Frances

Hi! As I was perusing blogland today, I realized that my own blog has a lovely password-protected post right on top. Welcoming, eh? Let’s fix that!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Luckily, Mama Kat offered some great blog prompts this week and then the fabulous Mrs. Weber posted hers and reminded me that I had planned to do the same.

But, because work is crazy and I don’t have much time to devote to deep thinking, I’m going to go with one of the easier prompts: my first car. Because you know what? At almost 30 years old, I still HAVE my first car.

Here’s the thing. My parents weren’t very nice when it came to the whole give your only child everything she wants thing. Granted, they paid for things like my Catholic high school education, my undergraduate degree, and plenty of other necessities, when it came to the fun stuff, well, they weren’t very fun. I was told from the very beginning that I would have to save and buy my own car.

So I did. I babysat. I started working at a local Hallmark when I was 17 and kept right on working there during school breaks once I went away to college. I began working in my college’s freshman orientation office (a job that is, to this day, my most favorite job EVER), and kept tucking those pennies away.

Finally, the summer before my senior year in college, I cashed in my savings account and bought myself a 1997 Ford Taurus. It was 2002, making the car just about 5 years old. It had traveled an insanely small amount of miles and thus was a pretty good deal. Over the next couple years, I happily drove my family sedan back and forth to college. I named her Frances, which is a pretty stupid story on its own, having to do with Dirty Dancing and the fact that I always called my car Baby.

After college, I moved home and had a 60-mile commute to my first job. Frances safely got me to and fro. She was starting to rack up the miles, though, what with all the commuting and the driving back to college to see my then-boyfriend, later-douche. But, aside from the occasional tune-up and oil change, she was riding fine!

Fast forward to 2006. I’d moved out of the parent’s house, cutting down my commute. Frances was still carting me around town, but she was showing her age. The dome light wouldn’t turn off. She was a little shaky and loud. New tires were needed. But, she was still kicking.

Fast forward to 2009. I was moving to Detroit, eliminating my 30 mile commute entirely. Frances would have a much needed rest in a covered garage! But, while driving home, she decided she’d had enough. She stopped in the middle of a left turn lane about a mile from my house and refused to go further. AAA had to come tow her and I thought it was the end. But, if my parents were cheap with the car money before, they were overly generous with it now, as they had financed the majority of maintenance on Frances since I bought her. On that fateful Monday night, my dad and the Ford dealership brought her back to life. I moved to Detroit, where I thought she’d have a lovely retirement sitting in my garage, only coming out for a weekly ride to yoga or book club or a shopping trip in the suburbs.

Fast forward to 2011. I got a new job and a 60 mile commute. Frances tried to step up, but she just wasn’t having it. After a business trip to West Michigan, she made it clear she’d had enough. The sputtering was heart breaking. Though DD and I were newly engaged and thus, my car should now be his problem, I called my dad. He assured me I’d get home and told me what signs to watch for. When I did make it home, he took the car for another tune-up, which cost probably more than good ol’ Frances is worth.

And that brings us to today. Nine years later, she’s still with me. She’s seen me through college, two old boyfriends, one fiancee, two jobs, and five residences. Until a couple years ago, she could carry all of my worldy posessions. I’ve saved up enough money to buy a better car. But, I come from a family that drives their cars until they die, and Frances seems to have nine lives.

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3 Comments

Filed under Detroit, family values, Growing up super

3 responses to “Frances

  1. I kind of LOVE this story, lady. I come from a family that believes in driving cars until they will drive no more, too. Meaning: my last car was a 1991 Subaru outback station wagon that my father so lovingly bought for me back in 2001. It has 114,000 then. I drove it up to 250,000 before selling it for a measly $300 to a mechanic who promised he’d squeeze the last bit of life out of it before breaking it down for parts.

    Even though I have a fancy new Subaru that boasts heated seats and tinted windshields and all sorts of other bells and whistles that I don’t quite know how to use, I still miss my old Subie.

  2. ria

    that is really impressive you still have your first car. i got my first car from my parents because my mom couldn’t stomach me using their cars and she didn’t want to have to plan her schedule around mine. they weren’t able to pay for my college so i guess it was a fair trade off hehe. i’ve had my current car for 7.5 years. i love it i bought it new, i wonder how many more years i will get out of it? :)

  3. What a good car! My boyfriend drives a 1993 Corolla that he bought from his grandma a year a half ago. When he bought it, there were only 70,000 km on it (Canadian, eh). His Grandma only ever drove it to the grocery store and back and now it’s in better shape than my 2001 Cavelier.

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