Just about everybody remembers their first car. It was that first real sense of independence while feeling like something between still wanting to watch the occasional Saturday morning cartoon and being an adult.
My first car, as I grew up here in Boulder City, was a 1975 Toyota Corolla. At that time the car was just 10 years old. It was yellow on the outside with black interior. In terms of music …an AM radio, because I was cool like that.
I guess I should back up a bit. When I was 4 or 5 and had my first dentist appointment, my parents told me that when I turned 16, if I still had no cavities, they’d get me a car. Jump ahead a decade and the moment of truth was upon us. Clean bill of health. No cavities. And I might add, I didn’t have my first one until I was 43.
A year or two before I turned 16, I believe my aunt, who was the original owner, got a new car and my grandparents then were given the Corolla. They were then nice enough to give it my parents and then me.
It may not have been flashy but it was mine and that’s what mattered.
Back in the 80s and 90s, cruising, like in many small towns, was one of the most popular things to do in Boulder City on a Friday or Saturday night. We all did it. And, we all did what was referred to as the Lap or the Loop. The route consisted of driving through downtown, taking a left on Buchanan, left on Adams, left on Utah and you guessed it, a left on Arizona, with slight variation. And, if you chose to not feel like a NASCAR driver, with lefts only, you reversed the course. After all, if you’re all driving the same direction, how are you going to see others in order to pull over and talk?
Being that it was fairly bright yellow, you couldn’t miss my car. We’d pile in and hit the course with the inevitable stop at Arnie’s Arco, which is where the new 7-11 sits. After digging through your console, glove box or under the seats, you came up with 26 cents, enough to get your fountain drink of choice. Not being the sharpest tool in the shed, I went for the combo Coke, Dr. Pepper, orange, root beer, Sprite and whatever else I had room for in the cup.
Being that my birthday is in January, I turned 16 sooner than many of my classmates. So, I was often the designated taxi back then and I was fine with that. Throughout high school I was happy to give rides to friends as well as after sporting events. I recall after several track meets piling six or seven of us into my “taxi” and when exiting, it looked like a clown car but we were all in blue and gold (Insert the obligatory “Go Eagles”).
While we didn’t have fancy cars and technology like many teens have today, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We had fun, face-to-face conversations, AM radios and above all …26-cent sodas.