02 October 2011

LaDawn's Impala

My first car

My first car was a 69 Chevrolet Impala Custom 2dr hardtop. It was white, with a dark blue vinyl top and interior. Well, at least it started out that way. . . I bought it from my parents, who bought it new at Wilkerson Chevrolet in Tulsa. I had gotten a job at the TG&Y [which was a GREAT place to work] right before my 16th birthday, so with a payment schedule to my folks set from my income, and the smashing of my poor little blue piggy bank for the down payment, I was on my way to responsible  “adulthood” .
That car was great. It was built like a tank, and never let me down.  It took me all through high school and the first year of college with nary a problem, save for one annoying little glitch. Every once in awhile , with no apparent rhyme or reason, the windshield wipers would come on. Not all the way mind you, but just partially. They would go up about a quarter of the way, go back down, and repeat the cycle several times. Then they would stop. Then start again. I got used to it, but the specter of windshield wipers flailing away while sitting at an intersection in bright sunshine got embarrassing to a couple of friends. Jeannie’s embarrassment at such conspicuous displays of “un-cool-ness” tried her vanity to the point of finally refusing to ride in my car! Oh well, let her buy the gas when we went somewhere ; worked for me !
A couple of years after I got the car from my parents, my mom got into Shaklee. Now, if you know about multilevel marketing, you know that it works to your advantage to use any and everything possible from your company. Well, my mom really took that concept to heart. And being, uh, lets say “fiscally conservative” [ahem] as she was, she would try to use a single product for several somewhat related tasks. I mean, if a soap worked for cleaning dishes, certainly it would work for cleaning the dog, the windows and silverware, right? And if a cleaner removed scuff marks from the floor and stains from the toilet, it oughta get all that nasty road grime off the car shouldn’t it? Well, at least she thought so.
One day, my then boyfriend came over and we decided to wash our cars. When he saw what I was using to wash the car, he jumped back in horror asking what in the #@$%^*  I was doing ?!?  I told him it was just some cleaner my mom said to use for car washing. He proceeded to inform me that the stuff would not only eat the paint, but probably peel my skin. He opined that it might be a great cleaner for it’s intended purpose, but never ever use it on painted surfaces! Needless to say, we didn’t wash his car that day. I continued to use that ‘car wash soap’ anyway for the next year or so. I did notice that if I accidentally got any splashed in my eyes, that my vision blurred and they burnt for a couple of days, but eyes and cars are two different things, right?
When I went to sell the Impala, it was a dusky off white/greyish color and the paint was cracking and turning to powder in places. The dark blue vinyl top now had the color and finish of a pair of distressed, acid washed jeans. Still ran great. Still could smoke the rear tires, but the poor thing looked awful. I called the now ex-boyfriend to ask him what to do about the car, as he knew a bit about them. After telling me “I told you so” a few times, he advised that I take the money I had saved and was considering spending on a newer Monte Carlo my dad was about to sell, and spend it on the Impala since I liked it so well. He told me the Impala was a better car than the newer car, and if I would just fix it up a little, it would go happily for years.
Again, I didn’t listen to him, and again, it was a mistake. The Monte Carlo I bought was not nearly as good of a car as my old Chevrolet. It wasn’t as big, didn’t feel as safe, and didn’t accelerate as well. That 69 Impala was built like an anvil, and could hold up under most anything. But even it couldn’t withstand the onslaught of industrial grade floor cleaner on it’s paint…Sure wish I would have kept my 69 Impala. I liked it’s size, it’s acceleration and the feeling of ‘solidity’ it gave. Could be why I still prefer big cars like SUVs and pickup trucks to this day.
Regrettably, due to some ‘unique family dynamics’, I don’t have any photos of the car. Pictures before about the age of 22 are fairly rare. The only one I could find is of my little sister dressed up for Brownies standing with my Basset Hound, MacGruger, with the left rear of the car in the background.
As an aside, I called the ex boyfriend a couple of years after buying the brown Monte Carlo. He, of course, said “I told you so”. Again. But I’ve learned to listen to him about cars since then – I never buy a car without him there any more, so he can’t say “I told you so” anymore should it turn out to be a mistake.
 And we just celebrated our 26th anniversary last month …    :)

1 comment:

  1. I immediately identified the ex-boyfriend from his expletives deleted in response to using improper cleaning agents on the car--and in his advice to keep the Impala. Congratulations on 26 years of wedded bliss (the wedded part, anyway!)

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