Wednesday, January 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Cars

Saturn would always take your picture in front of your new car!
My first car was some kind of Subaru 4-door that my mom and step-dad got for me to learn to drive in.  Their cars were manual transmission and they thought it would be easier to learn to drive in an automatic.  They were most likely right!  I drove the car for several years until one winter I was driving home from college in Millersville, Pennsylvania to Greentown and the car broke down.  Dashboard lights going on and no power at all.  Luckily, I was able to coast over to the side of the road without incident.  It was cold and there was a nasty snow storm going on.
My poor baby after a flat tire

I was fortunate that my car chose to break down less than 1/4-mile from a State Police station.  I walked to the station and called for a ride then went back to my car.  The officers tried to get me to stay at the station, but I was a stubborn idiot of a young lady and I felt awkward sitting in a police station being talked to by these guys I didn't know for who knows how many hours until family arrived.  So I apparently would prefer to freeze my buns off in my car, packed full of "stuff" from my dorm room.  The police did stop by occasionally to check on my safety.  In retrospect I was very grateful for that.  Anything could have happened to me.  So as it turned out the problem was a minor one.  Fuel filter I think, but we didn't know that until my step-dad's son "took it off our hands" and fixed it. 

My next car was a "hand-me-down" from my step-dad.  He was getting a new Honda Accord, so he gave me his old one.  It was a manual transmission, but I had already learned to drive a stick (much more fun!).  I know how lucky I was to have had these cars given to me!  I also expect that they preferred not to drive me 3 hours each way to college and back with all that "stuff" college kids bring with them.  Not to mention that I was living in the Poconos with my mom and step-dad and NOTHING is within walking distance.  I had to drive 45 minutes each way to my summer job...NOT and exaggeration either!  I wouldn't have been able to have that job, had I not had a car to get to it!

I joined the Army and no longer had a car.  I got to my first duty station which was in San Antonio and was faced with an unpleasant reality.  My barracks were about 10 miles from the place I was working.  Seriously...lived on one base and worked on another.  Not convenient for a new Soldier with little money and no car.  I suppose you were supposed to mooch rides off other people.  I did that for a little while, but every once in awhile you'd end up on a swing shift where you weren't working with your regular coworkers.  So I bit the bullet and bought a car.  I consider this car to be my first car (no offense, Mom and Jim!) because it's the first car I bought with my own money.  It was a Saturn SC2.  I believe it was a 1999 give or take a year.

I loved the car.  I went to Saturn because they didn't haggle.  It was one price, take it or leave it and since I didn't have anyone with me to strike up a deal with any other car dealership, I took the no haggle route.  The car was a good one though.  It was greenish-blue, 2 doors with 2 bucket seats up front and 2 in the back.  I thought it was super cool because the seat belts would automatically engage when you shut the door and started the car up...well, you still had to buckle the lap belt, but I just thought it was so "spaceman"!

The car was rather low to the ground, when I was pregnant with my first son, it was a challenge getting in and out of.  My husband used to joke that he'd have to grease me up to get me out eventually!  We had it for about a year after Benjamin was born.  The back seats weren't the best for a baby seat since they were buckets, but we could accommodate the small snap-in, rear-facing seat we had.  When Ben got too big and we had to turn the seat around the car just didn't work for us anymore.  I was so sad selling it, but I would have been sadder selling my son! ;)