By Judith Sabghir Gannon
Unlike most teenagers, I did not particularly look forward to driving. My two older siblings were thrilled since that meant one less driver in our one-car family. Their rap-ture was short-lived, however, when my parents unexpectedly purchased a second vehicle.
There she stood, a flaming red, 1963, Ford Falcon convertible. Its crimson leatherette bucket seats, porcelain-white control knobs and pristine, snow-colored convertible roof beckoned me. Mesmerized, I heard the words — “I’m all yours!” Naturally I was just being overly optimistic.
At the time, I hadn’t even obtained my driver’s license. Now I fully expected to get one very soon and within two weeks, I did just that. With five drivers in the house, fierce competition to drive either vehicle dominated our lives. My sister did us a favor and got married. Having one less driver to worry about certainly helped, especially since my brother and I were still in college.
How was it that my family, true Chevy lovers, ended up owning a Ford? In our home, owning one was committing heresy. As it turned out, on a visit to my grandparents in New Jersey, my parents found some great deals on used cars. I will never forget the day my mother drove this car from New Jersey to Maryland. We kids were in shock, to say the least.
Recalling those days always makes me smile. I treasure the time friends of mine from New York descended on Washington, D.C., for a political rally. I still cherish the snapshot of all of us sitting in that beloved Ford, naturally with the top down. We thought we were so cool.
When that vehicle died, I still needed wheels to get to school and work. Like most kids, I worked many jobs to afford a car and insurance. I had also moved into my own apartment in Washington, D.C., so money was very important. Fortunately, one of our family friends sold me a 1962 Chevy Impala for $100. Unfortunately, my dad had to pay hundreds of dollars to fix it. Make no mistake — that vehicle cost my father a lot of money. I loved that car, even when it broke down late at night because of its one fatal flaw. Whenever I turned off the ignition, it refused to start up again. For a while, I was the tow company’s best customer. Luckily, another family friend taught me how to jumpstart the car with a large screwdriver. I could not afford to be stranded in shadowy parking lots.
College ended in 1972 and I got married a few months after graduation. My husband and I purchased a 1972, dark green Chevy Malibu with only five thousand miles on it. Although the car dealer used it as a demo, to me it was brand new.
One might be wondering if that car was my last Chevy. It certainly was not. I actually purchased two more. Truthfully, I have been a traitor for the past six years, driving around in my powder-blue Toyota Camry. However, a good chance exists that my next vehicle will be a Chevy. Having just rented a new Chevy Impala for a trip up north, I could hear it calling my name and saying “I’m all yours!”
Judith Sabghir Gannon is a freelance writer who resides in Wesley Chapel. She spent many years teaching adults and children in the public and private sector. For the past 20 years, she has devoted herself to improving the quality of life for senior adults. Jewish liturgical singing and leading prayer services is her passion.