My 16th birthday rolled around on September 1st 1960. I had looked forward to this day like FOREVER. My great excitement was not a big Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party. No, this was the day I would earn my wings and get my driver's license. Didn't happen. My wise parents knew I was far too immature to be behind the wheel of a car. I needed a license because I was driving anyone's car who would let me -unlicensed. I was so upset. Finally after my great disappointment, Mom took me to get my learners permit (with NO Intention of letting me drive). I don't remember quite what happened but she was having trouble getting the car to start and the minutes were ticking by. We finally got out to the Highway Patrol office and for some reason (that I don't remember now) I couldn't take the test. Mama took a long faced, unhappy girl home. I don't think I could be consoled. I was heartbroken. Back in those days a trip to Birmingham's was the order of the day every afternoon after school. I think you could get chips and a soda fountain drink for .15 or .20 cents. That 10 or 11 very long blocks walk didn't seem like anything because we walked everywhere we went. When I would go down Main Street I would look in Huguelet Jewelers windows, window shopping. I spied a scarab watchband in the window and I wanted it so badly. I didn't get everything I wanted (none of us did) back then. Dad was working 2 jobs to feed and house us. That didn't keep me from mentioning it to Mama though. I had probably been talking about it for a few weeks. Mom felt bad that I was so disappointed and she told me to go to Huguelet's and get it for my birthday. I burned that walk up going to Huguelet's and when I got there it was gone. Now I was more than devastated. Not a happy Birthday. I was dating Dean Meacham at this time and we had had a wonderful summer at City Lake and Tom & Sarah's and The Hub. Dean's Dad had purchased a little ski boat and we practically spent the entire summer there along with John Muse, Delores Maples, Russell Pait. I never learned how to ski but I could drive a mean boat. I had a date with Dean that night and we went to Dianne Cooper's home where my wonderful friends had planned a surprise birthday party for me. I was about the happiest girl in the whole USA when they gave me the gift they had chipped in to buy me....the lovely scarab watchband I had been admiring at Huguelet's. If you noticed the missing scarabs that is because my body eats gold. Actually, about 30 years later I learned I was allergic to the nickel in gold. I had an unnatural love for colorful things and this watchband was perfect for me. I was so happy. Good friends...Good Times.
written by Jean Raby Nelson
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