Other Car Crashes

blog post
As my octogenarianism grows into its fifth year, my mind continues to wonder as I wander.
Or could it be that my mind wanders as I wonder?

II said earlier that I didn’t have a collision with another car until I was an experienced driver.

The 1939 Chevy coupe’ we bought in Petaluma, CA, was hit once, and I hit another car with it. But neither caused its final change of ownership. It’s departure from my possession is a story for another time.
The ‘hit-us’ was at controlled intersection in Novato, CA, a little south of Petaluma. The light changed to green and as we moved forward, A driver in the other lane, but behind us changed lanes and accelerated. It was a direct hit on the Chevy’s springy bumper. Jon was only a few months old, and the time was before car seats for infants and children. He was asleep on a crib mattress that fit the space behind the passenger bench seat. He was bounced into the air and came down unhurt. With no vehicle damage, we and the other driver went our separate ways.

My first ‘hit someone’ was in Petaluma a few blocks from home. I stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways. There was one car at least 3/4th of a block to my left. At the 25mph speed limit, I assumed plenty of time to make my left turn ahead of the other car. I did a double check to my right and moved into the intersection.


I hit the other car in the right rear fender. After skidding along the street, she drove back to near my car. No cellphones, but someone in the neighborhood called it in. The police took statements, we exchanged insurance info, and ironically had the same insurance agent. I was given a ticket for failure to yield. Based on over 100 ft. of skid marks after the impact point, she got a ticket for speeding. My day in court is another story.

Well – OK, then – the court story.

I’m not sure how I got the time off from my Army duties, but I wore my Class-A khaki uniform to court. At my turn in front of the bench, the judge said, “Army huh.”

“Yes, sir.”

He read the charges and asked me to explain. In those days, I usually had my Cannon 35mm wherever I went, so I had several photos to show in court.

He asked the patrolman to explain the charge and situation he’d responded to. His report duplicated my explanation.

The judge repeated his, “Army huh.” Then added, “Where?”

I said, “I work at Two Rock Ranch, sir.”[mfn]The facility is now a US Coast Guard station.[/mfn]

To which he said, “Work! I go to the officers’ club out there. No one out there works. Charge of failure to yield, causing an accident is dismissed, but you are assessed $7.00 in court costs.”

I wanted to ask if he had an association with the Army Security Agency other than going to the officers’ club. Perhaps he retired from the Agency, or…