The Mother of Invention

I was reminded of something from my past a few days ago. Coincidentally, I had just told this story to my son and his friends and then someone posted the very thing on my wall on Facebook a week or so later. What are the odds?

When I was in high school, many moons ago, I drove a ’65 Chevy Impala.  It was a tank really. A hand-me-down from my older brother. It had issues.

The heater didn’t work. It didn’t have an air conditioner either, which was a problem in and of itself because a window or two were missing the handle to roll them down, but I digress.

It was obviously cold in the winter, but not a huge problem since I transported quite a few warm bodies to and from the place that expanded our minds, although I think that sometimes, perhaps, the greater lessons were learned in the car, on the way to class. But again, I digress.

The passengers…or moochers, whichever term applies, as no one ever volunteered to cough-up any money for gas, so occasionally I would be forced to extort their lunch money to put in the tank. It is surprising how far a couple of bucks would take you back then…but again, I digress. The body heat of my friends and fellow car-riders, all crammed into both front and back seats, would warm things up pretty quickly, except on extremely cold days.

The problem was the windshield and how to get rid of the frost.

I would scrape the window, as any responsible driver would, before I left my house. But that rarely did the trick. Necessity is the mother of invention, or so they say. I would pull the ashtray out of its slot, (and every car had one back in the day). I would then proceed to rip up a piece of paper, making sure beforehand it wasn’t a homework assignment, and place the pieces strategically into the ashtray. I would retrieve my lighter from my purse and proceed to set the papers on fire. Oh, so gently would I place the ashtray on the dashboard, close to the windshield. Low and behold, in a matter of minutes, I would have an expanding circle in which to see out so I could safely drive me and my passengers to school…providing, of course, you consider seeing out of one half of one window  a safe way to drive.

We always made it there in one piece. Only once, if I recall correctly, did the ashtray slide off the dash while making a sharp and hasty left-hand turn. No harm, no foul. No one was hurt, though I truly don’t remember how the fire was extinguished that day. After all, I had to keep my eyes on the road!

Those were the days. The memory still lives on. Just thankful my kids have working heaters!

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