Sunday, January 16, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 3 - Cars

Week 3: Cars.  What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.

I got my first "car" in 1985, but I didn't buy it.  It was what my parents let me use.  It was a 1971 Datsun (yes, this was before they got all hoity-toity and started being called Nissan) pickup truck with the world's ugliest white camper top on the back.  Both doors were dented in like they had been in a demolition derby.  I can't even begin to describe the hideous turquoise color.  You had to bang on the dash to make the AM-only radio work.  I drove that little truck to school and work and everywhere in between.  It may not have been fancy or anything, but everyone knew it was me when I drove past!

The day I got my learner's permit (at age 15), I was allowed to drive the truck home from the DMV.  I hit a mailbox with the passenger side mirror, ran at least one stop sign, and I think I drove on the wrong side of the road more than once.  When we got home, my mom asked "so, how did it go?"  My stepdad replied, "It was better than Six Flags!"

My driving skills have improved somewhat since then.

I remember my mom's car, too.  After my parents divorced, we drove all the way from Portland, Oregon to Atlanta, Georgia in her olive-green Pontiac LeMans with awesome pleather seats and everything.  That thing was HUGE.  I remember my paternal grandmother packing goodie bags for my sister and me for the trip (we were between 4-7 years old).  We were on the road for about 6 days, and each day we got to open a new goodie bag.  Inside were puzzle books, a pack of gum, and other little things to keep us occupied during the long hours on the road.

My sister and I used to keep our crayons in the door handles.  They melted in the summer and every time you closed the door, you got a bunch of wax under your fingernails!

Last one, I swear: My sister and I were trying to do something nice for my mom, so we washed her car for her ... with Comet.  When the sun hit it just right, you could see all the circular scratches ... very sparkly.  She never got mad though, so that was pretty cool.

While I was working on this post, I happened to remember that I had several photos of my grampa John J. Gallagher and his cars.  Here are a few:

My grampa's police car - c. 1957 New Jersey

My grampa and his car - c. 1969 Miami
(I think this is where the "Miami Vice" look came from)

Grampa - c. 1930ish

Grampa - c. 1944ish (the summer before he left for the Army)

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate.


Karen said...

Love those old cars... and also the story about you driving home from the DMV. Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw - "If you don't like my driving, stay off the sidewalk." hee hee hee...
thanks for a great post.

Greta Koehl said...

Thanks for the laughs - sounds like you stepfather had a sense of humor!

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