Winter Blues, Old Cars, and Family

This colder than usual winter has me in a funk. Back home in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, usually around mid-January I would start feeling blah, but it would resolve when the weather warmed and the days became longer (sometime in April). Now that I’ve been living in the South for over a decade, I don’t know how I survived those long winters! The cold months in North Carolina are a dream compared to what I came from, but the past couple of months have me in ugly slug mode. Thank goodness we’re getting some Spring temps today because I am about to go bonkers.

But, amidst the hibernation, the obsessive and constant eating (more than usual), the inactivity, the messed-up sleep pattern, and the general feeling of internal grumpiness, I came across something yesterday that made me smile.

Back in the early 80s, Mom and Dad presented me with a car for my 16th birthday. It was a rusted 1973 Chevy Impala Custom that had been sitting in a field for I don’t know how long. Mom was beyond proud that she talked the seller down to $400. That’s right, my first car cost $400. In my world, that is so cool.

So Dad fixed the stuff under the hood and got it road ready, then handed it to Vito for body work and paint. The vehicle was stunning. I loved it from the day I first drove it and cried the day its life ended in a demolition derby nearly eight years later. I was so attached to the car that, when I turned 18 and Mom offered me her much newer Ford LTD as a graduation gift, I said no. Can you believe it?

1973 Chevy Impala, blue with black top
Look at how pretty she was!

Like so many from that era, the Impala had the long bench front seat. The interior was black vinyl with a touch of faux wood grain on the dash. The body was somewhere between royal and navy blue (no, it was not Duke blue) with a black vinyl top and a concave rear window. The rear window was nothing so fancy as the old Buick Riviera, but it was beautiful in its own right. It drove like a dreamy tank. It had a 350 V-8, and when you hit the pedal you could practically hear the gasoline evaporating out the tail pipe, but it was a cushy ride. It did, indeed, feel like you were floating in a boat. Suffice it to say, it was love at first sight.

Now here I am, more than 30 years later, sorting through some family history–birth certificates, death certificates, military records, photographs, and notes. I came across a note in my own handwriting, circa early 90s. Apparently, I was asking a few questions of my parents, and one of the questions I posed to my Dad was, “what was your favorite car?”

His answer: 1960 Chevy Impala.

Heart melted. Winter blues over. Once again, I am my Father’s daughter, and I smile.