While driving to work this morning I was behind an old car that looked vaguely familiar. I couldn't place it right away, but as it turned left and I went straight at an intesection, it hit me. (the realization...not the car) I used to have a car just like it!
The car in front of me was a 1983 Cadillac Cimarron. It was my second car, having recently totalled my first car coming off an exit and attempting to turn left where there was no lane to turn left. I was on my way to Walmart with Alberto, a Spanish exchange student that stayed with us that fall. Since there's nothing like Walmart in Spain (back then, who knows what's there now) I missed the turn for Walmart and decided rather than loop back at the next intersection just to go for broke. And "broke" was exactly what I got...a totalled car but luckily a totally intact passenger and driver. (I never said 17-year-old Crafty Mama was brilliant back then. And I'm sure the accident wasn't the type of "American Experience" that Alberto was looking to have!)
My parents, soon after the accident, tired quickly of driving around their daughter, now a senior in HS with lots of activities and a part-time job at McDonald's. Not to mention my younger brother, whom I drove around to wherever he needed to go as well. Did I also mention that on weekends work started at McD's at 6AM? (I wonder nowadays how the hell I got to work for that insane hour, but it really wasn't a bad shift. By the time you "woke up" it was already lunchtime and there were only three hours left on your shift.) Anyway, Dad picked out the Cimarron at a used car lot and it was a "surprise."
It was a black car with a gold-ish leather interior. My friend Michelle dubbed it "The Cinnamon Bun" and the name stuck. The biggest surprise was how much I hated that car, and how much it hated me! When picking up Michelle in the morning for school (a big no-no, but I did it anyway, what a rebel. No wonder my nickname was Mother Hen.) it would turn itself to the left while backing out of the nice, straight driveway. No turning necessary! In the winter, it wouldn't start in the cold. I would be outside before school, with a can of starter fluid and spraying it under the hood. And it would stall all the time. If I was stopped at a red light, I'd have one foot on the gas and one on the brake, revving the car gently so it wouldn't stall out. Mind you, this was an automatic transmission. If I went through a drive-thru, I'd pray silently for it to keep running and not drop off before I could "please drive up." The kicker was that this usually happened only to me. My boyfriend at the time would snicker and say "Well it never happens when *I* drive it." Oh, Lord.
However, that car taught me some good lessons, and I couldn't complain much, as I had a vehicle whereas many of my friends did not. And it also enforced a belief I still have today: everyone should own a clunker at least once. That way, when you get a reliable car, you really appreciate it!
I don't know what the fate was of the Cinnamon Bun. I know that after I went to college my brother learned to drive on it, but it was soon given to my uncle when we inherited my grandfather's old, reliable Camry. I'm sure by now it's in the Big Junkyard In the Sky. May it rest in peace!