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Then: .32 Cents

Now : $3.79

Of course I'm talking about the cost of gas.  

Back in my high school days,  we would each contribute fifty cents or maybe even a dollar toward gas.  If there were five of us, that equaled five dollars and that filled up the gas tank of even the largest car on the road.  

Talk about filling the tank.  We didn't have to do it ourselves.  Those cute guys would come up to the window and ask what we wanted.  Fill 'er up?  Yes, please, I would mumble, trying to keep my composure.  How cute is he? I'd whisper to my friend sitting shotgun.  Check under the hood?  You need oil?  He'd wink, and I’d swear he wanted to check under more than the hood of my car.  

We would pay with cash and drive off with clean windows and sometimes a new crush.    

Where did we go with that full tank?  Cruising, off course.  Up and down Van Nuys Blvd.   I'm sure you all had a cruising street.  Maybe yours was Main St, or Orchard Blvd.   But cruising on a weekend night was the thing to do.  

We'd listen to the radio and talk to each other!  Imagine that.  We weren't all on different cell phones texting other friends for party locations.   Being inside the car was our party.  We'd talk to guys as we cruised up and down the street.  Sometimes, we'd stop for cherry cokes and French fries.  We'd pull into the parking lot of Bob's Big Boy (interchangeable with whatever diner was your weekend night spot) and talk and flirt.  Then get back in the car and do it all over again.  

Today, that hard earned five dollars won't even buy two gallons of gas.   Not much affordability for cruising.   I feel sad for today's teenagers because cruising was such a large part of our culture.   But with gas such a large part of our budget, it's become impossible to drive around just for fun.   Sometimes, it's almost impossible just to get to work and back.    

Not that teens today don't have new activities.  Things we never dreamed of - such at MySpace and Facebook.  They keep up with each other's lives, as their lives unfold, and can have friends from all over the world.    

But there was nothing like getting in the car on a warm summer evening, having no particular destination, free from our parents for a few hours (seeing as how there were no cell phones for them to check up on us) and enough gas to cruise until our curfew.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindao wrote Sep 29, 2008
    • I never did much cruising, but I appreciated having someone else pump the gas.  And I was just laughing at myself yesterday for getting excited about seeing gas in L.A. available for $3.53 a gallon in one station on my way home from the airport, when the cheapest I saw in the Chicago area was around $3.79.  Times do change! —Linda



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sandyde wrote Sep 29, 2008
    • We cruised, and all my friends pitched in for gas...like you said, it didn’t take much to fill the tank.  We also cruised the park by the river on Sunday afternoon.  Everybody who was anybody was there.  Such fun.  

      That same park that I have such fond memories of is not a safe place for today’s teens at any time of day. Sad, but true.  

      In my day, our motto was “Make Love, Not War“.  We were interested in fun, not fighting.  

      Anyway, loved the article. Once again, it brought back some fantastic memories happy

      Sandy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Sep 29, 2008
    • Oh, yes, I remember all the girls kicking in 50 cents or a dollar—and since seat belts didn’t exist then, there were often 6 or 8 of us in a small compact, so coming up with that grand total of $5.00 for a fill-up wasn’t much of a stretch.

      I’m loving your blogs. Thanks for these memories.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Chattycathie wrote Oct 1, 2008
    • Your blog brought a commercial back to my mind.  Maybe you remember it.  It was for Gulf gas station, I don’t even know if they exist anymore.  In the commercial was a couple on a date and the guy pulled up to a full service gas station and had them put a dollar of gas in his car.  The date started giving him a hard time, saying he was cheap, and then the camera panned to the dice on his car mirror, the gas pedal shaped like a foot (popular then) and a few other nice things he spent on his car.  In  the mean time the gas station attentant is cleaning his windshield and checking the oil.  Finally not able to handle the looks his girlfriend gives him, he pulls out another dollar.  The commercial was suppose to show the great service they would give for anyone, but its laughable now, because not only do we not get the service, a dollar would only give us about a 1/4 of a gallon of gas now.  Do you remember that commercial?

      I was a teen in the 70’s and we cruised 101 in Laguna Beach to Newport and if we were brave, we went up to Hollywood and went up Sunset and Hollywood blvd.  Part of the cruise experience then was using our CB Radio.  I was listening to the song by WAR-summer the other day.  A favorite from back then, and my niece was in the car.  She liked the song, but wanted to know what a CB radio was.

      Once thing you can always count on is change

      Cathie
      Tears of Joy Video



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Oct 1, 2008
    • Cathie,

       You‘re right about change.  And doesn’t it seem like sometimes it happens so fast?

      As for that commercial, I don’t think I remember that one.

      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Chattycathie wrote Oct 2, 2008
    • It was in the early 60’s.  I was just a kid, but I remember it.  I wonder if there is a website with old commercials posted, that would be fun to watch.

      Anyway I remember it because it was on every week as a main sponser for Disney, and we always watched the wonderful world of disney every Sunday.  Our family had a few jokes about the commercial and I think that is why it stuck in my mind.

      Re: Change.  Change is only accepted if you welcome it into your life.  But when it is forced on you when your not ready, that is when it becomes hard for your to take.  Anyway that is what I have learned. Then sometimes it seeks up on you and you don’t even notice the changes till you look back.  That is what I am loving about your writing here.  Your bringing back things we almost forgot about.

      Cathie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Justjer wrote Oct 3, 2008
    • BINGO again...I too was a cruiser, and share all the memories you all have mentioned.  I an currently visiting the town in which I was born and reared and took my dog on a cruise of Van Nuys Blvd, relaying some of these observations.  It was not quite the same experience with her as with the group all those many years ago, but it does speak to the fact that this is indeed an indelible memory and my dog can now tell all her friends that she has also cruised the Blvd.  Remember club nite (Wednesdays) in Van Nuys.  Can’t help thinking that you and I were crusing at the same time.  Perhaps we even visited the same gas stations, Janie.  If my memory serves me, I believe that in addition to everything else,we also got free dinnerware, etc.  Perhaps that was only with a “fill up“, but boy have times changed.
      Justjer



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Oct 3, 2008
    • Juster- You made me laugh!

      Cathie - I’m glad you are enjoying my column.  

      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Humming1975bird wrote Oct 20, 2008
    • Yes, cruisin’ - been there done that.  I’m from a very small town - still live here actually.  That is about all we had to do on Friday, and Saturday nights - go crusin’ up town on the main street or sometimes out into the country.  In the fall we would always go out to this cemetery that people claimed was haunted - I guess just to scare ourselves silly.



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