About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Automobile of Life

Automobile of Life
by Roy Acuff

Some people are just like an automobile
They'll run fine when everything is right
When the roads are all clear
and the weather is fine. . .

But often they come to a washout
and then get stuck and have to detour. . .

What a novel topic our host for this week's Fun Monday, Sayre at Sayre Smiles , has given us. Sayre is after our Personal Car Fax. What was our first car? Our favorite car? What are we driving now and why? This topic has the makings for some mighty interesting posts because, as Mr. Roy Acuff says, "people are just like an automobile." What we choose to drive reveals a lot about where we are in our lives. Here are the automobiles of my life:

Ford Maverick, color Anti-Establish Mint (first car for the rebel years) I didn't learn to drive until I was a junior in college in the late 60s. No point in it really because my family never owned a car. In college I lived just a short walk off campus. When I was about to graduate and had gotten my first teaching position, my adopted grandfather, who was well in his 70s, taught me to drive in his sporty little car--don't remember the model, but do recall a spunky color and that it was duck-butted. Just the car for Lester P. I got the license and an Anti-Establish Mint (loved this color name!) Ford Maverick, with help from this wonderful man, and headed out for first year of teaching in a town about two hundred miles from my college town.

That first year on my own was great, but I was restless, needing to experience something other than my home state. So, I looked on a map of Florida and picked out the town of Clearwater and the Pinellas County School System as my next stop. I loaded this Ford Maverick with all my belongings and drove to Florida without a place to stay when I got there. I ended up in an efficiency apartment on Clearwater Beach for one year. I made great friends with work colleagues and loved the experimental teaching I did with middle school age students who were potential dropouts. But I was restless. At night and on the weekends I put many miles on the Ford Maverick. One night I decided to drive even further. . .

Island Mini Moke (adventure car) The summer of 1970 after Clearwater I moved on. I volunteered for the Peace Corps and got a teaching position on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. I stored my few belongings, sold the Ford Maverick and became an islander. Another Peace Corps volunteer, who shared my adventurous spirit, and I decided to pool our government living allowances and rent a house out in the country on a working sugar cane estate. For a time we rode an open transport truck to and from work. This truck ringed the island, picking up workers and market produce for the trip into Basseterre, the major town on St. Kitts. Soon my housemate and I tired of the unreliable transport and being stuck in a sugar cane field on the weekend, so we pooled our money again and bought one of the island's dirt cheap mini mokes. Actually, it was little more than a golf cart but suited our purposes just fine.

Chevrolet Concours, Colts, Crown Victorias and Ford Windstar Minivans (the responsible years) After three years in the West Indies I came back to Kentucky and spent the majority of my working life in education. For over 30 years I worked for either the state department of education or Kentucky Farm Bureau, a statewide agricultural organization. With both organizations I was expected to drive their fleet cars for work purposes. My own car became less important--more of a fallback vehicle. I was mostly concerned about hauling capacity because I worked as a trainer for both organizations. I conducted workshops and organized conferences. I schlepped boxes and boxes of workshop supplies and audio visual equipment. Minivans were my friends. After work, these minivans could be used to ferry my friends all over under one car roof. In retirement we often threaten to pool our resources and buy a flower-decorated hippie van for our pleasure outings. :-)

Toyota Scion xB (the retiring years) In 2005 I bought my first personal car in many, many years. It was somewhat daunting taking up the responsibilities of car ownership again, but I was retiring in January 2006 and had to give up the company Windstar minivan. Like everything else in my life, I went after a simple, no bells and whistles kind of car. The Scion had just been released a year earlier. It was marketed as a Y Generation modification to Toyota's reliable Camry. Many of the Gen Y group loved the reliability of their parents' Camrys, but hated the design. So, Toyota "iced" the Camry chassis with this really cool Scion body (get it? Scion? offspring). It was amusing at first to drive this car because of its look. Fellow Scion drivers actually waved at each other as if to say, "Aren't we just too cool for words!" I call my Scion the "bread truck." A friend said she saw a Scion bumper sticker that said "You've just been passed by a toaster!" Anyway you take it, it's a perfect retirement car and probably my favorite of all the cars I've driven.

