It is probably my Roman Catholic upbringing in a predominantly Jewish area of town but hand-me-downs have always been part of my life.
My elder brother got the new clothes, or to be specific, new-to-our-house clothes, and I got his wear-outs.
My younger brother should have had mine but he grew unaccountably tall and slipped up the pecking order leaving me in third place. Only our sister seemed to have direct access to my mother and her Singer sewing machine.
Somewhat sadly, the clothes issue coloured my judgment and when my father offered me his old (hand-me-down) circa. 1948 Austin 12, I spurned it for a dreamed of MG Midget.
I have a horrible feeling that had I kept the Austin 12 then it might have worth a damn sight more today than most of the other cars that I have owned.
To make matters even worse, I also recall that a distant relation offered my brothers and me one of those funny little Morris Minors with the wood panelling. He had hardly used the car and it was in pristine condition. I dread to think what that would have been worth now.
Of course, we live in a throw-away society and an era of car scrappage allowances. Parents with twenty-year old classic cars that have done less than 5,000 miles are extraordinarily rare. Parents that offer to hand the car down to the son and undeserving heir are rarer still.
So, next time around, if someone offers me an old, out-of-date classic car, even if it is a hand-me-down, I will say thank you very much and Yes, Please.
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10 January 2011, 04:44PM
Nice story. Yeah, having relatives with old cars ought to be great.
Glenda Perkins (Mrs)
12 January 2011, 04:59PM
Where do you sign up for parents and aunts like that? No-one in my family had the foresight to think about getting hold of those kind of cars. I reckon they were too busy working and jkeeping food on the family table.
17 February 2011, 02:26PM
My first car was a hand me down. It was a Vauxhall Astra Merit Estate in an awful green colour and looking back it really wasn't a cool car to have, but it did me a real favour at the time.
26 February 2011, 01:23PM
A friend of my wife and I inherited lots of things from his family including money, property and some serious old furniture. He also had an early Aston Martin. He started to renovate it, got bored and left it out in the rain for about 25 years. It is now not even worth scrapping.
14 March 2011, 02:34PM
I think a hand me down first car is just what a young driver needs. It is costly to run a car so getting one for nothing has to be a great option.
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