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Tales from a Townie: The ’47 Chevy and the baseball glove

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Featured, Featured: Features

1950s Main Street

This picture shows Main Street in Hopkinton, circa the mid-1950s. PHOTO/HOPKINTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY

This tale takes place between the years 1957 and 1959. The main characters are my friend Jim, the ’47 Chevy and me. Unbeknownst to us, in 1957, the Chevy — more than “just a car” — would be the “magic carpet ride” that would transport us from childhood to the next stages of our lives.

Let’s start at the beginning, in the fall of 1957, when we were both sophomores and 15 years old. Jim’s uncle took him car shopping, and they returned home with the ’47 Chevy.

I will describe the Chevy: a box on four wheels — not streamlined at all. It was able to climb hills a little faster than you could trot up them, and it was painted a regular black. But it was our “ticket to ride.”

The plan was for Jim to learn to drive — back and forth in his driveway — and in April of 1958, when he turned 16, he would get his driver’s license.

Until football season that fall ended, Jim was quite busy, and the car basically sat there in the yard. When winter came and there wasn’t much snow, the Chevy made numerous trips up and down the driveway. I was his passenger for many of those “excursions.”

Though the car never left the driveway, our excursions on the “magic carpet” had started. For us, at that time of our lives, just being in the car was a totally new experience of privacy. We could discuss our hopes and dreams uninterrupted.

In April, the second step of the odyssey took place. Jim got his driver’s license and registered the Chevy.

Our world expanded to trips around the local area. It was great! Another great thing was we could drive to gas stations. No more lugging the gas to the car in a 5-gallon container.

During the summer between our sophomore and junior years, we didn’t spend any time in the Chevy, as I worked at Boy Scout Camp and Jim worked in construction.

During the fall, Jim continued with football, and I went to work in the cemetery after school. After Thanksgiving, we continued with more rides in the Chevy. We didn’t ride around much in the winter — the tires weren’t that good.

In the spring of our junior year, we resumed our riding around until summer came, when I worked at camp and Jim in construction again.

We resumed our riding in the fall again, and we were seniors now. When winter came, Jim gave me the sad news: The Chevy was coming off the road Jan. 1. He was going to college in the fall and needed to save all the money he could.

No more rides in the Chevy! But wait. I had an idea.

I was saving for the Washington trip in April and had some cash. Jim was going to play baseball in the spring at a new position, first base, and he didn’t have a first baseman’s mitt. I had played first base in Little League and had a first baseman’s mitt. A deal was made: I would get the Chevy and register it. He got the mitt and could use the car any time he needed it.

I gave up the Washington trip and gained a car. I figured the trip was only one week, while the car would last a lot longer (I hoped).

Another time on my life travels, in May, I drove the Chevy to Boston and signed up for the Navy, taking my physical at the Fargo Building.

Alas, in June, the Chevy’s clutch went, and I sold it for $10. I bought a 1950 Ford for $35, and my journey through life continued until the end of that year of 1959.

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