by Tonya Brantley
Your first car is often one that you remember the most. It was special to you because it got you from point A to point B, it was the first big ticket item that you were solely responsible for and most importantly, it provided you with the freedom to go where you wanted, when you wanted.
That first car is often the most fondly remembered and although the cars that followed were appreciated, the feeling towards them wasn't quite the same as your first set of wheels. Some of you were lucky enough to get a brand new car. The rest of us, myself included, got them "brand used" - some more used than others, but regardless they were ours.
My first car was a used 1991 Geo Storm GSI. I will never forget it, because it was also the first car I had a wreck in. I got my Storm on January 3, 1995 when I was a senior in high school. I spent weeks learning how to successfully master it's stick shift and I loved driving that car. Exactly one month to the day after I got it, on February 3, 1995, I was on my way to school and as I was going down a country road a short distance from home, I rounded a curve as another car was coming towards me in my lane. In a split second decision, I swerved to avoid it, went into the ditch, hit a driveway culvert went airborne, hit a telephone pole and flipped upside down. Luckily, I wasn't seriously injured in the accident, but my first car was totaled.
Looking back, I should have probably gone to the hospital to have myself checked out, but decided to go ahead and go to school. I had perfect attendance from pre-school through 12th grade, and I was not about to miss a day. I spent most of the day in the nurses office laying down, but I somehow managed to make it through the day.
I loved my 1991 Geo Storm GSI. I had a couple of used cars after it, but it wasn't until I got "Betty" in 1997, that I really fell in love with a car.
Betty is my 1997 Honda Del Sol. She's a beautiful white, 2-seater sports car with a top that comes out and a back window that rolls down to let the summer sun caress me as I drive. When I got her, brand new in November of 1997, she only had 73 miles on her. Today, I still have Betty and she has been with me through good times and bad, and she's still hanging on with 209,400 miles and counting. I keep her oil changed, tires rotated, engine purring and interior and exterior clean. Sure she's had a few mishaps through the years, but she's all mine.
Recently, my publisher pointed out that although she's a good looking car, I might want to consider looking into replacing her with a newer, more reliable vehicle with less miles. Although I don't really want to replace Betty, I do realize she's getting up there in age and mileage and it probably won't be long before she's not as reliable anymore. I do know that whenever the time comes to replace good ole' Betty, I doubt very seriously that any car will come close to my love for her.
It seems that no matter who you ask, everyone has a memory of a car that was special to them. One of my fondest memories is that of my Pee Paw's Comet. It was a 1961 special edition: S-22, 2-door, white with red bucket seats. It was bought off the assembly line at Ford Motor in Atlanta in the Fall of 1960. My mother used to drive my brother and I to school in it when I was in the 3rd grade. I only seem to remember the times when it was cold outside, because just about the time we would arrive at school, the Comet would finally warm up. It also would only pick up AM radio which was tuned to WBAC each morning with Corky Whitlock on-the-air. Back in my radio days, I worked with Corky and told him the story of Pee Paw's Comet and each time I speak with Corky, he still asks me about that old car.
Whether they are brand new or brand used, it seems cars play a big role in all of our lives. Some may be lucky enough to own their dream car and some may be lucky enough to still have the one they've hung on to for years that brings them pleasure each time they turn the key. Regardless, memories of our vehicles are precious to all of us. Whether they're considered in the eyes of their owners as a piece of junk on wheels, or a work of art, one thing remains true, you'll never forget those special cars or your first one.