The Parking Ticket Story
In 1955, I was 16 years old and I had just gotten my driving license. It was an exciting time as I bought my first car, it was a green 1940 Ford convertible.
My hometown of Westville Connecticut was a suburb of New Haven, At the time Westville was not a place where there were a lot of guys racing around with 1940 Ford convertibles.
Located on Whalley Avenue in New Haven, was a hot rod auto parts supply store called Henry’s Auto Parts.
Henry sold just about any kind of junk that you could bolt on to your car. He had suicide knobs for your steering wheel, steering wheel covers, fake pin striping you could plaster on your car.
So whenever I had an extra dollar, I drove to New Haven to Henry’s Auto Parts, and I spent a lot of time walking up and down the isles looking at every crazy item he sold, I was always hoping to find something I could put on my car.
If I remember correctly, Henrys was located on the corner of Whalley Avenue and Orchard Street. And I would always park on Orchard Street, right near the corner of Whalley Ave, right next to Henry’s store.
One day to my surprise the city installed parking meters right where I parked on Orchard Street. It was quite a shock to me but I parked where I usually parked, but this time I had to put 5 cents into the meter for 1 hour.
In Henry’s there were always kids like me hanging around, so the time just flew by. All of a sudden, I realized that I needed to put another nickel in the meter. Once I remembered, I ran out of Henry’s just in time to hear and see the meter click and a red color appeared in the meters window. I had my nickel in my hand ready to put in the meter, but I was too late. Standing there was a big fat Irish New Haven cop with his foot on my cars bumper. He was just starting to write me a parking ticket. I was speechless, I couldn’t believe it, that fat cop must have been just waiting there for the meter’s time to expire, just so he could write me a $5.00 parking ticket.
As he put the ticket under my windshield wiper, I pleaded with him, look I said, I have the nickel right here in my hand. I was running here to put it in just as the meter expired.
He was a pretty fat cop, and he perfectly fit the stereotype of what an Irish New Haven Cop looked like, he even had a red nose, but he didn’t look like a bad guy and I think he was listening to me.
He said, I see your car in the neighborhood all the time, and you appear to be a nice kid. I breathed a sigh of relief as he reached over and removed the ticket from under my windshield wiper. Then He walked over to me and tore the ticket throwing the pieces in the storm sewer. I was so relieved, he had just saved me $5.00, which was money that I didn’t have.
I said thank you officer, and I put my 5 cents into the meter and went back into Henry’s Auto Parts store.
About 60 days later I received a letter in the mail from the City of New Have. I was being fined $25.00 for not paying my parking ticket.The lousy cop had only torn up and thrown in the gutter my half of the ticket. He obviously had turned in his half of the ticket.