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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where It All Started

It was an Austin Healy belonging to Earl, husband of Kitty, one of whom was my mother's cousin, but I'm not sure which. I must have been 7 or 8. Earl took me for a spin, the best fun I'd had all summer, possibly in my whole life up to then. We wouldn't allow that now, a rakish guy who looked exactly like Errol Flynn taking the tender child virgin for a ride in his fancy roadster, would we? But nothing untoward happened, except I acquired a taste for little white convertibles that seemed awfully fun to drive.

A decade later, when I got a driver's license, my father, who liked to tinker with cars, wanted to buy me an Austin Healy Sprite for $200 (about what TAO 61 is worth now in the dollars of that time. I suspect a functioning Sprite is worth far more in today's dollars.) My mother, a bit of a safety freak, said, "Absolutely not." I'm not sure which of us was more disappointed, Dad or me. We ended up with a hideous and dreadful Ford Falcon with which I later killed a deer in a place I wasn't supposed to be. My mother thought the Falcon was a safer car. Didn't stop me from driving it at 70 mph in zones rated for half that speed.

A few weeks ago a big Samoan guy commented on TAO 61, which may have been a mid-life crisis acquisition, although women don't generally buy cars at that juncture. "If I was young like you," he said, "I'd have a car like that."

"I'm not that young," I said. "The car just makes me seem that way." Like 7 or 8, driving around with Earl, who may have been a cousin of my mother.


sybil law said...

I LOVE the old picture!!!
And hey - whatever makes you feel good. Convertibles drive me NUTS - wind gives me a headache - but I love going very fast. (When my kid isn't in the car, of course!)

baroness radon said...

That old Buick in the background is pretty cool too, really.

tao1776 said...

It's funny how we are drawn to some cars over some others. I drive the "Little Hottie" air cooled Karmann Ghia in a world of muscle cars. She makes everyone smile with her jewelry (a host of peace signs hanging from the rear view mirror)and she shocks everyone with her charm. Its interesting how often some guys seem embarrassed to admit that they like her.

baroness radon said...

I am a little disappointed in the late model Miatas--they have become somewhat muscular, to compete with the BMWs and Porsches I suppose.

Charlene Amsden said...

My first boyfriend drove a Karmann Ghia. It was a great car. He drove like a demon and spun 180s on the ice and I loved it!

And my first car was supposed to be a Chevy convertible, but my dad nixed the idea. So, while he was out of town on business, my step-mom and I bought motorcycles. Wheeeeeeee! Dad wasn't too pleased with that either, but he hadn't said no. (Of cousre, we didn't ask!)