The mini car was given to us by my mom's boss, Dean Jensen. I think it must have been about 1980. He brought it over on Christmas Eve, but my parents kept it hidden until Christmas morning. When they told us to go look on the front porch for a fun surprise, I remember at first I didn't see it and was confused by the instruction. But after seeing it and getting to drive in it, the mini car easily became a family favorite.
When we first learned to drive it, we took it to a nearby parking lot to practice. My dad started the practice of standing in front of the car while the driver stepped out and a new one stepped in. Since no one was holding down the brake pedal to keep the car in place, my dad's position helped keep the mini car from moving.
Of course, those watching would often get impatient for their turn. One time Jeff impatiently called to James that his time was up; but he went ignored. So on one lap Jeff decided to block the path of the mini car, kind of like dad did, in hopes of ending James's turn. But James didn't slow down to end his turn. He just ran right over Jeff and kept driving. Luckily poor Jeff was not seriously injured.
After having the mini car for a while my mom signed us up to drive it (and a few other mini cars belonging to the Jensens) in a parade. We dressed up like clowns and drove along throwing candy to the children in the crowds. Sometimes I would ride on the back of the roadster throwing candy and waving while Jeff would drive. Another time I have a big bouquet of heart-shaped balloons.
While doing a double wave with my hands I blocked my face... oh, well.
My mom often made us costumes and made these clown ones (even the wigs!), too.
I think we were in three or four parades doing this; we would borrow two of the Jensen's mini cars and have some friends help us. Fred Crum is sitting behind Jeff in the black truck. I am not sure who the Raggedy Ann is to James's Raggedy Andy... maybe a ward member.
We owned the mini car for at least five years. Apparently, it was ruined when Jeff and a friend ran it into a light pole. Still, having the mini car was one of the fun memories of my childhood.