admire it and remember the good times spent in it -— proudly escorting my high school sweetheart to our junior prom and bringing our first son home from the hospital in it.
The only issue I ever had with that 1953 Chevy was a trip to Omaha during the fall of 1962 to see a Beach Boys concert and having to get my buddies to scrape the inside glass because the car didn’t have an adequate defroster.
While I may not have my old Chevy, I do still have my high school sweetheart. We’ve been married more than 50 years now!