1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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Dents and a Police Car



Cars had a way of self-destructing while I was behind the wheel.

My first car (in 1968) was beyond my wildest dream. A maroon (the current hot color) 1965 Pontiac Catalina with a James Bondish license plate of 2007-ZZ. It’s the only license number I ever memorized.

The passenger side of my car got smashed in several spots when it went off a dirt road and banged against some small trees. I was driving while the damage happened, so I suppose it was my fault.

cute-pop.com Remove a dent tool!

Remove a dent tool!

Late that night I parked on the far side of our driveway with the dented side facing away from Dad’s path to the barn. My teenage brain hoped for a miracle, such as the dents magically popping out under the heat of the morning sun.

If a miracle failed to happen overnight, plan B was ready to be implemented. I’d use our toilet-plunger on the dents and plunge them out.

I should have carried out plan B instead of waiting for the miracle.

The first thing my inquisitive Daddy-O did in the morning was meander over to see why I parked in a new spot. I never knew he had such a suspicious nature.

He circled to the far side of my car. Surprise!

My Catalina drove off to the car graveyard while I was a senior in college; one dent too many. I immediately set about creating the world’s first hybrid car.

I bought a car in Iowa, lived in Wisconsin, and continued using my New York driver’s license (an attention getter when getting carded at the Green Bay bars). I deftly replaced the yucky Iowa plate with my cool New York one from my Catalina (slightly illegal, but ignorance is nine-tenths of the law).



I’m thankful the Internet wasn’t invented yet with all its speed of light information. I almost T-boned a police car in downtown Chicago while accidently running a red light. Luckily, it managed to avoid me.

The lack of interstate communication meant my perfect storm of misdemeanors and felonies did not get noticed.

A dumb traffic light was on the side of the street instead of hanging overhead like it should. I missed its new location due to laughing and talking with Mary#2. I played the naïve farm girl confused by the big city (not much acting required) and squeezed out some crocodile tears.

It worked, or the two police officers figured they’d be tied up with paperwork for the next week trying to untangle my mess. Once again I escaped becoming a member of a chain gang.

www.doctormacro.com I don't look good in stripes!

I don’t look good in stripes!

They helpfully pointed out the next few stoplights and advised me to be very careful. No ticket, no getting thrown in the hoosegow, no lesson learned.

Lessons I should have learned: Always plunge before heading to bed, and be on the alert for traffic lights hiding in strange places.

Now it’s your turn: Did your car ever get you into trouble?

Related posts: Chapter Thirteen: Parking Perfection; Road Warrior

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Elle Knowles says:

    Goodness! It IS a good thing there was no internet back then…Your goose would have been cooked for sure! LOL!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Elle, it wasn’t my fault that a NY license and license plate were each so cool while living in Wisconsin! And it was such a neat license number, too. I wasn’t ready to part with it!

  2. I cant even remember all of my incidents but you were tame. The biggest problem I had was the cars insistence of going tooooo fast. I once received 3 speeding tickets in one day. I had my license suspended in 2 states. Im thankful there was no internet then either. These kids today haven’t a chance. 🙂

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Levi, three speeding tickets in ONE day! I had a bit of a lead foot, too. I can recall turns made on two wheels. I’d have a fit if my kids did this!
      I was a female and back then a female officer was rare indeed. So I could usually talk my way out of things.

  3. valleygrail says:

    Wow! You were very fortunate! Born under a lucky star?

  4. C. Suresh says:

    Hahaha! Lesson learnt by me – Ignorance is nine-tenths of the law 🙂

  5. Ralph says:

    Great post Mary ! Those were the days before the internet. Trees stepping out into the road, lights playing hide and seek, crocodile tears in abundance. I think I’ll leave now before this comment gets a dent 😉 xox ❤

  6. At college I did a milk delivery round to help pay the bills. I ran a red light in a van filled with bottles of milk. The result, when I was T-boned by a poor unfortunate girl going to work was impressive! Every milk-bottle broke, I think. The van sort of erupted with cataracts of gushing white fluid.

  7. suzjones says:

    Ha ha. I was driving my ex husband’s car and accidentally ran a red light whilst arguing with him. I was flashed by the police to pull over and I kept driving. My ex was telling me to pull over but I told him I was looking for somewhere that wasn’t a ‘no standing’ zone. When I eventually got out of the car I stood in front of the police headlights in my skirt that showed a perfectly good silhouette of my (then) great legs and pleaded innocence. They let me off. lol

  8. Nothing as exciting as your experience’s.
    My sister and I were lucky enough to have access to our father’s 1963 Buick Wildcat, now don’t be jealous :o). We did however smash one of the headlights. Not wanting to get in trouble, I picked up the pieces of glass from the street.
    ” What the hell are you going to do with that.” my sister asked.
    ” Just drive home, we are late as it is and we don’t need additional trouble.”

    Home we went. I told her to park the car on the other side of the street. We got out of the car and I sprinkled the broken glass on the ground below the headlight. It was late and we knew our parents would be asleep.

    ” Okay, lets go.” I said. ” When Dad come’s out in the morning to go to work, he will think someone hit into his light.”

    ” You are brilliant!!!” Was her reply.

    ” Thank you, remember that in the future.” I said.

    It worked. :o)

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Pat, you are a genius! We lived in the sticks with no street to park on.

      I should have told Daddy-O that someone’s cow got loose and threw itself against the side of the car. I couldn’t say it was one of our cows, because he’d know one wasn’t loose.

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