I guess no matter what generation you belong to, as teenagers, we all felt the same as we gawked with pride at our first cars. No matter what the old pile of nuts and bolts really looked like, what the eyes saw was filtered by the heart, with a touch of hormones, and the end product was a sleek, mean, speed demon that would be the envy of all those pimply-faced pedestrians as it zipped past.
I was a mere fourteen years old when my father found a car in the classified ads of the local newspaper. I wasn’t sure why he decided I needed a car at that tender age, but wasn’t about to argue. We went over to see it, and my heart stopped. There it was. A 1967 Ford Galaxy 500 hard-top convertible, in Robin’s Egg Blue, with black interior. It instantly became the car of my dreams, and after discovering it currently belonged to one of the most popular older girls in school, I was certain it was not my destiny.
I spent the next four months behind the driver’s wheel of that incredible piece of machinery, savoring every blissful moment, even if it was locked in the garage the whole time. I had a countdown going until my 15th birthday, when I would get the keys and permission to drive back and forth to my friend’s house, six blocks away.
I spent the next two years practically living in that car – I bought an 8-track tape player, my friends sewed Robin’s Egg Blue and Black pillows for the back seat, and the car even had a name, which I won’t share. Ok, it was “Growler”. We spent our Saturday afternoons driving around our little town seeing who else was driving around our little town. Everyone pitched in a buck or two for gas as they got in the car, and oftentimes I made enough money for gas for the whole week, plus a Diet Coke or two, but I never told them.
I’ve had many cars in the 35 years since Growler was retired, and I’ve not been quite that excited about any of them, nor do I anticipate it ever happening. For it’s not just a First Car, it’s a rite of passage, and it’s One Per Customer.