My second personal car or third if you want to throw in the Nova was this sweet 67 Plymouth Fury III. I remember taking a wad of bills from working at Uncle Ed's farm during the summer up to Aledo and knocking on John Sloan's door. He was a salesman for Henderson's and they had gotten this in on a trade. I handed him the stash of cash and he handed me the keys. Is there any better time in life than when you get keys? Any kind of keys. Huh?
I don't remember what happened to the bug, as I mentioned before, but it must have been a death sentence. Otherwise why give it up? I'd paid for a new paint job. So I moved from a cramped crowded little thing to a big family type car.
First order of business was to install the latest thing: a cassette player. You can see the speakers I installed on the back hat rest. I still have in my possession somewhere one of the cassettes I used in that car. Group: Bee Gees. Before they were disco. Before they sold their souls to become dance whores. Back when melody was more important than a beat to make your loins gyrate.
One of the factors with my new car was it was more substantial. More luxury, more comfort, more room and definitely capable of more long-distance traveling. It was almost like the Bug was a bicycle with training wheels and now I had graduated to big boy's wheels. You can even tell I feel like a big guy now with that studly look and stance in front of Brownie. "Oh the places you'll go...and the people you'll see..." It even had a backseat, something the Bug hardly had.
I distinctly recall one beautiful Sunday morning when I took off to G-Burg for the first time on my own. No reason to really go there, and I'm sure I probably just skirted the city since I wouldn't have wanted to battle the traffic. But armed with a tank full of gas, time, and my Bee Gees & Cat Stevens cassettes, and Lord only knows what else, I was just starting to take on more territory.
My Fury treated me well and due to time and memory I can't recall how or why we eventually separated. This car would serve me the rest of high school and college and sometime between graduating and heading out to Colorado for grad school I would purchase a blue 1972 Volkswagen Bug. With trips back and forth I sought more reliability and gas economy. So the Fury went and back to the future with another Volkswagen. It was a testament, I suppose to their toughness and running forever. But kids aren't always smart and even if you are in grad school, it just means you are book smart. One of my first decisions truly on my own would take place on a whim, I would trade down in Denver from my Bug to the Purdymobile. More on that later, though.
By the way, down the road is Frey's old place where I ran away from home as a little kid, complete with hobo stick and bandanna bag. Right behind me is Gary Greer's place with his cool Pontiac LeMan's. He still lives there and still has the car.
My memories are fondest with this Plymouth, perhaps more than any other. It was a real car. An exciting transition from the Bug, which, while pretty great in its own right, was more joke than status. The Fury symbolized an ushering of sorts, a ticket to adulthood. With the Bug I rode around in other people's cars; but now they rode with me. The Bug got me out of Seaton, but the Fury got me out of Illinois. It was time to grow up, to make those first tentative steps to manhood. And I did it with my foot on the pedal.