While visiting with my daughter, the conversation turned to cars she and I remembered over the years when she, her sister and brothers were growing up. We laughed as I said I recalled a nephew telling me that my husband and I bought disposable cars.
One of the first cars we talked about was a very small black and yellow two-door vehicle that we paid $200 for. The four children all fit nicely in the back seat at the time. An added advantage of that car was the back seat could be pulled up and the back of the seat pushed down to provide a flat space. That space became a sleeping and play area for our four children when we made our first trip back to Iowa to see family.
We talked about the big, old, green, nine-passenger station wagon my husband and I bought for $100. A new battery was needed before we could drive it home. So, with the purchase of the battery, the total cost of our great buy was $150.
But, oh, what a great time we had with that station wagon. One day, after loading up several coolers filled with food and drinks, we set off to the home of our best friends, who had five children. Once there, we added their filled cooler. That big old wagon had a rack on the top so, of course, it was a perfect place to put the barbecue grill and lash it down. Once all 13 people were in place in the station wagon we were on our way to a day of swimming and picnicking.
Crazy Days, the annual sidewalk sale merchants in Glasgow have every summer, found my girlfriend and me putting down the last row of seats in the station wagon so we could fill it with all our purchases - clothes, shoes, school supplies, and a 9-foot by 30-inch rug. We both needed to buy groceries, so since we figured we had space left, off we went to the grocery store. After adding $500 worth of food, we headed home.
The car that brought the most laughter was a two-door car that if you pushed down on the accelerator too fast, the front end of the car was in the air. Not all excitement of driving a car takes place on the race track. That car, with its price tag of $600, definitely found its way into our memories.
Other cars came to life again as we talked on through the afternoon. There was the car my husband bought a week before we were married. We always called it the “honeymoon” car. My friends had used shaving cream to write “Just Married” on the trunk. The words could still be seen years after that car came to its final rest in the junkyard.
Then there was the small four-wheeled drive $800 station wagon we had. It proved how durable it was when, a mile and a half from home we saw some of our cattle running in the neighboring fields and took off through the summer fallow in the car to gather the cows and turn them towards home.
Looking back, I have to agree we purchased cars that were disposable. However, the memories made with each car in our family’s life together are not disposable.
Sandy Laumeyer is a Nashua correspondent for The Courier and the current first place column writer for newspapers in The Courier's size category in the Montana Newspaper Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest.