Cross Country by Mustang by
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Cross Country by Mustang

The summer of 1966 we were newly married when my husband Alan accepted a medical school externship in Denver.  The plan was to drive from New York to Colorado in our new red Ford Mustang convertible.

The problem was the car had a stick shift,  and used to driving automatics I hadn’t exactly mastered the stick.

So Alan had been doing all the driving when the monotony of all those cows and wheat fields,  and the fatigue got to him.  I insisted on taking the wheel and needless to say I did a fine job of stripping the gears.

After we had the gear set replaced we soldiered on with Alan back at the wheel,  when a badly tied mattress flew off the roof of the car ahead and landed smack on top of us.   But we survived and made it to Denver,  and that summer Alan completed his externship,  we camped in the Rockies,  I finally mastered the stick shift,  and memorably I read Ulysses for the first time.  (See My Love Affair with James Joyce)

Sadly Alan and I divorced a year later,   but I’ll always remember the good times we had together.  (See My Snowy Year in BuffaloShuffling Off to BuffaloFlowers on the WindshieldLes Halles, Both Sides Now, and Obit)

And I’ll never forget that cross country trip by Mustang!

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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  1. Khati Hendry says:

    Ah, the pitfalls of those cross-country trips! You certainly had your share, but fortunately emerged in one piece, at least until things fell apart later. I remember the manual transmissions–my mother insisted we learn how to drive them because, well, you never know when you might need that skill. Also made us take typing. I thank her for both.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    That was some adventure, Dana! Dan always owned a stick shift, which I did not know how to drive, but when we moved into Boston, we only had one parking space. At a certain point, we dropped down to one car- his. He gave me lessons. I realized I was starting in 3rd (obviously not a good thing). I finally got the hang of it, and came to love it when we got a BMW 530i in about 1983. I really loved that car. I worked in Waltham, Dan in Cambridge, but he walked to work. I had to drive. We both traveled a lot, but I went to Hartford a lot for a particular sales opportunity and got the consulting help to come along because I’d let them drive the car!

  3. Jim Willis says:

    Short and sweet story about your Mustsang adventure, Dana! What a test of driving ability (and agility) to retain control of a convertible on the open road after being hit with a flying mattress!

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