Cruising for a Bruising


That's an early 1950s Lincoln Cosmopolitan. My rich Uncle Phil owned one like that. It brings back memories.

A vivid memory about that car was the time I was seated up front between him and Aunt Gene. It was a long drive from Detroit to the Port Sanilac area in Michigan for a weekend at a family cottage compound on Lake Huron. I fell asleep, and my foot accidentally fell on his. He made a big dramatic display. I was chagrined.

Phil was always a scary guy to me. Blustering and overbearing. Rude in the way some adults could use their size and age to try to get over on a kid. He would typically greet me with a withering handshake, rubbing the cut stub of his middle finger into the palm of my hand. Yuck! 

Once at the cottages when a bug flew into my ear, I was panicked. Never forget how on the sidelines of my distress he commented on how it would probably fly out the other ear. I laugh now on remembering that. As children we are at such a disadvantage with our lack of experience.

In high school I worked at Uncle Phil's bakery. Went right after school on Friday mid-afternoon and worked straight through to 6:30 AM Saturday morning. Now, remember I said Phil was rich. And, tight. He paid me back then 75 cents an hour. I worked diligently and did a good job. Asked for a raise. My next pay envelope was just a little heavier; but, not by much. He gave me a 10 cent an hour raise! I quit. My parents were concerned that I should anger "rich" Uncle Phil. F#ck him, was my unstated firm position. Very soon after I landed a Saturday job starting at nearly $2 per hour. That's the kind of bread a kid can do something with.

As an adult I visited Phil and we had a nice friendly man to man chat. I'm glad we found some common ground after all.  

The other memory with that car was sitting in back next to a girl cousin. She was, as they say, "budding". I stole several side glances into the forbidden territory inside her sleeveless blouse. Secret thrills of my errant youth. 

She's also the one I embarrassed on a later public occasion. She was going into the water for a swim at a crowed beach. I noticed that the back of her one piece was unzipped. I made a big fuss, yelling at her to, "Quick, get into the water". Naturally, everyone saw her. She took it that I was stupidly naive. Never suspected my devilish intent. 

Oh, there was payback. Once at lunch with her at her home I was served Lemonade. In one of those colorful aluminum drinking cups. It tasted to high heaven of dish washing liquid. I drank it; or, some of it. Didn't say anything. It took some years to figure out that she spiked my drink.



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