Richardson: Car trouble at the drive-in theater

I believe this was about 1957 I had a date with my girlfriend Mary on this Saturday night, in fact it was going to be a double date with another couple.

I went to my girlfriend’s home to get her, the other girl was already there, so we went and pickup her date.

By Howard Richardson My Life Retold

By Howard Richardson
My Life Retold

We then went to Tom and Sara’s Restaurant for a sandwich and a drink before going to the drive in theater on the Airport Road here in Rockingham, the drive in was named The Rock – Ham Drive inn. to see a movie. It was going to be a double feature, which meant it would last for about (2) two and (1/2) half to (3) three and (1/2) hours. I had to have Mary home before 11:30 O’clock PM. The movie was over around 10:30 PM so that gave me enough time to get her home on time.

I had a 1949 Ford and the transmission was all the time giving trouble. I say this to be able to say what happen at the theater.

We were ready to leave I put the car in reverse to back up and the transmission locked up and would move, I had to get under the car and try to get the linkages in the right place so I could get it to change gears. I removed my shirt and got under the car and finally got the gears to move then I had to get under the hood and get the linkages on the steering column in the right place I got it right and got back in the car and was ready to leave when what happen next was that the same thing happened again. I had to do it all over again, which took more time, but this time it worked and we were able to leave I took the other boy home and then took Mary and her friend back to her house.

But the worse was yet to come because we were about an hour late, I had to go in and explain to her mother and father what happen to make us late getting home. It was some easer because they knew I knew how to work on cars and they also knew me well enough to know I would not tell them a lie. I apologized and the told them what happen and that I would try to make sure it did not happen again. They were very understanding and said they would forgive that time, and I could continue to come see Mary.

But that was not the last time I had trouble with that car, on (1) other time I was getting ready to leave Mary’s house and the battery was dead I had to ask her dad to give me a battery jump to get the car started.

Back to the transmission in the Ford I would drive it on the weekend and have to work on it on Monday, I removed it so many times that I could remove, repair, and replace it in lest than (4) four hours and be driving it. I would most times have to replace the cluster gear and low and reverse sliding gear and the bearings that went with them.

After some time I was able to get another car and quit having so much car trouble.

After this I didn’t have any car trouble when I took Mary out and have to go in with her and explain what happen anymore.

Then in January of 1959 I joined the Army and was gone for three years. Since then I have been able to keep a car running and not having trouble with them.

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

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  • Cathy Parr

    What ever happened to Mary?

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