09 September 2013

Donnie's Chevette...and Corolla, sorta

Mr Hiland from the Great White North shared these memories of his first car[s]...

"Well, "officially", MY  first  car was a dark blue ‘83 Chevette Scooter 2 door, but I drove my Mom's car for the first few years I had my license in the small town where I grew up.  I learned to drive on my father’s car, but don’t ever remember even borrowing it.....only drove it when he was with me.  I did, however, 'borrow' my Dad's car quite a bit as a kid. He had a light green 1961 Pontiac Strato-Chief.  It didn't come with a radio, and after awhile he bought a second-hand one which would not fit into the 'radio' spot in the dash...so he mounted it under the dash.  As a result., it was wired directly to the battery...so you didn't need the key to listen to it.  I spent many happy hours laying on the front seat, in the garage, listening to all the far-away radio stations which our house radio would  not pull in during the daytime. When my time came to drive, I actually learned how  in the brown Laurentian that replaced that 61, but really don't remember much about that car. Many fond and detailed memories of that green Pontiac though. Simple pleasures of a much simpler time...

My mother had bought a ‘72 Toyota Corolla in 1977. It was a creamy yellow 4 door with a brown vinyl top.  It seemed very old, now that I think about it...  Anyway, the previous owner had been a very large girl...who was a wild partier...so that poor car didn’t stand much of a chance.  When we got it, there was no dial face left on the radio....or the top of the knobs....and the aerial was in the trunk (resting). All there was, was a red dial needle...with a faint glow behind it.   I used some cigarette package foil to ‘make a connection’ between the screwed-back-on aerial.  When you drove over the railroad tracks, at the edge of town, you lost the local station.  The back of it looked as if three drunk guys kicked it in (very possible) or perhaps it went on a wild back road adventure (also possible.)   I used kitchen steel wool to get the rust spots off that area, and painted it with a brush.  Looked 100% better.  The back seat had NO springs left.  When Mum and I ventured out of town to visit her sister 15 miles away, it felt like we were driving across the country....never sure if we would make it or not!  No cellphones back then,  just plenty of woods...  When I was working at St. Andrews one summer, two ‘older’ girls asked if they might get a ride home with me.  They were desperate...otherwise, they barely acknowledged my presence.  What pressure!  We got in the car.....the girl in the back seat had been in a car accident in grade 12, and had broken her back.   When we hit railroad tracks on the way home.....(you might say “We ‘crashed the gate...doin’ 98....and jest let dem truckers....OOPS, sorry, wrong memory!)  .........(HEY!  I didn’t dare slow down....after finally getting some speed up!   :)  )......the girl in front and I heard a muffled yelp from the back.   Those railroad tracks must has felt like she hit them herself with her backside (re: no springs)...she was pale as a ghost....and was trying to hold herself UP off the empty sunken seat.  At that point, in the ride, I thought “This isn’t going so good!”   When we finally made it to the edge of town...and crossed more tracks..the radio SPRANG to life, with a large CRACKLE, SNAP.  The girl in front, sarcastically  said “THIS THING has a radio???!!!????”   I , very coolly,  answered “O yeah!”  When I dropped them off, they got out with a faint “Thanks”....and disappeared.  I’m sure they discussed it, at great length, later that night.  Ah...sweet memories!   I never took it to school, because I knew it meant so much to Mum...so I wouldn’t chance anything happening to it.  I did drive it to Graduation practise....and felt very grown-up and cool, that day.  Gave a girl a ride home that evening as it was raining.  I can remember thinking “I will always remember this”..and SHE will remember this.  What a great ‘grad’ memory!!!”    I seriously doubt that she has any memory of it tho...  WHY DOESN’T ANYONE CO-OPERATE?”  :)  Actually, I drove that corolla until 1983 when I bought the Scooter for myself.   Another time, after I had gone to work....I was driving home one night in the toyota.  Coming in one of the main streets in town, the hood folded back onto the windshield!  It hadn’t been closed properly and the wind did the rest!   There I am....on the side of the street...trying to coax it back down, bend it into place and get it to stay... GOOD TIMES!!!  lol ... When I sold it to the brother of a Barber I worked with, I explained that IF he took care of it..and IF he drove it carefully...it would last him a while.  Within two weeks, he had burned the motor out of it.  I felt bad when I heard it, but shouldn’t have been surprised.    The ‘83 Chevette Scooter was a very good little car; reliable, economical and fun to drive, and I drove it many happy miles until Spring 1987.  I came home from work one Saturday, and there was this  beautiful sports car in the yard.  I entered the house cautiously...thinking there was a long-lost (rich) relative visiting.  When I walked in the kitchen...Dad was eating at the table.   I looked around...and said “Who’s here?”   He said “Nobody...”   I said “Whose car is that outside?”  “Yours..for the weekend!”   The salesman knew once I drove it, I would not want to go back to the Chevette.  It was  a silver Chevrolet Beretta GT.  My sister nicknamed it “The Silver Bullet.”  It was the FIRST in this area of Canada.....I was in ‘the best time of my life’...and didn’t realise it then. Such great memories though.
Just a couple of years ago, a customer mentioned that car...said that one day he, and a new girlfriend, were sitting outside the Mall, in his truck.  He said to me “You came out of the Mall.....with your curly hair all long in the back...and got into that car...and drove away.  He said “My girlfriend said “WHO IS THAT???!!!???”...and I HATED YOU!...lol”     WOW...wish I had known that at the time...  It would have done wonders for my self-confidence!"

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