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Everyone Remembers Their First

By Bill Montague


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Everyone remembers their first.  It is one of those things in life that remain with you, no matter what else the years ahead bring to you. And yes, you will have more, in most cases, many more, of much better quality, and ones that will last much longer.  There will be of course the ones that were mistakes, (and be honest here, we all make them, only, admission is sometimes hard to handle) but even the ones that were mistakes, will remain tucked deep away in the recesses of your mind, to be overshadowed by; the first.


     It is sweet, and special, it filled you with a warmth and a pride that you had never felt before and had only had visions of, (or for most of us, read about in books or dime store magazines), that probably makes most other things pale in comparison.  You walk around for days after (sometimes weeks if you are the vain, bragging type) and you seem to have this, glow, this special aura about you, where you don’t even have to say a word, people just seem to know.  You feel like everyone is talking about you, and sense that they are actually whispering about you behind your back, and of course this causes the ego level to rise even higher. You seem to have a new strut, a certain, a lilt, that you never noticed before, but now have become part of this new, and better person that, after only one day you have become. 


     After having dreamed of this special moment for so long laying in bed on those cold lonely nights, staring at the ceiling, and seeing it happen in your mind.  They know, you are not sure how, but they know, you constantly are checking to see if by chance there is any tell tale evidence, but, nothing you can see, seems to give it away. You justify in your mind that having waited so long, and suffering through the frustration of being so close so many times, that you deserve, this newfound peer admiration, and you bask in it, revel in the new you, that it has created.


     I know I will always remember my first, it holds a special deep-rooted, hidden spot in my heart, and I hope it always will.  Ahh yes the first, she was, precious, a deadly combination of good looks, sex appeal and just the right amount of shine to catch the eye of any other poor observer that had not had the fortune of finding out this great life treasure that you had. It is the ritual passing into manhood, no longer were you a kid, now you were a man, and everyone knew it.


     Now I must tell you, that my first was in 1974, and as I was born in 1953, this may seem to most of you a long time to wait for the first. (And trust me, it is a lot longer when you are the one waiting) But she was certainly worth the wait I must tell you.  Looking back over the years at the cost of the first, (not in dollars, but the mental and spiritual strain attached for those few simple moments of pleasure, that unknowing to you would last a lifetime and makes the cost seem miniscule in reality) it is very easy now to justify that cost.  However, at the time it seems to be extreme.


     There are few things in life that come close to offering the same pleasure to the average male, and certainly, nothing that can equal the pride and bragging rights attached to it.  For those last years, every time a new unsuspecting prospect walks in the door, or when the beer starts to flow freely on a Friday night when the guys get together, the subject will certainly come up, and that old feeling of pride returns, (if even for a few minutes) and that old feeling of pride and that certain glow, returns to you again and the world feels so much warmer.


     You brag about her, extol her virtues, profess time after time your undying devotion to her, promise to never forget her and the pleasure she gives to you, and unlike other people she has been with, you promise not to abandon her and leave her alone, to wait for the next male to walk by and take a shine to her. 



     As day after day passes and your attachment grows stronger, your dependence on her becomes a power that you never knew existed, she take over your thoughts.  Your mind during the day tends to drift to thoughts of her, the way she feels, better still, the way she makes you feel, drift in and out of your mind and the daily seemingly mundane chores are only a necessity to go through, so you can be with her when you are done. You rush out at the end of your day, knowing she is waiting for you; for your touch that will let her know you are there for her.


     Now, is there a guy out there that can tell me these feelings are not ones that you have or have had before? And if you look deep inside, they are still hidden there..  And on those quiet nights when it is cold out side and you are sitting listening to your favorite music on the stereo, a glass of good wine in your hands, lights turned down low.  Can you tell me your thoughts don’t from time to time drift back to that magic moment? And you relive that time in your mind, and a small imperceptible smile comes to your face, and that once thought to be forgotten glow returns.                                               

     You remember how warm and graceful she was, how she had a way of transferring that warmth to you every time you touched her. You remember, no matter how bad your day was, and you walked out and she was there waiting for you how all of the troubles seemed to fade away and all you wanted to do was be with her in the safety of her embrace.                                                                                                                                                                                              

     Of course anyone can tell, I refer to that age-old passage into manhood, your first car.



