Of Sentimental Value

A Dodge Colt lives in my neighborhood. Specifically, a red 2-door hatchback Dodge Colt. It’s a year or two newer than the one I used to drive (surprisingly, the model got boxier into the 90s – our 1990 was quite “sporty,” if ever a hatchback could be called that). While the death of Skippy (that was my car’s name, you know) was sad, I don’t exactly remember what happened, and choose to remember our times together fondly.

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(Not my actual car, but someone else’s that looks just like the one I used to drive.)

See, I learned how to drive with Skippy, in the gravel parking lot at ‘s store. Skippy had power nothing. In fact, Skippy didn’t even have a stereo system when we bought him. ( installed one with a tape deck that stopped working somewhere during senior year of high school after I played my “Ace of Base” cassette a few too many times and it went on protest.) Learning how to drive without power steering in a gravel parking lot – now that’s good stuff. (It actually came in handy when my next car, Merle, a white Chevy Corsica, had a power steering pump that kept breaking at inopportune times, though one could say anytime would be inopportune, and it had to be replaced four times. At least I could still drive without the power steering.)

Skippy was a great car. He took me to and from school every day junior and senior year of high school, and even let my friends carpool (though getting people in and out of the back seat was always fun) and drove me and my one high school boyfriend around (because he didn’t have his license yet). You could stow tons of stuff in the hatch, and since I was on the go a lot those years, I often had multiple changes of clothes (school to work to youth group was a fun one) in there, and my rollerblades, among other things. I got my first speeding ticket in Skippy, when a friend and I went down to Taylor College in Indiana for a leadership conference (jerk cop thought he was doing me a favor).

Skippy became ‘s when I went to college, which was only fair since Skippy wasn’t really mine in the first place, but the family second car. (At some point at the end of freshman year, bought me Merle the aforementioned, and Skippy kinda just became ‘s, with the divorce and everything after.) Skippy took to college and back several times (a long drive from Chicago to the Twin Cities), and I eventually graduated and moved to Michigan with Merle (who has a whole host of his own stories, but we’re talking about Skippy today).

Then we did some fun switching around of cars. Right when I moved to Michigan, moved in with , which meant that I got a lot of hand-me-down furniture. It also meant bought ‘s car, a “hot teal” sporty something, and since Merle had seen better days, I bought Skippy from . (Merle next went to live with a new professor at Judson, who removed all of his bumper stickers and drove him for many more years, much to my chagrin.)

Skippy promptly died in Michigan, and no one wanted to work on him since he wasn’t American-made (it wasn’t his fault his engine said Mitsubishi on it!). He sat in the repair lot of an auto shop downtown Holly for a good six months while I drove the church van and waited for a friend to find the right computer part at a used parts store so we could repair Skippy for $70 instead of $700, which I thought was a good idea since I’d only paid $600 for the car (though I think I still owe her some money for that…). After the computer part was replaced, Skippy died again after another month or two, which is when I gave up and bought my Honda Civic, whose name I can’t remember (probably just because the end of his life was so traumatic that I’d like to forget it). Skippy went to go live with some charity that picked him up for free and gave me a tax write-off.

It amazes me that I still see Skippys driving around town. They’re a good 12-15 years old now, seeing as how they stopped being manufactured in 1994. I’ve seen red ones almost exclusively, but I’m not sure if that’s because Skippy was red or because that was the most popular color for such a “sporty” little car. At any rate, the one that lives in my neighborhood always makes me smile when I drive by. There’s one of those pull-down shades for the baby attached to one of the backseat windows, and a bumper-sticker or two (I think), and just a general sense of well-being. It makes me smile every time we cross paths. Good times, good times.