There you have it, my automobiles of life. And before too long, be sure to cruise on down the road and check out other Fun Monday drives.


Lane said...

I love your bread truck. I have a real weakness for squared off, utilitarian looking cars. And I'll always take reliability over style. Except perhaps for your mini moke which was so cool:-)

Jan n Jer said...

Hahaha...love the comment about being passed by a toaster...it does kinda look like one now that I have taken a longer look. I love small cars...that little one you had on St Kitts is so adorable. Thanks for the interesting look into your car history Faye...Happy FM

Lil Mouse said...

I always wonder how those square vehicles are... anyway, you've had quite a life and it shows through your cars even! Mine is and always will be terribly boring I suppose.

Gattina said...

Also an interesting life story, full of adventures, yes when young you jump and you think afterwards (I still have this tendency, lol) The little "toy" car under the palm trees, I like the best

The Church Lady said...

I'll bet it was fun driving the mini moke around the island. The Toyota Scion is a good choice for you! It is environmentally friendly and reliable too! Our cars of life certainly do tell alot about us!

The Church Lady said...

Faye - I forgot to mention that I too love the Bachelor. I try to catch it when I can. There is just something about that show. ;0)

Faye said...

lane--boxy and small is really good in a car. Regretfully, Roseanne's and my mini moke was white, not red. It was still a fun drive.

janis--the mini moke was small but it still held four people and my Peace Corps dog, Virgil.

lil mouse--the Scion has a great feeling of space--especially head room. Much better than larger cars. You sit up high and visibility is great. Don't think of your life as boring. Rearing that little Skin Baby takes more talent and stamina than many of us have in us.

gattina--agreed. Too much thinking prevents us from taking advantage of the opportunities that come our way.

church lady--yes, the mini moke was fun and made my housemate and I very popular among other volunteers. After seeing the first Bachelor show last week I suspect Jake is going to experience a lot of drama on his "wings of love". :-) I repeat, why do we watch this stuff!

Sayre said...

I am so jealous of your Maverick! And the color is perfect!

A friend of mine bought a Scion and absolutely loves it. Sounds like a good investment to me!

Debs said...

I remember seeing loads of those mini mokes years ago near the beach. Loved them and always wanted one.

My first car was a VW Polo. Unfortunately I crashed it about 3 weeks after getting it. Hopeless - me, not the car.

Cousin M said...

Must be genetic - I too had a little Maverick! Pale blue, though - I guess I wasn't brave enough for the Anti-Establish-Mint.

Faye said...

sayre--Ford had some very clever names for the Mavericks back in the late '60s. Very tongue in cheek like anti-establisn mint.

debs--all income levels--from poor Peace Corps volunteers to gov't officials--drove the mini moke on St. Kitts. And I too wrecked an early car--my fault and no insurance. . .

cousin M--another reason I love blogging. How else would I find out that my favorite cousin shared same tastes in cars as in a lot of other things? Not something that comes up in getting re-acquainted conversation, but good to know.

Ari_1965 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ari_1965 said...

I've only had Fords. We always buy Fords in my family. I don't know why. Lately, I've had thoughts of next time getting, gasp, a Honda CRV or Subaru Forester. And then there's the Toyota RAV4. All would have room for the dog in the 3rd section instead of him getting little brown hairs all over the backseat so I can never have any passengers there unless I vacuum for a day and a half. And the Subaru has all-wheel drive. In a MN winter, all-wheel drive would be great. If I added snow tires, I'd be unconquerable. Or so the Subaru salesman told me when I accompanied a friend to look at a new car for her.

But, I don't know. Break with family tradition? Locusts might rain from the sky.

So far:
Ford Tempo
Ford Taurus
Ford Mustang
Ford Festiva
Ford Ranger
Ford Focus
Ford Focus