Last week’s column on learning to drive a manual transmission brought in a ton of comments from readers, many of whom recalled largely bygone days when a “four on the floor” or “three on the tree” were far more common than autos with an automatic transmission.
News about road construction is pretty well frozen in place until the spring, so I thought I’d pen another nostalgia marinated column about driving experiences that were once common but have — at least to me — greatly diminished or disappeared over time.
So tell me:
■When was the last time you saw a hitchhiker or hitchhiked yourself? I used to hitchhike all the time when I was in the service, but I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen anyone standing by the road with his thumb out.
■When is the last time you saw a procession of honking cars behind a lead car with a “just married” sign on it?
■When is the last time you saw a deer strapped to the hood or fender of a car? This was very common when I was growing up, but not anymore.
■When is the last time you drove over a “ding ding” strip at a gas station?
■When is the last time you saw someone check their oil at a gas station? When is the last time you checked your oil at a gas station?
■Do you remember when gas stations offered free air via an orangish/brown rubber hose that seemed longer than a football field? Do you recall your dad saying “you unrolled it, now roll it back up for the next guy.”
■When is the last time you saw a dog chase a car down the street? Once very common, but not anymore. Did dogs get smarter? Or maybe the cars of today just aren’t worth chasing?
■Do you remember when cars came with two keys: one for the door and the other for the trunk?
■Do you remember when front seat windows came with two window handles: one to roll down the big window and the other for the vent?
■Do you remember manual floor vents down by your feet?
■Remember “suicide knobs?” Do they even still make suicide knobs?
■How about hooking up a reverb radio box in your ride?
■When was the last time you saw whitewalls on a car (other than a classic vehicle at a car show)?
■How about baby moons and beauty rings?
■When was the last time you saw someone use hand signals to turn? (Heck, when was the last time you saw a driver use his turn signal to signal a turn?)
■When was the last time you saw someone wash and wax their car in the driveway?
■Remember the incredibly tedious work that went into Blue Coral treatments, but ultimately it was worth it because of the dazzling results?
■Did you keep a “church key” in the glove compartment?
■Does anyone call “shotgun” any more?
■Seen maps for sale at gas stations lately?
■Remember the Pepsi/Coke pop coolers filled with water and gigantic chunks of ice in front of the gas station? Pop selection only included Hires Root Beer, Pepsi, Coke, Orange Crush, Grape NiHi and RC Cola. You had to go fishing for the bottle (glass only) and your arm was numb from the elbow on down from the search.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers these American experiences!