I joined a Toastmasters club last year and have learned a lot during the last few months. Last month our theme for May 15th was “First Car” and I was tasked with giving a last-minute speech. I was in the “Hot Seat” and our scheduled speaker couldn’t make it. Below is the speech I gave. I hope after reading it, you share your memories of your first car in the comments.
I don’t know about you, but my first car was a bomb. Not “Da Bomb” but a bomb. You know the kind, something we use to call “a boat.”
When I was learning to drive, my step-dad traded his Bridgestone motorcycle and $75 for a 1960, 3-speed on the column, Chevy Biscayne with a 350 V-8. It was green, the color of grass. Not a bright green like grass that has had a lot of water and fertilizer, but grass that is a bit lighter because it is in need of help. I don’t remember if it was a 2-door or a 4-door, but it did have fins across the back trunk. Starting at the center of the trunk, they came up and flared out.
My step-dad taught me to drive that car and learning to drive a stick shift can give you whiplash with those herky-jerky motions. It’s been a long time since I learned to drive, but my neck still hurts.
My car had a unique feature. It didn’t require a key to turn on and run. Oh, it had a key, but it didn’t need it; the ignition switch was broken. I only used the key to make others think it needed one. The key wouldn’t unlock the doors either. If I had to lock the doors, I left my wing windows open and reached in to open the door by the handle.
One Friday night my cousin, and best friend, Diane, and I went cruising; which isn’t something either of us usually did, but we thought we’d give it a whirl. We’re driving down North Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado and attracted the attention of a couple of guys in a car beside us. We came to a stop light. Dead silence. My car had died and would not start. Luckily, I had jumper cables and the boys jumped the car for us. We headed on down the strip and came to the next light. Dead silence. It stalled again and had to be jumped. After about the 5th or 6th time, we had the guys follow us home. She was not a cruising sort of car. The next day my step-dad looked at the car and it was a loose battery cable.
Another unique feature of my car was that it would often change parking spots when I was in school. I’d head out of school to where I had parked earlier and it would be gone. I’d see it a couple of rows over or a few spaces down the row. It also seemed to have a smoking and drinking problem because I’d find cigarette butts and beer cans in the back seat from time-to-time.
Many years later, I ran into one of the guys I often gave a ride to school – Mike Burns I believe. He told me that he sometimes “borrowed” my car while I was in school.
Years later as well, a second confession came from my sister. Seems that she would sneak out of the house at night, carefully mark where my tires were, push the car down the street, then jump in and take off in it before it got going too fast.
It was not a cool realization that, DANG, my car had more fun during high school that I did.
My first car may not have been the most impressive, but IT WAS “DA BOMB!” and I will never forget her.