Back in the nineteen seventies hundreds of cars were stolen, in the city every day! The New York Post said "The average life span of a Corvette stingray (sports car) parked on the street in New York was only 24 hours!"
One time driving back from Rhode Island at 2:00 a.m. I took a wrong turn in the South Bronx’s. Not a place you wanted to be in the day time let alone at night. I was driving around trying to find my way back to the express way. I could see the glow form the cutting torches. People were cutting up the cars they stolen the day before right on the street and the alleys. I was praying "Please God get me out of here."
Sometimes we would see the cars that broke down on the Brooklyn Bridge the night before. They would be pushed to the end of the off ramp. We would pass them on our way to the factory at 7:45 a.m. They had no tires. Then we passed by them again going to lunch. They had no trunk or doors. Then we would pass by them on our way home that night, no engine or seats. The next day, it was just the shell sitting there.
A brother in my Hall, got a flat tire on the Brooklyn Queens Express Way. A road, back then had so many pot holes in it, you would swear it was shelled by mortars. Anyway, he gets out of the car and starts jacking up the back end to change the flat. Just then, a car pulls up in front of his car and stops, four black guys jump out and before he could say a word, they start jacking up the front end of his car.
"Hey! What are you doing?" He asked.
"Hey mother fucker ...you get the back two and we’ll get the front two!” They said.
"But this is my car!" He yelled.
"Yeah?" They looked up at him with a confused look on their faces.
"Yes it is!” In ten seconds later they back in their car and were down the road, looking for more, free auto parts.
Bethelities didn't always have to work on that Saturday mornings at Bethel. An exBethelite told me that back in the 50’s that some Bethelites jump in their car on a Friday night after work and tried to drive all the way back to Chicago and be back for breakfast by Monday morning. They didn't make it. They crashed their car and three of them died. So Knorr figured that if they had been working, that would have never happen.
New light, we work on Saturday mornings. That man was a genius.
My soon to be brother in-law Mike Stillman, had a 1946 orange Chevy pickup truck with a camper on the back. The camper was made out of old barn wood. The camper door looked like an old out house door. It even had a half-moon on the outhouse door and above the door it said. "Keep on Trucking."
Calvin Chyke assistant factory overseer hauled him into his office one day and told him, that he was a disgrace to the organization and how dare he put on his truck "Keep on Trucking." Calvin told him that everyone knew that the term really meant “Keep on F....king!
Oh, those brothers they just love to have fun with us. I guess there are two types of people in the "Lord's house" the testers and the testis.
Michael never took it off. He was in the ink room and good old Norm Brekie would protect him. He was bullet proof.
As Bob Dylan said. "Some of us are prisoners and some us are guards."
I walked by my parked car on the way to the factory one morning in the winter of 1974. Some kids had sprayed painted my car with the words "Fuck you" in red paint on the front fender. I thought, did they really mean "Keep on Trucking." I laughed to myself, I wished I had painted it on there instead of them. Because that is how I felt.
Oh yes! I waited until someone said something before I took it off.
Two months before my sentence was up. "I was serving a 1 to 4 for impersonating a minister"
I was walking to the factory one day, my car was parked next to the park. As I passed it, I notice that someone had taken a ball peen hammer to my wind shield, right were the driver looks out! As I looked down the street, I saw all the cars parked behind me. All of them had their wind shields smashed. Then I looked up the hill, and saw all the cars with smashed wind shields. I counted 53 cars with smashed windshields that morning. Someone had some fun the night before. Well, that was the death blow for my baby. They wanted 85 bucks for a new wind shield.
There was no way I could put another dollar into that car. So I drove it up to Rhode Island one Saturday in January in 1974. A hundred and eighty miles with no wind shield in it, it was 25 degrees with wind chill factor of cooler than shit. The heater blasting, hoping the cops didn't pull me over. I parked the old girl, at my soon to be in-laws house at New Port Rhode Island.
I parted the car out. I sold the transmission and rear end to a friend, keep the engine and tires for myself. I sold the gas tank to Roy Baty, he welded it into his van. Because of the 1973 -1974 gas crisis, now he could buy 35 gallons of gas at a time and not have to wait in those gas lines.
In the end, she looked just liked one of those cars at the bottom of the Brooklyn Bridge. R.I.P. sweetheart. My first real love!
My next vehicle was a 1966 Ford Econoline I needed a van because I was going to move cross country, when I moved out of the big house.