Much ado about 12-year-old drivers

Nov 20, 2012


I was 12 years old in 1935. That was the year I bought a 1926 Ford Model T for $10.

I did not need a driver's license or car insurance. I bought it from a painter who built a box behind the only car seat. Because of the paint box, the license bureau reclassified the car as a truck.

The price of gas was 9 cents a gallon in 1939, the year I drove the car to the junkyard in Ferrysburg and sold it for $10.

The first Spring Lake police officer was Dick Livingston. There was a speed limit in Spring Lake, but since my car did not have a speedometer, I could only guess at the speed. Occasionally, Officer Livingston would pull me over for speeding through town. Each time he pulled me over, he would ask if I knew how fast I was going. My reply was always, “I don’t know.”

He never issued me a ticket, but often mentioned that I really should get a driver's license some day!

During those years, I also occasionally drove my grandfather's 1927 cattle-truck in Muskegon, which was quite an adventure with a load of cattle and mechanical brakes known for failing after a long trip.

In 1939, I bought a 1930 Ford Model A for $22.50. My brother drove it while I was fighting in Europe during World War II. After returning from service, I sold it for $200.

I am now 89 with only one good eye, so I voluntarily gave up driving. What a very different world we now live in, contrasted with those days.

— Robert Boven, Spring Lake


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.