Thursday, March 18, 2010

Your First Crush

Do you remember your first four-wheel crush? 

My father’s visiting right now and he remembered within seconds. “A 1956 Ford Mainline Sedan. Four-door. My grandfather gave it to me. It was gray then and I had it painted dark blue. I was so proud of that car.”

I then asked my husband. “A white 1972 Plymouth Duster,” he answered.

“It had 150,000 miles when I got it. I drove it into the ground.”

Yes indeed, there’s a special place in our memory for that first pile of metal, that tank that gas guzzler, that burst of precious freedom.

Was it the car or the fact that we were old enough to drive? Was it the independence we celebrated or the responsibility of being near-grown-ups what we took to heart? 

My first car was a 1980 Chevy Caprice station wagon. It had wood panels. It was full of dog hair shed from three German Shepherds. With over 100,000 miles, it was the vehicle chosen for trips to the dump, to pick up the Christmas tree, and always, always, to transport the hounds to the vet.

One day, however, that Chevy wagon saved my life. I made a new driver’s mistake and was hit in the driver’s door. Hard. Only the steel bar in the door kept me safe from being flattened by the oncoming vehicle. A few months later, my mother borrowed my car and was rammed in the same side by a garbage truck. She walked away without a scratch.

Many cars since then, I still cannot pass a wood paneled station wagon without looking twice.

How about you? Tell us about your first love/car!