It was the day of the flapper and the sheik...[listing of other pop culture trends among teens of the day] The college boy was a national hero... The accepted mode of transportation was the stripped-down Model T Ford, preferably inscribed with such witticisms as 'Chicken, Here's Your Roost', 'Four Wheels No Brakes', and 'The Mayflower -- Many a Little Puritan Has Come Across In It.'
“Shall I tell him we'll go in his car, or ours?” Anne asked.
“His car? I haven't seen it, but I can imagine it. No doors, no fenders, no top, and a lot of writing about in case of fire throw this in. I wouldn't be seen dead in it, even if the dance was a masquerade and I was going as a cheerleader. No sir. We'll go in Foolish Carriage [the family's Pierce Arrow].”...
On the night of Anne's first date, we stationed ourselves at strategic windows so we could watch Joe Scales arrive. It wasn't every day that a cheerleader came to call.
As Dad had predicted, Anne's friend drove up to the house in an ancient Model T, with writing on it. We could hear the car several blocks before it actually hove into sight, because it was equipped with an exhaust whistle that was allowed to function as a matter of routine. When the car proceeded at a moderate speed, which was hardly ever, the whistle sounded no worse than a hellish roar. But when young Mister Scales stepped on the gas, the roar became high pitched, deafening, and insane.
As the Model T bumped down Eagle Rock Way, heads popped out of the windows of neighboring houses, dogs raced into the woods with their tails between their legs, and babies started to scream.
The exhaust whistle, coupled with the natural engine noise, precluded the necessity of Mister Scales' giving any further notice about the car's arrival at its destination. But etiquette of the day was rigid, and he followed it to the letter. First he turned off the engine, which automatically and mercifully silenced the whistle. Then, while lounging in the driver's seat he tooted and re-tooted the horn until Anne finally came to the front door.
Dad was peeking at the arrival from behind a curtain in his office. [...] “My God, Lillie. I mean, Great Caesar's ghost. Come here and look at him. It's Joe College in the flesh. And he just about comes up to Anne's shoulder.” [...]
“Hush” Mother warned him, coming over to peek at the curtain “He'll hear you. Actually, he's kind of cute, in a sort of vest-pocket way.”
“Cute?” said Dad. “He looks like what might happen if a pigmy married a barber pole. And look at that car. What's that written on the side? 'Jump in sardine, here's your tin.'”
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