I was 16 years old so were my two friends; we were driving in my father‘s brand new 1950 Oldsmobile, a postwar car with lots of horsepower and acceleration, which I had proved for myself! It could go from 0 to 60mph less than ten seconds.

I wanted to prove to my friends that it could go over 100 mph, a phenomenal speed back then. We had spent the war years of the Forties looking at glossy magazine ads for cars that artists rendered more streamlined than the 1939 Pontiac my family were still driving.

We memorized the look of each car and we would sit out on the curb of our small town and watch new cars drive-by as they came off the assembly line and were sold. “It’s a Buick.” A few cars later, “that’s a Chrysler.”

Those were rich years in our Oklahoma town because it was home of a major oil company. Our fathers worked for the company or in associated businesses.

It was evening going toward darkness. The nights were still warm. I just got my drivers license. Mom said with a little tremor in her voice “Be careful, hon.” She worried about me in the car.

I picked up my friends in the car and we headed out of town a few miles to the highway to Tulsa. It was a 2-lane highway and not a lot of businesses: there was a drive-in movie and a roadside restaurant with waitresses who ambled to our car and took our orders for hamburgers and cokes. And, it turned out, one other.

We exited the restaurant directly onto the highway. Not a lot of traffic. I floored the speedometer, the car was rocking along.

We got to 100 mph and then one friend said there’s a car ahead. I saw lights coming toward the highway as if from a side road.

I said no it’s a curve in the road but there was no curve in the road.

It was a car backing out onto the highway from a roadside bar. I didn’t realize that for an important but short time and then I slammed on the brakes.

Later, a friend told me he could recall the shrieking of the brakes. We were aimed directly for the other car that had backed out and stopped in the highway. I could see the faces of the people within looking at us and then I froze because any helpful action was futile at that velocity.

It felt as if an arm reached over my shoulder, grabbed the steering wheel that I held with a death-grip and turned the wheel to the left.

I screamed “no we’ll flip!”

We didn’t. The car kept shaking as it turned all the way around. I saw our car front bumper miss the rear fender of the other car by a few inches as we spun. I heard headlines in my head…

Oncoming traffic saw what was happening and stopped, and we skidded into the left lane and went backwards off the road into a ditch.

Our car’s engine stopped. We sat, paralyzed. My friend later said some guys came out of the bar, laughing and offered us beer. Our heads said no.

Finally, I started the unharmed car. We drove back to town. We went home.

I never spoke to my parents about what I did or how closely they came to having a son killed in a car accident.

The two friends said neither one of them had reached over and turned the wheel…


…Yeah, easy explanations can be found. I know only what happened.

After a life of turmoil and disappointment, a flirtation with Buddhism and some stimulant-fueled happiness, my new wife was healed of a tumor and we started on a journey into Christian Science.