top of page

I launched my DeSoto into the air after safe-driving pledge

By Edward A. Forbes

The Bulletin

As these stories always begin, once upon a time in the small town of Luling, Texas, a young man scraped up enough money to purchase a car that he really loved.

 It was a 1957 DeSoto Fireswept with a two-speed automatic transmission with push buttons. It had a sturdy V8 engine that seemed to survive a lack of proper maintenance.

The DeSoto was two-toned, green on bottom and white on top. The interior matched that color scheme. The headliner wasn’t the cloth that was the norm, but rather a white peg-board-type material.

 Air conditioning in cars in 1957 was a rarity, but it did have nice hand-cranked windows to allow what we referred to as “260” air conditioning (two windows rolled down at 60 miles per hour).

It had long tail fins as did many cars of that era. I loved that car and drove it hard.

I recently found a document I had signed in 1961, pledging my 14-year-old word to my stepfather, Ted Tomlin, that I would obey all traffic laws and endeavor to always be a safe driver. Evidently, my memory was not as reliable as my signature, because slightly less than a year later, I was driving to work at Lehman’s Variety Store - an excellent job at the time.

I worked primarily in the back storeroom. In addition to storing inventory, there were long pieces of glass and cutters, so they could be fitted to the shelves in the front of the store. I cut glass for the front and sides of the shelf areas to keep one type of merchandise separate from the next glass-enclosed merchandise.

There was a hand-turned wheel to grind down the sharp edges, so customers wouldn’t get cut as part of their shopping experience. The storeroom wasn’t air conditioned and opened to an alley via large barn doors. I spent a lot of time sweeping dust that formerly was part of the unpaved alley just behind those large barn doors.

Lehman’s had a soda fountain. The young ladies that worked there made a good hamburger. They ran out of hamburger meat and requested that I go to Bob Allen’s PO Market and Grocery to purchase some to replenish their supply. Bob Allen’s PO Market and Grocery was across from the post office and across the railroad tracks from Lehman’s.

To get there, I had to cross over the tracks and Highway 90, which ran through the middle of town. In a hurry, both of necessity and just because, I hopped into my reliable DeSoto and proceeded with alacrity to the grocer’s.

I was going fast enough to launch the vehicle into the air, landing just before the traffic light (which was fortunately green) at highway 90. I slowed down quite a bit after that for both the rest of the trip and definitely on the return.

That evening after work, Dad (Ted) asked “What did you do today?” I, in all innocence, replied. “Well, I worked at Lehman’s today until after five. I had to make one run for hamburger for the cooks at the fountain.”

“Yep, I saw you while I was sitting at the light on Highway 90.”

That’s all he said, no other comment about being stupid or driving dangerously. He’s gone now, sadly, didn’t make it to 50. But thank you, Dad (Ted) - thank you for not getting mother involved.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)


bottom of page