How I bought my first car

In the summer of 1955, I worked in tobacco but also my uncle started building a new store for what was then Outside Furniture Company.

By Howard Richardson My Life Retold

By Howard Richardson
My Life Retold

He hired my first cousin, Gene Benoist (he has passed away since this took place) and me. Anyway, we had to dig the foundation for the building, which was 100 feet long and 80 feet wide. This had to be done by hand with a shovel. We didn’t have a backhoe to dig with. So it took a lot of time to get this done. The foundation had to be 2 feet wide also. After we finished it, they came in and poured cement and started to lay the blocks for the walls.

At this time, we were told to start digging the hole for the septic tank and drain field (as I said before, it was all by hand, no backhoe). We dug down about a foot and we were in sand very good but not so after about foot; we hit hard red clay and it was hard as a rock. The hole had to be about 7 feet deep, 10 feet wide and 15 feet long. We were paid 75 cents an hour and I saved two-thirds of it to buy my first car.

In the summer of 1956, I worked in tobacco but also on the weekends I sold watermelons and other produce door-to-door in East Rockingham and parts of Hamlet. I don’t remember what I made that summer but two-thirds of it was saved to pay for the car.

About Thanksgiving Day in November 1956, I found the car I wanted in Cheraw, S.C. It was a 1948 Mercury four-door sedan, a big tank. I paid $250 cash for it. I cleaned it up and serviced it, and got it ready to drive when I got my drivers license on Jan. 3, 1957.

That is how I bought my first car.

Richmond County native Howard Richardson is author of “My Life Retold,” available on Amazon.com.

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  • Cami Hudson

    I enjoyed your story. My dad did the same thing. He worked in tobacco and saved up his money to buy his first car. It is amazing that you and your cousin did all that digging by hand. Wow that was a lot of work and I imagine it caused a lot of blisters and backaches, but I bet that car was worth it.

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