I'm a little late to this party, but I just learned about the Deja Vu blogfest today. It's a fantastic idea. Organized by DL Hammons
and Nicole Zoltack,
a group of bloggers are republishing a favorite post from 2014. What a great way to catch up on all the great blogposts you missed this year! Please follow the link
and visit some of the blogs.
So, here's mine from February, 2014. A nice little piece that made me happy to write: An Autobiography in Cars.
mother tells me that the first car she drove when I was a baby was a
'62 Dodge Dart, but I don't remember that car, not even from pictures.
The first one I remember was her '66 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
thought it was beautiful, and she was beautiful. When I grew up I was
going to be tall and blond and beautiful and drive a red fancy car like
my mother. (I'm medium sized, brunette and drive a black SUV . . . so 0
for 3, I'm afraid).
car, Mom drove a series of utterly unmemorable Honda Civics, each one
interchangeable with the one it replaced. But given the miles we covered
with dance classes, band competitions, and tennis matches, it was
probably good that she went with cars that got good mileage.
other vehicles I remember from childhood are all trucks. There was my
grandfather's truck, a '52 Ford. What I remember best about it is the
really wide flat running boards. I was a skinny kid.
I played hide and seek with my cousins, I could hide in one of those
running boards and cling to the side of the truck. If I timed it well, I
could keep moving from one side of the truck to the other without being
seen by the other kids.
had a truck we called El Porco, because of the amount of gas he
consumed. I can't explain why the truck had a Spanglish name. My sister
and I thought he was awesome, though. He was big and tough and strong,
and had little fold down seats behind Mom and Dad's seats for us.
El Porco, Dad had a series of Toyota trucks, mostly red, mostly
interchangeable with the one that came before just like Mom's Hondas.
Though, there was one that got dolled up by an uncle who was into body
work and perhaps a little stuck in the '70s.
looked like they had won it at the fair. It was blue with sparkles in
the paint and had an airbrush-looking window that had my parents names
in a heart, like a teeshirt bought at a beach vacation. I was just old
enough to find this mildly embarrassing, and redneck enough to imagine
someday having such a thing myself.
that, we get into my own cars. My first one was a red Honda Civic that I
called Gertrude. My mom always said it was a glorified roller-skate.
True, Gertrude wasn't powerful, but she never let me down, and, for her
size, she held an incredible number of my friends on the way to King's
Island Amusement Park. Certainly more than the legal limit.
went to college with me, but was replaced by something a little newer
and arguably better in my sophomore year. Etsuyo was a grey Honda
Accord. I never took to her, though she served me well. I let the
then-husband (yes, I married stupid-young; that's part of why it didn't
last) name the car. He named her after a girl from Japan he had known.
Thinking back on things, that was probably a bad sign.
that came my Alaskan adventure. Dad helped me find the perfect truck.
Of all the vehicles I have ever owned, this might be my heart's wheels.
His name was Beauregard, Beau for short. He was a '77 Sierra Grande GMC
truck (which made him only a few years younger than me). He had 6
cylinders, and 3 on the tree. I felt like such a gearhead for knowing
things like that about him, and, believe me, I am not a gearhead. When I
looked in his old and simply designed motor lacking any computer-based
parts, I understood what some of the parts were, and even replaced some
of them myself, standing on his bumper to be able to see into the
cavernous engine area. It was an empowering feeling.
held all my wordly possessions (books and clothes, mostly--you should
have seen the guy's face when we crossed the Canadian border) and I
drove him to Kodiak, Alaska with two college friends. We took turns
sleeping in the back in a sort of bunk on top of all my tubs of books.
He explored that island with me and moved with me to the mainland a
couple of years later.
saving the life of my then-husband in a winter-roads car accident that
surely would have killed the man if the vehicle in question had been a
modern chunk of plastic instead of an old piece of metal. Beau had an
honorable death, and I still miss him.
was replaced by a Mazda truck that I never liked as well, but got good
mileage out of. I didn't name her, but knew she was female. The Mazda
had belonged to a friend named Marcia, and it was one of those help each
other things. She needed to sell it due to a change in her marital
circumstances; we needed wheels. The Mazda was the truck that I explored
mainland Alaska in, with my German Shepherd/Husky mix dog, Häagendog.
I moved to Nome, it would've cost too much to take the Mazda, so,
instead, I took it on a cross country trip with my mother. We traveled
the Alcan down into the Dakotas, then went to Yellowstone, and
eventually brought the truck to Kentucky, where an uncle took her over
and drove her until she literally broke in half. He said that she
smelled of my dog for the rest of her life.
I arrived in Nome with no wheels, so the principal at the school gave me an old Ford Bronco he had to beat around in. It was really beat
up. Only one door opened, the windshield was cracked, and the seats
were torn and covered in towels, but at least I didn't have to worry
about whether he'd be upset at me for damaging it with muddy footprints
and the smell of a dog who rolled in dead Walrus.
a few months, I was able to get a Suzuki Sidekick. It was cute, and we
set it up with a gate to keep the dog in the back section, away from the
child, when he ate a moose leg he found somewhere. The Sidekick served
us well for a few years, though getting body work done in rural Alaska
is interesting. The then-husband backed the car into a telephone pole
one sleepy morning. They had to fly in a new back door from Anchorage,
so it took a while. Luckily, it was summer.
we left Alaska in a last-ditch effort to save the marriage, we moved to
Kansas. As part of the compensation package, I got a beautiful old
house and the newest car I'd ever had: a 2000 New Volkswagen Bug. (I had
to part with both when I parted with the husband, but they were nice
while they lasted).
Bug was Kermit green. Darn it was cute. We called it the Bubble Car and
the little one and I drove it to every zoo, farm, apple orchard and
other kid-pleasing thing in the whole darn state. There are an
inordinate number of small zoos in Kansas, by the way. The seats flipped
up and I could stand inside the back of the car when getting the kiddo
in and out of her carseat. The seats were also leather and heated. I
felt spoiled as heck. I got a speeding ticket or two in it, too, because
that thing had zip. That, and hay trucks make me impatient.
divorce car was another Honda Accord. It had been my sister's. It was
another help each other car. She was moving to Hawaii and needed to get
rid of her car. I needed a car. It was a perfectly reliable and
serviceable car. I never liked it. I don't miss it, but I was grateful
for its years of service. One of my uncles has it now--the same uncle
who took the Mazda. I wonder if it smells like our new dog.
I drive Duncan. He's a Toyota Highlander, hence the name. He's posh,
with heated seats and such, like the Bug was. But he feels like a truck,
like Beau. I like him so much that my now-and-forever-husband is
jealous of him. I think I'll keep him as long as he runs (that's the car
. . . and the husband).