Friday, June 18, 2010


My Dad’s Studebaker. That was the first car I remember. We’d moved to the New Jersey suburbs from Staten Island so Mom had to learn to drive. She did pretty well, too. (We had to go on the lessons when they couldn’t find someone to watch us.) The Studebaker was green and not very big. We were a family of five then.

When my youngest brother showed up we got a Chevy station wagon. Two-tone blue and white. It seems to me it was only a little while before our next door neighbors got a much fancier station wagon with a removable third seat in the back instead of the plain space we had. I was old enough by then to understand our wagon had been eclipsed.

About the same time we moved to a bigger house, because we needed another bedroom (because I was a girl and the other three kids were boys) and a second bathroom, if at all possible, Dad came home with a tan Chevy Impala. Sleek. And then, amazingly, he bought a Kharmen Ghia! Mom and Dad needed two cars by then, because even though Dad car-pooled to the city, Mom had a hard time on Dad’s day to drive because there was a lot going on by then. We were a busy family, although not nearly as busy as families of six tend to be now. Jeez Louise!

The gods were smiling on my next-oldest brother and I, because we each had a senior year in high school when we got to drive the Ghia to school. This gave me many cool points that I’d been sorely lacking because I was a ballet dancer and no one at Ramsey High cared about that. Peter was okay even without the Ghia, but it didn’t hurt. There were other family cars after that, but they weren’t important to me because I was in college and then on my own.

It was six years before I had to have a car. I moved from New York City to Albuquerque, you see, and of course, a car was a necessary part of life.

So, my family was addicted to oil, from the get-go I guess. Well, no guessing about it-we were. I’m sorry, pelicans and turtles and everyone else, but that’s how it was. I live on the Florida panhandle. In this town pretty much everyone has a car. When you see adults walking or riding bikes, it’s a sure shot they’ve lost their license for driving drunk. Not a damn thing to do with saving the environment. It’s a mess, isn’t it?

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