Grandma needs practical car
It’s official. The fun is over. The Pontiac G-6 Hard Top Convertible is gone, replaced by a more “practical” vehicle. It’s the victim of lease arrangements and my advancing age, punctuated by changes in life style.
Long ago I discovered the advantages of leasing. I love having a new car. With a lease, it’s a guarantee that every three years I’ll turn one in, swapping it out for a slicker, shinier, newer model. There’s no haggle of trade in, no grief over sticker shock, just monthly payments in perpetuity.
When retirement from my beloved Oberlin High School loomed, I thought I’d need some excitement (since I was used to the daily energy of 100-plus teenagers each and every day). So, I got what I called my “fun retirement car.”
Since turn-in time was in April, I had it in time to show off to my legions of OHS followers. On day one of the new wheels it was demanded that I drive it into the circle at the high school to show admiring onlookers how the hard top tucked itself neatly into the trunk. Afterward, I donned my Indians baseball cap, gave a jaunty wave and completed my loop around the circle and off to my driving adventures. It was grand.
There have been many cars in my life, beginning with a 1964 Chevy Impala. It was really my dad’s, but it was the one I was first allowed to drive.
It was a boat. The hood went on forever. The trunk was large enough to fit four of my friends comfortably in it for the drive in movie (remember those?).
Gas was 33 cents a gallon and I could fill the entire tank for $6. I loved that car.
One day Dad came home and told me someone had crashed a stop sign and had hit him. I immediately gasped out “CHEVY?”
He was mad that I didn’t seem concerned about him, but, shoot, I could SEE him. He was OK. It turns out that Chevy survived as well.
My own first car was an Oldsmobile Omega — kind of a glorified Chevy Nova. It saw me through my years living in Philadelphia complete with city traffic and parallel parking.
When Joe and I got married, he had a Monza with a stick shift. He tried, without luck, to teach me how to drive it. As patient as he was, I just couldn’t get it and I could see his belief that I would ever get it eroding.
Actually it turned out the same as when Dad tried to teach me how to ride a two wheeler. After weeks of running alongside me, Dad would let me go, hoping that I would sail away. Instead I invariably tumbled to the ground. He gave up. So, one day I just took the bike and learned how to do it on my own.
That’s what happened with the car. I had to go from home in Vermilion to Oberlin for a meeting. In a bold move I took the keys to Joe’s car and sort of jolted my way down the street until it suddenly all made sense.
Sadly, that turned out to be the night he had to transport a bass fiddle to the school and he had to put the front seat all the way up and leave the neck of the thing sticking out the window. At least I learned to drive stick shift.
When our first child was about to be born the Monza went away. Joe was eyeing a snappy little sports car in the show room, but Milad Abraham took one look at my stomach and told Joe his sports car days were over. We went home with a Chevy Citation.
As the family grew we got into vans. As the family grew up it was back to sedans and then came the “fun retirement car.”
I had three glorious years of the wind blowing through my hair, the sun beating down, warming me as I drove. But most of all of looking totally cool.
Then our daughter had an adorable little boy, Braiden. I couldn’t get a car seat into the convertible.
The lease was drawing to a close and GM, being desperate to keep its customers after its ridiculous decision to eliminate the Pontiac line, offered to cancel the last three lease payments, plus give a loyalty incentive for leasing another GM product. All of this coincided with my (gulp!) 60th birthday.
Combine age, GM offers and grandmotherhood, and these days I tool around in my Chevy Equinox. At least I have a sun roof.