We Always Got By

Written by: Leo Lawton

It had to be in 1960, ’61, or’62 because I bought the 1953 Ford in Norfolk, Virginia in 1959, and took it to Florida in the first part of 1960. Then I traded it off before our first child was born in late 1962. It was a hard-luck trip from the get-go. Our journey from Jacksonville to New York was okay by me, but my wife was none to happy with me. When I’m traveling I hate to stop for anything but a quick trip to the bathroom while someone else is pumping the fuel tank full. I drove straight through in 27 hours with never a stop to eat. Interstate Highways were unknown at that time.

While in northern New York on leave we decided to go to Maine to visit my brother Dell and family. Before we had gotten 25 miles the differential in the car began making horrible noises so we returned to my parents. My brother Lawrence asked why we had returned, and upon explaining he told us to take his car to Maine, which we did. When we returned to New York our Ford seemed okay for some reason so we headed back to Florida with it.

Not too far into Pennsylvania the differential got really bad so I pulled into a gas station that looked like it might have a mechanic to work on it. The station owner had a junk Ford similar to mine out back of his station. He spent all night removing the complete back axle assembly from his car, and installing it in mine while we slept in a motel nearby. I paid the man $100 for the complete job, and we once more started on our way.

Money kept dwindling as we progressed on our trip. Finally we were in southern Georgia, possibly 30 miles from home when I decided I could not make it without more gas. I had just one dollar to my name. I stopped in a gas station and asked for the dollars worth of gas. While it was slowly pumping the man checked my car’s oil and told me it was two quarts low. I opted for one quart of oil @ fifty cents, and the other fifty cents worth of gas. We got around two gallons of gas, and it was enough to get us home.