Welcome to the sixth day of #LoveBlog! Today’s prompt is Memories. Check out the announcement post for all the prompts and rules this month. It’s not too late to link up for yesterday’s prompt, Loss. Today’s blog post is extra-special because my husband Dan wrote it!
When I think about memories, I think about moments in life where something so significant happened that it is burned in my brain and has become part of who I am today. Some of these moments were awesome. There have been a few of these in my life and some you can guess pretty easily: high school graduation, my wedding day, watching the Flyers go to the Elite 8 while in a hotel in Puerto Rico on my honeymoon… You get the idea.
However, what strikes me more often in my memories than any other specific factor is the presence of cars.
Yep, I just turned a #LoveBlog writing prompt into a blog post on cars.
Did you expect anything else from a husband guest-blogging for his Christian, Feminist, Lifestyle-blogging wife?
Wait, don’t click back, close out, or even get distracted by the sidebar ads just yet! I’m not going to just blog about my cars, but the memories I’ve made in, around, and because of cars. I mean sure, my Miata is my mistress, but it’s not the only car that has been around for significant events in my life.
The Family Station Wagon
Let’s start with my earliest car memories. Picture a 1986 Chevy Celebrity station wagon. Grey, boring, about as far from anything a celebrity would drive despite the name. It was our family car when I was growing up. It even shared my birth year! (Technically, it probably wasn’t manufactured in 1986 due to model year stupidity from car companies).
This car had rear-facing seats in the back that–while horribly unsafe by modern standards–were the coolest thing ever to a kid. Even if no one else was in the car except Mom, I sat in the rear-facing seats just because I could. And you bet your ass I was making strange faces at the drivers behind us and trying to get trucks to honk. (I may or may not have grown out of this phase).
Our station wagon was a reliable companion during elementary school. It even served as our lazy way of doing the newspaper run (my first job!) on rainy days. I’d sit in the back and throw papers out the back window while my saint of a mother would drive me around.
The Family Minivan
Then, I think it was in 1992 or 1993 when we got the first van. Ahh, yes, the minivan. The staple of the American dream. If you were a kid after 1990, you probably grew up in a minivan.
Sadly, they are going by the wayside, replaced by SUVs and “Crossovers.” I mean, seriously why not wagons? But I digress…
That van had a hood ornament! So classy. It was back in the days of bench seats and one sliding door (manually operated of course). Being the youngest of 3 kids, I had the benefit of having the whole rear 3-seat bench to myself (except for those vacations where we eschewed the middle 2 seat row for more cargo space).
I remember when my parents bought the new Plymouth Voyager because I distinctly remember my brothers and I had some sort of fight going on… I don’t remember how specifically, but there was blood involved and being the youngest, I was the one emitting it. To cheer me up from my injury, my parents let me ride home in the new car while my brothers had to ride back in the shaggin’ wagon.
I remember so many things about the van. From the door falling off the track one day in the driveway to when it was my commuter transportation. I even had my first (and only) accident in it when I backed into my co-worker’s car in the parking lot (I felt terrible). I still have the broken section of tail-light in my collection of memories.
My First Car
Now on to my first car. Well, it started out as my parents’ car. A 1999 Chevy Malibu in white. Before it was mine, it was my brother’s, and his brother’s before him… Well, we bought shares of the car to allow us to use it to drive to high school. Luckily for me, my brothers had to shuttle me to high school until I could drive.
Once Nick went off to college, Patrick and I went nuts and threw a fancy stereo in it, some upgraded speakers, and some blinky neon lights (we were so cool back then). I remember so many evenings after school chilling in the senior parking lot as a sophomore, listening to music while waiting for my brother to finish football practice. Once Patrick left for college, it was mine, all mine.
I continued with the lights. Even got pulled over for the Night Rider LEDs in the front grille. Didn’t get a ticket that time, but the lights probably didn’t help when I got pulled over for my one (and only) speeding ticket. The friend of mine who made us late for swim practice probably didn’t help either…
The Malibu was a trusty companion that lasted me through high school, college, and even for a while after graduation. I learned to take care of it: changing the oil, doing a tune up, rotating the tires. My brother may have tried to kill it several times, but it was repaired and continued to serve. Later I learned that it did try to kill me (stupid ignition switch), but I ended up having that replaced well before the recall. I took that car to prom, on my first dates (which yes, were after prom), and on crazy road trips.
I still regret selling it instead of finding a place to have two cars… At least I sold it to a friend.
The Second Malibu
Next was the twin… Yep, my parents bought another Malibu. A 2001 in some sort of gold speckle. I don’t have nearly as many memories of that car growing up. However, it did make a comeback in my life when Nick was unfortunately rear-ended by an inebriated driver and the car was totaled.
Not willing to let it go, I was able to convince my then-girlfriend to let me fix it up for her to replace her car whose engine decided to self-destruct around the same time as the accident. All my knowledge caring for the 1999 Malibu came in handy for me to get the 2001 twin road-worthy with a total budget just shy of $500. It wasn’t the nicest car: it had duct tape (for aero, I swear), and it was DupliColor spray-painted. But by golly, it served us both without fail until we decided to leave it behind in Ohio when we moved to Georgia.
My 2009 White Pontiac G6
On to modern times: the cars that are still with us today! I had fallen in love with white cars when I drove the 1999 Malibu for so many years. So when Pontiac fell into the chasm of dead brands, I found me a great deal on one of the last ones on the lot. I bought a 2009 white Pontiac G6.
