By Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Twice this week I put my life in the hands of my fifteen year old son as he learned to drive a stick shift. He’s learning so he will be prepared when we turn over borrowship (NOT ownership) of his first vehicle, a Honda Accord that’s the same age as he is. We’ve already started the countdown, T-minus 73 days until he has that all-important piece of plastic that says he’s a legal driver.
Besides teaching my son (or just hanging on) I’ve been working on a car story. Naturally, all of this reminds me of my first car.
First let me give you a little backstory. My Dad was a mail carrier. There was a woman on his route who was blind and she owned two cars that had hardly been driven. One was an ugly bright blue Ford Maverick, and one was a red and white 1970 Cheville Malibu. Since she couldn’t drive the cars anymore she sold them to my Dad. He bought the Maverick first, so that car went to my older sister. Then he bought the Malibu. For some reason, that neither my sister or I can explain (at least not in civil terms) I got to drive the Malibu.
It was a nice car and it was in pretty good condition when I got it. Not so much (as my brothers like to point out) when I was finished with it. But it was still a very cool car.
I have some great memories of the Malibu. Like the time I tried to follow a guy who was driving a truck into the sand dunes and I buried it up to the axles (statue of limitations is over on that one, Mom). Or when the heater got stuck on high for an entire summer. Or when there was a short in the horn, so whenever you touched the brakes it would honk. My boyfriend got pulled over for honking at a cop when he had to stop at a stoplight.
My mom still has the Malibu. My brothers won’t let her sell it even though it doesn’t run anymore. Whenever I go home I have to take a moment to visit my old car and reminisce.
Clunker or souped-up hot rod, I think we all have fond memories of our first car.
My cousin, Jennifer Shaw Wolf is a mother of four, videographer, avid reader, and obsessed writer. Her book, Breaking Beautiful comes out in April, 2012.