Driving down memory lane

The other night Clayton and I talked about my very first car: a white 1996 Plymouth Neon with a swirly teal and purple decal running along both sides (which isn't surprising at all since it was built in the 90s. I'm actually surprised it didn't come with a built-in scrunchie holder and a Hootie and the Blowfish cassette tape).

And it got me reminiscing.

I really miss that car and would seriously drive another Neon in a heartbeat. When I was a child, I was obsessed with Neons (I thought their round headlights made them look so happy!) and the fact that I ended up with one as my first car serves as evidence that I go after what I really want in life. I assigned her a female gender role and named her Rosa after some early engine trouble convinced me that she had a sassy personality. My mother co-signed my very first car loan (because debt in your teens is always the way to go, but I played sports and worked, so we were desperate), and I started working at Papa John's on the weekends in order to put a paycheck towards a monthly car payment. Rosa gave me freedom and she also made me responsible.

We purchased Rosa when I was still 15 and unable to drive by myself legally. My mom wanted me to get in as much practice as possible, so she had no problems letting me drive Rosa in circles around our neighborhood after school.

And I would do that for hours ...

... blaring the Backstreet Boys ...

... cruising with the windows down ...

... admiring the softball visor I hung on the rear-view mirror because that was a super popular thing to do in 2002. (Which leads me to believe that everyone in 2002 was ridiculous.)

2002 predated the widespread use of digital cameras and smart phones, so my biggest regret is not having a single picture of that car. I used to think it was silly when I saw older folks with framed pictures of themselves as teens, standing proudly next to beat-up clunkers. I'd catch myself thinking, "It's just a car, who cares?" But now I get it. It's a part of your history, and my first car is something that I don't have documented anywhere except in my memory.

Wow. That last sentence was cheesy.

But you know what I mean.

There is only one picture of my car that is still in existence today and even then, you can't see very much of Rosa. But I still love the picture. It has been scanned and uploaded to Facebook a few times over the years and that's because it does more than just showcase my very first set of wheels. It captured the beginnings of a very strong friendship between four gals during the summer before our junior year of high school.

Needless to say, I fell asleep last night feeling extremely nostalgic.

Then to further add to my reverie, Joey jumped on our bed and made himself comfortable beneath our blankets. He stretched his furry little body against the length of my torso and we spooned for a long time, just like we did when it was just he and I living alone in that cockroach-infested apartment during my senior year of college.

I may have teared up a bit.

That, or I just had something in my eye ... like tears.

Whatever. Don't judge me.


  1. So, yeah, my first car was a neon as well. It was exactly what I wanted. Why did I want the neon, because....... wait for it....... It always looked like it was smiling and happy! Seriously, how crazy is that? Did you ever see the commercials that looked like the neon was jumping on the trampolene? Yeah, that commercial had me at the first bounce of smiling car! I just happened to have mine about 5 years earlier. :) Oh, and while I have great memories of that car, you wouldn't want to drive it in Bloomington. Neons and hills don't mix well.


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