Friday, March 4, 2022

SOL 4/31: First Car

My first car was Spunky, a used, pumpkin-spice colored Plymouth Volare! My dad and I picked him out in the spring of 1979 after I returned home from my mission in Hong Kong, I was 23 years old.

How did I get that old without owning my first car? Well, my brother Karl had a car. He was just two years older than me and always willing to take me anywhere I wanted to go. When I went to college, I scrimped and saved and worked and a car would have just created more expense. I lived on campus in Willard Hall for the four years that I attended Oklahoma State University, but was always glad to have friends with cars. (I’m looking at you, Lynn McCreight!)

The biggest hurdle I faced was how to do my student teaching without a car. My assignment was in Jenks, Oklahoma. My friend, Julie, was also student teaching and joined me in living at Aunt Nan and Uncle Jim’s home in Tulsa When our plan for me to ride with Julie to her school and then use her car to drive on to my assignment in Jenks fell through, Aunt Nan came to the rescue. She had a yellow Cadillac that she let me drive to Jenks every day for my student teaching. I was terrified in this behometh. I had to get on Skelly Drive (aka Scary Drive) for part of my commute. I can still feel the huge sigh of relief that I felt at the end of each school day when I pulled into Aunt Nan’s driveway, unscathed.

When I returned from my mission, one of the first things that Dad wanted me to do was to buy a car. My response to his  suggestion was, “But I don’t have any money.”

He assured me that I had $400. I had left that amount in an account to pay on my student loan which came due before my return from Hong Kong. My dad had made the payments on my loan so that the $400 I left behind could be used for a down payment on my car. It was such an olive branch extended to me because he had not been pleased with my decision to serve a mission. I love that my gruff Daddy sacrificed so that I could have my own wheels.

I jokingly told Lance that I was only bringing two things of value into our marriage: a color TV and Spunky. Well, I ended up leaving the TV with Mom and eventually gave her the Volare when we purchased a second car. Later, my brother ended up driving it for awhile. So Spunky remained in the family for many useful years.

*Every time I mine my memory for one of these stories, I wish I could pick up the phone and chat with my dad or my mom or my brother or my sister. Instead the burden for remembering details falls to my sister Kay, nine years my senior, who inherited my dad’s ability to remember well the details of life. She calls me after she reads my stories and lets me know if I have anything wrong. Just yesterday, she informed me of a correction I need to make to one of my spider stories. Thank goodness for her and that she’s the one with the almost perfect memory. I love her dearly and treasure our phone time reminiscing together.

This is my eleventh year of participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. This year I'll be mining my memories for stories to share. 


  1. Love it, Ramona! My first car was a metallic pea-green mustang named Frankie. Loved that car!

  2. First car stories have so many memories. Thanks for sharing yours. And I held my breath with you until you told of pulling into the driveway after a day of student teaching and returning the car you had interpretations of driving to its rightful spot!

  3. I love your car's name! I have many car stories. My first car was an Impala Super Sport convertible 1962. It was almost ten years old when I bought it. Eleven years as a slicer - wow!

  4. Oh what a wonderful story! And I could so relate to having a family member who helps with your memory. My mom remembers all the details I forget!

  5. I love your memory stories. My brother names his cars, but I have never owned a car in my life, and at 79, soon to be 80, I never will. It is emotionally painful when those you want to reminisce with are no longer here to let you know their side of the story. But keep up the memoirs. I look forward to reading them.

  6. My first car was an olive green vega. It had been my grandmother's, then when she quit driving, I inherited it. I don't remember naming it though!

  7. I loved this story. I also love that the car was orange. My parents first new car during their newlywed days was an orange Nova. They had that car forever. It was a staple for a long time. I love how cars lasted so long back then, everyone in a family somehow would end up with the same car at some point in their life.

  8. A yellow Cadillac!! What an image.
    You brought tears to my eyes with the tale of your dad covering your loan so the money was left for a car. And again when you described the relationship with your sister and her amazing memory.
    Your writing is so comforting, I enjoy every word.