Sunday, April 13, 2008

My First Auto Accident

It was 1974. I was graduating High School and set to start college at UCLA in the fall. And so it was that I needed a car to take me there and back. Dad gave me three makes to choose from. The Vega. The Pinto. And the Gremlin. I went for the Gremlin.

I loved that car! I don't know why since the first issue happened three blocks off of the lot when the interior of the driver's side door fell off. We went directly back to the dealership and they fixed it. It was an omen of things to come, but it mattered not. I was 17 and I had wheels.

I liked to park my car on the street in front of our house. That made Mom & Dad very unhappy. "Park the car in the driveway or somebody's going to hit your car," they would say. "Park the car in the driveway or somebody's going to hit your car," "Park the car in the driveway or somebody's going to hit your car," "Park the car in the driveway or somebody's going to hit your car," "Park the car in the driveway or somebody's going to hit your car!"

I finally succumbed. One day, on a Sunday, I came home, thought about their request, and decided to park in the driveway. They witnessed me fufilling their dreams. They were sitting in the family room eating brunch, and watched me pull in through the picture window facing the street. "It's about time you parked in the driveway," they said. "If you kept parking in the street, somebody was going to hit your car." With much sarcasm in their voices.

I acknowledged them, then turned down the hallway to the left. Went to my bedroom to do who knows what, but I was a seventeen-year-old girl by myself in a bedroom. I'm sure if we all thought about it, we could come up with some ideas what I was up to.

Dad was a Doctor. A Jewish Doctor in the San Fernando Valley. That meant that he needed to drive a big car. His choice was a Buick Electra 225.

It was immense. Wikipedia says that it was 233 inches, which translates to 19 feet. I believe it. I learned how to drive in that car, as did my sisters (a topic for another post!), and after driving it, I could pretty-much handle anything. It abounded in blind spots.

Anyway, we left the story when I went to my bedroom, my parents continuing to eat brunch and reading the newspaper. Then Dad got a call from the hospital. One of his patients was in the ER. Would he come to see him? Dad agreed to go.

He put down his coffee, got up from the table, went to the garage... pausing only to hit the button for the automatic garage door opener, and got in his car. Never looked left, or right, or most important, behind him. He started his engine, put his car in reverse, and proceeded to smash the entire front of my car into something that resembled a crushed soda can.

My parents never asked me to park in the driveway again.


Anonymous said...


Claudia said...

My first car was a red (of course) VW Beatle. Opps..I mean Beetle. LOL It was very me. I LOVED that car. Ah, to be young and driving your first car.

hot tamale said...

Great story Laura and thanks for the belly laugh.....ahhh parents!!
I remember all those models you first baby was a really cool Mazda with cool mags my Dad got from a customer on his mail route. Oh I thought I was so bitchen back then LOL


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