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dudedillio
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  • Register:11/21/2004 11:03 AM

Date Posted:12/11/2018 3:11 PMCopy HTML

Around the time I was 8, my mom signed me up for a Sunday School at the local Baptist Church, even though we were Catholic and I was already going through CCD.  Her friend Karen was the driver and my mom’s friend from work and I think that had something to do with it.  Turns out our house would be the first stop.


So I was dreading that first day and then the doorbell rang.  There was Karen, in a white blouse, khaki slacks, and mid-heel white pumps with the peep toe.  She wasn’t wearing hose and her nails were red.  She chatted with my mom for a few minutes and then we left.  She was driving a brown 1970s Dodge 15-passenger van.  Since I was the first stop, I was able to sit in the bench seat right behind the driver seat with a clear view of the pedals.  Karen got in after I sat down and placed her right foot on the gas.  She put the key in and turned the key.  The engine spun over for a few seconds as she very slightly pressed the gas and the engine fired right up.  Then she drove to every house to pick up the other kids.  Every time she stopped, she shut the engine off, got the kid, let them in the van from the side door, walked around the front, hopped in, slightly pressed the gas pedal as she cranked the van, and the engine would fire right up.  That van ran good.


The van continued to run well through the fall.  One winter day, in January, we had a cold snap and the van kinda sputtered (Now that I’m 40, I think it was carb icing) when she would accelerate from a stop.  On the way home, the van even stalled a couple times.  When it did the first time, she fired it up with no problem.  The second time, it sounded like it had started but hadn’t.  She pumped it three times firmly with her cowgirl boot and it started.


The following summer, we had a heat wave and Karen was wearing flat scrappy white sandals and a mid-length skirt.  When she stopped to drop people off (I was always the last stop on the way home), the van seemed hard to start.  She would rest her sandalled foot on that long floor-mounted has pedal and crank it and it would just keep spinning over until she slammed it to the floor.  At a few stops, she had to try three or four times to start it.  On the fourth or fifth stop, when she got back in, it was turn the key and press the gas and it sounded like it started but wound down as she released the key.  Then she did it again and again, turning the key and pressing the gas down and letting off both the key and gas when it started but really hadn’t.  This went on like 15 times and then it finally started but stalled right away and then another few goes at it before it finally started with a nice blue cloud of smoke.


I went to that Sunday school for three years, year round.  I always got the best seat in the van and it was awesome seeing Karen’s footwear.  Pumps, sling-backs, boots, sandals, even flip flops a couple times.   She never wore hose and my absolute favorite, now that I think about it, we’re her sling-back navy blue leather pumps.  When she floored the gas or moved her foot to the brake pedal, I could see the inside of her shoe and the bottom of her sole, which was wrinkly and clean.  She apparently took good care of her feet, as they were just beautiful.

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  • Register:09/28/2013 3:41 PM

Re:Karen and the Church Van

Date Posted:12/12/2018 12:20 PMCopy HTML

Very nice! Thanks for sharing those memories. You describe very well the typical features of driving carbureted vehicles from years ago. I would like to have known Karen! Pedalpusher


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