Flying high and a car battery |

Flying high and a car battery

A recent article in the USA Today newspaper is titled “Aiming high, Uber plans demo of flying cars for 2020…push a button, get a flight is company goal.” Since we now have legalized recreational marijuana in Nevada, these cars put new meaning to flying “high and recreation.”

This old gal still remembers, as a youngster, running outside to see a plane in the sky. Cars back then didn’t even have turn signals. There was no power steering, windshield wipers were just being developed, and brakes were being improved. All cars were American made. You actually had to drive the car yourself. Heaven forbid! Now, in addition to self-driving cars, we’ll going to have ones that fly.

Seems to me we’re just getting lazy. And who’s going to write tickets for those speeding while flying “high” in the sky? What about accidents … the debris needs to lands somewhere dosen’t it? Will there be parachutes for the passengers in addition to seat belts? Imagine calling your insurance agent to say, that’s if you survived, that you had an accident in your flying machine and wiped out a city block.

Years ago, cars weren’t so efficient as today. Foreign car companies didn’t compete with American car companies then, now they do. This spurred improvement in the quality of cars, and reduction in prices. It was in the 30s and 40s that I saw at least one disabled car sitting along the highway daily, waiting for a tow.. Today, that’s just not the case.

Just asking, “Where do you park a disabled flying car?”

Thinking about cars brought to mind my old and dear friend Bertha. I first met her at a business called E.J. Stokes in the Cresentville section of Philadelphia. Bertha was a telephone switchboard operator. I doubt few today remember those old telephone switchboards, the ones with the wires, cables and switches and plugins. I sometimes took over for Bertha, and still remember loving those few hours I played telephone operator.

By now you’re wondering about “car batteries.” Let me explain. Years after I met Bertha, I had married Don Hill Sr. and we had two sons, Don Jr. and Doug. In 1950 we bought a new post World War II house in the suburbs called Roslyn. One morning, while driving our 1940 Deluxe Ford convertible, how I wish we had that car now, I saw a two-person car just ahead of me.

Looking out of the back window were two heads. They were sitting backward looking out the car’s rear window. A few days later, while driving to a store, I saw the same car sitting in a driveway. Mowing the lawn nearby was my dear friend Bertha. Of course, I stopped. We hugged and talked about our lives, where we had been, and what happened in the years many since we’d first met.

Bertha showed me how they’d taken out the car’s back shelf, putting in milk cartons so her two small children could be in the back. They had to sit backwards. It didn’t take long to realize that Bertha was one who would ever have a car that wasn’t odd, and in her case one that didn’t work most of the time. One day she stopped by my house. We talked through her car’s open window.

Another motorist came past, and Bertha pulled her car over. As she moved, a “thing” appeared in the roadway. The other driver stopped, got out and looked at that “thing” in the road and asked us “Whose battery is this?” Since Bertha had just moved her car from the same location, we assumed it had to belong to her. She got out of her car and pulled up the drivers seat.

It was obvious, at least to me, Bertha knew where the battery was supposed to be. We both looked down and sure enough, it was gone. There was only a hole where the floor holding the battery should’ve been. We laughed hysterically as the other driver drove off in his car, shaking his head in disbelief. Luckily, she’d left the car running. We put the battery in with the milk cartons and she went home.

There are more stories about Bertha and her assorted cars for some other time. I’m sure all of you reading this have your own thoughts about car’s you’ve owned and problems you’ve encountered; however, this begs the question, while flying “high,” what do you do when your car’s battery falls from the sky?

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at