November 4, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 45): Car Trials & Tribulations - Zoom Zoom!

Sharing Memories: First Car!
Welcome to Week 45 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012.   I hope you'll join in writing your memoirs and childhood memories for your descendants.

If you are just joining us, please take a peek at over 150 earlier prompts by clicking on the Sharing Memories tab at the top of Olive Tree Genealogy blog. You can jump in at any time and you can skip topics that you don't like. There are no rules, it's all about getting your memories down on paper. The prompts are here as a guide to help if you are stuck for ideas.

My very first car that I owned was with my first (ex) husband. We were both in University and so we scrimped and saved until we had enough money in 1970 to buy a French-made car - a red Peugeot. It was  a sunroof-equipped four-door saloon, very highly rated. We were so excited!

But our excitement was short-lived. Everything that could go wrong with that car did go wrong. The sunroof blew off the first month we had it. We were driving on the highway at the time. Next I was driving in a blinding snowstorm in Toronto when the windshield wipers fell off. Yep, I said "fell off". I had to open my window, stick my head out and drive all the way home like that.

The transmission locked up within 6 months and had to be replaced. Eventually we fought for a replacement car or reimbursement of all the expenses we had in the first 9 months. Mechanics in Toronto who checked the car shook their heads and showed us cracked hoses and inferior damaged engine parts. After a lengthy fight with Peugeot we did eventually receive some compensation. But the car was a junker within a year - so disappointing to us.

Our next car was an older used dark green Mustang which was in such bad shape that we had to use a rope passing from the driver's side window through the car out the passenger side window and across the roof to hold the doors shut. On a trip up north the entire transmission dropped out of the car, thankfully in a small town and not on the highway where we had been just 5 minutes earlier. We abandoned the car in that northern town and took a bus all the way  home. It was many miles and hours of misery.

Sharing Memories: Red Pontiac Acadian Car
Pontiac Acadian 1977
When my husband and I separated in 1977 he took our car and left town so I needed a car of my own, and fast. I had no money and no job so I sold my beautiful antique inlaid mahogany dining room set for $1500.00 and bought a red Pontiac Acadian - brand new. I was so excited  - my very first car I'd ever chosen on my own and owned all by myself.  I lost my home that same year and was homeless for a few months with my 4 year old son but that's another memory for a journal entry another day.

Oh the joys of being young and poor and needing transportation! What was your first car and when did you buy it?  Got any funny stories about it?


Mariann Regan said...

When I got my first teaching job in 1968 I was driving an Oldsmobile, only a few years old. A big old dark-blue boat with loose shock absorbers. I was commuting 20 miles to work and 20 miles back. Once when I was at a halfway point --fortunately I had left the turnpike and was on the Post Road--the axle fell out of the car onto the road. I don't even remember what happened next, I was so astonished and bewildered. One of the car dealerships on the Post Road came to my aid, I think, and helped me find a repair shop.

Sometimes I think I've learned about every single part of a car by having that part break or seize up or give out while I was driving it. Calipers, carburetor, clutch, fan belts, ignition, radiator, steering wheel . . . you name it. Today in 2012 cars are much more dependable, thank goodness.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Funny now to look back on, but not when it happens, right Mariann?

Thanks for posting and sharing your story

JL said...

My first car was a second-hand Falcon with 150,000 miles on it. It was love at first sight and I didn't even so much as dicker on the price. A few months after I bought it the engine gave up; driving up a steep hill, great clouds of blue smoke billowing behind. At the exact same moment, a police car was signalling me to pull over for a broken tail light. Fortunately, he had a sense of humour and said, "It looks like you have bigger problems" and let me go without a ticket.

A friend and I spent the rest of the winter rebuilding the motor and I, thereby, received my education in auto mechanics. It (as well as copious amounts of wire, duct tape and binder twine) served me well for many a year, the car finally dying at age 22. Nowadays, though, cars are generally too complicated for backyard mechanics and I'm more than happy to take mine to the dealer.