Recently, I was thinking about my life, in terms of cars. I’m not sure what led me down that thought path, but it was probably the fact that my three 18-year-old kids have in the past year either bought their first car on their own or are very soon to buy their first car. I was remembering how that feels, sort of.
I have to admit, I drove my parents’ little Dodge Horizon during college and during the first job I had. Then, my dad took that car back and had me driving my brother’s bright red Z28 with T-tops (man, I loved that car) for a short time before letting me drive a Chevy Cavalier Z24 that my brother had rebuilt in an auto body shop. It was red, too, and was a wonderful little car that I drove awhile, before this poor working journalist could finally afford my first car, a beautiful blue Olds Achieva that had been a program car out at the old Coover Chevrolet place in Nevada. It had minor hail damage, so I got a hell of a good deal back in 1992 on a pretty car with only a few thousand miles on it. I drove that car all the way through getting married and expecting triplets; then we needed to start looking for minivans that would fit a very long triplet stroller in the back. And soon my minivan life began, and lasted most of the time my kids were growing up.
As I was “Remembering When” I drove these various vehicles, which actually goes back to my high school days of driving my parents’ black Mercury Grand Marquis in the early ’80s — a car one of my best friends like to refer to as “the black cat” — it seemed to me that it would be fun to start asking others about the cars that have been part of their lives.
So I prepared a car question-and-answer document, and recruited a few people to participate. I found several people willing to take part. In fact, most of them have told me they had a lot of fun thinking back about the cars that have defined their lives.
This idea of “thinking back” got me to “thinking ahead” … about the fun stories I could produce by interviewing people about their past experiences. And thus, my new “Remember When” series of stories was born — in my mind anyway. It’s birth in the newspaper is today, as the first couple of my respondents’ stories are shared. I have, in addition to these, at least four more people’s car stories saved for coming weeks.
If there is anyone else out there who would like to participate in the car part of my “Remember When” series, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me, 515-290-1738. I am willing to have a few more people take part in the car stories, or even come back to cars at some point in the future.
Also, keep watching on the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times Facebook pages and in the newspapers for the announcement of the next “Remember When” topic, as I have at least five of them spinning through my head right now.
And don’t just think of yourself with the Remember When series, which I will often want people who are at least 40 or older to take part in. Think of your aunt, or grandma, or uncle or dad who is either still at home or now in a care facility, and who might enjoy some help thinking back and sharing about their past. Let me know if we can include them in the series, and if there’s a way I can help to get their answers.
Most important, read the Remember When series when you see it in the newspaper. Tell your kids they might want to read it, too. I can’t believe how much fun my sons have had reading the responses I’ve gotten from people I’ve worked with on this car one so far. Yes, young people, teenagers, have actually enjoyed reading what I’m doing for the newspaper! I don’t “remember when” that’s happened before!
As always, call me or email me with any comments, questions or concerns about the newspaper, and thank you for continuing to read our work and keep your small-town newspaper alive and kicking.
Marlys Barker is editor of the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times.