Okay, so yes, it’s pretty much the same as a Malibu. It was working for me, and I wasn’t the car guy back then that I am now. It did have a sunroof and remote start though. So fancy.
While I owned this car, I started to become a car guy. I didn’t do much to it (warranty voiding and such), but I did put performance tires on it because I was tired of the stock tires squealing around corners.
This is the car that took me back and forth to Toronto to see Brita. Despite it not quite meeting the claimed fuel economy, it had just enough to get to Toronto and back on a single tank. I remember many times hyper-mileing the last few kilometers (darn metric system) to avoid filling up with expensive Canadian gas. Of course, I also remember getting searched along with the car a few times on both sides of the border…
I remember many fond trips in the G6, but it never really inspired me as much as I’d hoped. It didn’t have as much soul as the Malibu did, and I didn’t make as many memories in it.
My Mistress and My Wife
But owning soulless yet reliable transportation motivated me to jump into the crazy world of owning TWO cars (it’s not a collection until it’s 3 per person). Having a reliable, yet boring grocery-getter pairs nicely with having an impractical but fun car to enjoy on the open road (at least if you’ve got some disposable income).
Thanks, Jalopnik, for convincing me to make the best purchase I’ve ever made in my life. No single non-living thing has ever come close to giving me the joy that the Miata has. I could gush all day about my relationship with this car, but back to the memories…
Buying a used car in cash is an interesting memory all in itself. I remember nervously test-driving it because I wasn’t very good at driving stick. I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t know the market, and I probably overpaid for it. But somehow I lucked out.
The Car of My Dreams
After buying it, of course now that I had a car with no warranty, I could go nuts! This is where I learned how to tear a car apart. Thanks to some help from my best buddies in Findlay, we managed to get a new roll bar in, replace the brakes, and later upgrade the suspension and stiffening. Learning to work on cars is a passion of mine that I developed with friends well after college.
Why just enjoy tinkering though? The Miata is best when not on jack stands.
Driving it around, even on the flat cornfields of northwestern Ohio, was a pleasure. This was a car that made me want to take it to the track. And once I did, it make me want to track it harder. This was a car that encouraged me to always strive to be a bit better. It became not just a car, but an extension of me.
The Woman of My Dreams
So it was with great pleasure that when I finally found the perfect woman on the Internet, she was thrilled to let me pick her up in it… This was for our second date though. The first date, we drove separately, and I was in a boring work Ford Taurus.
But oh, what a second date it was! We drove around topless (the car, not us) to the Columbus Zoo. After a wonderful date, it was time to drop off this woman I was so enamored with. And wouldn’t you know it, she leaned over the shifter and gave me our first kiss. If that’s not a way to tie in memories to excuse me writing about cars, I don’t know what is!
Through dating, being engaged, and being married, the Miata has been in so many memories it’s hard to keep track. But I still find time to be alone with my mistress Miata including a particular memory of our longest road trip… A fully laden trip from Findlay to Atlanta to live with a guy I’d only met on Craigslist. Oh the people you’ll meet on a road trip right?
My Ford Focus ST
But wait, what about the G6 you ask? What ever happened to it? Well, when Brita’s car died, and I fixed up the 2001 Malibu, I decided that even as a second car the G6 was too boring for me. I offered to sell it to my parents to replace the Malibu and then get myself a hot hatch.
Yep, this is where the Ford Focus ST come in. This wasn’t just a car-buying experience. It was a car-ordering experience. Thanks to my financial freedom, I ordered the exact car I wanted directly from the factory. I watched it roll off the delivery truck with 6 miles on the odometer. Since then we’ve been to 10, 100, 1000, and now over 40,000 miles together. We’ve gone on many family trips in the Focus since then. From a trip to Lake Norris in Tennessee to driving to Orlando for my first trip to Disney World and Universal. The Focus is now a part of our family too.
I cherish all these cars that either I or my parents have owned, but more than the cars, I cherish the memories made in them. Memories with family, friends, and now my wife, memories tied to cars as transportation, shelter, or entertainment.
I’m a car guy.
I know that cars are just objects and not sentient beings, but they do have a soul. Or at least they’ve inspired my own. I hope all of you have some wonderful memories whether or not they feature cars. I would love to hear about your great car memories if you want to share them in the comments.
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Meet Your #LoveBlog Hosts!
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.
Charlene is a 20-something wife and fur mamma living in Ohio. She uses her blog, Enduring All Things, to inspire young wives to keep God first and their husbands second in everything they do.
A proud 20-something with a heart for others, Courtney is a total girl boss and mental health advocate who is obsessed with her chocolate lab, Posey Girl. When she’s not watching re-runs of Gilmore Girls, snuggling up on the couch with her longtime boyfriend or drinking Starbucks Pink Drinks, you can find her working all hours of the night (literally) on her blog TheFancySister.com
Enter the #LoveBlog2017 Giveaway!
I am so excited to include a giveaway for this year’s #LoveBlog! It started 02/01/2017 and runs through the end of the month. US residents only. I love my international readers, but international giveaways are more difficult to manage legally.
I will verify the winning entry myself before emailing the winner during the first week of March. If the winner doesn’t respond, I’ll start the process over again. Today’s sponsor, Sebamed, is giving away a $25 gift card to their website, plus free shipping!
A huge thanks to my sweet husband for writing today’s post! He’ll be in the comments to talk about any car memories you want to share.