Cars — Appearances Are Deceiving

For about 20 years, I was challenged with one automobile crisis after another. Supporting myself by being a writer didn’t guarantee a big income.  Although my dreams of writing had manifested and I’d received some fame, appreciation and money, I realized I hadn’t factored in financial security. Life was almost a roller coaster ride.

When my ex and I separated and later divorced, I took the family car, a 1974 Oldsmobile 98. We’d bought it almost new at a good price during one of the gas crunches when gas was expensive and hard to get. We’d been proud of our used luxury vehicle: a soft blue exterior with a fairly plush and roomy interior.

By the early 1980s, the Olds was a senior citizen. Her electric windows weren’t dependable and seldom worked for the back windows. Pretty soon I had to resort to leaving them permanently lowered, not too inconvenient considering California has a short rainy season. In 1984, she took me, my Aunt Rosie, my son, Hansi, and my cousin Ray Scott on a Northern California trip that included Yosemite, San Francisco and the Monterey-Carmel coast, and she didn’t break down. If she had, we would probably have laughed, which we did a great deal of during that journey! With her eight cylinders roaring, she made it up the winding road to the viewing spot for the Yosemite Valley below. My son and cousin enjoyed the view.

Beautiful Yosemite National Park

A nice family who ran a nursery school “adopted” the Olds when I bought a newer used car, thanks to selling my home and downsizing. My cute white Datsun, a shift transmission, had her problems and taught me not to judge a book, or a car, by its cover. She was fine if I was headed straight down the road, but she refused to back up. Fortunately, she was small and light; if I needed a backwards push, a handy friend could help. I learned to anticipate how to maneuver and avoid backing up—it was hell to park, however! Forget parallel parking! Being an optimist with a good sense of humor, I figured it was the Divine telling me I didn’t need to go backwards.

An acquaintance gave me a good deal on a rebuilt transmission but it didn’t prolong the car’s life for very long. My friend Bonnie knew a woman who wanted to sell her used Ford LTD for $400 (as I recall). It had hardly any mileage since for years she’d only used it to go the 8 miles back and forth to work. The fellow I was dating named it the Ghetto Glider, which was funny until one tire, which I didn’t know was a retread, came apart when I had to pick up my daughter, Heidi, at traffic school, some distance from home.

No cell phones in those days—it was leg power and public phones. No buses on Saturday either, so I had to hoof it for a mile to get Heidi, after I left the disabled car. The expensive results of that adventure included a costly new tire, a pricey cab ride, and a disgruntled dog groomer, who had to wait over an hour past closing time for us to pick up our Cockapoo.

Before the Glider left my possession, her timing belt was broken, the dashboard lights didn’t function (try estimating your speed at night!), and the trunk wouldn’t open.

In between cars, a new friend lent me his used taupe-colored Porsche since he’d bought a brand new one. What an adventure that was! I had learned to drive on a shift car, and Ms. Porsche just purred around corners and on the canyon roads nearby. Not long after, he took back the used car and lent me his brand new white Porsche 944. It’s a complicated story and so interesting I’ve written a long “short” story about it. I enjoyed it for a while and even crowded two friends into this gorgeous vehicle to attend Pasadena’s bizarre Do-Dah Parade, the humorous answer to the Rose Parade. Within a couple of months I was without transportation again as my friend Bill’s drama played itself out.

Being without an automobile in Los Angeles is a challenge. I was lucky to have available friends with cars, and that Agoura Hills, where I was living at the time, had cheap taxi service. I remember one Sunday I walked a couple of miles, roundtrip, to see a Whoopi Goldberg movie. Besides laughter at the movie and at my predicament, I’d gotten some exercise.

Isaac, a musician and poet friend, came to the rescue. He had an almost new Yugo and was ready to get a more expensive car for his wife and baby. All I had to do was take over the reasonable payments. It was a darling little blue car and smelled like baby crackers. The car didn’t have much gumption and we do have some steep grades between various valleys in Southern California. I put the pedal to the metal and prayed, in the slow lane.


Books soon to be released through Kindle:

Melaynie’s Masquerade

16th century historical fiction – Disguised as a cabin

boy, Melaynie Morgan ships off with Francis Drake

to the Caribbean in search of Spanish treasure


Mama Liked Army Men

A Tale of Two Fathers

The perils of military life


An Army Brat in Libya

Tripoli in the 1950s

Personal history


Weird Dates & Strange Mates

Non-fiction with names changed to

Protect the innocent or not…

One Comment

  1. laptop says:

    Say “thanks” you to your parents that they gave you the world

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