Friday, October 26, 2007


Those of you who have read my book, Papa Do Run, may recall a section about car songs, and the significance of cars to baby boomer teenage culture. Teens nowadays may think it's the same thing, and I'm sure cars are important to them, too, but not like they were to us. For one thing, kids these days have social lives completely unknown to their parents; they come and go as they please (often in their own cars) with so many more places to go. Plus they seem to have a lot more money to spend when they get there. Back in my day, cars ("borrowed" from our parents) were just about the only place we could be, if briefly, on our own, away from parental supervision. All we needed was to scrape together some change for gas. In a car, we could finally be ourselves, hang out with our girlfriends, cruise around and check our trap line of drive-ins. Or be with our boyfriends, who were all driving their parents' car. I can only think of one guy I knew in my high school who has his own car. It was a sweet little red 'vette, and because he was the older brother of one of my best friends, I occasionally got a ride in it. But it never occurred to me to try for a car of my own. And by the time I grew up and went out into the real world, and did acquire my own wheels, I somehow never drove anything cool. It's been one long boring series of beaters, minivans, and pickups. Even when I reached the age when most people have their mid-life crisis, I didn't go out and buy myself a sporty car. But then one day, when I was in my late 50s, I was talking with a neighbor, and everything changed. That day, quite by accident, I learned that my neighbor was buying a vintage Mustang. And he wasn't keeping it for himself, either. He was just going to buy it and flip it. To make a long story short, he flipped it to me. As soon as he told me about it that day, I knew instantly that this car was meant for me. Here's the amazing details.

My pony rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan in 1965, the same year I graduated from high school, in Detroit. Maybe even on the same day, who knows. The Mustang was designated for Ford Canada, so it immediately crossed the border and began its journey westward. A few years later, I too crossed the border and began moving west. Eventually, the Mustang ended up in a charming little place called Saltspring Island, in British Columbia, and I ended up in High Country, in the Alberta foothills, near some neighbors who also spent time on...Saltspring Island. So that is how I knew we were meant to be together, my little pony and me. I mean, think about it: we both made journeys over many miles and many years, far from our common point of origin, finally to be reunited at long last. And recently I moved from Alberta to Ontario, not far from the Windsor/Detroit border. Maybe one day I'll take it for a drive by the old Ford plant, where it all began.

Well, there you have it, the whole heart-warming story. Didn't it just about make you tear up? Okay, maybe not. Whatever - now it's your turn now. Give us the scoop on your best/worst/weirdest etc vehicle.

p.s. The color is that distinctive Mustang shade officially called "Poppy Red" but I refer to it as "Go-To-Hell Orange." I've named the car (yes I'm one of those annoying people who give names to their vehicles!) The O.C. (as in Orange Crush). The music I played on my first official drive was the Beach Boys, "Don't Worry Baby," my fave oldie. Probably should have been some Motown, now that I think about it.

1 comment:

Mustang Mike said...

What a neat story. I, too, graduated in '65. I was one of the "lucky" ones and had a number of cars when I was in high school. A 57 Chevy, 55 Studebaker, and a 59 Simca. Never heard of a Simca? 4 speed on the column! In 69, I was home from the Navy and bought a 66 Mustang, red, for my wife to drive. Five years ago, we again bought a Mustang, the red one you see at the top of my blog. 289, 4bbl, headers, custom exhaust with Flowmasters. As you check out my blog, you will see the entire story. Try clicking on one of my family sites, like Thyme-for-Herbs or Carpe Libris. Carpe Libris is my daughter. She critiques books for small publishers.