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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, August 19 2001

First car

Probably most guys and a few gals can remember their first car. Mine was a 1951 black Henry J. This was a 2-door, compact car long before the term compact-car came into use. It was a hatchback before that term was used to describe cars that could be entered from the back. It had fins 6 to 7 years before that look became popular. It had an aerodynamic look before most car designers considered that essential. It got great gas mileage when gas was still very cheap.

My father purchased the Henry J brand new and passed it on to me when I turned 16 in 1955. By that time, the car was burning oil badly so that I always had a blue cloud of smoke following me. I explained to dad that the car needed a ring job. He told me that the car was mine so that was my problem. I immediately read all the books I could find on engine repair then grabbed the Sears Roebuck Catalog and ordered compression rings and piston rod bearings and the necessary gaskets for the Henry J. My next problem was to round up tools to tear apart the engine. My dad wasn't mechanically inclined and had very few wrenches. He did contribute to the cause by purchasing a used ring compression tool from Rusty Martin. I couldn't afford to buy any more wrenches so I removed the head bolts with a pipe wrench my father owned. My friend, Charlie Lindrose, and I worked on that car night and day until we had it back together. To the amazement of my family and friends, and especially to me, the car started right up and ran very well.

Many times I came home with the fuel gauge so low that I had to be running on fumes. Fortunately, we lived up on a hill. The next time I wanted to use the car, I would coast down to Palmonari's, a mom and pop store on Roberts Street, and meet up with my buddies. We would all pitch in our extra nickels, dimes, and quarters and coast on down to Rusty's Garage or one of the other service stations in town and purchase a few gallons of gas. Sometimes, we could only scrape up enough to buy one gallon but with the Henry J that was enough to keep us cruising for an entire evening. I won't describe the adventures my buddies and I had with that car because some stories are better left in the past. Nevertheless, you can believe that the mere mention of the name Henry J brings back many fond memories. .

Things I wish I'd known before going out into the real world

Any and all compliments can be handled by simply saying "thank you," though it helps if you say it with a Southern accent.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought of the day

No one will get to the Promised Land unless he first passes through the wilderness.

—Evelyn Underhill

Sent by Carole Levinson Stuart

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