Sunday, December 20, 2020

1988

When I was 16, I got a car for Christmas.  (Being and only child had it's advantages!)  My 16th birthday had been in August, and we began looking for the right car.  We looked and looked and looked.  I wanted something small and something that wasn't a piece of junk.  So many used cars were trashed, reeked of smoke, had over a hundred thousand miles on them, needed work, or were just way too expensive.    

One day in October my Mom and I ran across a newspaper ad for a 1984 Nissan Sentra.  It only had 38,000 miles on it and they were asking $2800.  My mom, dad, and I went to look at it.  I had taken driver's ed but really didn't have any experience driving beyond that.  I took it for an idling spin around the block.  My dad drove it.  It was spotless and perfect.  

Still, we kept looking.  I mentioned the Nissan to my mom a few times, and eventually she told me she called the seller about it and it had been sold.  So the search continued.  

Time passed and it was almost Christmas.  I was out of school and went grocery shopping for Christmas dinner with my mom.  At one particular store, we always went to our favorite cashier to check out.  I thought he was cute.  My mom liked him because his dad worked with my dad, so we all knew each other.  His name was Damien.  

Mom was chit chatting with him as she always did as she unloaded her basket.  Checkbook in hand, already mostly written out just waiting for the total to finish it.  Damien looked my way and says:

"Hey Melanie, what's wrong with your car?  Your dad has been working on it at the dock for a really long time."

ME:  blank look. Shrug.  I said the only thing I could say.  "Not my car.?.?" 

MOM FROZE.  You felt the tension in the air.  Hurriedly she shoved me behind her and began babbling about something else.  

I didn't say a word but of course my wheels were spinning.  Inside I was screaming - A CAR!!  THE CAR!!!  Did they?  Could they have really??  

I waited until everyone was asleep Christmas Eve and I crept to the hooks by the front door where my mom hung her purse and kept that checkbook.  I looked through the registry and found an entry.  October.  $2800 to a person I did not know.  I went back to bed.  I woke up very early before dawn and peeked out the window and the driveway gate was open.  That meant someone had left.  So I watched and waited, and after some time I saw headlights coming.  And slowly, just before dawn on Christmas morning, my Dad driving a car (THE CAR) turned into the driveway.  

My Mom wrapped the keys and put them under the tree.  I had to act surprised when I opened the box.  The car was in the driveway wrapped with a red crepe paper bow.  I never told her that I had figured it out.  My parents had bought the car the very next day after we looked at it.  My Dad kept it hidden at his place of work and did some maintenance on it when he had time. Damian had visited his dad at work and someone must have told him that car is for Melanie without the backstory.  Mom wanted to kill Damien when he mentioned it, but he really had no idea it was hidden there as a surprise.




So.... all that being said....  TOMORROW VALERIE TURNS 16!!!!  And well... you will have to wait and see!!


2 comments:

  1. What a cute story!! It is so hard to figure out what kind of car (if any) to "grace" your child with when they get to driving age. My brother bought a "tank" of a car for his daughter when she turned 16. An older car that was well built and offered lots of protection. Our son got the Suzuki Sidekick that hubby drove who went on to get another Suzuki. As much as I was worried about son driving, it sure freed up my time not having to chaperone any more :)

    Happy birthday to Valerie!!!

    betty

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  2. LOL; not chaperone but chauffeur :)

    betty

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