I grew up in Oskaloosa a small rural Iowa town. It was a good place to grow up but a little short on excitement back in the 60s. I am sure that has all changed by now. Our thrills seemed to all evolve around cars.
I was 16 and just got my driver’s license. I had my parents’ car and was out with a bunch of buddies; a prescription for trouble if there ever was one. We were cruising the usual loop. We would go to Putt’s Drive-In to see if there were any girls or hot cars in the parking lot. If we saw a Corvette it was a special night. This night would be special but it had nothing to do with a Corvette.
We got to Putt’s but there were no girls we were interested in; that means there were but they were out of our league! Our stomachs were not yet ready for food so it was down to the City Square to see who was there and then out to the A&W. Again we struck out so it was back to Putt’s by an alternate route.
On this particular summer night there we found some entertainment at the cost of a car load of “greasers” in a 49 Merc. Greasers were guys in black leather jackets, engineer boots and someone “good guys” like us did not want to fool with. When we got to Putt’s we crossed paths with four of them. They were smoking, drinking and being a rowdy. We gave them plenty of space but they were older and looking for trouble.
This is a 1949 Mercury but it is more like what grandpa drove back in the day and not the chopped souped up “greaser’s” car.
We kept circling through Putt’s driveway in hopes of getting a better look at some new girls from out of town. We tried to ignore the guys in the Merc but it was not easy.
On our way to Putt’s we had noticed a local officer of the law sitting in a dark driveway of a grocery store waiting for a speeder. Finding one on this road was not difficult because of all the kids cruising by. He was looking for an easy score.
When we were ready to leave Putt’s the greasers in the Merc were just finishing up their burgers. They saw us leave and figured they would have some fun. They pulled out and jumped on our bumper. I sped up but they stayed glued to our rear.
Much like today this was usually a challenge to race. I knew these guy were faster than me and a whole lot meaner! However, I did speed up and act like I was interested, but this time I had a different idea. As we approached where the local police officer was hiding in the shadows of the grocery store I slowed down to a crawl; the greasers honked, flipped us off and roared off around us.
Now this is a 49 Merc. If the greasers had been driving this, I would never have set them up. Well, yes, I still would have.
Surprise! The man in blue found his next victim. As the patrol car lights flashed and the officer exited his vehicle we proceeded by at a very safe and appropriate speed with proper respect for the law. Oh, by the way we were laughing excessively as well.