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It’s throwback Tuesday: Bumper-to-bumper teenage angst

Most of us remember our first kiss. And many recall our first cars. Welcome to throwback Tuesday as we grind the gears and remember the first cars we tortured when learning to drive.

WMUR news anchor and reporter, Mike Cherry, learned to drive in his home state of Hawaii.

“(I learned) in a 1940s military jeep, manual, on an unpaved, not-level dirt road in a pineapple field that had potholes two-feet wide and three-feet deep.‬” Mike, do you expect sympathy from readers here in the frozen tundra of Nashua?

“Trust me,” Mike shoots back. “When you’re 14 and your grandfather is yelling at you to keep an eye on the road while teaching you how to shift gears in pouring rain on a road nearly as wide as the Jeep itself and with razor sharp pineapple crowns staring back at you, you don’t stop and look at the scenery,” Mike adds.

Eric Scott was punished by having to learn in a 1973 Pinto and says. “Very rusty. Zero-to-60 was sometime that day.” That’s if it didn’t explode as the 70s-era Pinto was known to do.

“My father had a rural mail route (no truck), so I learned how to drive by going on his route in a ’59 three-speed Chevy Impala,” Arthur Smith recalls. Arthur, did dad make you sit on the passenger side, steering with your left knee while using your hands to open the mailbox and toss in the letters?

My silly New Hampshire Public Radio announcer friend, Ed Brouder claims, “(I learned) with a 1981 Sony Trinitron. No, wait. That’s what I learned to watch TV on…‬” Ed, when I met you, you were still driving a three-speed Quasar.

Driver’s training at barely 16 in suburban Detroit was painful for me at times, mostly because I was only 5-feet-2 and looked like an escapee from Romper Room. In fact, one time during a driver ed schoolroom class session, I stood up to answer the instructor’s question. “Stand up, please.” Mr. Schwartz requested.

“I already am,” I blurted back without thinking. There was laughter aplenty.

Tom Young learned to drive a 1982 Toyota pickup truck at the Essex, MASS town dump. Steve Gamlin was apparently taking foreign language classes when he learned to drive. Steve learned in a 1970 Chevy Nova. “In Spanish, nova means ‘does not go‬.'” Who says we will never use our high school foreign language lessons in the real world? Steve just flashed his finesse for linguistics.

Have you seen cars that have magnetic bumper stickers that read, “Please be patient. Student driver?” Steve Miller has and says, “I should have added, (there were) no stickers on it! Eventually no bottoms to the rear fenders, either. By 1980, my ten-pin bowling balls & bag tried to escape the trunk!‬” Teenage angst. We all went through it, including Matt Zaleski who recalls, “A Plymouth Fury provided a wide-range of teachable memories. The backseat was huge so I learned a few things back there, too.”