Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

July 7, 2013

Garret Leiva: Never forget your first kiss or keys

They say you never forget your first kiss or your first car.

I don’t recall whose lips touched mine under the playground monkey bars — although I’m sure I nearly died from cooties. However, I still have the keys to my first car: a 1978 Chevrolet Chevette.

It was the automobile equivalent of kissing your sister, but the ‘She-vette’ was mine.My Chevette is long gone. I last sat in its carmine plaid driver’s seat in 1990. My parents sold the car that summer for $300. I watched as it sputtered down the road.

The car must be crushed to a paperweight or less by now. Then again, like disco, this ‘70s creation wouldn’t die.

It was 1978 when I first met the burgundy four-door. My sister and I stepped off the school bus to find a new car in our driveway.

I stood squinting at the chrome bumpers. Mom took us for a spin. We giggled with each shift of the four-speed manual transmission.

Mere children, we had no idea of the immortal powers fueling this four-cylinder albatross. Sporting pallid hubcaps and a push-button AM/FM radio, the She-vette was base model transportation. It also was eternal damnation on wheels. The car would not die.

Mom rolled the car negotiating a curve coated in black ice. A battered fender was the only flesh wound. This was just the beginning of forays into roadside ditches. Five years up the road, the car was subjected to my sister and her learner’s permit. The compact endured it all, from riding the clutch to leaving the parking brake on. It seemed to thrive on abuse and low-octane unleaded.

In 1987, with a decade on the odometer, I inherited the She-vette keys. Thus began the epic struggle between teen and machine.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad