Whenever I think about my first car, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala, it takes me back to 1970, when I was 18 years old. I loved that car so much. It gave me more freedom than anything else I have ever owned. It was red, two doors, automatic, and had a 357 engine that made it fly down the road. There was no tape player in it, though. I had a portable 8 track tape player that sat on the seat next to me. My friends and I played Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, The Who, the Birds, and other bands as we flew down the road.
My best friends, Elaine and Carol, and I would drive all over the place in that car, with that player blaring at top volume. We got into some trouble sometimes, like going the wrong way on one way streets in downtown Atlanta; or getting lost late at night in some seedy parts of town.
I had the car for only one month before I wrecked it—I was going a little too fast, as usual, and slammed into the rear of the car in front of me at a traffic light in my home town. I was devastated—but I got it back from the body shop good as new, and with a new respect for speed. I drove that car for about three years. When I got married, that is the car my new husband and I left town in.
My husband didn’t love that car as much as I did, and never took proper care of it. When my son was a baby, I was driving home from my mother’s house one day. When I was stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn left, the motor caught on fire. A passing trucker stopped and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but that car never ran again.
I miss still that Impala, even though it has been more than forty years since I owned it. I used to dream about it, and in the dream, the car would be parked in my yard. Those dreams were so vivid that for years, I would get up and run to the window, expecting to see it parked out there. And always, I was disappointed that it wasn’t there.
What was your first car? Did you love it? Do you still own it? If not, what happened to it?