Mixsonian  Larry

1968 Camaro

Me and my 1968 Camaro
Me and my 1968 Camaro on Graduation Day

The Saturday after the eclipse Dad tells me, “Let’s go look at a car.”   “What car?” I ask.  and dad replies, “I found a car for you.”   I was surprised, I did not know that Dad was looking at cars, much less a car for me.  Surprise turned into excitement as we drove over to the person’s house, Dad on the way saying he would pay for the car, but I had to pay for the car insurance, no problem I thought for I had a job.  When we arrived at the persons house, I see in their driveway a tomato soup red color Camaro.  We get out and go to the door, Dad rings the doorbell, and a young man opens the door who then comes out and shows us the car up close.  Dad was knowledgeable of cars having maintained and fixed quite a few since he was a teenager, so he looks the car over, opens the hood and looks at the engine, a 327 V8, I get even more excited.  Dad asks if we could drive the car and the man says yes, giving Dad the key.  We get in with Dad driving, it has a three speed manual transmission, I get more excited. Dad starts the car and drives it a few blocks around the neighborhood, at one point stepping on the gas and the car lurches forward, I get even more excited.  We return the man’s house and get out.  Dad talks to the man and closes the deal while I stood there so excited that I hardly heard what they said as I stared at the Camaro the whole time.  With the deal closed the man gives Dad two sets of keys and as we walk back to the car Dad asks, “Do you know how to drive a stick shift?”  “Sure” I said, “Bill had let me drive his Volkswagen.” so Dad hands me the keys and said he would see me back at home and he gets into his car and leaves while I get into the Camaro.   It was a 1968 Camaro with a three speed, stick shift on the floor, 327 V8 engine.  I start the engine and it purrs to life, I liked the sound, so much better than Brenda’s straight six engine.   I push in the clutch, put in gear, let the clutch out and stall out the engine.  I restart the engine and stall it again.  Okay, it’s not so funny as I thought of my brother and I laughing at my sister when she drove the stick shift English Ford a couple of years before.   Third try, I rev the engine a bit too much, let the clutch out slower, the car lurches forward, I was on my way.  I took NW eighth avenue home when I came to a traffic light with a light upward slope to it, the light turns red, and I stop. The light turns green, I put the car in gear, let the clutch out and stall the engine.  It was trickier that I thought, taking my foot off the brake, stepping on the gas, letting clutch out with the right timing so that I didn’t roll backwards. More gas I decided on the third try, wheels screeched, I surge forward, and I was on my way again.  When I came to the big hill on eighth avenue I was happy I was going down it and not up.   I made it home with any further stalls, pull into the driveway and sat in the car for a moment, I was happy. I go into the house and announce I’m home and Dad, Mom, Brenda, David and Beth all go outside to see my new car.   I went out driving around several times that Saturday and Sunday so I could master the clutch before going to school on Monday.   I also went by Bill’s house to show him my new car. I think Bill was happy that he didn’t have to drive me to and from school and work anymore but was a bit jealous that I had a sporty Camaro while he was driving a huge old Chrysler. I was floating on a cloud the following Monday morning when I drove my Camaro to school for the first time.

Now you may think that now, that I had a car, I could finally ask Ginny out on a date, but that was not the case. Yes, the car did boost my ego somewhat, like it was a 1968 Camaro with a 377 V8, stick shift. But I had then known Ginny since the start of the school year, eight months now, and, well, I just couldn't.  Sure, I talked to her every school day, she laughed at my corny jokes, she smiled at me in a way that melted my heart, but that didn’t mean that she liked me or that she had any interest in going out with me.  If only she would tell me so, but that didn’t happen.

Updated: 11-10-2022

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