     My first was a 1965 Plymouth Fury 2, 318 cubic inches of raw power and sex appeal. When the sun hit it, the glare from her monster hood was blinding!  The feeling of pride I had when I first slid in onto that large bench seat and took my rightful place behind the wheel and turned the key in the ignition, and heard that motor roar into life, was surpassed by nothing to that point in time.  There was no possible way I could hold back the feeling of delight and the huge smile that came to my face!!


     Reaching forward to that immense space, to make sure that all of my instruments and gauges were set correctly, (that is to say, that the AM radio was set to the right station!)  Before putting it in gear and taking my much longed for and I might add (;) rightful place in that long awaited line up at the traffic light.  This was indeed what people had talked about, and to that point I had only dreamed of, the passage into manhood, I would never again look at the world in the same way, because now, the world was all mine.


     In actual fact, probably like most people in the same position, my first was indeed a 1965 Plymouth Fury 2, which did have 318 cubic inches, however, there was no shine, in point of fact the car was indeed in a world of hurt!!  I had paid the enormous sum of two hundred dollars for this beauty, and that had included all taxes, transfers and any safety, which at that time applied, which I believe if I recall ensured simply that there was indeed, windshield washer fluid in the container. The car was, true to all others in this time, a tank.  It was two thousand pounds of rubber and steel, not including of course the amount that had fallen out due to the severe rust problem that had relocated a good deal of this car to someone else’s drive way


     But taking none of this into consideration, as I moved onto the highway and accelerated to what I thought at that time was the fastest I had ever moved, looking down and smiling slightly as the speedometer moved over that magical number of 50, the sound of the AM radio being overshadowed by the wind noise coming through the faulty window seals, and of course the musical sound of the rusted wheel-wells slapping in the breeze, I was a king.


     What is it about this time in life that turns a man strange? Having successfully maneuvered this boat home and into my drive, I of course decided that it did indeed need a wash and clean after that long 15-mile trip home, and despite all else, I was determined to have the cleanest rust on the block!


     After what had seemed like no time at all, but in reality was half of a day shot, I decided it was time to have this piece of machinery that had blasted me into adulthood, my newest friend, go and meet who was at that time, my future father in law, a test that I was sure this gem would pass with flying colours,  so I promptly fired up the motor, again basking in the soft purr of that monster under the hood, never even giving a second thought to the puff of odd colored smoke, that came from the exhaust, or that strange rapping sound that emitted from under the hood, that I had just put down to, a new part wearing in.


     Now, you must first understand that at that time, (and for a number of years to come as well) I had the mechanical aptitude and ability of a ground squirrel. (Although in fairness to the ground squirrel it was at least capable of building it’s self a nest, where as I on the other hand had only mastered the art of demolition by hammer)  My father in law on the other hand was a do it your self at home mechanical guru.  After all until meeting him I never realized that there was more than one style of screwdriver, (and much to my dismay and his well held temper) that they even had names for each style.  Until then I thought that when he asked for Phillips screwdriver, he meant one that he had borrowed from Phillip.  I did find this strange, as I knew he had every tool under the sun in his toolbox and could never understand why he had to borrow something as mundane as a screwdriver. I am still convinced to this day that he made up names for things that he had hanging around in his toolbox, that even he, with his seemingly infinite wisdom, had no idea what they were, but nonetheless I was more than moderately impressed.


     My father in law taught me many valuable and not forgotten lessons over the years about mechanical “stuff” that I will never forget. I think however, the most valuable of all was that, if by chance you are driving a car, with a number of small children, and family members in it, and you happen to be pulling a trailer, down a rather steep hill, and that car has no brakes, you are to tell no one else in the car.  It is a secret that was supposed to be between just him and I, a bond that would last for years.


