Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

August 2012

As I look forward to Labor Day, I look back on Labor Day 1957. It came very close to being my last.

My friend Mike and I went to Boston (16 miles from home in those days) to catch a movie. He had a great two-door, 1949 Ford.

On the way home about 11 p.m., we were stopped at a light on Route 9 (aka Worcester turnpike). Next to us, a former classmate pulled up in his convertible. He had a date and we all waved back and forth and chatted a bit about the end of summer and the coming school year. The light changed and the guy in the car behind us leaned on the horn. Our friend took off. We started slowly catching up, but in the process the eager beaver behind us couldn’t pass — so he hit us.

Bang! Not hard, but he hit us. What a jerk, huh? I briefly hopped in the back seat to get his license number, P13-127. Mike’s Ford had good pickup so we left the jerk well behind us.

A couple of minutes later, Mike said, “Here he comes again!” To avoid him, we pulled onto an off ramp that had a stop sign at the top.

Bang! He hit us much harder, sending our car through the intersection and down the ramp on the other side back to Route 9. We stopped and looked back, but the jerk turned left and headed to West Roxbury.

As we entered Wellesley, our home town, we noticed the bouncing headlights of a crappy car thundering down the steep hill behind us.

Mike floored it. Ahead there was a wicked-tough off ramp into Wellesley Hills square. Mike took it at top speed and, shockingly, so did the jerk — who hit us a glancing blow at the end of the ramp, pushing us out onto Washington Street (Route 16). At one point, we had to be doing close to 100! We were now trying to make it to the Police station.

Didn’t make it. Imagine, doing 100 in a 35 mph zone and getting hit from behind! Our car went out of control to the right into a car sales lot where we basically knocked an English Ford in two, rolled over, went 42 feet without touching anything, just missed the gas pumps, and ended up against a stone wall embankment.

Mr. Jerk P13-127 went out of control to the left, took out a light pole with a fire box (setting off an alarm) and finally came to a stop in the Sunshine Dairy parking lot where Mike and I were to have ended the evening with coffee and muffins.

Lucky for me, I had once again switched to the back seat as the chase intensified, because the engine ended up in the front passenger seat. I crawled out from under the backseat cushion to where Mike was sitting with his legs still in the upside-down car and his back against a sand pile, which kept him from hitting the wall.

The cops came, saw we were teenagers, and figured we were to blame. So one of them took the 35-year-old, uninjured nut job out to Route 9 to catch a bus to his job somewhere past Framingham.

Another old guy, maybe even older than 35, pulled up and told the cops our Ford was being “pushed” at high speed by another car. Another citizen noticed I was bleeding (glass cuts, mostly) and insisted we be taken to the hospital.

Everything turned out OK. I hope to be seeing Mike soon at our 55th high school reunion.