Make us your home page

My First Car: '53 Ford Fairlane, Arlene R. Stern, 77, Tampa

'53 Ford Fairlane

Our first car was this beautiful, new 1953 two-tone green Ford Fairlane, priced at a little less than $2,000. That's me leaning on the car. We had moved to Baltimore immediately after getting married on Aug. 10, 1952. I was working as a teletype operator for the U.S. Corps of Engineers, making $55 a week. My new husband was a graduate assistant at Johns Hopkins University, getting a fellowship of $875 a year. Even with this meager income, our application for a 24-month loan was approved by a local banker. We proved him right, by paying off the loan without missing or being late for a single payment. And in the following 57 years, we have taken our obligations just as seriously. Currently, I drive a MINI Cooper convertible and my husband drives a Hyundai, but we will always remember that beautiful and reliable first car, which, among other things, drove us through a blizzard to the hospital in January 1956 for the birth of our first child, Paul.

Do you have

a story?

Tell us about your first car. Please e-mail the following:

• Your name.

• City.

• Age (with your date of birth).

• Year, make and model of the car.

• A description of the car.

• A high-resolution photo (send it to drive@

Editor's note: We receive a large number of entries for this feature. It might be weeks or months before your car will appear in the paper.

My First Car: '53 Ford Fairlane, Arlene R. Stern, 77, Tampa 04/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 1:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]