Should Not be Allowed Out Alone

6 Feb

The other night I stumbled over a nostalgic blog about life in the “boomer years”.  Technically, I’m too old to be a baby-boomer – I’m part of the pre-war bubble – but I do remember full-service gas stations and the inching up of gasoline prices.

I was between husbands, still paying off debts left behind by the Late and Unlamented, raising my two girls, and not yet even dating The Squire. Every penny counted.  I was working at Blue Cross in Towson, and had run to the shopping mall on my lunch hour. Towson is, by and large, a bit ritzier than Joppatowne, so prices tend to be a bit higher.  I pulled into a gas station and put $1 worth of gas in my little car. (Remember when you could actually do that?) Gasoline out here was still about 35 cents, but this place wanted 42 cents a gallon. Instead of almost three gallons I got two gallons and two drops! I absolutely panicked! I drove out of the station as fast as my little wheels would take me – but not the way I’d come in.

I ended up on Burke Avenue, a one lane, one-way street (cattle track, actually) which went all the way around Towson! There was nothing to do but keep on keepin’ on, as I couldn’t turn around, and I had no idea where any of the side streets went. I was about fifteen minutes late getting back to work.

“What happened to you?”

“I got lost coming back.”

“Were on earth did you go?

I pointed out the window at the mall directly across the street. “Over there.”

I was driving a VW beetle at the time. Remember the days when you got a “gift” for spending $3 or buying 8 gallons of gas? That little car wouldn’t hold either one!  And tires were so bald I could drive over a quarter and tell you if it was heads or tails.


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