Before I quit school (and I quit at 16) my cousin Timmy bought a second-hand convertible. Wow, it was dark blue and he polished it to a high shine. It ran well and he was so proud!
The top, which he seldom put up, was in good shape. After all, if you have a garage, you don’t even need the top up when it rains. If you ride around with the top down, people are sure to see you in all your proudness.
Well, as I said the top was in good shape, but the snap on cover for the top, because it was in almost constant use, was in pretty ragged condition. I suppose that it had gotten so thin and ragged from exposure to the sun.
Anyway, Timmy gave it (the old, ragged cover) to me; along with a piece of heavy weatherproof fabric, in a coordinating color, and asked me to make him a replacement.
So I took it apart with an old double edge razor blade and carefully cut out the three replacement pieces, using mother’s special scissors that could absolutely only be used for cutting fabric. She maintained that cutting paper dulls scissors, and I’m sure she was right.
The top went together easily. I am sure that I prayed while cutting and sewing. Prayed and sang. In those days, any excuse was a good excuse for singing and praying. This is always a good option.
I loved sewing, when I had the opportunity and something interesting to put together.
My mother’s old treadle sewing-machine, made by Singer, worked like a charm and made sewing almost fun. You could sing and keep time with the rhythmic cadence of the treadle’s, up and down, up and down!
That old treadle machine is now the base for a desk in our library, those ornate little drawers filled with markers and pens and glue-sticks. So, life goes on.
Back to the convertible-cover: It went together like a charm and I was so pleased with it. Then there was the question of the snaps. These were not little stitch-on seamstress snaps, like I had been used to. No, these were large stainless steel snaps, the other half of which was integrated into the car itself.
I am sure that one of my brothers, probably Paul, helped me get the snaps on, exactly like they were supposed to be. After all, I was a girl, and everyone knows that girls are not mechanically inclined. Luckily, God, in His infinite wisdom, blessed me with eight brothers. So, with a brother’s help the top was finished and Timmy was very pleased with it.
If I recall rightly, he gave me a dollar for the job, maybe two. Two dollars was a goodly amount of money in those days.
This was back in the day when, for a dime you could buy both a Coke and a Milky Way candy bar! And I did, after walking a mile down the road to Bonner’s store. Of course, a young girl couldn’t be out on the lonely road, by herself, so I am sure that I also bought a Coke and Milky Way for whichever brother accompanied me.
That was about the time that I started baby-sitting for a next-door neighbor. She paid me 50 cents an hour and I was tickled to get it.
I realized that I was lucky, but I also dreamed of the day when I might get a really good job and, maybe, make a dollar an hour.
Life can be amusing, can’t it, looking at it from the right viewpoint?
Loretta Nazelrod Brown is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Times-News.