The unfortunate demise of my parents' first ever brand-new car

I don’t have any pictures of the actual truck I drove. But this one’s pretty close.So, Christine just wrote about her first car - the Green machine and I couldn’t resist writing about my first car, which also happened to be green, though it was actually a truck.

My first car wasn’t really my car. But I became the primary driver because my mom was extremely generous and she also appreciated the help since she wasn’t always in the best of health.

It was a forest green 1989 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck that had beige pleather interior and plastic flooring - no carpet at all (which was actually kind of nice in Florida). My dad got my mom this truck for her birthday in 1988. It was their very first brand new vehicle. It was so nice. We were very much a second hand car family. Mom’s favorite - she always said - was the Galaxy that was white with forest green interior. I only remembered that it was ugly. :) So, dad bought the truck in October for my mom’s birthday. He proceeded to tease her for quite a long time that it was only meant to be for her birthday and that it was his once her birthday had passed. Just 6 years later, I ended up driving it far more than both of them.

When I turned 15, I was eligible to get my learner’s permit in the State of Florida. I procrastinated and didn’t get it until about 3 months before my 16th birthday when I would be eligible for my full driver’s license. My parents told me that they wanted me to drive for a full year before I got my license and I was okay with that. I took Driver’s Education in summer school and drove for about 7-8 months before mom and Dad decided to let me get my license. I think I got it in November of 1993.

It wasn’t long before I started taking my mom to work in the mornings, then driving to school and returning to pick her up from work in the evenings. It was great! Mom worked long days, and rarely left the office due to her physical limitations, so I had a car to get to and from school and all my other activities.

I never fully understood why - perhaps it was being in the south and the truck-driving culture there, but I seemed to get lots of compliments about that truck. I learned how to change its tires, top up the oil (when it had a leak) and other general things that have to be done regularly with a car. I learned the hard way about filling up with gas on time. I think Dad still reminds me that “E” doesn’t mean “enough”. I also did my fair share of giving rides to friends after school and band practice. Those were good times.

Sadly, just a year after I got my license and during my senior (12th grade) year, I had an accident that totaled the truck. On my way to church one Sunday afternoon not long after a rainstorm had ended, I was driving on a road that had water in the ruts. This wasn’t a problem until someone passed me coming the other direction and sprayed dirty water from the road all over my windshield. I turned my wipers on right away, but it wasn’t quickly enough. A line of cars had stopped in front of me because a car was turning left. I hit the brakes, turned my wheel all the way to the right and kept going straight into the back of the minivan in the back of the lineup. That water on the road caused my view of the road to be impaired and then caused me to hydroplane so that I couldn’t avoid the accident. If only the police could have assigned fault to the water instead of me!

What was worse was the absolutely mortifying coincidence that no less than 10 people I knew from school drove by the scene of the accident. They were very nice, offering to help, but it was still very embarrassing. Especially when I had to retell the details to all the people that found out about the accident the next day. Fortunately, there were no injuries - apart from my pride and the front end of the truck. I couldn’t believe how well the van made it through the accident. There was damage, but nothing like what happened to my truck.

The damage to my pride didn’t stop with the accident. From that day on I was forced to drive either my parents’ blue Caprice Classic station wagon to school or my grandmother’s Ford Fairmont (0-60 in 5 minutes flat!) to school. If you asked me which of the two I preferred, to this day I can’t tell you.

*****

Do you have a good story about your first car? Share it and link up at Coffees and Commutes!