1969. Man was about to walk on the Moon.  Vietnam was in full gear.  Richard Nixon was President.  Before the terms “I am not a crook”, and “Watergate” entered the language.

I was a skinny, awkward, shy 6th grader.  I had one friend in the new school I was attending now that we had moved to Woodlake, and I wasn’t really making many more.  (that one friend is still someone I count in a very small number of “best friends”)

Dad had recently started working for a newcomer in the automobile market, Toyota, at the new Toyota of Visalia dealership on Main Street in Visalia.  Back in those days, salesmen could take one of the new cars home with them, and my Dad, although he loved driving things like Land Cruisers, brought home a brand new 1969 Toyota Corona.  It was very much like this one:

I promptly crashed it into a palm tree.