I drove my 1991 Toyota Corolla for a full nineteen years.
And it looked it.
The doors were rusted out...so much so that it made for some very breezy driving in the winter. If the weather got too cold, the driver's side lock froze in place and there were some days I had to crawl in from the passenger side to get into the car. And then there were times when the driver's side door would just open all by itself. I remember the first time this happened, I thought someone had broken into the car and tried to steal something...but what? A broken am/fm radio? A broken cassette deck? It was an interesting dilemma every day... lock the door and risk not being able to get in again or not lock the door and risk the open door phenomenon. I kept it unlocked. A car that bad looking is not going to be a target for anything. And it wasn't.
That little car just kept going and going...even though the rear bumper was just barely hanging on.....but that car never let me down. I felt bad for getting a new one but I needed something I could trust out in rural Kansas in the winter and you know, it was time.
That car went through two major hailstorms. I never did anything about the more recent one (it was a bad hailstorm, I had to get a new roof on the house because of it) but the first hailstorm in its first year of living with me was memorable. I was at a wood shop class on a Saturday at a high school with some co-workers when there was a sudden storm...the sky became a very weird color, there was silence, and then there was the deafening sound of ice chunks falling from the sky onto metal. I know it's called a hailstorm but when you think of hail, don't you think of it as being sphere shaped? This hail wasn't. We watched most of the cars get totaled because the ice broke windows and sunroofs and poured water into the car interiors which later made the cars stinky and permanently moldy. There was a track team on the field when all of this happened and I can't imagine what they looked like when they finally got out of the hailstorm (!!!!).
The most interesting of my fender bender accidents was when I was hit by oncoming traffic coming from behind while I was making a left turn. Apparently the old, intimidating and tall woman had missed her right turn so she backed up into the intersection and hit me in the process of me making my left turn. Then I got yelled at because I was not prepared. "Girl, I've taken plenty of over-55 driving classes and you were not prepared!" Well, who looks in their rearview mirror before making a left turn? Anyway, when I called her insurance company the next morning (an insurance company that apparently just handles the AARP generation) the phone was answered with a "What'd they do? How much do you want?" When I described what had happened and the combative old woman who hit me, the agent said-"Oh, that one was in this morning. I think she was a former schoolteacher." Then she went on to add that what happened to me was nothing. She had just gotten a call from some elderly woman who crashed her car through her garage door because she thought there was a cat in the back seat......but nothing was actually there. I have to say, from my experience with that accident, I check my rearview mirror for potential craziness even more frequently now.
Violet has this horrible game that if she's outside and I come up the driveway in my car, she runs down the driveway to meet me and then jumps on the hood. It is the worst game ever but compelled to do it, she is. Once she's on the car she jumps into the driver's side window, gets on my lap and then I let her "drive" up the driveway.
I wondered if she was going to do the same thing with the new car. She didn't on the first drive up but on the second.....yes, yes she did. Kind of makes me wonder if she jumps on every car that comes up my driveway.
Anyway, here's my new car...a RAV4. And I love it. It's so modern that I don't even need a key...I just carry a radio transmitter and the car unlocks with a button, starts with a button...it really is something.
And what became of my old but loved little car? I could have traded it in for two hundred whole bucks at the dealer but when Sarah said something about it to Rex's babysitter, the babysitter then told her daughter about it and since I really didn't want my car to be torn apart and sold for scrap, the car was sold over the phone to someone in desperate need of a car. In dire need of a car. So that little car made four people very happy that day. I know that my car can still keep doing what it likes to do. Paula has a car of her own and doesn't have to share a car with her mother anymore. Rex's babysitter, Paula's mother now has access to a car whenever she needs it. And Sarah no longer has to drive the babysitter home.
A happy ending for everyone. Even Violet.