The first car that had my name on the title was a secondhand white ’64 Buick Special. Considered to be a smaller car for the era, it was still larger than those that we drive now. I used to put gas in the tank every few days since the gauge didn’t work, not wanting to be stranded miles from a station. This proved to be embarrassing at times. In the days when service stations were about service and had attendants, you weren’t allowed to operate the pump. I would ask to have it filled, guessing that it was low, only to have the pump stop with less than a dollars worth of petrol. I would have to sit there while the attendant finished cleaning the windshield and checking the oil.
The car ran great but had some rust inside the vent in front of the windshield. When it rained it would drip on my left foot. If it rained enough there would be a puddle on the floor, which was fine when driving uphill since it would flow to the back. Going downhill was another story.
My next vehicle was this great Oldsmobile Cutlass with the power of a stallion. The former owner had ordered it for the purpose of towing a small camper, thus the big engine. This car was so sweet! It was made for cruising on summer nights, which I did. I also hand waxed it on Saturday afternoons.
One day on my way home from the beach there was a problem with the fuel pump, resulting in an engine fire. I was able to pull over, and sadly stood there watching the fire department hose it down. I stopped by the tow yard to take my things out of the trunk and had this good-bye picture taken.
After that I drove a ’73 Duster in ‘Tahitian Gold’, which was really a brownish bronze metalflake, and a ‘snakeskin’ roof. It was a great car, except for ventilation. The rear windows were some of the first that didn’t roll down, they popped out about two inches the way some minivan windows do now. Sometimes it was just too hot for anyone riding in the back seat, which upset me once I married and had an infant in a car seat back there.
I’ll skip over the years of married life where the cars were ‘ours’, not ‘mine’. There were some sweet slant 6’s and a ’71 Chevy pickup during those years….
Shortly after I set out on my own again I bought a ’95 Ford Ranger, one of the most dependable trucks on earth. I put that baby through its paces! There were moves loaded with furniture and trips to the dump. It carried cubic yards of mulch each spring to cover the flower beds I created. It pulled up the stump and roots of a bush that had to be at least sixty years old with roots as thick as my forearm. I picked up free furniture that folks had set by the road. And there were three trips to the quarry, driving home with ½ ton of gravel on each trip, the back end somewhat lower that the front. Each time I held my breath and swore not to do it again.
It had 185,000 miles on the engine when I traded it in, and was then sold to another eager person. I had moved into a condo and declared that I no longer needed to haul anything, words that I’ve eaten a few times. But for now I’m happy with my Subaru, ready to make more memories.