In 1981 my litle green Pinto was rear ended by an elderly man and the insurance company declared it too old to fix. I had bought that car brand new and paid cash for it so it was painful to have to let it go. But I survived the emotional pull and put my litle car to rest in the 'old car bone yard'. Carless, I began the search for something that I could afford. A friend of a friend of my parents knew a man that sold used cars and he said that he could get me a good deal on a used Chevrolet. It was going to be sold through a private party and the friend of a friends friend arranged the sale for me. I decided that I didn't want to take on car payments. So, I paid $4,000 cash to buy a beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. AND IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST DECISIONS THAT I HAVE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE.
The 1981/82 school season was my son David's senior year in high school. The most expensive school year in the 12 years that a child goes to school, and I bought a beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. I had worked very hard to establish good credit for myself, a divorced woman with a child to raise, and I bought a beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. My father was a great mechanic and he usually did my minor car repairs for me, as a gift to his unmarried daughter raising a boy by herself, and I bought a beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. I was almost to the end of the struggle of raising a child by myself and I was going to be able to travel and have a life all my own, and I bought a beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. I had struggled to build a savings account so that I could afford to fly away when my son graduated from high school, and I took $4,000 out of that account and bought a beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. AND IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST DECISIONS THAT I HAVE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE.
The beautiful, white, used Chevrolet ran perfectly for one month. Then my father had to do some minor repairs for me. It ran another month and my father had to do some more minor repairs for me. It ran for two months and my father had to do a major repair for me. It ran for another three months and my father said, "It needs a major repair. Take it to a mechanic." Are you beinning to understand what makes this one of the worst decisionsthat I have ever made in my life? My 'fly away' savings account was beginning to look a little less like a savings account and more like a car survival account. David's senior year in high school was beginning to look more and more like something that I wasn't going to be able to afford, because the Chevrolet ran for two more months and my father said, "Call the mechanic." The beautiful, white, used Chevrolet depleted my savings account, and started eating at my credit cards. And once again it needed a major repair and the mechanic said, "Not the Chevrolet again. You and I spend so much time together why don't you just go out to dinner with me?" And I said, "Thank you for the invitation, but I can't afford to take time to eat because I own a Chevrolet and I have to work overtime as much as I can." So, David's senior year at high school started eating at my credit cards too, but I got through David's senior year at high school and I was on my way to the graduation ceremony when the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet broke down again and had to be towed to the mechanic, because when I phoned my father he said, "Homer is not home at this time, call the mechanic."
David graduated from high school and I no longer had a savings acount and my credit cards were almost maxed and it was raining and I was on my way home from work and the traffic was backed up for miles and the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet just stopped at a stop sign and refused to start again. I got out of the car and pushed it all by myself while men honked and yelled at me to get the damn Chevrolet out of their way, because they were tired and wanted to go home, and I had to walk two miles to find a telephone to call my father and he cussed Chevrolet makers and came and got me and I had the Chevrolet towed to the mechanic who was planning a vaction to Europe on MY savings account and maxed credit cards.
Everyone yelled at me, "Buy a new car, damn it!" and I answered, "I can't buy a new car, damn it, because I have no money left because I bought a beautiful white, used Chevrolet." And my son's friends, that hung out at my house, started calling me the 'gimp mom' and the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet the 'gimp mobile' and normally I would have found that hilarious, but I couldn't laugh because I was so broke that I had to work all the time and had no time for laughter. David got a really good job and was saving everything that he made to buy himself a Camaro, but he needed a ride back and forth to work in the Chevrolet and the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet broke down way out in the boonies where David worked and I had to have it towed to the mechanic who told me how much he enjoyed going to Europe on my savings account and wonderd if I was going to own the Chevrolet long enough or him to go to China. It needed another major repair, but I was flat busted so I called my father and he tried to get my mother to tell me that he had left the state, but I heard his voice and I begged my mother to tell him that this time I was in real trouble because the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet had flat out busted me and I wondered if I could have it towed to his garage. My father ranted about beautiful, white, used Chevrolet's , but he said yes and it took him 3 weeks to do the major repair and he said that he would never repair a white Chevrolet again and that Christmas was coming and he was going to get me a red bicycle to ride. It would be easier to repair.
I have never in my life been so flat busted, finanacially. I had not had a new dress, a new shoe, a new piece of yardage, a new bra, or a new lipstick, or a new anything in the two years that I had owned the white Chevrolet, because the white Chevrolet took every dollar that I had saved and every dollar that I hadn't saved. Then Christmas came and David gave me six boxes and I was really excited because I had not had anything new for two years, and I set the boxes aside while everyone else opened their gifts, because I wanted to savor having something unknown and new. Then everyone started yelling at me to open the boxes from David. Some of the boxes were little, and some of the boxes were big, but all of the boxes were exciting. Some of the boxes were heavy and some of the boxes were light, but all of the boxes had beautiful ribbon on them. And when I opened the little ones, and the big ones, and the heavy ones, and the light ones, they all contained the same thing. A $100.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO ONE OF THE POSHEST DEPARTMENT STORE'S IN OUR AREA. It was a department store that I couldn't afford to shop in BEFORE I bought the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. Receiving $600.00 worth of shopping at a store that was exclusive and expensive was the most wonderful Christmas gift I had ever gotten in my life, especially after two years of owning the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet and not being able to buy anything except minor and major repairs. I savored those gift certificates. I would take them out of their gold envelopes and admire them with tears in my eyes. I didn't cash them in until March, and when I did I felt like I was losing the most wonderful things I had ever been given, but I bought some of the most expensive clothes that I had ever bought and every time that I wore them while driving the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet I would think that "this was the worst of Chevrolets being driven by the best of Christmas gifts"Then I 'broke my butt' and was handed a settlement. When I handed over the money to buy a new, blue Nissan I didn't even look back at the beautiful, white, used Chevrolet. I turned my back and walked toward the blue Nissan. In Sunday School we were taught that when offended we should 'turn the other cheek'. I turned the other cheek, but it wasn't the cheek taught in Sunday School! I have always thought that the Chevrolet experience had a lesson I was meant to learn, but I still haven't figured out what the hell that lesson was.