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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rattled (05/09/13)

TITLE: Freedom Rattled
By lynn gipson


My favorite of all the cars I have ever owned was a rattle trap I affectionately called Old Blue. A 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass, which in 1976 was a pretty nice car. Power brakes, steering, windows, and an awesome stereo system. The only thing was, I bought this car in 1990, and it had seen much better days.

No doubt it was once a beautiful car. It was metallic blue with a black vinyl top. When I purchased it for the bargain price of $850.00, the vinyl was peeling, the paint was fading, and it had a big dent on the front left side. It was pretty ratty looking all right, but although the car made some definite noises, the engine purred like a kitten at the time.

I had just gotten out of a failed marriage that left me financially strapped, and about the only settlement I received from that union was an even older car that broke down more often than not. I had to find something at least a little more dependable.

Don't ask me why, but I loved that old Oldsmobile for the first moment I laid eyes on it. Maybe because it meant freedom and independence to me. At last I was out of a marriage that had gone worse than bad. I paid for this car with my own money, and that gave me a feeling of great satisfaction.

My two main reasons for buying this old relic in June of 1990 was because the air conditioner put out the coldest air I had ever felt, and it came with a decent set of Tiger Paw tires. Memphis summers are almost unbearably hot, and for some reason I liked the idea of having a set of tires called Tiger Paws.

The stereo crackled a little, but as I drove to work in the mornings, I always had it on full blast. That made it easier to not pay attention to the way people looked down their noses at me and Old Blue.

Old Blue was a rather large car for that day and time. Other drivers in small, expensive cars would look at me with disdain, but they would stay out of my way. I guess they didn't want to get hit by the 'tank' I was driving. I ignored them, because I was proud of my old rattletrap. In my mind I pictured the car the way it must have looked when it was new, with metallic blue flakes glistening in the sun.

Oh, how it rattled going down the road! It seemed the muffler wasn't connected properly, and after a couple of years it fell off while I was rattling down the highway. I had that replaced, and some months later the air conditioner went kaput. When the transmission started acting up and the engine began to make weird clunking noises, I knew I knew I had to let Old Blue go.

I ended up selling Old Blue for $250.00 to a coworker who knew how to work on cars, so I definitely got my money's worth out of it. I had saved enough money for a down payment on a newer car, a Chrysler New Yorker, that was loaded and beautiful. My family and friends were overjoyed because they no longer felt ashamed when I parked my car in front of their nice homes.

I liked my new car, but I missed my rattletrap. I have never experienced the same kind of rush when driving another car, before or since. I guess it was the feeling I got the first day I got in it and drove it away from its previous owner. I can remember thinking, Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 05/16/13
Thanks for a great trip down memory lane. I enjoyed the ride.
C D Swanson 05/17/13
Cute story I like how you wove the topic into a retrospective tale. Nice job.

God bless~
Judith Gayle Smith05/17/13
sigh. My baby was a 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible - white with red upholstery. The top would either go up or stay down permanently. I ruined my high school annual, leaving it in the car on an atypical California day blessed with rain. After three months, a rod went through the engine. I almost forgot! The floor in the back had a huge rusting hole from the previous owner's surfboard. Ah memories. Thanks for a good story.
Richard Hicks05/18/13
I think we all had memorable cars at one time or the other. I have had at least a couple. HA. Thanks for the memories! Great work on this writing!