Monday, October 26, 2015

31 Days of Life Stories #26

Thanks to everyone for the kind words regarding yesterday's life story. It was very tough for me to relive the story of dad's death and write it for you; but, if it would help anyone to take a needed action so they would not have to live with regrets, I would be so glad!

So, today, I feel it's time for a lighter, happier subject. I'm going to tell you about my first car. I've already shared how I scratched Dad's Renault, but as time went on I did become a better driver. My parents decided to trust me with a car since I now had my job at the courthouse and needed wheels to get there.

Dad knew a place near Chicago where he could buy dependable used cars for a good price. He liked to buy them and then bring them down to Florida because he felt he could make money on them. When it came time for me to have a car, his first thought was to head back to Chicago. My opinion on a car was not asked, nor was I invited to go pick it out. I don't know now how much it cost but I would say it would have been about $500 - $1,000. Remember, this was in the seventies!

Anyway, he flew to Chicago, picked out a car, and drove it back. He got in way late that night, so late I was already asleep dreaming of what he had bought. Surely he'd found an old Mustang or even a Beetle! The next morning, I woke up and immediately headed out to see what my new ride looked like.

I ran out to see a Dodge ... Coronet. If you don't know what a Coronet looked like, just think Grandma car. It was clean as a whistle and it had a very important accessory - air conditioning! (A lot of those cars from Chicago didn't have that.) 

I got over my disappointment fast - the main thing was I had wheels AND it was paid for. So many kids nowadays have brand new vehicles and big insurance bills and car payments before they've even graduated high school. I realize sometimes the parents pay for everything, or sometimes they make the child help with payments but what I've noticed those cars seem to always get wrecked. Sometimes old cars get wrecked too ...

The car ran like a top and it wasn't long before I got pretty attached to it. After all, no car payments meant more of my money could go for important things, like new clothes.

One day, I got up early and jumped in the car to head to work. It was a foggy day and the windows where covered with dew. We never had to scrape frost off windows in Florida but you did need to clean the dew off where you could see. But I just ran the wipers on the windshield but left the side windows alone.

I pulled out in front of a pickup going ninety-to-nothing on the highway because I didn't see her out my side window. Bang! The sound of that crash still reverberates in my head when I think about that day. I'm pretty sure I didn't have a seat belt on - this was before it was the law.  I didn't have a cut or a bruise at all, but I did have a heavy heart when I got out and saw my little Coronet. She not only did not look queenly but not even grandmotherly anymore. Her front end was smushed good.

This happened in the days before cell phones, so the lady driving the pick-up walked to a neighbor to call the police and I walked home to face the music. The tears started to roll as I trudged down that famous lane to our house, the one I had walked to catch the bus so many times. I guessed I'd be riding that bus again from now on ... by the time I got to the house I was sobbing. Mom was at work so I had to go wake Dad up and tell him what I had done. I figured he would be mad.

He jerked awake when he heard the sound of my crying. He was not mad at all but just thankful I didn't get hurt. Isn't it always better to come clean right away with what you've done?

He went back with me to the scene of the accident. By that time, the police was there and I had to fill out the accident report. I was charged with failure to yield and had to pay a ticket. 

Dad towed my car home. I requested he turn it around so I wouldn't have to see her mournful face looking at me every day.

In time, Dad got the car fixed (the engine thankfully was in good shape still) and repainted and I was able to drive her again. I was so thankful to have her back! I learned looks were not everything. The little Coronet might not have been beautiful but she was built like a tank!

This post is #26 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."


betty said...

My niece's first car when she was a new driver was a heavy duty one; can't remember the model now, but it was something her parents wanted to protect her as much as possible with; seems your dad was doing the same thing for you in picking out the Coronet :)


Cathy said...

I enjoyed the memories of your first car.

I remember my first car was an old Ford Fairlane with no air, except for the hole in the floorboard. I loved that car too!!

Thanks for sharing.

Denise said...

made me smile

Betty Draper said...

Loved your story, what a great Dad you had...sound like to me his teaching took root in your heart.

Misha Gericke said...

I liked this story. It's so strange how a small thing like not cleaning a side window can have such a big impact. :-)