      He also taught me all of the major things about car repair that I would need in the years to come, (although at that time with this wonderful piece of machinery, I was certain I would never use) for example, a gas tank can be held in with mechanic’s wire, and most times there are spare parts put on the car by the manufacturer, that were just plain unnecessary, and were put there only to enable them to charge you more.  And of course, there was nothing on a car that could not be fixed, if of course you knew just the right curse words to scowl at it as you walked away in disgust. All of these lessons I may add, I drank in, with a thirst for all this knowledge that he was imparting on me, and have continued to use, to this day. 


     When I pulled up into his drive to pick up my betrothed, and he appeared in the door, to get his first glimpse of my newly acquired acquisition, the look on his face told it all.  I had some major work to do! He was of course politically correct, as he walked slowly around every inch of the exterior of my car, poking, prodding, leaning back at times to get a bigger view of certain areas, and the sounds of what I was sure, were gasps of surprise at times, at the wonderful condition that my new car was in and that in my bliss and pleasure of the moment, seemed to be a very appropriate response, but looking back, should have been warning sounds that I have now come to know all too well.


     He kicked all four tires as he passed slowly around the car, and I, much to my embarrassment must admit I had forgotten to do when I had first checked this car out, even having seen him do it to other cars he had checked out.  I felt a little rush of panic, hoping that he found nothing wrong, so as I would not have to admit to him this major mechanical check that I had so foolishly forgotten. Fortunately for me, there seemed to be no major flaws that arose from this inspection, and I breathed a slight breath of relief, I did not have to admit my short comings, the proud sense returned again as he carried on his intense inspection.


     Standing well back from the front of the car, scratching his chin, a crooked little grin on his face, he reached and opened the hood.  I think he thought he had me at this point, but unknown to him, I had taken the time while cleaning my precious gem, to hose all of the old oil, and to admit, some not so old oil, from under there and it seemed to shine like a new penny.  I knew I was safe here! He leaned under the hood and my heart sank, he was going for the dipstick the one thing I figured I had forgotten to check, although I was fairly certain from the stains in my drive that it did indeed have oil in it.  He pulled out the stick, stared for what seemed hours at it, then ran his fingers over it, rubbed them together slowly feeling for, what I was not certain of. I was however sure that I was seeing another great lesson.  A slightly evil grin appeared on his face, as he lifted his oil soaked fingers to his nose and smelt them, and a little nod of approval assured me that my dream car did as I said have oil in it and not perhaps some other substance that would show him that I had been duped.


     After another quick glance around under the hood, he closed it with what at the time seemed like an excessive amount of force, but which I in my inept mechanical ability later came to realize was not only normal, but indeed necessary to do. I simply put it down as one of those oddities that I had read about that certain cars had and you just had to adapt to, but now know the fact that the hinges were fairly well shot and you had to “warm up” before trying to attempt this action, or serious muscle injury could occur.


     I tried hard not to look nervous as he moved into the driver’s seat of the car, looking around in that vast open space inside that was so common in these cars.  He reached up and moved the visor down and then back up again, obviously another important test that I had failed to do before the purchase, but it seemed to pass inspection, since he moved in closer to the wheel, and turned the key. 


     The beast roared to life, the normal (to me at any rate) puff of blue smoke letting me know that it was alive and doing well, shot out the back of the exhaust, and left a lingering odor, that seemed to be the sweetest thing I had ever smelt.  A raised eyebrow from the guru suggested that there just might be more to this than I believed, but the pressure I was feeling subsided when with a little smile he stated, “ I have had worse”.  He climbed from the seat of my gem and stated that, all in all, it was not too bad, and after all, he stated with a genuine smile, it does have chrome wheels!


     Yes, a man’s first car, his dreams and ambitions, all come alive at that point.  This car went on to give me many great memories, most of them good, some humorous and a few, were just plain bad.  It met an untimely death and was unceremoniously driven into a gas kiosk by my brother in law, who was by the way much too young to be behind the wheel at the time.   

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