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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)

TITLE: A Chevette By Any Other Name
By Mary Lou Cook


On my Mom’s fortieth birthday my Dad bought her a new car, a 1976 Chevette, with a total cost of $3,000. It had a 51hp engine, a four-speed manual transmission, and not much else. A three-door hatchback that was as bare as bones at a dinosaur exhibit. The car was painfully slow but proved to be reliable and economical to run. It got as much as 28 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. The small Chevette was loud and tinny sounding. In the summer there was no air conditioning and in the winter the heater provided little warmth. Just enough heat to keep one from freezing to death. Anyone who got stuck in the back seat had no room to move. It felt like you were sitting on the floor board. The color on the outside and the inside was diaper-brown. Mom did not approve of the nickname my brother and I gave her new car….“the poop-mobile”.

Being the first new car they ever owned, my parents took great pride keeping the Chevette looking its best. Saturday mornings in the driveway Dad washed the outside of the poop-mobile, while Mom vacuumed the diaper-brown upholstery. On our way to Sunday church services my parents would crank down the windows to wave at the neighbors as we drove by. My brother and I were crammed in the back with a view of the front seats. With the hatchback providing little for storage it became a challenge. A week of groceries filled the backend leaving no room for passengers. In the front were two bucket seats, one for the driver and one other person. Since shopping was not on my brother’s list of fun things to do, I tagged along with Mom. The extra food needed on holidays was shoved under my feet. I shared the floor board with a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving, a spiral ham for Easter, and an extra sack of flour for Christmas cookies. I had to use a large bag of charcoal for the Fourth of July picnic as a foot rest.

Every summer we would drive the Chevette to California to spend a few weeks with my Mom’s family. The car never failed getting us there and back. One year while driving through Nevada, Dad got a speeding ticket. He was doing seventy in a sixty mph zone on a down-hill slope. Mom told him he shouldn’t have been driving that fast in the first place.

When I was in high school Dad bought Mom an Oldsmobile station wagon we nicknamed “the tank”. Through our teen years my brother and I shared the Chevette. He drove his date to the senior prom and I would drive my girlfriends to the mall. During my college years the car never failed getting me home and back to my dorm. Earning a degree in fashion marketing, I found a job in Dallas working for Neiman-Marcus. With the hatchback filled with my few possessions I drove to Texas. A slow eight hour drive but the poop-mobile once again proved itself to be reliable. Two years later I met my future husband at a church picnic. On our honeymoon he and I drove the car across the state from Pelican Island to the Rio Grande.

After our marriage we made the decision to sell the Chevette. The diaper-brown luster had faded years ago. The poop-mobile showed its age with dents and scratches. The upholstery was worn to a shine and the floor mats hid the stained carpet. After placing an ad in the newspaper, a college student called looking for a car that was cheap but reliable. A few years later I saw the Chevette driving out of a Wal-Mart parking lot with the backend full of groceries.

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Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons12/04/09
My brother had a Chevette also. They really don't make them like they use to, do they? Good job.
Joy Faire Stewart12/06/09
Unique writing on topic and very enjoyable read.
Marita Vandertogt12/09/09
I love the name of the car - I had a pinto that lasted almost as long - great little car. Good writing - I enjoyed this one!